J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholars Arts Awards

Between 2007 and 2013, the designation of “Arts Scholar” was offered to a small group of rising fourth-year students through grants used for intensive summer pursuit of arts experiences, either in Charlottesville or at sites around the world—from Hamburg to Ghana. In 2013, Miller Arts Scholars opened the award process to include its third and fourth-year participants.

Rising Third and Fourth-Year Awards

Rising Third- and Fourth-Year Awards provide funding for exceptional and significant student creative research projects, supplementary arts education, and research-related travel for current Miller Arts Scholars under the mentorship of UVA faculty in the arts.


Ars Scholars may request up to $3,000 to support their project. Students may propose working together on collaborative projects that combine the proposed funding. Faculty mentors for funded projects will receive $1,000 in research support in consideration of their time. Our faculty advisory committee favors applicants engaging in the arts in a meaningful way in our departments with our faculty, through extra-curricular activities, and with Miller Arts Scholars in seminar, discussion, and other meetings. In addition, the committee only considers proposals that are clear, articulate, well-written and include all the required materials below (see rubric.)

For certain requests, our program supports students combining Arts Awards with the University Undergraduate Award for Arts Projects funded by the Office of Citizen Scholar Development. This award provides up to $5000 of support for a summertime stipend to cover living expenses (rent, utilities, food, etc.). Since it does not fund other expenses such as travel, supplies, etc., Miller Arts Scholars Arts Awards may be used for these items. Please note the University Undergraduate Award for Arts Projects has an earlier deadline of February 7th and also requires identification of a faculty mentor as described below.  The same mentor may be identified for both awards.


To be eligible, Arts Scholars must meet the following requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Have completed or be currently enrolled in CASS 1010 or CASS 1011 (requirement waived for Arts Scholars admitted to the program during the spring semester of their second year)
  • Enrolled in a minimum of four, credit-bearing art courses within the respective nominating discipline
    • In Studio Art and Drama, one of these courses should be at 3000 level or above.
    • In Dance, two of these courses should be at the 3000 level or above selected from two distinct areas: Movement Practice, Creative Process, Critical or Somatic Studies.
    • In Music, two of these courses should be at the 3000 level or above, including at least one MUSI course.
  • Maintained a minimum GPA of 3.4 in all arts classes and 3.2 at the University.

Faculty Mentor/Letter of Intent

Interested students should identify a UVA faculty mentor in the arts whose expertise can help shape the proposal and can oversee the execution of the project during the summer and academic year following the award.
The faculty mentor will be asked to: 

  • Sign an applicant created intent letter confirming the student’s intent to apply with a synopsis of the planned research, and a signature from both the applicant and mentor.
  • Provide a confidential assessment of the quality of the student’s proposed project and the student’s artistic ability to complete the work.
    • The confidential assessment should be 200 words or more and describe in some detail the student's academic and artistic preparation to undertake the project, any new study that would be required to complete the project, and the mentor's expertise that will be brought to the project. The confidential assessment should be sent separately by the mentor as a pdf by the application deadline.
  • Submit a brief written assessment of the student’s artistic work at the completion of the project next spring.

Important Deadlines

  • Letter of Intent Deadline: March 15, 2024 at 5pm
  • Application Deadline: March 29, 2024 at 5pm
  • Notification of Funding: Early May 2024
  • Funding provided: Early June 2024

Application Components

APPLICANTS MUST READ THE ARTS AWARD INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING. Only applications compliant with the instructions will be considered eligible.

  • Letter of Intent: Students should write a 1-page letter-of intent in which they identify their project name, provide a one-paragraph overview of the project, and identify their UVA arts faculty mentor. Both the student and the faculty mentor must sign the letter of intent. 
    Please note the separate deadline for the Letter of Intent above.
  • Arts Award Application: Complete the application in the linked document and with it, include a project narrative describing the work to be completed, portfolio of artistic work (see application form for details), detailed project budget, statement of arts involvement, unofficial transcript, and current resume. Please read the instructions, this advice from one of our advisory faculty committee members, and view the sample budget (pdf, xlsx) before submitting your proposal.

Please submit all application components by the deadlines above to Michael Rasbury.