Students receive BFA Fellowships


Every year two students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program for creative writing and two students in the B.F.A program for studio art are awarded a fellowship with the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson.

This year, Jasmine Yuris and Taylor Shaw were chosen on their merit in writing, while Pamela Bows and Peter Boardman were chosen on their merit in the studio arts to represent Johnson State College over the course of a few weeks.

Each student had to apply for the residency, and Yuris and Shaw were rewarded with two weeks in which they’ll have time to do nothing but write in their own private studios.

Bows and Boardman were awarded a four-week stay to spend their time making art, and whether they paint, sculpt, or pursue something different is up to them.

Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature Jacob White hopes that the fellowship will be a springboard for each writing student into a wider and fuller writing life. “Taylor Shaw is a fiction writer, and Jasmine Yuris writes creative nonfiction,” he said. “Both are writers who have rich and ambitious artistic visions, yet what makes them exceptional is how serious each is about her craft. Both arrived at JSC as gifted writers, and have done the hard, hard work necessary to grow and develop into real practitioners who will no doubt become important voices in writing.”

The opportunity is also ideal for the two visual artists. The fellowship is an honor according to Boardman, who already has sketchbooks full of ideas of what he wants to do while there. He said that all he has to provide are his materials and his imagination.

“This fellowship means a lot to me,” said Boardman. “It will be allowing me an incredible opportunity to work at the world renowned Vermont Studio Center alongside talented artists from around the globe, with my very own art studio and living space. Winning this award has given me a real feeling of accomplishment and pride. I feel as though all my hard work as an art student over the past four years has built up to this.”

Because Boardman is a senior who will be graduating in May, he will also be hosting his BFA senior thesis exhibit, entitled “Shaped by Nature,” on April 16 in the Julian Scott Memorial Gallery with a reception and artist talk at 3 p.m.

Where Boardman seemed confident and excited about the fellowship, Shaw couldn’t believe how she was chosen out of so many young, talented artists here at JSC. When White told her the news, her initial reaction was disbelief.

“Really, I thought there had to be someone else other than me. There’s such a large class of us graduating this year that I swore someone besides me would be chosen,” Shaw said. “But once the shock subsided, and I’d managed to fumble to Jacob some kind of thank you … I’m truly very honored to get it. There are a lot of writers in the program, Jasmine and I only being two of many talented people, and it’s very flattering to get recognized and given the opportunity to go somewhere simply just to write.”

The VSC has yet to decide the dates of residency for each Johnson State student, but the fellowships will occur some time over the coming summer.