Announcing 2019 SMFA at Tufts Traveling Fellowship recipients

10 SMFA at Tufts alumni to travel on four continents as part of 119-year-old program devoted to artist development


BOSTON and MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Oct. 30, 2018)—The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (SMFA at Tufts) has unveiled the 10 recipients of the 2019 SMFA at Tufts Traveling Fellowships. In existence since 1899 and one of the largest endowed art school grant programs in the United States, the Traveling Fellowships provide critical early-career support for SMFA at Tufts alumni, allowing them to further develop and inform their practice.

Selected by a jury, SMFA Traveling Fellowship recipients receive up to $10,000 to pursue travel and research related to their art. The application process is open to alumni working in any contemporary visual art discipline. This year's fellows will travel to at least 16 sites on four continents.

Notable past winners of the fellowships include Nan Goldin (Dip '77), Ellen Gallagher (Dip '92), Omer Fast (BFA/BA '95), and Mike and Doug Starn (Dip '84), as well as more recent graduates such as Evelyn Rydz (MFA '05), Gonzalo Fuenmayor (MFA '04) and Daniela Rivera (MFA '06).

This year's fellows are:

  • Gabby Baya (BFA '16), of West Palm Beach, Fla. She will travel to Palestine to document and research the country's lost symbols and monuments.
  • Russell E.L. Butler (MAT '09), of Oakland, Calif. They will travel to Prague to commit to a residency at the Synthesizer Library, and to write and develop music and live performances across Europe.
  • Alejandra Cruz (Dip '12). She will visit her native Colombia to study its culture, traditions and artistic expressions through a variety of media, including ceramics, textiles and metalwork.
  • Kimberly Forero-Arnias (BFA '09), originally of Long Branch, N.J., now of Boston. She will travel to rural Colombia, as well as various film labs run by Latin American artists, to explore systems that encourage diversity in film art practice.
  • Marlon Forrester (BFA '08), of Boston. He will travel to his native Guyana to study its material culture and history.
  • William Ray Langenbach (BFA '76). He will travel the United States for a critical examination of the American prison system and its influence on penitentiaries' host communities.
  • Ryan Leitner (MFA '16). He will visit Tel Aviv, Israel; Germany; New Orleans; and St. Louis to wash and repair LGBTQ monuments and document his experiences.
  • Vasia Markides (MFA '08), of Old Town, Maine. She will visit Samsø Island, Denmark to study and document their use of renewable energy production, more than covering the island's needs.
  • Cathy McLaurin (MFA '13), of Danville, N.H. She will travel to Tilburg, Netherlands; Cambridge, Mass.; Cameron, N.C.; and Philadelphia, to produce interviews with artists about their work.
  • Helina Metaferia (MFA '15), of Lansing, Mich. She will travel to historic protest sites across the United States to examine inherited struggle in the black community through descendants of the black civil rights movement.

The jury selecting the 2019 SMFA Traveling Fellowship recipients was composed of Camilo Alvarez, owner, director, curator, and preparator at Samsøn (founded as Samson Projects in 2004); Pieranna Cavalchini, curator of contemporary art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and Daisy Nam, assistant director at Harvard University's Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.

2017 SMFA Traveling Fellow Georgie Friedman traveled to Antarctica where her goal was to experience, observe and record the region's shrinking boundaries. A 2008 MFA alumna, Friedman will exhibit the work developed on her travels at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in spring 2019.

In 1894, James William Paige left a bequest of $30,000 to SMFA at Tufts – then called the "Museum School" – to establish a travel fund. Income was to be used to send SMFA students to Europe, where they would study art for a period of two years.

By 1899, the first Traveling Scholar, Mary Brewster Hazelton, sailed to Europe.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, recipients typically traveled to Paris, Rome or Florence. Today, SMFA Traveling Fellows journey across the globe. 

The Traveling Fellowships is one of many programs at SMFA at Tufts that supports artists in every stage of their careers. For more information, visit


About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

Founded in 1876, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is a unique art school affiliated with both a major art museum—the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston—and a Tier-1 research university. Originally established within the museum, the school began its relationship with Tufts when the university began providing accredited degrees to SMFA students in 1945. SMFA officially became part of Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences in July 2016. SMFA at Tufts provides an exceptional fine arts education that allows students to craft individualized programs of study while being mentored closely by world-renowned faculty and staff. Graduates are creative thinkers and problem-solvers who succeed in a wide variety of careers. SMFA at Tufts is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). For more information, visit

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