Young Alumni Commissioning Project

Over the past five years, 16 CVPA alumni were granted awards anywhere from $2,500 - $5,000 to support the creation of a new artistic work for projects in film, dance, visual art, music, and game design.

Project Information

Project Goals

George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts Young Alumni Commissioning Project provides crucial support for our alumni’s continued artistic development. CVPA will issue up to three grants to recent alumni to support the creation of a new artistic work. The Project is made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of Linda E. Gramlich for the support of young artists, and by donors to George Mason’s Giving Day, including Shugoll Research.


Applicant must be a graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts from the class of 2014 and after.

  • Alumni having completed undergraduate and/or graduate degrees and certificate holders are eligible, as are double majors and recognized minors.
  • Collaborative teams are eligible if one or more CVPA alumni have a key creative role in the project.
  • Current George  Mason staff are eligible, even if they are currently enrolled in a degree program, as long as they have also completed an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or certificate at George Mason. 

Grant Prize

Recipients may receive up to $5,000 in commissioning funds, to be used at the artist’s discretion to cover project-related expenses, including but not limited to artist fees, licensing fees, equipment rental/purchase, and travel expenses. In addition, recipients will receive venue, production, and marketing support for a public presentation of the work.

Scope of Work

  • Proposals should be for an original new work in any art form, suitable for performance, exhibition, or screening in a George Mason venue or George Mason-run online platform. Size/length/duration/magnitude/content are at the artist’s discretion, however the project's feasibility in relation to the project budget will be considered. Potential CVPA venues include George Mason's traditional theater spaces, galleries, and cinemas, but proposals for non-traditional venues will also be considered.
  • The work should be ready for public presentation during the 2025-2026 academic year and season (roughly September 2025 through June 2026). The public presentation could take many formats, from a work-in-progress showing to a fully-produced performance or exhibition, including but not limited to presentations in the digital sphere.

Have Further Questions?

Please contact Vic Adebusola if you have further questions or would like to schedule a meeting time.

Application Information

Applications for the 2024-2025 year are now open! The application form must be completed in one session – it cannot be saved or completed at another time. A copy of the application can also be downloadedThe application will close on Friday, September 6, 2024 at 11:59pm ET.

The online application includes a project summary, list of the creative team, discussion of career impact budget, and work samples. Be sure to access the application via the link above for more details about each of these sections before writing your application.


A faculty and staff panel will review the applications and will make recommendations to the Dean, who will make the final selection. Project proposals will be evaluated with the following criteria in mind:

Artistic Excellence

Based on the work samples, does the applicant exhibit strong creative and technical skills, related to their discipline ​​​​​​​

Strength of Proposal

Based on the materials submitted, does the project: 

  • exhibit a strong artistic vision 
  • embody original and creative thinking   
  • Include all of the requested pieces of information in the appropriate formats

Potential Impact on the Artist’s Career

  • Based on the project summary and creative team biography, would receiving this support advance the applicants’ career in a significant way? 
  • Does the applicant need an opportunity to launch them to the next step in their career? 
  • Will the financial and project support provided offer meaningful assistance to the creation of the new work?

Feasibility of Completion

  • Based on the project summary and creative team bios, what is the likelihood that the applicant(s) will be able to complete the project, on time and on budget? 
  • Does the applicant(s) have a track record of successfully producing work? 
  • Is the project budget realistic and comprehensive? 

The Young Alumni Commissioning Project is made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of Linda E. Gramlich for the support of young artists, and by donors to George Mason University’s previous Giving Day, including Shugoll Research. Young Alumni Commissioning Project recipients may receive up to $5,000 in commissioning funds; as well as venue, production, and marketing support for a public showing of the work.

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Previous Years' Winners

Past YACP in-person performances and exhibitions

Jada Salter

A screening of Just The Two of Us, with 2021-2022 YACP winner and filmmaker Jada Salter (Bachelor of Arts, 2020) took place in February, 2024 on the Fairfax campus. Below Jada is pictured on stage at the post screening Q&A with two of her production team (Taylor Spears and Alexander Hammett) and former film professor, Lisa Thrasher. Photos: Emily Schneider

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From left: Jada Salter, Taylor Spears, Alexander Hammett, and Lisa Thrasher
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Jada Salter speaking at post screening Q&A

Carlehr Swason

2022-2023 YACP winner Carlehr Swanson gave a concert in February 2024 on the Fairfax campus where she presented her newly released EP Growing Pains. The pre-performance conversation was hosted by Professor Jim Carroll of George Mason's Dewberry School of Music.

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Carlehr Swanson performing at Harris Theatre
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Carlehr Swanson with Professor Jim Carroll
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Carlehr Swanson

Juan Megna

2022-2023 YACP winner Juan Megna (and the Juan Megna Group) gave a concert for his upcoming album Mariwô Project on George Mason's Fairfax campus in August 2023. See photos below of the featured artists: Juan Megna (drums), Tedd Baker (saxophone), Shawn Purcell (guitar), José Luiz Martins (piano), Leonardo Lucini (bass) and guest Artist Alisson Crockett (voice). Photos: Emily Schneider

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Juan Megna and the Juan Megna Group
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Juan Megna (drums) and Leonardo Lucini (bass)

Kyle Finnegan

2022-2023 YACP winner Kyle Finnegan presented a screening of his new documentary short, MSG: Mysterious Savory Grains on the Fairfax campus. See photos below of Kyle speaking to an audience in the Johnson Cinema alongside Film and Video Studies director Cynthia Fuchs. Photos: Emily Schneider

Kyle's documentary is now streaming on PBS!

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Kyle Finnegan and Cynthia Fuchs at post screening Q&A
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Kyle Finnegan standing between Dean Rick Davis and Cynthia Fuchs at Q&A

Kevin Elam

2020-2021 YACP winner Kevin Elam gave an album release concert for If I Were a Small Bird, on the Fairfax campus. The album was released in September of 2021.

Valerie McKenna

2019-2020 YACP winner Valerie McKennas photography exhibition, Albright, was displayed in the Buchanan Gallery on Mason's Fairfax campus.

Past YACP Digital Showcases

Andrew Jorgensen

2019-2020 YACP winner Andrew Jorgensen presented his film The Sun and the Medicine Man

Donovan Jones

In Conversation with 2020-2021 YACP winner and filmmaker Donovan Jones


Header image: Carlehr Swanson (2022-2023 YACP winner) standing with Dean Rick Davis, at the February '24 concert for her newly released EP Growing Pains.