This past year, CAA awarded two grants and four honorable mentions through the Professional Development Fellowship Program.

CAA initiated the program in 1993 to help student artists and art historians bridge the gap between their graduate studies and professional careers. The program’s main purpose is to support outstanding students from socially and economically diverse backgrounds who have been underrepresented in their fields. By offering financial assistance to promising MFA and PhD students, CAA can assist the rising generation during this important transitional period in their lives.

Unlike previous years in which CAA fellowships were awarded in two parts—$5,000 to the fellows at the outset and $10,000 to an employer (with a matching requirement) upon the recipients securing a professional position—fellows are now honored with a one-time grant of $15,000 to help them with various aspects of their work, whether it be for their job-search expenses or purchasing materials for their studio. CAA believes a grant of this kind, without contingencies, can best nurture artists and scholars at the beginning of their professional careers.

Both fellows and honorable mentions receive free one-year CAA memberships and complimentary registration to CAA’s Annual Conference.

2007 Fellow in Visual Art

Hagit Barkai is an MFA student in visual arts at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, where she is currently working on her thesis show, Every Body Knows. An Israeli native, Barkai received a BA in philosophy from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and studied painting and drawing at the Jerusalem Studio School.

Viewing the body as the prime location in which rights are given and removed, and through which histories take place and are understood, Barkai reflects somatic experiences in her work, seeing them as political, social, and psychological symbols. The bodies in her paintings are confined within the frame in unstable and uncomfortable positions. Her work focuses on conflicts regarding identities, morality, and difference, which are embodied through demands addressed to the body in public and personal spaces. She is influenced by cultural critics such as Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Judith Butler, and by artists such as Hannah Wilke, Mona Hatoum, and Marlene Dumas.

Barkai’s paintings have been exhibited at Chashama Gallery in New York and at the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg. Her painting represented Pennsylvania State University at the Big Ten Conference in Chicago, Illinois. At Penn State, she received a first-place award in the university-wide Graduate Research Exhibition; a travel grant to Israel from the University’s School of Visual Arts; and a painting commission from the Alumni Association.