Last year, GPS presented the first Fletcher Bright Fellowship for Artistic and Community Engagement to Jadyn Matthews ’20. After presenting her proposal to a panel of judges, Jadyn was awarded the funds to attend master classes with Kelly Seph White, a New Orleans and New York dance instructor, and then use her knowledge to teach young children in the Chattanooga area.
Named for one of the world’s great traditional old-time and bluegrass fiddlers, the late Fletcher Bright, his eponymous fellowship was founded by his daughter Lizzer Bright Graham ’77. She wanted to honor his legacy through a gift to Girls Preparatory School that would celebrate the arts. The endowed program offers an annual award to a rising senior who is selected through an extensive application and outside review board.
“As a lifelong philanthropist, my dad designated money in his will for each of his five children to give away as we saw fit,” explains Ms. Graham, a GPS alumna, past parent, and former trustee. “He would be thrilled to know this is how the money is being used.”
This year’s recipient, Emma Dexter ’21, submitted her application in January to be reviewed by a panel of four judges. She was a standout candidate not only for her accomplishments in the arts but also her desire to advocate for female artists within the greater Chattanooga community, said officials.
Emma has pursued the arts at GPS since her sixth-grade year and was selected for the school’s prestigious modern dance company, Terpsichord, her sophomore year. As an AP Art History student and a member of Terpsichord, Emma expressed disappointment with the exposure and praise female artists receive, both historically and in the present day. With this fellowship, she intends to organize an exhibition of female artists of all ages in and from the Chattanooga area to showcase their work to the broader public and receive the exposure they deserve.
“I am so grateful to have received this opportunity, but I am more grateful to know that I am not alone in feeling dissatisfied with representation of female artists in museums and galleries worldwide,” Emma says. “To bring that kind of progress to my community is really exciting!”
To make this exhibit possible, Emma seeks professional female artists around Chattanooga. If you would like to participate, or know a female artist who would like exposure for her works, please email EmmaDe@GPS.edu.