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KNOXVILLE — Jered Sprecher, an assistant professor in the School of Art at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been chosen for a 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards in arts, humanities and sciences.

Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded to artists, scientists and scholars who have demonstrated productive scholarship, stellar achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment in research or the arts. This year, 180 fellows were chosen from 3,000 applicants across the U.S. and Canada.

The fellowship grant is meant to assist research and artistic creation, and fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work. The average amount of fellowship grants in 2008 was approximately $43,000. Sprecher will use his grant to free up time and assist with the costs of creating a series of large-scale paintings.

“Buying canvas, paint and brushes on a regular basis can add up quickly, so my specific proposal for this grant money is to fund the cost of supplies for some larger projects,” Sprecher said. “I’ve been making small to mid-size paintings but now I have the support to take risks on a much higher level, such as large-scale paintings and installations. These are more ambitious projects with more costly supplies.”

Sprecher’s status as a fellow places him among the likes of Nobel, Pulitzer and other prizewinners, such as Henry Kissinger and Saul Bellow.

“It’s an indescribable honor to be in a group among such accomplished artists and scholars. In the fine arts category that I was selected in, I’ve noticed people whose work I’ve always looked at and admired. Just last semester I was showing some of my students the work of an artist who was named one of the fellows. It’s an honor to be selected to this fellowship,” Sprecher said.

It was an honor that he didn’t expect and one that shocked both him and his wife.

“I was out of town when my wife received a letter in the mail from the Guggenheim Foundation. She thought it might have been a rejection letter so she opened and read it. When she realized that I had received the fellowship, she started screaming and called me. Neither of us knew what to do! It was quite the surprise!”

Sprecher has taught drawing and painting in the School of Art since 2005 and is involved with the Contemporary Arts and Society, a faculty reading group dedicated to the contemporary arts.

Sprecher previously has held teaching positions at Cornell and Princeton universities and the University of Iowa. He earned a master’s of fine arts in painting with honors and a master’s of arts from the University of Iowa and his bachelor degree in history and studio art from Concordia University in Nebraska.

The Guggenheim Fellowship is awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The foundation was established by U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his wife in 1925 as a memorial to a son who died April 26, 1922. The Foundation offers fellowships to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color or creed.

Fellows are chosen by a network of several hundred advisers, all former Guggenheim Fellows. These advisers submit reports critiquing and ranking the applications in their respective fields. Their recommendations are then forwarded to a selection committee, which determines the number of awards to be made in each area.

For more information about the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the fellowships and for a full listing of 2009 Fellows, visit


Jered Sprecher, (865-974-3219,

Kristi Hintz (865-712-6450,