The Peck School of the Arts is represented exceptionally well among this year’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships. Four of the five recipients are PSOA alums, marking an incredible occasion for UWM and some of its most talented graduates.
The Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists is a program that awards unrestricted funds for artists across a variety of visual arts fields to create new work or finish work in progress in the Greater Milwaukee area. From nearly 150 applicants, PSOA alums took both spots in the Established Artists category and two of three Emerging Artists awards.
“There are so many talented artists in our community graduating from UWM,” said Nina Ghanbarzadeh (BFA 2013, Art) upon being selected in the Established category. “I am proud to say that I am a Peck School alum and am so happy to see the names of three more UWM graduates on the 2024 Nohl Fellowship Program.”
Also selected in the Established category was Roy Staab (BFA 1968, Art), whose international career as an artist has given him a range of perspectives on how different locations support the arts and culture. In Wisconsin, he sees Nohl as “a glimmer of hope” for artists.
For Nicholas Perry (BFA 2018, Art) and Jovanny Caballero (BFA 2023, Art: Photography), both selected in the Emerging category, the Nohl Fellowship is a turning point.
“This is one of the most important moments of my career. Artistic practice takes hard work, dedication, and intense passion. I am beyond grateful my paintings reflected that in the eyes of the jurors,” said Perry.
“The Nohl Fund is more than a monetary award, but also a stepping stone to growing your art career,” said Caballero, adding that it “will not only help me fund a project but help my art reach new and bigger audiences.”
Illuminating the work of those in unrepresented communities and those representing diverse cultural perspectives is a major part of what the Nohl Fund seeks to accomplish.
Caballero is known for working themes of his Mexican heritage into his art. Receiving the Nohl Fellowship came with an increased meaning: “My work is a reflection of my experiences growing up in the Southside of Milwaukee as first generation. I pour my heart into the work I create to honor the sacrifices of my parents and ancestors.”
Ghanbarzadeh acknowledged similar sentiments, noting that the Nohl Fund “is an excellent opportunity for artists and creatives from diverse backgrounds to share different perspectives, lived experiences, and stories.”
The 18-month fellowship, which includes professional development services and networking opportunities, culminates in an exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art. The exhibition is slated for June 2025.
In addition to the four recipients, several finalists have ties to PSOA: Kyle Seis (BFA 2014, Studio Art: Photography) and Mike Gibisser (Associate Professor, Film) in the Established category; and student Amal Azzam (Studio Art: Design and Visual Communication) and Matthew Vivirito (Teaching Faculty, Digital Fabrication & Design) in the Emerging category.
Visit the official release for more information about the program and to read individual artist bios.
Story by Jason McCullum ’25