VMFA Fellowship Awards: Critical support for emerging and established artists

Photo by Natalie Abernethy.
Photo by Natalie Abernethy.

It wasn’t modesty or nerves that made Virginia Commonwealth University student Natalie Abernethy think she had been passed over for a 2016 VMFA Fellowship Award. Rather, it was that a couple of her friends found out they were recipients, and Abernethy, an Honors College student, had not.

It still feels surreal.

In fact, it wasn’t until she received a congratulatory email from one of her professors that she found out she had received the fellowship for her work in new/emerging media.

“I freaked out and called my parents,” Abernethy said. “It still feels surreal.”

Abernethy selected pieces for her submission that were unique, showing her skills in various mediums of art. Abernethy fell in love with new/emerging media, which is technologically based art using a variety of mediums, after enrolling in the Department of Kinetic Imaging in the VCU School of the Arts. Abernethy loves creating her own characters and scenery in mediums such as hand-drawn narrative and 3-D animations, videos and handmade books.

The money awarded to her will go to developing more art, particularly helping to pay for the expensive materials and programs often employed in new/emerging media. Up next for Abernethy is an internship at Urban Outfitters for video and animation this summer.

Abernethy is one of 16 VCU-affiliated recipients of the 2016 VMFA Fellowship. To apply, applicants must be legal residents of Virginia for the entire fellowship year. Student applicants must be full-time in their degree-seeking programs. To see the full list of requirements, visit the VMFA’s website.

Applicants to the VMFA Fellowship are reviewed anonymously.

VCU Awardees

Professional Awards:

Moaz Elemam, film/video

Cynthia Henebry, photography

Valerie Molnar, mixed media (collaboration with Matt Spahr)

Paul Ryan, painting

Matt Spahr, mixed media (collaboration with Valerie Molnar)

Stephen Vitiello, new/emerging media

Jack Wax, crafts

Graduate Awards:


Kathryn Mayes, photography

Undergraduate Awards:

Natalie Abernethy, new/emerging media

John DiJulio, photography

Monica Escamilla, photography

Madeleine Hardy, painting

James Heyes, new/emerging media

Isabel Lee, sculpture

Rachel McGovern, crafts

Subscribe for free to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday.