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Catron Scholars draw crowds in Andrews Gallery presentations

Payton Robinson '25 used a Catron scholarship to participate in the British American Drama Academy's Midsummer in Oxford program. (photo by Emmanuel Sampson)

Seven undergraduate artists selected as '23-'24 Catron Scholars presented their work to nearly 100 students, faculty, and community members Feb. 22 in a sweeping Andrews Gallery exhibition that bridged disciplines and spanned media.

Catron Scholars receive grants through the Charles Center of up to $5k to support their artistic growth over the summer through off-campus educational experiences.  Students pursue opportunities either at a formal educational institution or through structured practical hands-on exposure. 

This year’s recipients participated in projects in Italy, England, and several regions of the US that fostered their development in the creative or performing arts.

“The Catron fund honors one of W&M’s great teachers, Dr. Louis E. Catron, who for many years taught courses and directed productions in W&M’s theatre department,” said Charles Center director Elizabeth Harbron.  “The exhibition really captures the spirit of Prof. Catron’s teaching, which always centered on students and the power of art and creative inquiry to inspire their artistic selves.”

Ian Baker ’24, an Art major from Baltimore, used a Catron scholarship to enroll in the Summer Intensive Program at the Mount Gretna School of Art in Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania.  Baker immersed himself in a wide range of painting and drawing classes, critiques and discussions, and talks by visiting artists. 

“I emerged from the program with a refined ability to perceive, compose, paint, and draw the environment around me,” Baker said.
With support from a Catron scholarship, Chris Schneider '24 pursued an "Illustration and Storytelling" month-long residency in Manhattan's School of Visual Arts. (photo by Emmanuel Sampson)Payton Robinson ’25, a Theatre major from Springfield, Virginia, used a Catron grant to participate in the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford program.  Robinson, who intends to pursue a career in acting, found the experience invaluable. 

“I explored the motivations and lives of characters outside of the modern context and applied them to universal experiences, an important aspect of character development and acting technique,” Robinson said.

Patrick Harkin, director of Andrews Gallery, sees the Catron program as an invaluable resource to the W&M community.  "It's important to showcase the development of academic exploration of this caliber because it reflects the values of the school and helps elevate how we see ourselves as a community," he said.

Catron scholarship recipients also view the program as a unique opportunity to develop creatively in ways that not only hone their technical skills but strengthen W&M's artistic community.

Gabrielle Thomas ’24, an Art major from Richmond, enrolled in two ceramics workshops at the Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft in Columbia, North Carolina.  She said, “This endeavor provided me with the opportunity to focus on improving my craft and increasing my knowledge of ceramics techniques.”

Ella Novogratz ‘24 enrolled in an “Illustration and Visual Storytelling” month-long residency in Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts. (courtesy photo)Ella Novogratz ‘24, an Art major from Brooklyn, also used her Catron grant to pursue coursework that complemented her W&M studies.  She enrolled in an “Illustration and Visual Storytelling” month-long residency in Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts. 

“I am hoping to someday combine my love of illustration and printmaking to make relief print illustrated books,” Novogratz reflected.
A Catron scholarship enabled Sasha Sklar '24 to participate in a costume design workshop in Florence, Italy (photo by Emmanuel Sampson)Chris Schneider ’24, a Studio Art and Biology double major from Fairfax, Virginia, pursued coursework that provided new understandings of digital media.  “I focused on learning graphic design, typography, and the software associated with both,” Schneider said.

A Catron scholarship allowed Calder Sprinkle ’25 to serve as an intern and music arranger at Third Church in Richmond, Virginia, and then as a composer-in-residence with that congregation. (courtesy photo)A Catron scholarship allowed Calder Sprinkle ’25, a Music and English major from Richmond, Virginia, to serve as an intern and music arranger at Third Church in Richmond, and then as a composer-in-residence with that congregation. There, he wrote a piece combining the voices of a choral group with those of the congregation.

“Involving other artists in my compositions, allowing them to bring their own unique voices to a project, has been a goal I’ve been pursuing for many years,” Sprinkle said.

Harkin echoed Sprinkle, describing Catron Scholars's projects as "milestones in their creative and academic careers."  He added, "I would encourage any student interested in jumpstarting their creative vision for the future to apply for next year's Catron cohort."

Applications for Catron scholarships for summer 2024 are currently being accepted through March 4.