Current Artist Minigrants

Spring 2021

Elie Bashkow


Coming from a live music background as a multi-instrumentalist, the pandemic has significantly changed my personal relationship with music. Live shows no longer being an option, I was forced to seriously readjust so I dove into producing, engineering, mixing, and songwriting. I have spent countless hours in the last year studying everything from dynamic range compression to the ideal mic placement techniques for recording instruments and voices to how to build energy within a song’s chorus to how to get a nervous artist to relax and give their best performance.

Brenna Courtney

Poetry Books, Website, and Contest Fees

This semester marks my formal dive into the study of poetics and English literature in a collegiate setting — whereas I’ve previously taken only writing workshops, my poetry education is now supplemented by more rigorous investigations of history, form, and criticism. As expected, my writing and reading are far richer for it: I now find myself more and more able to draw from the deep well of both established and contemporary English poetry when analyzing not only my own work, but the work of others.

Abreale Hopkins

Proposal for Strange Fruit

In 1939 Abel Meeropool wrote the poem Strange Fruit, a poem describing the horrific conditions of the south surrounding lynchings. It was turned into a song, which singer Billie Holiday popularized in the same year. To this day, this song has profound impacts on all who listen. I heard it for the first time two weeks ago while scrolling through twitter. The sound of trumpet coupled with Billie’s distinct voice nearly moved me to tears. The sound alone felt powerful yet sorrowful. The lyrics are incredibly mobilizing, inspirational, and morbid. I have not been able to stop listening to Strange Fruit. It has made me reflect even more on how the world really has not changed since this song was written.

Noelle Lee

Capturing Art Through a New Lens

The work of the artist does not simply end with the washing of paintbrushes and drying of canvases; rather, one of the most important parts of the art-making process is photographing the finished work. As artists are often required to submit work digitally or provide samples of their work online, good photography is vital for good presentation and professionalism in presenting one’s artwork. As I continue my studies at UVA and explore new art forms within the Studio Art discipline, I aim to collect my work in a digital portfolio, through which I can document how I have progressed as an artist through the years and how I have begun to branch out from the art styles with which I am more familiar.

Ryan Lee

Viola Resources Funding Proposal

I have seen a dramatic improvement in myself as a musician overall while continuing my studies in viola here at UVA. Studying with Professor Ayn Balija over the past year and a half has greatly enhanced my technical abilities and has consistently pushed me to become a better chamber musician, orchestra member, and solo performer.

Yena Lee

Flute Etude Recording Project for Middle-High School Students

Since I started playing flute since fourth grade, YouTube has been one of the best resources for me to practice besides what I learned from private lessons. Referencing the recordings posted by other people, especially those professionally trained, helped me to catch nuances and small details I would often forget. Through participating in the Miller Arts discussions and the UVA music department, I grew the desire to be one of the professional artists who utilize their talents and experiences to help guide the young artists. One of the steps to achieve this was to become a music major, in which I am currently preparing for a performance concentration.

Michael McNulty

Fund for Essential Compositional Tools

During my first semester as a Miller Arts Scholar I have tried my best to use the resources of this program to grow as an artist. In the fall I was awarded a minigrant that allowed me to take lessons with a variety of musicians and purchase important reed making equipment. Through the connections I’ve made in the Miller Arts Scholar seminar I have begun to work as a composer on several interdisciplinary projects and am currently writing scores for two short films made by Arts Scholars this semester.

Lydia Newman

Headshots: An Actor’s First Impression

For an actor, quality headshots are essential. They are usually the first thing a director or an agent sees, so it is imperative that one put forth a professional image. Paying for a professional headshot on a student budget is not always feasible, as high-quality photographers are expensive. I would be grateful for the assistance of Miller Arts as I attempt to take this vital step in the process of working as an actor.

Lauren Schmidt

Violin Resources Funding Proposal

I have spent the past few semesters studying the music of prominent early 20th-century Hungarian composers such as Kodály, Bartók, and Székely with Professor Dan Sender. My interest in this music began when I joined Professor Sender’s violin studio in the Fall of 2019. Since then, I have taken the study of this music increasingly seriously and am now planning on audition for the music Distinguished Majors Project (DMP) program that the music department offers to exceptional rising 4​ -year students. Through this program, I hope to complete a thesis analyzing this music and perform a recital during the Spring semester of my 4​ year that highlights some of the compositions I have been studying.

Elizabeth (Liza) Wimbish

Research and Website Renewal

As I approach my fourth year, I am beginning to think about my studio art thesis and applying for the DMP, and with this in mind, I am interested in cultivating a larger library of art books to aid in my research and long-term art practice. Along with this, my website domain fee and the fee to use the platform I designed my website on are both up for their yearly renewals in April. Because engaging in a research practice and having a public portfolio are both vital to creating and eventually showcasing my thesis, I am requesting a Miller Arts Minigrant so that I can purchase several books and renew my website.

Karen Zipor

Creating a Professional Online Presence

I am seeking funding to obtain an IMDb Pro account and to take professional headshots. Thanks to the pandemic, an artist's online presence is now more important than ever — especially as it is their prime way to find work and establish their brand. My personal website, headshot, and resume are in desperate need of an update, and this grant will reinvigorate my competitiveness as both a job applicant and actress.

