The Sustainable Arts Foundation has awarded Watkins’s MFA Program in Visual Arts a unusual and innovative grant to support parent-artists. The grant, which will be in partnership with Watkins Community Education, supports students who must concern themselves with childcare while attending Watkins’s intensive summer residency by also giving their children an immersive creative experience in the arts. The award underwrites the cost of the artist’s children attending the college’s engaging Youth Art Summer Camps that take place at the same time.
“Too often, parent-artists have to choose to make work or care for their children, as artists are often primary caregivers,” says program director Jodi Hays. “This grant supports the idea that diversity in a student body includes those with children and we, as the institution, should support listening to voices from students who have historically been left out of our conversations.” Hays goes on to say that “Sustainable Arts is a nimble, generous, and forward-thinking organization, not unlike our program at Watkins. We are so pleased that they would support artists, parents, and a residency-based art program that sits outside of philanthropic art habits that often favor the coasts and larger cities.”
Chuck Arlund has been chosen as this year’s recipient. A rising second year MFA student at Watkins, Arlund lives in Murfreesboro with his wife and three children while teaching photography at Middle Tennessee State University. Arlund started his professional photo career as an advertising photographer at the Kansas City Star newspaper and working with the Kansas City Business and Weddingmagazines. Several years later, Arlund opened his own studio, primarily photographing weddings, which eventually led to leading workshops and lecturing at major photo industry conventions. Arlund turned his attention back to commercial and fine art photography and has been photographing musicians and fashion for the last six years.
“For my children to attend a workshop for art at the location I am also pursuing my degree is a great opportunity for them to get a glimpse of what my life is like while I am in residence. But it also stimulates conversation about art between us,” says Arlund.
To learn more about Watkins’s MFA in visual art program, please visit its pages on the website.