January 13, 2005
Whitworth Art Department Receives Grant to Fund "New Media" Project
A $22,500 grant from the McMillen Foundation will provide Whitworth art students with new opportunities to learn about contemporary art - including video and video installation - and participate in workshops conducted by visiting artists. The McMillen grant complements a $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant Whitworth received last summer to develop a Visiting Artists in Printmaking program.
The "New Media" McMillen grant will allow the Whitworth art faculty to purchase digital camcorders and multimedia projection equipment and incorporate video into their existing courses. In addition the grant will support a visiting-artist series for which three artists will each spend a week at Whitworth, where they will work with students in new and contemporary media, conduct workshops, give public presentations, and exhibit their work in Whitworth's Koehler Gallery.
"Art students tend to come to college with a traditional and limited view of the visual arts," says Whitworth Art Professor and Department Chair Gordon Wilson. "It is a priority for Whitworth art faculty to equip students to be knowledgeable and proficient in current art practices and keep students connected to contemporary art. Receiving this grant will assist us in providing this kind of first-hand instruction in the studio and exposure to artworks in the Koehler Gallery."
The grant-funded multimedia projection equipment will be primarily used for Koehler Gallery video-installation exhibits by visiting artists, and by Whitworth students and faculty. The gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building, will undergo a transformation this year when the college plans to remodel an existing classroom into a larger, better-lit exhibit space.
In August 2004 the McMillen Foundation contacted Whitworth College and arranged for Wilson and Associate Professor of Art Scott Kolbo to meet with the president of the foundation as well as the foundation's scholarship and grants coordinator and the Eastern Washington administrator. The group also toured Whitworth's art facilities.
"I believe the three were impressed that we were able to accomplish a lot for a relatively small art department with a modest facility," Wilson says.
As a result of that meeting, Whitworth was selected as one of five private schools in Washington and Alaska to apply for a one-time grant to support each institution's art program. The total amount available for all selected schools was $75,000.
"We tried to not be too specific in our proposal because we wanted to be open to a variety of artists, media and techniques," Wilson says. "We have wanted to incorporate video into the courses we now teach to make them more current as well as provide hands-on experiences for our students in a number of media we know too little about."
In the future, Whitworth art students may apply to the McMillen Foundation to receive full-tuition scholarships as well as money to cover the cost of art supplies. For more information about the McMillen Foundation, please visit www.mcmillenfoundation.org.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Gordon Wilson, associate professor of art and department chair, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.