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Who is the FVA?

The Friends of the Visual Arts (FVA), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established in 1995, promotes the visual arts in the Nacogdoches community and East Texas region by supporting the SFA Galleries, including the Cole Art Center, and Stephen F. Austin State University’s art faculty and art students. We raise funds for student scholarships and grants to SFASU art students as well as provide funds to help faculty bring professional artists to the school to provide lectures and workshops to students in the School of Art. We support and promote SFASU Art Gallery exhibitions by providing recognition to student and faculty artwork. During 2020-2021, SFA experienced unprecedented budget cuts and eliminated gallery positions. In response, the FVA helped to raise over $60,000 dedicated to paying a portion of a new Exhibition Coordinator position for a two-year period.

FVA is committed to:

  • Act as a liaison between the community and its schools and the SFA School of Art and its galleries.
  • Encourage gifts, endowments, and financial aid to the SFA School of Art and its galleries.
  • Sponsor programs designed to add to the cultural life of the East Texas community and the university.
  • Work with artists and arts organizations to foster and promote the visual arts.

All donations to the FVA are so appreciated. Follow this link to make your donation today:

Contact the FVA:

FVA Elected Officers

  • President: Julie Shackelford
  • Co-Vice Presidents: Lily Phou, Vickie McCarley Wallace
  • Treasurer: Linda Mock
  • Co-Secretaries: Sharon Robinson, Jack Murff

Upcoming Events

Annual 12 x 12 Art Fundraiser - Exhibition October 8 – 22, 2022
(Closing auction/party October 22, 2022).

Each year the FVA organizes a fundraiser in which local artists submit small works of original art that FVA sells by silent auction at the Cole Art Gallery. This annual event is called the 12 x 12, which represents the size of the art pieces submitted. This year the works of art will go on display at the Cole from October 8 through October 22, 2022, so that people can view the works of art and silently bid on one or more pieces. The fundraiser ends with a lively party and auction of the artwork at the Cole on the evening of October 22. All monies raised will be used to award grants and scholarships to promising SFASU visual art students.

Student Scholarships and Grants

The FVA has awarded Scholarship monies for twenty-one students, including high school students who choose to enroll in the SFA School of Art, as well as for out of state students who enroll in the School of Art graduate program. We also awarded $450 each year for 3 local high school students to attend the weeklong Art Academy provided during the summer by the School of Art

In the last three years the FVA Board has awarded over $27,000 in FVA Friendship grants and scholarships to 44 School of Art students. The grants ranged from $70–$400 depending on the student request and available funding. Grants that were awarded included:

  • Money to cover the cost of materials for student B.F.A. and M.F.A. shows
  • Money to help with travel expenses for students to attend professional conferences and course trips such as:
    • The Maymester Photography Course in Big Bend National park taught by Chris Talbot, which included using large format cameras like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston
    • The Maymester Ad Design course trip to New York to visit professional design firms and tour the studios of working graphics designers
    • The SNAG conference (Society of North American Goldsmiths) in Houston, Texas, which is conducted by one of the primary organization of professional metalsmiths and jewelers in the United States. At this conference students have the opportunity to have a professional portfolio review done by leading professionals in the field as wells as to connect with others in the field. Part of the conference also includes a “museum crawl” to prominent museums and galleries in Houston.
    • The Society for Photographic Education conference in Atlanta, Ga. at which a student can be exposed to a wide range of photography, listen to lectures and presentation by professionals in the field, and have his/her portfolio critiqued.
    • The Southern Graphics Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., which is the primary student organization to promoting printmaking in the United States. The conference allows students and faculty an opportunity to share ideas and experiences pertaining to printmaking mediums and includes workshops, panel discussions, portfolio exchanges and critiques.
    • The Repair Days 2011 at the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, Tenn. This museum is the only institution in the United States devoted exclusively to the preservation and promotion of fine metalwork. The trip allowed students to learn technical aspects of making, meet working artists, interact with gallery personnel that handles predominantly metal work, and to begin to understand the professionalism of the metalwork field.

Letters from Grant/Scholarship students

“I am writing on behalf of myself and my parents to express our gratitude for your generosity. Your scholarship was extremely helpful and I cannot thank you enough for your support. The Southern Graphics Council was incredible. I attended demonstrations on alternative ways of bookbinding, hand printing large scale woodcuts, viscosity printing, etc. plus there were panels of printmakers from all over the world sharing their knowledge and expertise. Some panels seemed to be for me personally. I benefited and learned from the conference exponentially. Philagrafika events were happening all over the city and each gallery was more inspirational than the one before. I cannot wait to start experimenting with some of the techniques I learned.”
“I am honored to be a recipient of the Friends of the Arts monetary award. Your generous support is helping me fulfill a dream of going to college. My first semester as a freshman at Stephen F. Austin State University has been both challenging and exciting. My plan at this point is to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Advertising Design. I am glad to have the opportunity to thank you personally for your generosity.”
“I would like to express my extreme gratitude for the scholarship you have awarded me for the Spring 2011 semester. As a result of your support I will be able to continue on my path as a graduate student, focusing more on my work and less on the financial difficulties of being a single parent in college. I am glad to have the opportunity to thank you for your generosity. Without scholarship patrons like you, there would be many students such as myself unable to pursue their desired goals an career paths.”
“As a student of the Stephen F. Austin State Fine Art Department for three years, I have reached the closing point of my academic career. As you know, funding for a Master’s of Fine Art exhibition can be costly on students. I wanted to thank you for your time and consideration in helping me throughout this task. The Friends of the Visual Arts Grant will aide me tremendously in the completion of this undertaking.”