Tuesday February 14, 2017

Faculty Receive Arts Grants

Four University of Dayton department of art and design faculty have been awarded grants from Montgomery County to support their artistic endeavors and professional development.

The Artist Opportunity Grant program is funded by the Montgomery County Arts & Culture District and administered by Culture Works. The recipients are assistant professor of art and design Glenna Jennings, and adjunct faculty, Nicholaus Arnold, Ashley Jonas and Francis Schanberger.

“Funding for individual artists became very scarce after the 2008 recession, so it has become very rare that individual artist can obtain financial support for their art,” said Judith Huacuja, department of art design chair. “The grants that become available in our area are very competitive, so for our faculty, who are working artists as well as teachers, to receive these grants is very significant, both for their work personally, for the prestige of the work of the artists of our department, and also for the teaching that they do.”

The grant program invited individual artists of all disciplines to apply for funding that would support professional development opportunities. Applications were reviewed by a panel of artists, arts administrators, educators and community leaders.

Jennings will use her funding to become an artist-in-residence in Ensenada, Mexico, and also continue her current artist in residency position at The Collaboratory in downtown Dayton, where she works on socially engaged art projects.

“This grant allows me to have a really open agenda over the next year. I can work on projects for my own research that are also embedded in the Dayton community,” Jennings said.

Jennings said these types of grants are important to help provide the best possible educational experience for her students.

“I often use The Collaboratory as a venue for experiential learning for my students, so this funding allows me to really focus on my work there and educate others through connections to community partners that I can now continue to grow,” Jennings said. “As professors we really need this type of funding for our own art making, so that we can then share that work with our students and give them insights that they really need for their art education.”

Jonas, an instructor of visual arts, landed an artist-in-residency position as a result of the grant.

“The grant has made it possible for me to accept the position of ceramic artist-in-residence at Kansas State University this semester,” Jonas said. “The residency is providing me time and space to engage in my research and make artwork, which benefits my role as an arts educator. I’m also building collegiate relationships with people that I plan to connect to our Dayton community that I am proud to be a part of.”

With his award, Schanberger will take advantage of an exhibition opportunity in Brussels, Belgium, which will help him bring intercultural art experience and knowledge to his students.

While some faculty are using their grants to gain experiences in the Dayton community, Arnold is creating local opportunities for professional development.

"The Culture Works Artist Opportunity Grant will allow me to develop a new body of work involving installation, photography and sculpture for several exhibition opportunities in Dayton,” Arnold said. “Although I've lived and operated a studio in Dayton for the past few years, I only recently began trying to get my work in scale into the community; the Artist Opportunity Award is providing me with the funds to present such exhibitions locally.”

Huacuja echoes the instructors' sentiments that it is important for all department faculty to seek funding in order to enhance their abilities to give students enriching experiences.

“The more independent research an artist can do, the more advanced they become in their scholarship,” Huacuja said. “As art scholars our students must learn a lot of conceptual information but they also have to develop their direct skills and abilities, so working with faculty artists who are advancing their skills and abilities really allows for advanced mentorship for our students.”

- Alex Burchfield ’16, communication assistant, College of Arts and Sciences

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