Webster Professor Receives Fellowship from Regional Arts Commission


Van McElweeVan McElwee, a professor in the electronic and photographic media department in the School of Communications at Webster University received a $20,000 fellowship from the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) this week. 

ST. LOUIS, December 13, 2013 – Van McElwee, a professor in the electronic and photographic media department in the School of Communications  at Webster University received a $20,000 fellowship from the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) this week.  McElwee is one of 10 fellowship recipients.

“RAC is a unique and dynamic force in our community,” said McElwee.  “Of course I'm thrilled, honored and most of all inspired by this recognition. The fellowship will fuel many new projects.  I can use it for equipment, travel and creative time.” 

In the past, McElwee has had work commissioned by organizations that were funded by RAC but this is the first time it has offered the Individual Fellowship.

McElwee's body of video work includes more than fifty single channel pieces, installations and web projects. He has received grants and awards from several organizations including: The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Independent Production Fund (seven-time recipient), and a travel grant from the government of India. McElwee’s work has been exhibited extensively worldwide and is represented by The Kitchen in New York, Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, Heure Exquise! in France, LUX in the UK, the Inter Media Art Institute in Germany, and Trabant Gallery in Austria.

"An alchemy occurs when the outer world is transformed into video: it becomes mind-stuff,” said McElwee. “I carry this process forward, questioning the nature of reality, exploring time and dimensionality by weaving fragments of the world into new patterns. In this way, video can enjoy the same freedom as painting and music; it can be something, not just about something."

“It’s critical to support artists in St. Louis so they can continue to work, live and thrive in our region,” said Jill McGuire, executive director of the Regional Arts CommissionRegional Arts Commission.  “Their contributions are important not only to make our community more vibrant but also to help grow our economy.”

The recipients were selected from among 265 applicants after being reviewed by RAC commissioners, a community advisory committee, 22 expert readers and staff.

The funds will allow for the advancement of the individual artist’s creative journey to include time and space to study, reflect, experiment, explore and create. These award amounts are not grants in the traditional sense but “fellowships” in terms of a financial endowment or investment in the careers of St. Louis artists. The RAC Artists Fellowships are the only known multi-disciplinary fellowship of its kind in the United States.