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VCUarts awards $30,000 in grants for faculty research

Research Assistant works with a costume

Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Dean Carmenita Higginbotham, Ph.D. has awarded $30,000 in grant funding for faculty research in the 2020–21 academic year. This year, the program provides $9,000 for exploratory grants, and $21,000 for research grants.

The Dean’s Faculty Exploratory Grant supports research at the developmental stage, allowing faculty to conduct new research, explore new media, or collaborate in experimental ways. Exploratory grants assist faculty in developing research that could lead to successful applications to additional grants or external funding opportunities. Likewise, the Dean’s Faculty Research Grant program supports the final stages of research for which venues for dissemination have been determined. Research grants are awarded for specific activities that have been invited or endorsed by peer review.

2020-21 Dean’s Faculty Exploratory Grants

Jonathan Molina-Garcia, Assistant Professor, Photography and Film — $3,000

To develop Anarchy Skins, a growing body of imaging experiments combining landscape photography, motion capture, and drone surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico border. The project considers the aesthetics and militancy of disappearance in light of American imperialism, policing, the ongoing refugee crisis, and its effects on child psychology.

Sonali Gulati, Professor, Photography and Film — $3,000

Drawing from "Geographies"

To create Geographies, a web-series documentary project comprising of short animated stories by queer womxn recounting experiences of gendered spaces such as public restrooms, airport security, clothing stores etc. as sites of conflict, humorous anecdotes, and unexpected consequences.

Kate Sicchio, Assistant Professor, Dance and Choreography / Kinetic Imaging — $3,000

To create Live(Art)Stream, an online streaming platform for live performance art that is not possible on commercial streaming platforms. It provides the technical space needed and allows artists to place their art in a context that works for their art, rather than becoming a social media corporation’s product.

2020-21 Dean’s Faculty Research Grants

Mark Boulos, Assistant Professor, Photography and Film — $5,000

To create an experimental documentary short film in Kathmandu, Nepal, about Buddhist nuns who practice Kung-Fu. The work will be supported by a residency at Mcube Gallery, Nepal’s leading contemporary art center, and will be exhibited in a solo show there. 

Lily Cox-Richard, Assistant Professor, Art Foundation / Sculpture and Extended Media — $4,000

To support the production of a hard-cover, full-color museum catalog, published on the occasion of the artist’s multi-gallery solo exhibition curated by Denise Markonish at MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA 2020-2021). The catalog will address ideas of stewardship, collective action, and building/dismantling. 

Yiwen Wei, Assistant Professor, Art Education — $5,000

To examine U.S. art education scholars’ global influences on art education development in other countries and contexts. This project aims to retrace the development and transformation of such relationships between two contexts through oral history and content analysis. 

Tobias Wofford, Assistant Professor, Art History — $7,000

To support the publication of Visualizing Diaspora: Africa in African American Art, a scholarly book currently under contract with Duke University Press. Through the lens of diaspora, the book explores how Africa helps African American artists express their identity in the context of American art and mediate increasing globalization since the 1960s.


Image still from Live(Art)Stream project created by Kate Sicchio, featuring research assistant Tamara Denson.