Craft/Material Studies Chair Earns University Distinguished Scholarship Award

Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts is pleased to announce that Sonya Clark is the 2016 recipient of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Distinguished Scholarship Award, which recognizes an outstanding scholar who has demonstrated scholarly activity at the national or international level. Clark is the first VCUarts recipient of this award since 2006.

“Professor Clark has sustained a remarkable level of national and international professional engagement,” says VCUarts Interim Dean James Frazier, Ed.D. “Since she joined the VCUarts faculty, she has garnered literally dozens of awards and/or grants and she has had over 100 exhibitions nationally. Professor Sonya Clark is a force to be reckoned with—gifted with brilliance and talent, she is a valued part of the VCUarts community and an important contributor to the visibility and success of the school and the university.”

The Distinguished Scholarship Award is one of seven faculty awards that were given out on August 23 at VCU’s 34th Annual Faculty Convocation, including the Presidential Medallion, University Award of Excellence, Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award, and Outstanding Term Faculty Award. Convocation marks the beginning of the academic year at VCU. For more information about faculty awards, please visit

Clark joins the ranks of other VCUarts faculty who have been honored by the university.

University Award of Excellence
Philip B. Meggs, 1996

Distinguished Scholarship Award
Sonya Clark, 2016
Robert Hobbs, Ph.D., 2006

Distinguished Teaching Award
Ann “Reni” Gower, 2014
Lester G. Van Winkle, 2003

Distinguished Service Awards
Charles F. Bleick, 2004
Joseph H. Seipel, 1999

Clark is also this year’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow for the School of the Arts. This honor is granted by the dean to a faculty member who demonstrates a record of stellar achievement in scholarship. The award has a three-year term, during which Clark will receive funding support to assist with research costs.

About Sonya Clark
Sonya Clark has been Chair of the Craft and Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts since 2006. Formerly she was Baldwin-Bascom Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art and in 2011 she was awarded their first Mid-career Distinguished Alumni Award. She also holds a B.F.A. from the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.A. from Amherst College and in 2015 was awarded an honorary doctorate. She is the recipient of several awards including an Art Prize Grand Jurors co-prize in 2014, a Pollock-Krasner Grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship in Italy, a Red Gate Residency in China, a Civitella Ranieri Residency in Italy, an Australian National University Residency, an 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art, a 2011 United States Artist Fellowship, and an Art Matters Grant. Her work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Musees d’Angers in France among several other institutions. Sonya has exhibited her work in over 300 museums and galleries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Her work has been favorably reviewed in several publications including the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Italian Vogue, Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, and Huffington Post.


August 23, 2016