Virginia Commission for the Arts announces $ 30,000 in artist grants

virginia commission for the artsThe Virginia Commission for the Arts has announced the recipients of the 2021-2022 Artist Fellowships which are awarded annually to artists residing in Virginia in recognition of creative excellence and to support their pursuit of artistic excellence.

This year, six artists from Virginia were honored in the field of poetry. Each artist will receive grants of $ 5,000.

Catherine Fletcher (Norfolk) is a writer and editor. Recent work has appeared in The Inflectionist Review, New World Writing, The Hopper, Kissing Dynamite, Hopkins Review, and the concert series Concept laboratory. Her previous experience includes her role as director of poetry programs at New York City-based organization Lore. In this role, she produced numerous programs showcasing the city’s popular poetry and musical traditions, most notably the POEMobile series, which combines building-sized poetry projections with live performances in different languages. , and organized the national traveling exhibition. Poetic voices from the Muslim world.

She was also editor-in-chief for Rattapallax, specializing in the literature of minority languages. Fletcher is a recipient of grants from the Queens Council on the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, and the AEV Foundation. She has presented her work in Mexico, India, Italy, Poland and the English speaking world. She is currently the Outreach Officer and a member of the Literary Advisory Board of the Poetry Society of Virginia. She lives in Norfolk.

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Edison Jennings (Abingdon) received a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from the New York Board of Regents while serving on active duty as a crew in patrol and reconnaissance squadrons. After separating from the Navy, he received an MFA in Poetry from the Warren Wilson Writers Program in 1999 and began teaching at Virginia Intermont College as an English teacher until it closed in 2015. He is working currently as Head Start School and Bus center aide. Monitor / driver at the Bristol Child Development Center in Bristol.

Jennings is the author of three chapbooks, Account (Jacar Press), A letter to Greta (Plan B Press), Small measures (Wild Leek Press), and a comprehensive collection, Intentional errors (Broadstone Press). His poetry and prose have been published in various journals and anthologies.

Dayana Lee (Chesapeake) is an author, activist, model, singer and spoken word artist. Born in Norfolk, she learned early on that immersion in the arts provided a safe space. A graduate of Virginia State University with a degree in sociology, Lee uses art as a therapeutic tool to fight mental health disputes. She wrote and produced three plays, Give me back my sun, Under the arms of enemies, and his most recent, Langston Blues, which debuted December 16, 2021 in Norfolk at the Granby Theater and February 7 in Petersburg at Virginia State University.

Lee is the youngest black woman to debut a play at the Théâtre Granby. As her journey continues, she aspires to become a famous playwright, artist and creative director and uses her art to bring out the raw truths about our communities.

Erika Meitner (Blacksbourg) is the author of five collections of poems, including Ideal cities (HarperCollins, 2010), which won the National Poetry series in 2009; Copy (Boa Editions, 2014); and Saint Moly carry me (BOA Editions, 2018), which won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Library of Virginia Award in poetry. His sixth collection of poems, useful junk, is to be published by BOA editions in April 2022.

Meitner’s poems have been the subject of numerous anthologies and have appeared in publications such as Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry, Orion, and The believer. Other accolades include scholarships from MacDowell, Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Bethany Arts Community, Betsy Writer’s Room, and Blue Mountain Center.

She was also the USUK Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Center for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast and the 2021 Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Meitner is currently an English teacher at Virginia Tech.

Debra Nystrom (Charlottesville) grew up in South Dakota, but lived in Virginia for most of his adult life. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Quarter turn, sky torn, Bad River Road, and more recently Night sky frequencies, new and selected poems. His poetry, fiction and non-fiction have been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, Plowshares, Slate, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Yale Review and The American Poetry Review, and his work was presented by Poetry Daily, the writer’s almanac and the Poetry Foundation American life in poetry.

Nystrom is the recipient of the James Dickey Award from Five Points Magazine, Virginia’s quarterly magazine‘s Balch Poetry Award, the James Boatwright Prize by Shenandoah, and the Virginia Prize for Poetry, and she has received scholarships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She teaches in the Master of Fine Arts Writing program at the University of Virginia and lives with her husband in Charlottesville. She is currently working on a dissertation.

Courteney (Kiki) Petrosnio (Orange) is the author of four collections of poetry and a dissertation, all from Sarabande Books: Fort Red Border, Hymn for the Black Terrific, Witch Wife, White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia, and the next one Bright: a thesis. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. Among its awards are the Rilke Prize from the University of North Texas, the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and scholarships from Kentucky Arts research. Consulting and Virginia Humanities. Petrosino is a professor of poetry at the University of Virginia, where she directs the Creative Writing program.

The Virginia Commission for the Arts supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Commission distributes grants to artists, arts organizations and other non-profit organizations, educational institutions, educators and local governments. For more information on eligibility and other Commission requirements, contact the Virginia Commission for the Arts or visit

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