May 23, 2019

Art Equals Research: 2018–2019 Mini-Grant Projects

For the first time this year, the Mellon Initiative was able to award small grants to students for arts and humanities research and during the academic year. Grant recipients used their funds for archival research at different Texas universities to examine documents on forced sterilization (Kathleen Stansbury ‘19), to present research papers at conferences (Julia Poage ’19), and to help fund senior thesis research on women’s lands rights in India (Nhi Nguyen ‘19).

Balancing out this humanities research were projects by students who used their funds to create visual art and produce a musical!  For example, Beverly Morabito (‘19) used her Mini-Grant to purchase canvases and oil paint to make five large-scale paintings that reflect on her relationship with her mother and which were part of the Senior Art Major Exhibition 8 Confessions this spring. As Beverly puts it, “Because of the mini-grant, I was able to get professional gallery style canvas as well as high quality paints to complete my project. I think that the show turned out to be a success, and I am very proud of the product that I was able to make.”



Also in the visual arts, Danielle Trevino (‘19) used her Mini-Grant to purchase 18 x 24 inch wooden panels to mount her photographs for her photography series “How did her get there?” Danielle reflects: “The money awarded to me through this grant allowed for my artwork to be elevated to a professional level. Photos mounted onto wooden panels is a very unique and sleek presentation for contemporary art galleries.The funding for this project allowed me to optimize my time in a more productive and creative way in preparation for my last art show at Trinity University.” Danielle’s photo series, which was also on display at the Senior Art Major Exhibition 8 Confessions, “was a conversation starter for those who viewed them in person,“ says Danielle.


Finally, Human Communication and Theatre major Nicolas Champion (‘19) produced and directed the Jonathan Larson musical “Tick, Tick, ...Boom!” as part of his senior capstone, using his Mini-Grant to pay for royalties and rental fees. The musical ran three times this spring in the Attic Theater and drew in an audience of close to 150. According to Nico, “The mini-grant was integral to the completion of the project [...] without the mini-grant, I wouldn't have been able to put the show on whatsoever, as we wouldn't have had permissions or materials to do the show. Thank you so much to the Mellon Initiative for this wonderful program and the opportunity to complete my senior capstone in a legitimate, painless way—we simply could not have done it without the support of this program.“


We are proud of every student’s achievement and thrilled we were able to be part of the final portion of their educational journey at Trinity. Special thanks to the Mellon Initiative Steering Committee for their commitment to this program and their year-around support of student-directed research in the arts and humanities.


The Mellon Initiative will begin accepting Mini-Grant applications again in August 2019.