Serena Caffrey


I would have been incapable of making the work that I did this past year without the support of FVL. Prior to receiving financial aid, I lacked the confidence necessary to let my materials guide the direction of my work.

When I applied for my grant, my vision for my thesis installation was still in its early phase, and knowing the mobility of working ideas, I was too nervous to risk investing in materials that might later become obsolete. I applied on the off-chance that someone would see the potential in my idea of using 4,000 chocolate coins as a way to reference economic exchange, slave histories, and emotional labor… lucky me someone believed in my haphazard vision. For weeks they sat in a pile on the floor of my space unsure of what they’d become, and right when I needed the magic to happen my materials were waiting for me to be transformed.

I didn’t quite chew all 4,000 coins, but without FVL The Anxiety of Being Wrong would never have had the chance to become whatever it did… the exhausting, liberating, terrifying, and ultimately rewarding piece of work Bard so generously nourished me to make. The creative freedom bought by grants should not be underrated. Financial barriers continue to deter students from taking on an artistic practice; I hope the overwhelming success of FVL allows it to continue to grow, so that more students- especially those of lower incomes- are allowed the opportunity to make the astounding and transformative work Bard engenders. I’m sad to be leaving this community and am forever indebted to those that have fostered me while at Bard.