April 5, 2011 —William Wylie, an associate professor of art in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, has been awarded a 2011-12 Professional Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
A photographer, Wylie is the author of numerous books, including his latest work, "Route 36." The photographs in "Route 36" capture and echo the evocative quality of places along the highway as it traverses Kansas. Running parallel to Interstate 70, the two roads are not far apart geographically, but worlds apart in experience, Wylie said.
While cars zoom along on the four-lane interstate, Route 36 runs right through the towns that dot the landscape – communities where time seemed to have stopped, complete with old movie theaters, small cafes and beautiful tall silos surrounded by miles of open prairie space. With his work, Wylie seeks to create a sense of place.
"All my work is about places, how they function and what they are," Wylie said.
Wylie will use the fellowship, which comes with an $8,000 award, to expand upon his still photography exploration of Route 36 through video work. The video will be included in a large solo exhibit based on the Kansas project that the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, Neb., is mounting in 2013. The exhibition will travel after its run in Omaha.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts awarded 43 fellowships totaling $258,000 to Virginia student and professional artists in 2011-12. The winners were selected from 642 applications – the most in the 71-year history of the fellowship program.
The fellowships were initiated in 1940 by John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg. Since the fund's inception, it has been supplemented by gifts from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation and the J. Warwick McClintic Jr. Scholarship Fund.