$5,000 grants awarded to Virginia artists impacted by COVID-19

Posted at 9:42 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 23:55:26-04

RICHMOND, Va.— 40 Virginia artists were awarded relief grants as part of a special program designed to help those impacted by COVID-19.

Governor Northam and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announced Tuesday that each recipient will receive $5,000 from the Virginia Artist Relief Fellowship Program, totaling $200,000 to support the visual artists.

“Art has a way of bringing people together—something we need now more than ever,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “These grant recipients hail from more than twenty different cities and towns across the Commonwealth, and Pam and I are proud to help support their important work.”

The program is funded by the museum’s existing Artist Fellowship Endowment, established in 1941 through a generous gift made by John Lee Pratt who intended for the funds to be used to support professional artists as well as art and art history students in the Commonwealth.

“Artists’ livelihoods and their ability to continue making art have been directly impacted by cancelled exhibitions and gallery and museum closures as a result of the pandemic,” said Alex Nyerges, the VMFA’s Director and CEO. “We sought to use resources we have available to help sustain artists in Virginia through this critical time.”

The Virginia Artist Relief Fellowship Program grant recipients include:

Emine Sermin Ciddi (Alexandria)

Veronica Jackson (Bedford)

Mojdeh Rezaeipour (Burke)

Tina Curtis (Charlottesville)

Eliza Lamb (Chester)

Nikki Painter (Chesterfield)

Jordan Shanks (Chesterfield)

Alfonso Perez Acosta (Chesterfield)

Michael Childers and Soomin Ham (Fairfax)

Jun Lee (Falls Church)

Wendy Werstlein (Floyd)

Lorie McCown (Fredericksburg)

Sandy Williams IV (Glen Allen)

Kemi Layeni (Hampton)

Ethan Brown (King William)

Noah Velez (Leesburg)

Scot Turner (Newport News)

Kimberly McKinnis (Norfolk)

Khalil Riddick (Norfolk)

S. Ross Browne (Richmond)

Hamilton Glass (Richmond)

Alicia Little (Richmond)

Jaydan Moore (Richmond)

Barry O'Keefe (Richmond)

Eva Rocha (Richmond)

Ricardo Vicente Jose Ruiz (Richmond)

Leigh Suggs (Richmond)

Luis Vasquez (Richmond)

Kendra Wadsworth (Richmond)

Susan Jamison (Roanoke)

Suzanne Stevens (Virginia Beach)

Nastassja Swift (Virginia Beach)

Steve Prince (Williamsburg)

Six other artists receiving the grant, who asked not to be named, are from Charlottesville, Centerville, Lynchburg, Monroe, Richmond and Roanoke.

Williamsburg artist and recipient Steve Prince, expressed how timely the support is.

“This fellowship becomes even more critical for me, and conversely this nation, to be able to continue creating work that addresses the damaging social issues and operatively working to create a more just and equal society," Prince said.

More than 350 artists applied for the program and recipients were selected by a jury of three staff members at VMFA.



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