Craft / Material Studies



The VCUarts Fountainhead Fellowship in Craft/Material Studies is a 9-month residency for recent MFA graduates. Fellows are provided the opportunity to concentrate on their work, build community, gain valuable teaching experience, and participate in a vital, interdisciplinary, socially progressive community of artists at VCU. The Fountainhead Fellowship is a joint project of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts, the Departments of Craft/Material Studies, Painting + Printmaking, and Sculpture + Extended Media as well as Fountainhead Development Services.   A grant awarded by the Charitable Windgate Foundation generously supports the Fountainhead Fellow stipend in the Department of Craft/Material Studies.

Artists working predominantly in one or more of the following media areas: fiber, metal, glass or wood.
Artists possessing a strong foundation and understanding of their chosen material while working in innovative ways. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to teach beginner through advanced undergraduate studio classes that incorporate strong conceptual and technical skill building.
All MFA graduates who have graduated within the last 5 years are invited to apply. If you graduated prior to Fall 2015, you are not eligible to apply.
VCU MFA students and graduates are not eligible to apply.

Generous stipend
Research/travel stipend
24-hour access to a private studio
A furnished apartment located in a newly renovated complex built to eco-friendly, EarthCraft standards. This mixed-use community includes artists’ studios, apartments, a café, an outdoor swimming pool, a dog park and other amenities.
Teaching experience (Fellows teach two classes per semester)
An exhibition in Richmond
Opportunity to present a public lecture

Letter of Intent
Artist Statement
List of skills in your media
Unofficial graduate school transcript (an official transcript required for final candidate)
Portfolio – 20 images and documentation script (all within a single PDF file no larger than 2MB)
Examples of student work – 10 images
Contact information for three references (include name, title, email, phone number). References for finalists will be contacted for a phone interview about the candidates qualifications.
DEADLINE: March 30th, 2020 DEADLINE EXTENDED: APRIL 15th, 2020

Graduate Student Artist Talks

Join us for 10 minute artist talks presented by students enrolled in the Craft/Material Studies Professional Practice Graduate Seminar, taught by Traci Stonestreet.

December 10th, 12:30pm
Institute for Contemporary Art
601 W. Broad St.

Visiting Artist: Aideen Barry

Aideen Barry is a visual artist and member of Aosdána, an Irish Association of Artists. Her
work incorporates film, performance, drawing, sculpture, and installation through an
experimental lens based media. Barry’s work is preoccupied with ideas of otherness, and
what Freud coined Das Unheimliche. She uses psychological ploys of cognitive dissonance to
disarm the viewer with slapstick humour as a way of discussing the intensely personal and
to provoke alternative perspectives on dark subject matter including mental illness,
oppression, and patriarchy.

Barry’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions throughout the world including
Mother’s Tankstation and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, both in Ireland; Matucana 100
in Chile; Louise T. Bloudin Gallery in London; The Loop Biennale in Spain; The Banff Centre in
Canada; and The Wexner Centre in the United States.

Artist Lecture:
Thursday, November 21st, 12:30pm
Institute for Contemporary Art
601 West Broad Street

Craft/Material Studies Open House for Art Foundation Students

On Tuesday, November 12th we invite VCUarts Arts Foundation students to visit the Department of Craft/Material Studies. Join us to tour the department, see our facilities in action, and meet faculty and students. Stay for pizza and chat with our majors. Come learn more about our community and see if our department might be a good fit for you!

Fountainhead Fellow Lecture: Bukola Koiki

Bukola Koiki is a Nigerian-American interdisciplinary artist whose current work examines the past and ongoing traumatic effects of linguistic and economic imperialism on Nigeria, a former British colony and it’s people. Her multidimensional fiber works reflect her material and technical curiosity, such as hand-pulled prints rendered with embroidered collagraph plates and giant handmade paper beads employing Nigerian hair threading techniques.

Koiki received her MFA in Applied Craft + Design from Pacific Northwest College of Art and her BFA in Communication Design from the University of North Texas. She was recently named a 2019 Shortlist Finalist for the American Craft Council’s Emerging Voices Award. Her work has been exhibited nationally and she has been featured in numerous publications including American Craft magazine, Surface Design Journal, Art21 Magazine, and Art Practical. Bukola held the AICAD Teaching Fellowship at Maine College of Art prior to joining the Department of Craft/Material Studies at the 2019-20 Fountainhead Fellow.

