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This Month In GCA History, January 2019


January 23, 2019

The Rome Prize Fellowship: Supporting Landscape Architects since 1928

Soon after the 1913 founding of The Garden Club of America, the first GCA scholarship was established. The Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture began in 1928 with enthusiastic contributions from GCA member clubs. It provides American landscape architects with a special opportunity for advanced study, travel, and association with other fellows at The American Academy in Rome, founded in 1894. This scholarship was the starting point for what has become an expansive list of GCA funded awards in a wide range of fields.  

GCA club member Kate Brewster of Lake Forest, Illinois, an accomplished landscape designer, believed so strongly in supporting advanced study for landscape professionals that in 1913 she generously established a fellowship at the American Academy. She immediately began to encourage GCA clubs to support the effort. Her influence led to the establishment of the GCA’s first fellowship.

Richard K. Webel, the first recipient of the Fellowship, sailed for Europe to begin his studies in 1928 at The American Academy in Rome. By the 1930’s, Webel proved to be a good choice, as he rose to the top of his field, becoming one of America’s leading landscape architects. His early work focused on the design of formal private gardens as well as significant public projects. 

For over ninety years, many notable American designers have benefited from the Rome Prize, including Robert Hammond, co-founder of the Highline in New York City.

The 2018 Rome Prize winner, Zaneta Hong, is an assistant professor in landscape architecture at the University of Virginia. Hong’s project aims to investigate the hidden histories of materials used in the construction and manufacturing of Roman architecture and urban infrastructure starting with Carrara marble. 

From the first scholarship, the GCA has proudly funded nearly 1,400 scholars through 28 merit-based awards. In 2018, 73 scholars were awarded over $308,400 to support a variety of academic endeavors ranging from summer environmental study and field work, to graduate level research. Their study is taking place in institutions across the nation and in fieldwork across the globe.  


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Plan B... A Huge Success for The Garden Club of Jackson
January 15, 2019

Millstones: No Burden in the Garden!
A Garden History & Design One Minute Report from the Archives of American Gardens
January 11, 2019


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