The Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize
Not long after the dedication of the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds, Thatcher A. Stone (College ‘78; Law ‘82) and his business and charity partner and fellow UVA alumnus Frank D. Kittredge Jr. (Arch. ‘78) established The Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize. "We wanted students in the arts to be rewarded for their work when judged by their faculty," Stone said. "We also wanted to help bring attention to the Arts Grounds and the Jefferson Trust. John and Betsy have been very good friends to me and also to Frank, and with this gift we honor them and all the arts programs at UVA as well as The Jefferson Trust, its director, and the students who participate and who win the prize."
The prize, launched in 2015-2016, had its largest pool of entries during the 2018-2019 academic year, with 72 undergraduate and graduate students representing six schools and 58 different combinations of majors/areas of study. The 2019 winner of the prize was Kirsten Hemrich (College ‘18), an Aunspaugh Fifth Year Fellow and Studio Art major, who was honored for her celestial spheres no. 2, a work using oil, spray paint, and charcoal on canvas. “My paintings are made over the course of many weeks during which I layer diaristic drawings, text, and abstractions of celestial bodies,” Hemrich said. This particular painting, she said, references early astronomical diagrams as well as “Janus,” the Roman god of doorways. “Over time,” Hemrich explained, “each layer gets buried and beaten back into the surface. Parts of the painting fall away, get reborn, and change entirely through an intuitive process. Even after the painting is finished, the surface will change ever slightly over time due to the materials used. For me, this ever-changing surface is a metaphor for our own personal narratives – for how we weave the abstractions of our experiences into story, and furthermore, identity.”
Previous winners have included: Petra Wagner (College ‘16), a Studio Art and Chinese Language & Literature major, who earned the prize for her short film Psychological Self-Portrait, which combined an original painting with a variety of projections to present a representation of the combination of her physical space and the thoughts and emotions running through her head; Jennifer Hslaw (March‘17) for her Museum of De-Naturalized Architecture, a multi-textured and multi-colored piece that subverts conventional spatial configurations, and uses a fossilized texture to suggest a captured permutation in the continuum of genetic change. The 2018 winner, Grace Patrice Anyetei-Anum (College ‘18), earned the prize for Re-Presenting the African Woman (see the Jefferson Trust story), a photograph from her Thesis Exhibition that sought to illustrate the diversity of the African continent to her fellow Americans.