New Grant Supports Future of Industry; Focuses on Mentorship

September 7, 2023

Nominate a deserving student for our brand-new Student Engagement Grants through Nov. 9, 2023! 

two people looking at a costume display at USITT23 in St. LouisStudent Engagement Grants funded by Professor Emeritus of Costume Design and USITT Costume Commissioner, Howard Vincent Kurtz, encourage and support emerging theatre artists — the future of our industry.

These grants support academic expenses such as research, travel to conferences or research institutions, and project completion — including supplementing a realized production. Grants cannot, however, be used for student loan repayment.

"Over my career, I've been given great teachers and I want to continue that, and I cherish those moments with my mentors and mentees," said Howard Kurtz. "But for me, it's really about communication, interaction and guidance, the fostering of mentees beyond the classroom and outside of teaching."

These grants are given annually and provide financial assistance to USITT student members with up to $1,200 to support academic costs and a complimentary full-Conference registration for USITT24 in Seattle!

two people at USITT23 in St. Louis looking at badge ribbons at the registration areaGrant winners will also be matched with a mentor in their discipline of theatre design and technology. Their chosen mentor will work with them for a minimum of six months from the time of award. This six month period offers time for mentorship, education, and a solid foundation to build a lasting relationship.

Up to two grants will be awarded annually. In the grant's initial year, preference will be given for costume artists.

"It's my time to give back to USITT," Kurtz said. "It has encouraged me. It has helped me year after year, and that's why I want to fund this award. I want to help the next generation, and hopefully by doing that, it will encourage others to help USITT in the same manner."

For more information and to review eligibility and nomination details, click here.

Click here to hear Howard chat with us about the creation of Student Engagement Grants and his illustrious history with USITT and the industry.

Funding for this award is generously provided by Howard Vincent Kurtz, Professor Emeritus of Costume Design and Costume Commissioner in USITT. 

Meet Howard Vincent Kurtz

Howard Vincent KurtzHoward Vincent Kurtz has an extensive and diversified career in costumes, which has involved professional design, teaching, and curation. Kurtz holds a BFA in Technical Theater with a concentration in Costumes from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Theatre Arts with a dual concentration in Costume Design and Technology from Pennsylvania State University. He has created costumes for Broadway, Hollywood films, and television. Kurtz is Professor Emeritus of Theater at George Mason University, where he served as the Resident Costume Designer and Head of the Design Tech program. During that time, he was also Associate Curator of Costumes and Textiles at the Hillwood Museum and Gardens. Kurtz is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829 and has designed costumes at many regional theaters. In recognition of his exceptional professional work, Kurtz received the Helen Hayes Outstanding Costume Design Award in Washington, DC. He is a Fellow of the Costume Society of America and an active member of the United States Institute of Theater Technology.