SMFA at Tufts Announces Its Traveling Fellows

Five artists to embark on journeys for research and inspiration

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (SMFA at Tufts) has announced its 2021 class of SMFA at Tufts Traveling Fellows, made up of five artists who will journey to places around the world to conduct research and find inspiration for their art.

Since 1899, the SMFA Traveling Fellowships program, one of the largest endowed art school grant programs in the United States, has provided critical early-career support for SMFA at Tufts alumni. Selected by a jury, SMFA Traveling Fellowship recipients receive up to $10,000 to explore locales and visit communities that will inform current or future art endeavors. This year’s fellows plan to travel to Brazil, Germany, Denmark, Appalachia, the Hudson River Valley, and First Nations communities in Vancouver, Canada.

“Federal Census (Nativity and Mother Tongue; Health)” by Furen Dai. Photo: Courtesy of Dai“Federal Census (Nativity and Mother Tongue; Health)” by Furen Dai. Photo: Courtesy of Dai

Here are the fellows and their destinations:


Katherine Aungier, A06 (BFA), of Brooklyn, New York, will visit Tofino, Ucluelet, and First Nations communities along the Central West Coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia to investigate the human relationship to nature and paint from the landscape.

Furen Dai, AG16 (MFA), of Brookline, Massachusetts, will travel to Berlin to take part in a residency at the ZK/U Berlin Center for Art and Urbanistics to conduct research and explore the idea of the encyclopedic museum through an ongoing film project.

“Kinstitution: Mountain” by Topher Lineberry. Photo: Courtesy of Lineberry“Kinstitution: Mountain” by Topher Lineberry. Photo: Courtesy of Lineberry


Topher Lineberry, A15 (BFA), of Greensboro, North Carolina, will travel through the Appalachian Mountains and then to Denmark to research and combine Appalachian and Danish architectures into new forms through photo, video, and 3D scanning, as well as compare and connect their folk school histories.

Kelly Mitchell, A15 (BFA), of Atlanta will travel to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil to further explore the deep community bonds within the African diaspora, work on a new iteration of an existing series, and create a handmade paper

“Totem #5 (performative object)” by Kelly Mitchell. Photo: Courtesy of Mitchell“Totem #5 (performative object)” by Kelly Mitchell. Photo: Courtesy of Mitchell

artist book edition that articulates real and imagined ties between Bahia and the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina.


Rachel Sydlowski, A97 (BFA), of New York will delve into the complex relationship between conspicuous consumption and wellness luxury experiences by gathering imagery and evidence through the guise of a guest at multiple Victorian-era resorts in the wilderness of the Hudson Valley.

The application process is open to SMFA at Tufts alumni working in any contemporary visual art discipline. The jury selecting the fellowship recipients was composed of Dan Byers, director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and a lecturer on art, film, and visual studies at Harvard University; Kelli Morgan, a professor of the practice and the director of curatorial studies in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Tufts University; and Jen Mergel, an independent contemporary art curator.

SMFA at Tufts has also announced that Dinora Justice, AG14 (MFA), who was a Traveling Fellow in 2020, will exhibit work related to her fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2023. 

“Like the Cicada” by Rachel Sydlowski. Photo: Courtesy of Sydlowski

“Like the Cicada” by Rachel Sydlowski. Photo: Courtesy of Sydlowski


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