Artist Lecture:
Tuesday, October 22nd, 12:30pm
609 Bowe St. / Art Foundation Building, Room 535

Adam Atkinson & Vivian Chiu: Inner Personal Connections

Inner Personal Connections
Adam Atkinson & Vivian Chiu

Two person exhibition featuring Adam Atkinson (faculty in metals) and Vivian Chiu (faculty in wood)

FAB Gallery
Fine Arts Building, 1000 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA, 23284

October 7th-23rd
Closing Reception:October 23rd, 5-7pm
Artist Talk at 5:30 

Visiting Artist: Jes Fan

Jes Fan was born in Canada, raised in Hong Kong, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Fan received his BFA in glass from Rhode Island School of Design and works with glass, silicon, and resin to create sculptures that question binary conceptions of race, gender, and identity. Fan has exhibited in the United States, Belgium, London, and Hong Kong and will be included in upcoming exhibitions including the 2020 Sydney Biennale in Australia, Kiss My Genders at Hayward Gallery in the UK, and Forget Sorrow Grass, An Archaeology of Contemporary Women, at the Times Museum in China. 

Fan has received numerous awards including a Jerome Hill Fellowship and a Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant. He has most recently been an artist in residence at Smack Mellon, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and was recently featured on Art21.

Artist Lecture:
Thursday, October 10th, 12:30pm
Institute for Contemporary Art
601 West Broad Street

Visiting Artist: Ben Wright

Ben Wright holds a BS in Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College, a BFA in Glass from the Appalachian Center for Crafts, and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design.  While at Dartmouth, he explored forests in various regions from New Hampshire to Jamaica to record and map song birds for the renowned ornithologist Richard Homes.  

Wright’s work ranging from interactive visual installations to sonic landscapes engages the viewer’s senses while bridging the gap between art and science.  He has taught in Germany, Turkey, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, Poland and Australia in addition to teaching at Penland School of Craft, the University of the Arts, and Pilchuck Glass School where is is currently the Artistic Director.

Visiting Artist Lecture:
Thursday, October 3rd at noon
Fine Arts Building, 2nd floor, room 238



Visiting Artist: Sara Clugage

Sara Clugage lives and works in Brooklyn, where she is the editor-in-chief of Dilettante Army, an online journal for art and critical theory. In addition to weaving and writing about weaving, she is part of the Leadership Collective for the Wikipedia campaign Art+Feminism and a member of the interdisciplinary collective Sprechgesang Institute. She also creates salon dinners themed around the economic models and culinary styles of different periods in art history. She has written for The Journal of Modern Craft, Surface Design Journal, Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, and Pelican Bomb. Sara holds an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Workshop description:

Art+Feminism is a campaign to improve coverage of gender, feminism, and the arts on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the largest general reference work online, but less than 10% of Wikipedia editors are women. What stories don’t get told, and what art is undervalued, because it is not visible on the internet?

In this workshop, we will focus on the theory, structure, and practice of Wikipedia. How do we craft information, and what are the materials we need to create it? How do we sustain practices that are granular, iterative, and slow, whether in the art world or in the digital commons? Participants will discuss editing as a socially-engaged craft practice and learn the guidelines and basic tools for editing Wikipedia. Please bring your laptops!

Artist Lecture:
Thursday, September 19th, 12:30pm
Institute for Contemporary Art
601 West Broad Street

Friday, September 20th, 9:00am-1:00pm
Fine Arts Building, 1000 West Broad Street
2nd Floor Fibers Studio, room 211

Visiting Artist/Curator: Shannon R. Stratton

Curator, Shannon R. Stratton will talk about the trajectory of her practice from studio to curatorial work and the impact of her background in craft on her perspective on arts administration. Based in Queens, NY, Stratton earned her MA in Art, History, Theory, and Criticism and her MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. She is currently the Interim Senior Curator at The John Michael Kohler Arts Center and core faculty in the Critical Craft Studies Graduate program at Warren Wilson College.

Stratton’s multi-disciplinary practice approaches organizing cultural platforms and events as collaborative, context-responsive acts of care. From 2015 to 2019 she was Chief Curator at The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York where she launched the Burke Prize, an annual award that reinforces the Museum’s commitment to celebrating the next generation of artists working in and advancing the disciplines that shaped the American studio craft movement. While at MAD, Shannon programmed 35 exhibitions, including the works of Tanya Aguiñiga, Harry Bertoia, and Roger Brown. In 2010 she co-curated the exhibition Gestures of Resistance with artist Judith Leemann at the former Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR. 


Tuesday, September 10th at 12:30pm
VCU Institute for Contemporary Art
601 W. Broad St.