Fall 2020

Jakob Cansler

A Pre-Postgraduate Reading List

Using this minigrant, I plan to purchase a whole assortment of recommended books on directing for the stage, working with actors, script analysis, and theatre in general. My goal is to read at least two of these books per month to help me gain a deeper understanding of directing and the theatre industry at-large.

Brent Davis

Music Resource Fund

I am requesting a minigrant to fund the acquisition of a series of music resources, including a carbon fiber bow, a recording microphone, a professional music stand, new higher-quality rosin, a stand light, and sheet music, to be used not only in my studies through practicing, rehearsing, and performing, but also for navigating the necessary changes for musicians during the pandemic.

Tina Hashemi

Preparing for a DMP Recital

I am applying for a MAS Minigrant to fund virtual voice lessons with Danielle Wertz in preparation for my Distinguished Major Recital next spring. Last spring, I used a minigrant to begin studying with Danielle, and studying with her has been pivotal in my development as a singer. With her help, I have been able to work on honing my vocal technique through a new vocal method that prioritizes the natural sound we produce to lead out a more effortless sound.

Emma Hitchcock

Art Supplies for 3rd-year Painting Major

As a studio art student, I’ve grown to love exploring with different mediums. This semester I am taking Intermediate Oil Painting and am planning on specializing in Painting for my Studio major. I enjoy being an oil painting student, but the cost of supplies can sometimes be overwhelming. In my paintings I like to experiment with geometric shapes and lines. Recently, my favorite way to do this is by drawing with paint markers on top of my work. I began experimenting with paint pens at the beginning of quarantine and have loved working with them, however I have used almost all of them up. I would like to get a full set of colors so that I can continue working with this medium.

Margaret Kim

Artist Website and Materials for Sculptures of Biologically Possible Alien Organisms

With the minigrant, I will create a Squarespace website with curated sculpture photos, my biography, links to social media, CV/resume, and my professional contact information. I am also requesting a minigrant to fund consumable supplies that will allow me to continue creating art. Many of the sculpting material I use are not readily available to students. For example, I use a very specific type of polymer clay, resin, and a mixture of glitter, rhinestones, and artificial pearls. While individual materials, except the polymer clay and resin, are not costly in themselves, I found that they add up very quickly, which impedes my ability to continue creating art.

Michael McNulty

Fund for Musical Enrichment

In order to best prepare me for a career in music, one of the most important things I can be doing right now is talking to and learning from a variety of professionals already in the field to get different perspectives on how to best improve my playing and my craft. In order to do this, I am hoping to use MAS funds to take lessons with a variety of musicians this winter break.

Claire Murphy

A Rotation in Filmmaking

For this project, I would create six short films, each with a different focus. The pieces would be a narrative short, a music video, a short “artist in the studio” documentary, a dance short, a fashion piece, and an action documentary, specifically on surfing. In each of the shorts I would be collaborating with other college students and recent graduates.

Kyara Måhlén

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it”- Ansel Adams

I am looking to turn the storage room in my basement into a darkroom so I could learn how to develop my own photography. This semester I couldn’t make it back to Charlottesville, so I had to drop all of my art classes, one of those classes being Introduction to Photography (for my studio art minor). I want to start exploring photography separate from the instant gratification of my iPhone’s perfect picture quality. I’ve been thinking a lot about rebuilding and overall patience because of the nature of our world’s chaos recently, and I wonder what it’s like to cultivate patience through photography.

Lauren Schmidt

Viola Performance Enhancement Funding Proposal

I am asking for a Miller Arts minigrant to fund the purchase of a new viola shoulder rest and rosin, as well as partially fund the purchase of a new viola bow so that I can further my progress on this instrument.

Benjamin Trombetta

Connecting with Local Students through Trumpet

In order to be a more effective practice partner, I am requesting $500 to purchase a new trumpet, in consultation with a local Charlottesville music store. In turn, I believe rediscovering my passion for trumpet will benefit my own musical literacy and application-based skills, and allow me to connect with students in the Charlottesville community in a unique way.

Isabella Ullmann

Funds to Apply to Scriptwriting Competitions

After researching a variety of scriptwriting competitions, I have decided on six programs that will provide the most feedback and potential to connect with members of the TV industry. I am requesting a minigrant from Miller Arts Scholars in order to pay for the entry fees of these competitions.

Elizabeth (Liza) Wimbish

Darkroom Exploration

I am requesting a Fall 2020 Mini-Grant that would aid me in purchasing black and white film for the 4x5 camera, 8x10 inch photographic paper, and 11x14 inch photographic paper so that I can continue rigorous explorations in the darkroom without being hindered by the cost of materials.

Zohar (Zoe) Ziff

Creating Dance On-Screen

I am applying to obtain funding for materials that would allow me to pursue screendance further and enhance my creations within this medium. With these tools, I would be better equipped to create screendance for my current and future academic courses and add films of professional caliber to my portfolio as a dance artist.

Karen Zipor

Funding to Submit to Film Festivals

I am seeking funding to cover the application costs of submitting my short film, “All That Grief,” to student film festivals. It’s a personal, documentary-style account of being a person in theater looking at the magic put on a stage from the past. In addition, I use a musical theater song that is essential to the plot of my short film, so I will additionally need to purchase the song rights. I expect the song not to cost an unreasonable amount, as I am a small, independent creator with no intention of profiting off the film.