Ten students split first Priddy Fellowships

Murchison Performing Arts Center
Murchison Performing Arts Center inside
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

DENTON (UNT), Texas - Ten University of North Texas graduate students devoted to becoming leaders in art and music have been awarded the first Priddy Charitable Trust Fellowships in Arts Leadership, thanks to a $2,518,772 gift from the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust.

The gift funds the program for the next five years, providing support for students pursuing leadership careers in arts organizations and schools.

Each year for the next five years, five visual arts students and five music students will be awarded Priddy Fellowships. They undertake graduate study through course work, internships and involvement with the North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts, which helps train art teachers.

"We are excited to receive this generous support from the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust," said D. Jack Davis, director of the North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts at UNT. "We appreciate the confidence that they have expressed in the North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts and its work in preparing arts leaders. With their support, we will be able to build and expand upon what we have been doing in arts leadership development by including music students for the first time and exploring interdisciplinary approaches to preparing arts leaders."

Each Priddy fellow receives a stipend of $18,000, as well as tuition and fees, health insurance and a travel allowance of $3,500 to attend professional meetings and conferences. Fellows also have individual work spaces with state-of-the-art computer equipment.

The Priddy Fellowships are an extension and expansion of the Marcus Foundation Fellowships for visual arts students in art education and art museum education.

"The resources that are provided are just tremendous," said Scott Watkins, a Priddy fellow who is pursuing a doctoral degree in musicology at UNT with the goal of becoming a president and CEO of a major symphony orchestra. "We're learning how to build new web sites; the hope is that we can utilize these tools to educate kids and the public about the arts. In addition to our computer work stations, they have five laptops in the lab room that we are able to check out and use, and they all have wi-fi capability, so on campus that is invaluable. All of these tools are just wonderful and things that not all of us would have had access to individually."

For nine months of the year, the Fellows will pursue academic coursework. They will study the use of technology in developing instructional materials, the history and theory of arts education, and advocacy and political action in the arts. In the three summer months following their academic work, the Fellows will work in a full-time internship for an arts organization, a community arts group or a school.

After completing the fellowship, the students will reunite for the Advanced Arts Leadership Symposium – a two- to three-day annual symposium for former Priddy and Marcus Fellows who are in their first two years of employment. The symposium will allow them to update and expand their leadership skills and network with experts who can help them further hone their skills. Current Priddy Fellows and alumni of the Priddy and Marcus Fellow programs will also be invited to attend.

"The Priddy Fellowship program provides an opportunity to identify and attract students who will go beyond excellence in their respective degree programs, preparing to make important differences in the artistic fabric of our society," said UNT College of Music Dean James Scott. "We look forward to the achievements of this first class of Priddy Fellowship holders as they undertake internships in various arts organizations and enter the professional world of arts leadership."

The 2005-2006 Priddy Fellows began the 12-month program in August. They are:

Margo DeHoyos, who was the art teacher at the Charles R. Drew Academy in the Aldine ISD in Houston.

Autumn Flores, who was the art slide assistant at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi.

Stacia Lynn Gower, who has had a number of years of K-12 teaching experience and has recently worked with Humble ISD in the Houston area.

Kyle Polite, who served as the AmeriCorps' VISTA to Dartmouth College working with issues of anti-poverty and community advocacy.

James E. Roe, who has worked in marketing, visual display and merchandising (Neiman Marcus, Container Store, Whole Foods, and Majors Scientific Books).

Marie Ross, who became involved in developing lecture/recitals for retirement homes and elementary and middle schools while a student at the San Francisco Conservatory.

Lori Santos, who has taught art for several years in K-12 schools and served as children's p rogram coordinator and associate f aculty member at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Michael Schwerin, who was an administrative intern for the Concert Choir and Executive Board Chair of the Honors Program at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and has also worked with the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at UNT to help students build awareness for the arts.

Heather Jan Steele, who has had nine years of K-12 teaching experience and has taught at A'Takamul International School in Kuwait.

Scott Watkins, who has worked in marketing and group sales for the Dallas Symphony.

"Building on the established reputations of the academic programs in visual arts and music and the previous work of the Institute in this area, the generous support of the Priddys helps attract the best and brightest students nationally who have leadership potential in the arts," said Michael Drought, interim dean of the UNT School of Visual Arts.

Applicants for Priddy Fellowships must hold an undergraduate degree in visual arts or music from an accredited institution with some preparation or experience in arts education.

For more information about the Priddy Fellowship program, call (940) 565-3954, e-mail ntieva@unt.edu or visit www.art.unt.edu/ntieva/fellowships.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108