NWSA receives $500,000 From the Knight Foundation for its BFA travel-abroad program

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Knight Foundation gallery show.Students in front of palace.

Continuing a decade-long tradition, New World School of the Arts (NWSA) graduating visual arts college will take an arts-immersion international trip thanks to the five-year, $500,000 grant recently awarded to the school by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support the personal and artistic growth of young artists throughout Miami-Dade County by providing access to training and mentorship. Knight Foundation funding is part of $37 million in new support recently announced for South Florida’s diverse and dynamic cultural community. Since 2005, Knight has invested $165 million in the arts and cultural life of the city.

Created by NWSA faculty and Miami gallerist Fredric Snitzer with significant support by Miami art collectors Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, who have helped fund the program since its inception nearly a decade ago. The NWSA international travel program offers BFA students a unique artistic and cultural experience that allows them to explore and appreciate the vibrant cultures of other countries in order to augment and enhance their own artistic outlook. Among the art-enriched cities that NWSA BFA students have visited in years past as part of the BFA international travel program is Venice, Florence, Rome Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Berlin, Kassel Germany; London, England; Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, China; and Paris, France.

“The importance of this program cannot be quantified,” said Maggy Cuesta, Dean of Visual Arts at New World School of the Arts. “For the majority of our students, this is the first encounter they have with other cultures outside of the United States. This international journey allows our college graduates to understand the history of art beyond what they have learned through text books and visiting artists, some from the very countries they will visit. This first-hand exposure directly impacts how they perceive the world around them and the artistic thought-process prevalent in other cultures, helping them to draw inspiration not only for their work as artists but also for the lives they lead.”

Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson, Provost and CEO of NWSA noted, “This travel program is a critical part of the education of students at New World School of the Arts helping them to become the next generation of leaders in the arts. Our experience has shown this travel to be life-changing for our students and so we are thankful that the Knight Foundation and Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz have ensured more students will continue to benefit from this program.”

Sebastian Duncan-Portuondo, a NWSA 2013 College graduate was among the first to partake in the international travel abroad program when he traveled to Venice, Florence and Rome in 2013. In a recent conversation during Art Basel he highlighted the impact of this trip - “After spending years creating, critiquing and imagining art alongside New World School of the Arts students, the trip was a way to deepen our friendships and engage cultures that we had only studied about or seen in photos. The year I graduated, we visited Italy where we explored the newest art representing worldwide cultures at the Venice Biennale and ancient structures that make up the heart of Western traditions like Rome's Pantheon and the Forum. The days were packed with tours of art exhibits and cultural institutions, while we got together at night to roam the old cities and continue the conversation over a meal. Traveling with my peers to experience art abroad created lasting memories that continue to inspire my practice and projects to this day.

Today, Duncan-Portuondo sets up shop at the lower level of the artist-centric 777 Mall in downtown Miami, where he occupies a studio/gallery space to develop his latest project Exile. In the same building, New World School of the Arts will soon house Artseen, NWSA visual arts’ off-campus multipurpose space that offers college juniors and seniors the opportunity to collaborate in a relaxed and challenging forward-thinking atmosphere, while offering private studios where they can conceptualize and execute their artistic vision.

In addition, New World School of the Arts professional artist and alumnus Adler Guerrier (NWSA College BFA 2000) as well as Miami gallerist and NWSA visual arts faculty member Fredric Snitzer were recognized by the Knight Foundation as “Knight Arts Campions” receiving each a $10,000 grant to donate to the arts organization or artist of their choice. This award was presented to people who have played key roles in fostering the local arts.

Adler Guerrier, an active member of Miami / South Florida's art community currently working on an immigrant-centric film and a project for the Havana Biennial, donated his grant to fellow New World School of the Arts visual arts alumna Ena Marrero. “Ena quickly came to mind as an individual artist that would benefit most from this monetary contribution. Our community can find use and inspiration from her practice and life experiences. I hope this moment will contribute to her continued efforts to think, to reflect, and to create,” said Guerrier.
Likewise, NWSA faculty member Fredric Snitzer - who teaches the foundational WARP studio class (Workshop in Artist Research and Practice) to visual arts college students at New World School of the Arts - has opted to benefit the NWSA family by donating his $10,000 grant to the New World School of the Arts Fredric Snitzer Visual Arts Scholarship. Snitzer is widely respected as a leader in the contemporary art market in Miami and recognized as one of the early champions of contemporary Latin American art in the United States.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org and knightarts.org.

A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, New World School of the Arts is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida. NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative, and academic development through a curriculum that reflects our community and the rich multicultural state of Florida. Through our partners NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater and Art & Design. New World School of the Arts' rigorous eight-year curriculum and conservatory-style teaching has empowered students in our community and our nation to become leaders in the arts for more than 30 years.
Providing access is one of New World School of the Arts most important missions. Blind to academic standing at the onset, NWSA’s acceptance policy is based solely on artistic talent. This allows students from all backgrounds, ethnicities and socioeconomic status to compete for their spot in the school’s coveted arts programs based on their individual talent. Once accepted, students are expected to achieve both academically and artistically. Earning respected national merit and leadership-based scholarships such as the Gates Scholarship, Posse Foundation Scholars, and Presidential Scholars in the Arts, NWSA students have demonstrated over the years that a rigorous arts curriculum not only helps foster their passion and create the next generation or artists, but it also helps students engage and achieve excellence in any academic discipline.
New World School of the Arts has educated, trained, and cultivated a generation of artists who have become the artistic leaders of the future. Graduates from the high school and college programs of NWSA are award-winning artists, playwrights and performers with Academy, Emmy, Tony, Grammy and Bessie Awards. They are influential painters, sculptors and graphic designers, and their work thrives in museums and galleries, as well as on stages and concert halls around the globe. Our alumni are a source of inspiration to young artists from all walks of life in our community and in our state, and their success is a testament of the possibilities that emerge when the right blend of support and resources are engaged.
For more information please contact the New World School of the Arts Visual Arts division at 305-237-3620, visit nwsa.mdc.edu or contact Maggy Cuesta, Dean of Visual Arts, 305-237-3649; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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