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W&L Art Professor Awarded VMFA Fellowship

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Julie Cline
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Christa Bowden, assistant professor of art at Washington and Lee University, has been awarded a 2009-2010 Fellowship by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). Recognition by the Virginia General Assembly in honor of the 14 fellowship recipients will be held at the state capitol in Richmond on Friday, Feb. 20, with lunch to follow at VMFA.

Bowden received a professional fellowship for $8,000 and will be using the funds to continue working on her current body of work called "Still Flight" during her pre-tenure leave in the fall of 2009. "Still Flight" combines a flatbed scan of winged organisms with 19th century photographic processes, such as platinum/palladium.

Three fellowships, including Bowden's, were given for photography this year. The juror for the professional awards was Joanna Marsh, curator of contemporary art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Started in 1940 by Fredericksburg, Va., resident and museum benefactor John Lee Pratt, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship Program supports Virginia's professional artists and art students. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than $3.6 million dollars to Virginia artists. According to Alex Nyerges, VMFA director, "VMFA Fellowships provide essential support for artists who wish to advance their careers or further their education. For the past 69 years students and professional artists in Virginia have received funds that have supported their development in critical ways."

The Fellowship program has helped over 1,000 recipients and averages 350 applicants yearly. The program offers awards to artists in all different areas, in addition to photography, including crafts, drawing, film and video, mixed media, painting, printmaking, sculpture and art history. The program also offers fellowships to graduate and undergraduate artists, in addition to professional.

Bowden joined W&L's faculty in 2006. She received her B.A. from Tulane University and her M.F.A. from the University of Georgia.