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Hampshire program helps fund student artwork

Hampshire College art professor William Brayton says a new grant program will help students fund, market and exhibit their artwork.

Hampshire College art professor William Brayton says a new grant program will help students fund, market and exhibit their artwork. Purchase photo reprints »

A new grant program at Hampshire College aims to fund ambitious student artwork and prepare studio art students for an essential element of working as an artist — applying for grants.

“It allows students to dream bigger … in terms of their projects and to do a better job of getting attention for their work once they have the show in the gallery,” said William Brayton, a professor of art at Hampshire.

The Harris-Veit Artists’ Grant Fund was established with a $200,000 donation from Joan A. Harris and Steven W. Veit, whose son Eric Harris Veit graduated from Hampshire in 2008. He now lives in Philadelphia, where he runs the exhibition and performance space Bodega with fellow artists and recent Hampshire graduates Elyse Derosia, Ariela Kuh, Lydia Okrent and James Pettengill.

Each year, the income from the fund will be disbursed as grants. While the amount available for the grants will vary, Brayton said that this year the college will be able to award approximately $7,500 to student artists.

Applications will be evaluated by studio/visual arts faculty and staff at Hampshire. Brayton said they are still working out how many students will receive grants.

Last year, Hampshire had a trial run of the program, using a donation from Harris and Veit along with college funds to award grants of either $100 or $500 to more than 20 students. Brayton expects the amounts of the grants and the number of recipients to vary each year.

The grants will be available to Hampshire students concentrating in studio art for their Division III projects — senior projects that are the final stage of the Hampshire curriculum. Recipients of the grants can use them for buying materials, as well as marketing and staging exhibitions of their Division III artwork.

Ariela Kuh, who graduated from Hampshire in 2007 and helped found Bodega in 2010, created a collection of oil paintings for her senior project. She said oil painting supplies are expensive and that was reflected in the cost of her senior project.

Expanding the possibilities for students like Kuh is the goal of the grant program, Brayton said. “They can be more ambitious with their actual work by working larger and not worrying so much about whether they have enough paint to cover that canvas.”

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