Robert and Normandie Holmes Endowed Travel Fellowship

Robert and Normandie Holmes are firm believers in the power of travel to enrich and broaden understanding and appreciation of the world, its history, and its people. After taking classes in Art History at PSU, they were reminded of the importance of student travel and felt drawn to support the academic study of art by providing support for travel outside the Portland area. This endowment seeks to assist serious students in the scholarly pursuit of art history by affording them the opportunity to experience academic research sources in other cities, regions, or countries.

A grant of up to $1,500 is available for art history majors for travel anywhere outside of the Portland area related to the study of art and art history. Travel must take place within a year after the award is received. Not intended for group activities like study abroad classes and archeological digs.

2021 Deadline - TBA


The Robert and Normandie Holmes Endowed Travel Fellowship is awarded annually to an Art History major with junior or senior status. Awards is based on the merit of the proposal submitted using the following criteria:

  • Art History major of junior or senior status
  • GPA of 3.5 or above in the Art History major
  • The relevance of the project to student's course of art-historical study
  • Accuracy and detail of the budget
  • Overall conception and quality of the proposal
  • Faculty endorsement
  • Evidence of financial need will be taken into consideration but will not be the sole criterion

Application Materials

Your online application will include the following:

Applicant Information
Your name, address, phone, email, major, anticipated graduation date, GPA in major, and PSU ID number

Provide names and contact information for two academic references. Make sure to contact them in advance to confirm they are willing to speak on your behalf. Information required: Name, position, address, phone, email

Include an essay of no more than 500 words that addresses the following:

  • The educational purpose of travel (What are you planning to see? How is this trip going to enrich your study of art history? Was your interest in this topic sparked by classes taken at PSU?)
  • Description of educational objectives/research (Offer a detailed itinerary with planned activities and state how these relate to your research or area of study.)
  • Destination (This may be a museum, special exhibition, archive, library, monument, conference, see below.)
  • Your Previous travel experience
  • Proposed budget (Up to $1,500, including the cost of your round-trip flight, lodging, and per diem expenses. To get a sense of what "per diem" means and how much you can reasonably pay for a hotel check PSU Financial Services travel information
  • Two letters of recommendation from art history faculty at PSU

Proposal Examples

Appropriate projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Visiting a temporary exhibition on a topic of your research interest not available locally (for example, the recent Kerry James Marshall exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York).
  • Visiting permanent collections of a museum specialized on a certain topic (for example, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.).
  • Visiting a museum, special collection, or monument(s) to further your study of a work you have researched in one of your classes, or that relate to programs such as an Honors Thesis, McNair Fellowship, etc.
  • Attending a professional conference, symposium, or special talk on an art history subject (for example, the annual College Art Association conference).
  • Visiting a specialized library or archive of relevance to your study of art history.

Sample Essay and Budget

Here is an example of a prior award-winning proposal to give you an idea of how to prepare your essay and budget items:

The Eva Hesse Archives at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio
My fascination with the life and work of Eva Hesse was sparked in the classroom at Portland State University in History of Modern Art II (ARH 493). As I discovered more about this fascinating artist, I became primarily attracted to her investment in the interconnectedness of art and life. As Hesse described her work in an interview, "[...] in my inner soul, art and life are inseperable."[1] When viewing Hesse's work through the lens of a personal history reflected in one's art, (as is so often evidenced in her own writings and Hesse scholarship) I believe that seeing the letters, photographs, and journals in the Allen Memorial Art Museum Eva Hesse Archives is essential to my research. First-hand engagement and study of this material will support my thesis for a graduate admission writing sample.

An opportunity to investigate the Eva Hesse Archives would greatly enhance my research on this artist. The existing scholarship regarding Hesse's work correctly cites her biography as the driving force behind the creation of her sculpture and drawing. The chance to explore both Hesse's personal writing and items that were in her possession at the time of her death in 1970 would provide necessary personal insight for a meaningful and comprehensive piece. Contact with these objects would focus my research on a biographical track informed more by new research than previous scholarship.

A visit to the Eva Hesse Archives would be my first travel experience devoted solely to the purposes of art historical research. This first trip will be essential in my development as an art historian and will certainly influence how I plan my future educational and career prospects. For your consideration, I have included a proposed budget for a short stay in Oberlin. The trip would ideally take place in the first part of September 20-- following the planned renovations to the Allen Memorial Art Museum scheduled for completion in late August. These proposed calendar dates would also afford enough time to review and incorporate research findings into my thesis prior to graduate school application deadlines in December 20-- and January 20--.

[1] Hesse quoted in Anne M. Wagner, Three Artists (Three Women): Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner, and O'Keefe. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998): 200-201.


Item Cost
Round trip TriMet transportation to the Portland Airport $4.70 @ $2.35 each way
Round trip airfare, Portland to Cleveland, Ohio $368.00
Round trip shuttle from Cleveland Airport to Oberlin, Ohio $30.00 @ $15.00 each way
Three nights at the Oberlin Inn, Oberlin, Ohio $367.00
Daily per diem expenses $195.00 @$65.00 per day
Total estimated budget $964.70

The Robert and Normandi Holmes Endowed Travel Fellowship would be the only means that I would be able to make a pilgrimage to the Allen Memorial Art Museum. As an undergraduate who finances their own living expenses here in Portland, I find that travel funds for such opportunities do not come along often and would be greatly appreciated if awarded. I look forward to a response and offer thanks for your consideration.

Selected Eva Hesse Bibliography:

Hesse, Eva. Datebooks: 1964/5. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Lippard, Lucy R. Eva Hesse. New York: New York University Press, 1976.

Nixon, Mignon. "Eva Hesse Retrospective: A Note on Milieu." October 104 (Spring 2003): 149-156.

Swenson, Kirsten. "Machines & Marriage: Eva Hesse and Tom Doyle in Germany, 1945-65." Art in America (June/July 2006): 166-169.

Wagner, Anne M. Three Artists (Three Women): Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner, and O'Keefe. Berkeley: University of California Press: 1998.

Wolff-Bernstein, Jeanne. "In Search of Her Own Language." Studies in Gender & Sexuality. 2005: 345-368.