UNM Department of Art

Congratulations to Cherille Williams, recipient of this year’s JGS “Imagining America” Fellowship.

Cherille is one of eight undergraduate students from across the nation chosen for the award. 

Thanks to a generous grant from the Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS), Imagining American (IA) annually selects a cohort of student artists for a community arts project, attending the IA National Gathering, and professional development opportunities affiliated with a national working group of engaged photographers and digital media makers. The goal of the IA/JGS Fellows Program is to elevate photography and digital media as a pathway for students to pursue their careers and make a difference in their communities.

“JGS is proud to continue our partnership with IA to bring together some of the most promising young artists in the country,” says Wayne Maugans, JGS Director of Education and Outreach, “Now more than ever, we need the voice and vision of new leaders who will engage their communities in a shared mission of truth-telling through the arts.” IA Faculty Director Erica Kohl-Arenas shares, “Over the past couple years Imagining America’s JGS fellows have organized powerful art and media-making projects on the most urgent issues of our time. I am grateful for the depth and growth of this critical IA undergraduate student program (…). The significant contributions of our mostly first-generation college student fellows advance the IA mission and engaged and activist work in our national network.”

Cherille Williams graduated from UNM-Gallup in December 2019 with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts degree and currently, she is a junior at UNM College of Fine Arts, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Art Studio. Cherille describes the photographs that she submitted for the award featuring her grandmother, Francine Williams:

“The first sample is of an image I took for a narrative project where I want to focus on the beauty of old age and embracing what comes along with it. The second sample is another image I took for a portrait project where I wanted to focus on the stereotypes Native Americans face when doing simple daily tasks like making fried bread. The third sample is from the same portrait project where I wanted to showcase the reality of the modern Native Americans doing the same task, but this time in everyday clothes.”

For more information on the fellowships

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