2022 NCECA Helene Zucker Seeman Curatorial, Research, and Critical Writing Fellowship for Women

Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, November 17, 2021, (11:59pm Eastern time) – CLOSED
Recommenders’ responses extended to Monday, November 29, 2021, (5pm Mountain)

For questions about Fellowships please contact: fellowships@nceca.net
For technical assistance contact BOTH support@nceca.net AND kate@nceca.net

NCECA is pleased to announce the 3rd annual Helene Zucker Seeman Fellowships for Women. In 2020, friends of the late Helene Zucker Seeman established two monetary awards through NCECA. One will provide $2,500 to a female identifying selected 2022 Emerging Artist. The other, detailed below, is the NCECA Helene Zucker Seeman Curatorial, Research, and Critical Writing Fellowship for Women.

NCECA’s purpose is to promote and improve the ceramic arts through education, research, and creative practice. The NCECA Helene Zucker Seeman Curatorial, Research, and Critical Writing Fellowship for Women has been created to encourage, support, and develop research, curatorial work, and critical writing in the field of ceramics. Monetary support received through this fellowship may be applied to direct costs associated with research related to and/or production of an exhibition. The subject(s) and goal(s) of inquiry must be described in the project description. We use an inclusive definition of the terms “woman” and “female”. We welcome trans and cis women as well as genderqueer, and non-binary individuals.

NCECA Helene Zucker Seeman Curatorial, Research, and Critical Writing Fellowship for Women
The applicant must make a project proposal for use of the $2,500 award, and submit additional materials as specified in the Application Process. One award in the amount of $2,500 will be given and will be mailed upon return of the signed agreement. The award also includes a one-year membership with NCECA. The Fellowship recipient will be notified of the selection in late 2021 and publicly announced through NCECA E-News, social media platforms, and conference publications.

Curator, archivist, art historian, author, mentor, wife, mother, friend. This list describes the varied roles Helene Seeman played, but it only hints at who she was, what she achieved, and how deeply she affected the many people whose lives she touched before hers ended tragically and all too soon the summer of 2010.  

Helene is probably best known for building an internationally acclaimed art collection for the Prudential Companies, but she began building her own career in the late 1970s at the Louis K. Meisel Gallery in Soho. Bronx born and raised, with a newly minted Master’s in Library Science and Archival Research, she landed a job as a receptionist, but her intelligence and energy moved her ahead quickly. It wasn’t long before she was the gallery’s director.  

While in that position, Helene researched and documented with Meisel and Gregory Battock “Photorealism,” a definitive description of what was, in 1980, a burgeoning new art movement. Helene was an accomplished writer authoring, “Soho:  A Guide,” co-authored with Alanna Siegfried in 1978. The book was reviewed and well received by the N.Y. Times. Helene’s work was prescient, recognizing Soho as a thriving artists’ community long before it had been discovered by others and become the prototype for arts-driven urban revitalization that other cities have tried to emulate.  

Helene’s ability to recognize “firsts” was very much in evidence in her role as director of the arts acquisition program at Prudential. Over nearly two decades, she built a $20 million collection recognized for its range as well as its value. At Prudential Helene was working with architects and engineers to implement numerous site installations she commissioned with recognized sculptors and artists. The 10,000 works include contemporary painting, sculpture, crafts, glass, ceramics, photography, folk art, and American Indian artifacts. The Prudential collection reflected the depth of Helene’s knowledge of art, the variety of her interests, and especially her ability to recognize emerging artists.  

Helene was especially committed to promoting the work of women artists, which she did in a variety of ways. As an archivist, she compiled visuals depicting the work of women artists from every country in the world, creating a touring exhibit displayed in museums world-wide. As a curator, a collector in her own right and as an adviser to other collectors, Helene purchased the works of women artists early in their careers, providing crucial support for many of them.  

Helene relished the interaction with artists almost as much as she enjoyed experiencing their art. As important as the financial support she gave so many artists by purchasing, or directing the purchase, of their work, was the encouragement and emotional support she offered them as a trusted advisor, mentor, and friend.  

Always an admirer of ceramics, Helene became an ardent ceramicist. Working at Greenwich House, she became for the first time a creator of art, pursuing this new interest with the energy and intensity she brought to everything she did, forging new alliances, expanding her knowledge of art, and deriving immense pleasure from this new experience.

​Helene was also very much involved in the community in which she lived. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, she co-founded Battery Park City United, a grass roots community organization dedicated to preserving the Battery Park City neighborhood she lived in with her husband Fred and their two sons, Ford and Curtis. ​ 

Helene’s death stunned and saddened the communities in which she had been so actively involved. On short notice more than 700 people attended her memorial service. The tributes–and there have been many–have focused as much on her personal strengths as on her professional achievements: Her integrity, her warmth, her humor, the passion with which she lived her life, the love with which she enveloped her family and her wide circle of friends. Many people touch others; few leave their fingerprints behind. Helene left her fingerprints, deep and lasting, on the people she touched and on the art world to which she contributed so much.  

Female/female-identifying graduate students in curatorial (or related) studies, emerging curators, and critical writers. We use an inclusive definition of the terms “woman” and “female”. We welcome trans and cis women as well as genderqueer, and non-binary individuals.

***IMPORTANT***Although the system that supports this submission form does not currently include an active word counter, NCECA asks all applicants to note and adhere to word count limitations that are identified in open fields. The best way to do this for most applicants will be to compose responses to these open fields first utilizing the word-processing software on your computer or device and take advantage of the included word-counting tools. Once composed, proofed, and counted, you can copy your text from your local word processing software into the appropriate fields in the form. Please note that in some instances, special characters copied from word processing platforms may be converted in the form system. For this reason, we caution applicants on the use of special characters where not absolutely necessary.

