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Eight fellowship awards totalling $28,000 to be presented to West Virginia artists

The West Virginia Commission on the Arts (WVCA) of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History has awarded $28,000 to a group of Mountain State artists who were selected as recipients of the 2005 West Virginia Artist Fellowship Grant Awards. The fellowships will be presented at the Governor’s Awards for the Arts gala at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 4, at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex.

At the ceremony, eight Artist Fellowship Awards of $3,500 will be made to artists from Cabell, Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia and Randolph counties. Works were chosen in the categories of biography/memoir, children’s literature, design, interdisciplinary/performance art and sculpture.

Fellowship recipients are Nicholas Allan Fox-Gieg of Huntington, Andy Fraenkel of Moundsville, Geoffrey Cameron Fuller of Morgantown, Laurie Gunderson of Elkins, Alison Helm of Morgantown, Anna Egan Smucker of Bridgeport, R. Barry Snyder of Fairmont and Matthew C. Wolfe of Huntington. Background information about each recipient can be found at the end of this news release.

The fellowships are intended to support working artists for the purpose of artistic development. Use of funds is up to the recipients’ discretion including, but not limited to, creating new work, purchasing supplies and materials, travel, research, and defraying expenses incurred in the presentation of work or documentation.
The WVCA of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History directs state policy and allocations for arts programs in West Virginia.

For more information about the Fellowship Awards, call Jeff Pierson, individual artist services coordinator for the Division at (304) 558-0240, ext. 717, or contact him by e-mail at [email protected]. Information and application forms for all available arts grants are posted on the Division’s website at

For more information about the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, call the Cultural Center at (304) 558-0162. Tickets for the program are $35 and are available by calling Sam Ratliff at (304) 558-0220, ext. 124, or by e-mailing [email protected].

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Department of Arts, Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

2005 Artist Fellowship Recipients

Nicholas Allan Fox-Gieg of Huntington is a video artist and theatrical designer. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in art animation from the University of California, Los Angeles. His short works have been shown at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and on television in Canada, Israel and the Netherlands. His theatrical video design has been featured in the Festival d’Avignon production of “Boxed In” and in the Broadway musical “Squonk.”

Andy Fraenkel of Moundsville is a writer and storyteller. He has a bachelor’s degree in theater and film from Richmond College of the City University of New York. From 1972-90 he did script writing, acting and directing with regional theaters in Wisconsin, Illinois and New York. Fraenkel has presented thousands of programs at K-12 schools, colleges, libraries and museums. His writing is the re-telling of folktales for his own performances. He has published his own “Stories to Grow By” series and “The Fish Who Wouldn’t Stop Growing.” He served as the West Virginia liaison to the National Storytelling Network. Fraenkel is the co-founder of “A Voice We Bring” storytelling in hospitals and nursing homes. He has published featured articles on storytelling in the 1996 National Storytelling Directory, Fellowship In Prayer, Tale Trader, Enlightenments and New Renaissance.

Geoffrey Cameron Fuller of Morgantown is the lead editor for Fitness Information Technology, and previously was editor and technical associate at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Development Inc., both in Morgantown. Fuller has received more than 10 awards in West Virginia Writers’ annual statewide contests in the novels, essays, short stories and “sudden fiction” categories. He has taught creative writing in Morgantown, Ripley and Charleston since 1993, as well as online courses in “flash fiction” for In addition, Fuller is a performer of spoken word, vocals and percussion, and is an actor in community theater. His work has been published in literary journals including Now and Then, ProCreation, Calliope, Janus and Agent Orange.

Laurie Gunderson of Elkins describes herself as a “utilitarian folk artist.” Her formal art training was at the Milwaukee School of the Arts and the Milwaukee Center for Photography. She is a lifelong learner and her apprenticeships and attendance at workshops has included Surface Design Southeast in Athens, Ga.; Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina; International Shibori Symposium in Arimatsu, Japan; and the McColley Basketry School in Chloe. She has received awards from the Columbus Winter Fair, Ohio; Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, D.C.; and Art on the Green, Franklin, Mich. She received a West Virginia Artist Fellowship in 1993. Gunderson’s exhibition history includes Tamarack; Davis & Elkins College; International Textile Exhibits in Kyoto and Nagoya, Japan; Gayle Willson Gallery, Southampton, N.Y.; and the American Craft Museum, N.Y.

Alison Helm of Morgantown is professor of art and coordinator of the sculpture program at the College of Creative Arts, West Virginia University (WVU). Helm completed a bachelor’s degree in sculpture/metalsmithing at the Cleveland Institute of Art and a master’s degree in sculpture at Syracuse University. She has received several awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the WVU Outstanding Research Award for Creative Activity; purchase and “best of show” awards from Chattanooga State, Westinghouse Collection, Three Rivers Arts Festival; and the Governor’s Award in the West Virginia Juried Exhibition. She has had a number of commissions and several solo exhibitions.

Anna Egan Smucker of Bridgeport is a professional writer and author. She is the author or co-author of sections of more than 30 teachers’ editions, workbooks and student texts in reading and social studies for the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Division. Smucker has made presentations as a writing workshop leader to more than 17,000 students and adults throughout the United States. She has been the featured speaker for the West Virginia Governor’s Art Institutes; the West Virginia, Ohio and Texas state reading councils; the Appalachian Writers Conference; and the Santa Fe Reading Symposium. Her awards include American Library Association Notable Book, International Reading Association Children’s Book Award, West Virginia Library Association Literary Merit Award and Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. Her published works include “No Star Nights,” “A History of West Virginia” and the forthcoming “To Keep the South Manitou Light.”

R. Barry Snyder of Fairmont is professor of art at Fairmont State College. His master’s degree in sculpture and ceramics is from the University of Mississippi. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in painting from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. He has had numerous solo exhibitions, commissions and awards in juried exhibitions from Three Rivers Arts Festival; International Gallery of Art, Memphis, Tenn.; Appalachian Corridors; Atlanta Arts Festival; and Louisville National Art Exhibit, among others.

Matthew C. Wolfe of Huntington has been a full-time college teacher at Ohio University, Marshall University and West Virginia University. He has a bachelor’s degree in music performance and a master’s degree in music history from Marshall University, and a doctorate in medieval literature and books from West Virginia University. His published work includes selected poems in “Wild Sweet Notes, Vol. 2”; a mystical short story, “7:58,” in Fantastical Visions; and “Placing Chaucer’s Retraction for a Reception of Closure” in The Chaucer Review. He was a member of the organizing committee for the First Ohio River Festival of Books and a participant in the summer institute “A View from Noah’s Ark: New Windows on the Medieval World” at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

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