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Support the Arts: Friends of the Visual Arts

Purpose of the Friends of the Visual Arts

  • To act as a liaison between the community and its schools and the SFA School of Art and its galleries.
  • To encourage gifts, endowments, and financial aid to the SFA School of Art and its galleries.
  • To sponsor programs designed to add to the cultural life of the East Texas community and the university.
  • To work with artists and arts organizations to foster and promote the visual arts.

Composition and History of the Friends of the Visual Arts Board

The first agreement between the Friends of the Visual Arts Board and Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts was signed in April 1995. The Friends of the Visual Arts (FVA) Board consists of 24 elected members and two faculty representatives. In addition, the director of the School of Art, the director of galleries, and the dean of the College of Fine Arts serve as ex-officio board members without voting privileges. Two art majors and a representative from the Nacogdoches Junior Forum also serve in advisory capacities.


  • Jean Stephens, President
  • David Cozadd, Vice-President
  • Carol Athey, Secretary
  • Anne Barker, Ass. Secretary
  • Linda Mock, Treasurer

Elected membership:

  • Cat Albers
  • Elliott Anderson
  • Kat Avant
  • Bitsy Barr
  • Mike Bay
  • Stanley Bohon
  • Mandy Clay
  • Cala Coats
  • Karon Gillespie
  • Lou Hugman
  • David Kulhavy
  • Laura McKinney
  • Merci Nicklas
  • Richard Orton
  • Gary Parker
  • Tamara Robertson
  • Damon Ruckel
  • Julie Shackelford
  • Stephanie Stephens

Ex-officio members:

  • Jaime Anderson
  • Sarah Ayers
  • Jill Carrington
  • John Handley
  • Buddy Himes
  • Jacqui Morales
  • Bill Nieberding
  • Bethany Sailor
  • Lisa Steed
  • Chris Talbot

2011–2012 Fundraising Events

The FVA Board sponsors two annual fund-raising events for scholarships and grants given to students attending the SFA School of Art. Each of these events allows everyone in the community to see and purchase original works of arts donated by local artists in the community, School of Art Faculty/Staff, SFA Art Students, and alumni from the School of Art either in the form of 12×12 pieces of art or in the form of Christmas ornaments.

  • 12×12 Art Sale—July 13–21, 2012 (Closing reception and art sale: July 21)
  • Hooked on Art—December 2—9, 2011 (Closing reception and art auction: December 9)


In the last three years the FVA Board has awarded $8,940 in FVA Friendship grants to 30 School of Art students. The grants ranged from $70–$400 depending on the student request and available funding. Grants that were awarded included:

  • Money to cover the cost of materials for student B.F.A. and M.F.A. shows
  • Money to help with travel expenses for students to attend professional conferences and course trips such as:
    • The Maymester Photography Course in Big Bend National park taught by Chris Talbot, which included using large format cameras like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston
    • The Maymester Ad Design course trip to New York to visit professional design firms and tour the studios of working graphics designers
    • The SNAG conference (Society of North American Goldsmiths) in Houston, Texas, which is conducted by one of the primary organization of professional metalsmiths and jewelers in the United States. At this conference students have the opportunity to have a professional portfolio review done by leading professionals in the field as wells as to connect with others in the field. Part of the conference also includes a “museum crawl” to prominent museums and galleries in Houston.
    • The Society for Photographic Education conference in Atlanta, Ga. at which a student can be exposed to a wide range of photography, listen to lectures and presentation by professionals in the field, and have his/her portfolio critiqued.
    • The Southern Graphics Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., which is the primary student organization to promoting printmaking in the United States. The conference allows students and faculty an opportunity to share ideas and experiences pertaining to printmaking mediums and includes workshops, panel discussions, portfolio exchanges and critiques.
    • The Repair Days 2011 at the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, Tenn. This museum is the only institution in the United States devoted exclusively to the preservation and promotion of fine metalwork. The trip allowed students to learn technical aspects of making, meet working artists, interact with gallery personnel that handles predominantly metal work, and to begin to understand the professionalism of the metalwork field.
  • Money to help cover the travel expenses for a graduate student to travel to the College of the Mainland in Texas City to present a workshop to ceramics students as well as present a public lecture on the topic.

The FVA has also awarded $5,600 in Scholarship monies for 10 students including high school students who choose to enroll in the SFA School of Art as well as for out of state students who enroll in the School of Art graduate program. We also awarded $450 for 3 local school students to attend the week long Art Academy provided during the summer by the School of Art.

Letters from Grant/Scholarship Recipients

“I am writing on behalf of myself and my parents to express our gratitude for your generosity. Your scholarship was extremely helpful and I cannot thank you enough for your support. The Southern Graphics Council was incredible. I attended demonstrations on alternative ways of bookbinding, hand printing large scale woodcuts, viscosity printing, etc. plus there were panels of printmakers from all over the world sharing their knowledge and expertise. Some panels seemed to be for me personally. I benefited and learned from the conference exponentially. Philagrafika events were happening all over the city and each gallery was more inspirational than the one before. I cannot wait to start experimenting with some of the techniques I learned.”
“I am honored to be a recipient of the Friends of the Arts monetary award. Your generous support is helping me fulfill a dream of going to college. My first semester as a freshman at Stephen F. Austin State University has been both challenging and exciting. My plan at this point is to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Advertising Design. I am glad to have the opportunity to thank you personally for your generosity.”
“I would like to express my extreme gratitude for the scholarship you have awarded me for the Spring 2011 semester. As a result of your support I will be able to continue on my path as a graduate student, focusing more on my work and less on the financial difficulties of being a single parent in college. I am glad to have the opportunity to thank you for your generosity. Without scholarship patrons like you, there would be many students such as myself unable to pursue their desired goals an career paths.”
“As a student of the Stephen F. Austin State Fine Art Department for three years, I have reached the closing point of my academic career. As you know, funding for a Master’s of Fine Art exhibition can be costly on students. I wanted to thank you for your time and consideration in helping me throughout this task. The Friends of the Visual Arts Grant will aide me tremendously in the completion of this undertaking.”