NCECA reserves the right to exclude applications that disregard word count limits and to edit any and all text submitted for reasons ranging from space allocation to style, fluency of language, and grammatical concerns. All applications must be submitted using NCECA’s Online Submittal process (a link to the form is provided below).

Applicants are strongly advised to prepare the following AND save a copy to your computer BEFORE starting the online submission process. Extended time in the form may cause the form to time out and the system to log you out. You can save a DRAFT then continue to edit/complete the form.

Your online submittal form must include the following or it will not be considered: (Only .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .pdf or .jpg files as indicated below will be accepted):

● Name/contact information will auto-populate once you have logged in to and accessed the form in the NCECA database.
● Proposed Curatorial, Research, or Critical Writing Project description (Limit 500 words)
The project must be supportive of your goals as a curator, researcher, and/or critical writing author. Clearly state your objectives, how the award will be used to fulfill those objectives, an itemized budget (See Excel Template below), and the anticipated impact the fellowship will have on your research/curatorial/critical writing practice. Awards may not be used for tuition. The purpose of the NCECA Helene Zucker Seeman Curatorial, Research, and Critical Writing Fellowship for Women is to advance curatorial inquiry and exhibition development rather than personal artistic production.
● Project Abstract (Limit 100 words)
● Budget Excel spreadsheet (download template)

● Required for Graduate Student applicants
1. Name, City and State of School/Institution currently attending.
2. Cumulative Undergraduate and Graduate GPAs.
3. Transcripts (official/unofficial) One undergraduate and one graduate transcript required, up to four allowed. (Upload as.doc, .docx or .pdf, not to exceed 2MB).

● Required for non-graduate student applicants – A two-page resume of ‘highlights’ – Upload as.doc, .docx or .pdf, not to exceed 2MB).

● IMAGES – No fewer than five (5) and no more than 10 images (upload as jpg only – each image no larger than 800 KB) Include images that are relevant to the project.
Required information for each image: (Limit 50 words)
Artist name, title of work, year completed, image description, clay type, firing method, dimensions (H, W, D), and photo credit (if applicable) Image relevance to project
● Two Recommenders’ information to include: Name, best phone, and email. One recommender should be a current instructor and one should be another individual who knows you and your work well.
● To complete your application, NCECA must receive your two recommendations by November 24, 2021 (11:59 PM Eastern time.) Your recommenders will be sent a link to an online form through Survey Monkey that will require them to respond to writing prompts that are relevant to assessing candidates for this opportunity. Please inform your recommenders of this deadline in advance, and let them know that you have provided their name and contact information to NCECA. Please remind your recommenders to be on alert for receipt of an email invitation message from SurveyMonkey.com and to complete their recommendations by November 24, 2021 (11:59PM Eastern time.)

Applicants are not permitted to prepare the responses. Responses must be provided by the recommenders in their own words. 
In order to provide early alert to recommenders as to requirements of the survey, applicants may make use of the following sample email message:

Dear ____________,
I have provided your name and contact information to NCECA as a recommender for my NCECA Fellowship application. Please be on alert for an email invitation from Survey Monkey.com with a link to an online form that will require responses to the prompts/questions that are relevant to assessing candidates for this opportunity.

The following prompts/questions are to be completed and submitted via Survey Monkey by November 24, 2021 (11:59PM Eastern) Text may be cut/pasted from another document into the Survey Monkey form. The form may be started then returned to for editing as long as responses have been saved. Please note all questions require a response.

  1. Recommender contact details to include: Recommender name, email, phone number.
  2. First and last name of the fellowship candidate you are recommending.
  3. How you know the applicant and over what period of time.
  4. Please tell us how receiving this independent research fellowship will further the applicant’s artistic or professional development. Discuss the artist’s potential to make a significant contribution to their field or the creative/cultural Ecosystem.
  5. How does the applicant represent the diversity of the larger creative landscape which might include: genre, style or aesthetic, career stage, culture, geography, ethnicity, gender, race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, gender identity, religion, age, urban or rural, etc.
  6. Those who receive the NCECA Helene Zucker Seeman for Curatorial, Research and Critical Writing Fellowship are expected to be working toward making their research available. Please tell us about qualities that you believe this candidate will share in connecting with others about their research.
    Thank you,

The Nominations Committee includes the Steward of the Board and/or one President, one Director at Large, one Student Director at Large, an Honorary Member or Fellow of the Council, and one member at large appointed by the president. Proposals will be evaluated based on innovation, rigor, criticality of concepts described within the project, and the potential impact of research on the field. Additional factors impacting the outcome will be letters of recommendation and quality of visual support materials. The committee will notify applicants after review of submissions is complete.

NCECA recommends using Google Chrome or Firefox as some forms do not respond well to Internet Explorer or Safari. For questions regarding technical assistance, contact BOTH support@nceca.net AND kate@nceca.net


Thank you – After you complete your online submission form for this opportunity, please hit SUBMIT only one time. The form data could take several minutes to submit particularly with multiple images. A confirmation email will be generated through NCECA’s database to let you know that your application has been successfully transmitted and received. Please save the confirmation email. If you do not receive this confirmation message within an hour after the time that you submitted your proposal, please email BOTH kate@nceca.net AND support@nceca.net