Art Faculty Receive Great Meadows Grants

Published on May 05, 2017

Three faculty members in the Department of Art and Design at Eastern Kentucky University are among 19 Kentucky recipients of artist professional development grants from the Great Meadows Foundation.

The grants will enable EKU recipients Felicia Szorad, Travis Townsend and Melissa Vandenberg to travel to visit major exhibitions, participate in conferences and residencies, and connect with professionals in their respective fields. Individual awards range from $1,500 to $4,400.

Szorad photoSzorad, who joined the EKU faculty in 2001 and heads the department’s metals program, is a previous winner of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Kentucky Arts Council and a recipient of the Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation Award in recognition of her work in jewelry and metalsmithing. She will use the grant to travel to New Orleans and participate in the annual Society of North American Goldsmiths conference, the largest gathering of metals artists, educators and curators in the nation. She also plans to explore local galleries and museums while there.

Townsend, who will use the grant to attend the 27th International Sculpture ConferenceTownsend photo in Kansas City, Missouri, teaches drawing, concepts and art criticism at Eastern. Ongoing projects include collaborative sculptures, drawings, and installations with the SmithTownsendCollaborative. His awards include an Emerging Artist Grant from the American Craft Council, a fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, and three sculpture grants from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation. He joined the EKU art faculty in 2006.

Vandenberg photoVandenberg, who joined the EKU faculty in 2009, will take up a SIM artist’s studio residency in Iceland. She is also a previous recipient of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship as well as an artist enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and was a Luxembourg Art Prize finalist. Vandenberg, a multidisciplinary artist, coordinates the department’s foundations area for first-year students and teaches design and other courses. Her studio practice incorporates everyday materials to explore the political landscape, using national identity, folk art, ancestry, immigration and the perception of a homeland as points of departure.

For more information about the EKU Department of Art and Design, visit