Three faculty members of the School of Fine & Performing Arts have received grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Adjunct Professor Barb Smith, Professor Jamie Bennett and Associate Professor Emily Puthoff secured $7,000 each from the foundation.
This year 105 NYFA Fellows and 16 finalists were chosen from over 3,692 applicants in five categories, including Crafts/Sculpture, Digital/Electronic Work, Nonfiction Literature, Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts and Poetry. The Fellows were selected by panels of their peers assembled with representatives from each discipline.
NYFA awards grants are given to artists who apply online in mid-October. The Fellowship jury views the artist’s images first, eight in total, without any identifying information attached. After the first selections have been made, the jury reads the artist’s personal statement and resume.
Smith, who received the fellowship in Crafts/Sculpture, said she was honored to receive the fellowship.
“Having my work recognized by NYFA provides support and generates a great deal of momentum,” said Smith.“The experience has been both wonderful and unbelievable.”
Puthoff, who received the grant in Digital and Electronic Arts said she is deeply honored to be recognized as a female artist.
“I am also very pleased to be recognized in a creative category in which women have been traditionally underrepresented,” said Puthoff.
Both artists said the monetary gain from the awards will be an asset to their future work as the fellowship affords them the freedom to pursue larger projects, travel and experiment and purchase the equipment they need for future endeavors.
Recent graduate of New Paltz’s MFA program, Smith said the grant will give her an advantage most young artists do not have, offering her the space and means to create things she otherwise would not have been able to realize.
“It can be very easy to quit working—you leave the familiar structure of school, your graduate school community disperses, and it can be financially difficult to maintain an active studio practice,” said Smith. “Having a dedicated workspace means a great deal. I am utilizing a portion of the award to set up a studio, which will have a considerable impact on both my thinking and making.”
Smith said that her success is due in part to the inspirational environment of New Paltz.
“I was compelled to apply to New Paltz because of the quality of work I saw coming out of the Metal Program. I was inspired by the level of rigor and thoughtfulness, the passion for making and the professional accomplishments of prominent faculty Myra Mimlitsch-Gray and Jamie Bennett, as well as many alumni from the program,” said Smith. “I can only hope that my successes could inspire others in the way that these individuals have inspired me.”