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Two VCU arts professors named Guggenheim Fellows

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Corin Hewitt's photo courtesy of Amanda Sanfilippo. Stephen Vitiello's photo courtesy of Paul Green.

Virginia Commonwealth University professors Corin Hewitt and Stephen Vitiello have been named recipients of the Guggenheim Fellowship, one of the top honors available for artists in the United States.

Hewitt is an assistant professor in the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media at VCU, and Vitiello is an associate professor in the Department of Kinetic Imaging.

“I am proud to serve at VCU along with my talented professional colleagues, Corin Hewitt and Stephen Vitiello. They are among VCU alumni and professors who now have received a combined eight Guggenheim Fellowships since 2002, including seven to artists with connections to the VCU School of the Arts,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “These awards validate the commitment of VCU's faculty to creative and academic excellence and our number-one ranked public graduate school of the arts in the country."

Previous recipients since 2002 with VCU ties include Elizabeth King, a professor of sculpture (2002); Teresita Fernandez (2003) and Bonnie Collura (2005), both alumni of the sculpture department; Hilary Wilder, assistant professor in the Department of Painting and Printmaking (2006); Michael Jones McKean, assistant professor of sculpture (2010); and David Wojahn, professor of English (2003).

Hewitt, who also recently received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, another one of the art world’s top awards, is a sculptor whose work centers on setting up cultural questions in partially enclosed theatrical sets and then examining those questions using photography and video. Hewitt’s work has appeared in such venues as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Seattle Art Museum, the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Norway, the Wanas Foundation in Sweden and through the Public Art Fund in a public installation in Brooklyn.

Vitiello is an electronic musician and sound artist whose work has been showcased at outdoor installations, galleries and other venues around the world. His work has been featured in recent solo exhibitions at the Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney, Australia; the High Line in New York City; Museum 52 in London; the Project in New York City; and Galerie Almine Rech in Paris. Among the group exhibitions that have included his work in the past are the Bienale of Sydney and the Whitney Biennial.

“For any artist to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship it is an honor of great distinction. When two artists who are faculty at one art school receive this prestigious honor, it speaks volumes for the quality of their professional efforts and also reflects the high level of research and scholarship occurring within the institution,” said Joseph Seipel, dean of the school. “Both are exceptional artists who are producing innovative, ambitious work while serving as dedicated mentors to our students. The Guggenheim is an important honor, and each richly deserves this recognition.”

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 180 fellowships this month to artists, scientists and scholars. The foundation received approximately 3,000 applications for the awards. Fellows receive grants of varying amounts that provide financial support for a period of between six and 12 months. The financial awards are intended to allow fellows to work with as much creative freedom as possible. Fellowships are awarded to men and women who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.

Hewitt photo courtesy of Amanda Sanfilippo. Vitiello photo courtesy of Paul Green.
Hewitt photo courtesy of Amanda Sanfilippo. Vitiello photo courtesy of Paul Green.