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MAD Announces the New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship as Part of the Artist Studios Program

Aqeel Malcolm and Jes Fan, artists whose work explores identity, will be the first two Van Lier Fellows at MAD

New York, NY (June 14, 2016)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) announces the first iteration of The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship as part of the Artist Studios, one of the Museum’s flagship programs. Committed to supporting talented young people from historically underrepresented populations who are dedicated to a career in the arts, the Van Lier Fellowship Program provides art groups with grants to support fellowships for young artists as they develop a body of work and make the transition from student to professional artist. Van Lier fellows have gone on to win Guggenheim Fellowships, MacArthur Genius Grants, Pulitzer Prizes, and other prestigious awards, gaining national as well as international recognition.

At MAD, the Van Lier Fellowship will support a full-time resident in the Artist Studios Program, which brings artists and designers into studios located on the Museum’s sixth floor, where they work daily in a live environment that is open to visitors. In 2016, the Museum welcomes the first two fellows: Aqeel Malcolm, who will join the Museum in June and continue working in MAD’s Artist Studios through September, and Jes Fan, who will be a fellow from October through January 2017.

“This is a significant grant for the Museum,” said Cathleen Lewis, Vice President of Education and Programs. “It allows MAD to continue its commitment to fostering young artists at important moments in their careers, while encouraging cultural equity in the arts.”

About The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship at MAD

The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship will serve six emerging artists over two years beginning in June 2016. The fellowship is designed to reach young artists at a critical juncture when financial and professional support will allow them to take their careers to the next level. Fellows will be offered a dedicated studio where they will work alongside residents in the Artist Studios Program, in addition to other professional development opportunities. Both fellows and residents work in a live studio environment where visitors are encouraged to engage with artists as they work. The fellowship furthers the Museum’s commitment to providing engaging opportunities at the intersection of artist, object, and personal experience.

Applicants selected for the fellowship at MAD presented a mature body of work that revealed a mastery of techniques, methods, processes, and materials, and that demonstrated developed concepts, ideas, and themes. Fellows are selected by the Artist Studios Selection Committee, which includes Museum staff and outside professionals in the fields of art, craft, and design. Committee members from MAD include Windgate Research Curator Elissa Auther, Manager of Artist Studios and Docent Programs Carli Beseau, Vice President of Education and Programs Cathleen Lewis, and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator Shannon Stratton.

“The committee immediately recognized Aqeel’s talent and his sensitivity to material,” said Beseau. “And Jes is a perfect example of a young artist who defies categorization and challenges historical boundaries between art, craft, and design. We look forward to seeing them use the fellowship as a platform for growth during their four months at MAD and in the years ahead.”

Aqeel Malcolm will work at MAD from June through September 2016. The recent graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art explores intersectionality as it relates to the layers of the artist’s own identity as a Black, Queer, African American, and Jamaican American male. Malcolm works primarily in textile and garment construction, addressing “masculinity,” what defines it today, and the effects of that definition. At the Museum, the artist will focus on a weaving project using his own hair, investigating the ways it can be manipulated when detached from the body, and also creating lace textiles using varying weave structures.

Jes Fan, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, will work at MAD from October 2016 through January 2017. Fan will continue the series “WHATNOTS,” which examines ideas of otherness and identity by casting a 250-pound barbell made out of paper pulp into a glass sphere, duplicating an object in a material that contrasts with its intended function. The artist’s body of work uses materiality to understand otherness in gender identity, and extends to themes of race, labor, and industrial production. 


The New York Community Trust connects generous New Yorkers with non-profits that make the region a better place to live and work. As the community foundation for New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, The Trust weaves together smart philanthropy, civic engagement, and strategic grant making.

Through its competitive grants program, made possible with money left by bequests, The Trust funds programs that improve the lives of all New Yorkers, especially those in need—from helping young people in poor neighborhoods thrive to promoting equity in the arts, from making our environment healthier to making our schools better.


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.

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