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Volume 26, Number 3 — March 2019

ETSU's Travis Graves receives fellowship award

Travis Graves
Travis Graves

January 31, 2017

The Tennessee Arts Commission awards Individual Artist Fellowships to professional artists who have shown exceptional talent in their chosen disciplines.

The Individual Artist Fellowships provide monetary awards of $5,000 to outstanding artists who, by education, experience or natural talent, engage in an art form or discipline and live and work in Tennessee. Fellowships may be awarded in the categories of craft, media, visual art, dance, music, theater and literary.

Travis Graves, an associate professor of sculpture in the ETSU department of art and design, received an IAF in the visual arts category.

While recipients are not required to use the funds for a specific project, Graves has upgraded studio and camera equipment, and is set to attend the Pentaculum at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Graves, who examines the relationship between nature, culture and society's dependence on nature in his artwork, says this is an interesting time to attend a residency at Arrowmont following the wildfires in Gatlinburg and Sevier County.

"I've been exploring a lot of video in my artwork lately, and with the devastation of the landscape, this is a unique opportunity to go up there, get my mind into that landscape and explore the video work," he said.

Graves also believes that getting away from his routine will have a rejuvenating effect. "How often do you get a chance to spend a week away somewhere, just to go for the purpose of exploring the ideas in your head and seeing what happens with a camera in front of you? Sometimes working in a vacuum can be limiting. You have really great ideas and execute them, but where do you get the ideas? You've got to get them somewhere, so for me, a lot of that is getting out in nature, gaining experience through travel, seeing artwork in galleries and museums."

"It's nice to get patted on the back and recognized for what you do," he says. "I take myself and my work very seriously; I take my career very seriously as an artist. I try to meet the highest standards in my artwork and my teaching, and to be recognized for that at the highest levels of your institution and the state makes me realize I'm doing the right things. It's worth the sacrifices to make these things happen, and I get a lot of gratification from that."

Graves' artwork has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout East Tennessee and across the United States.

To learn more about Graves and his artwork, visit

Topics: Achievements