Industrial Design Assistant Professor Kevin Phaup awarded the 2023-24 Beck Fellowship

Phaup's work with the local community earned funding through the Madison Trust

School of Art Design and Art History

by Cameryn Norris ('22)


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Kevin Phaup receives 2023 Beck Award
(L-R) Phillip Updike, Christina Updike, Kevin Phaup, Rubén Graciani, and MiKyoung Lee
Kevin Phaup

The College of Visual and Performing Arts has awarded Assistant Professor of Industrial Design Kevin Phaup with the 2023 Paul and Lillieanna Beck Faculty Fellowship. The $6,000 annual Fellowship recognizes a full-time faculty member in the School of Art, Design, and Art History who works to advance the visual arts at JMU and in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County community, focuses on student success, embraces new technologies in their classrooms, and creates opportunities that make students thrive.

CVPA named Phaup the 2023-2024 Beck Fellowship ahead of the Fall 2023 semester. "Winning the Beck Faculty Fellowship was a huge honor that came at a perfect moment in my career," shares Phaup.

"At the time of winning this award, I was nearing the completion of the Harrisonburg Electric Cooperative (HEC) project with Explore More Discovery Museum and embarking on perhaps the most demanding semester yet in teaching and service. It was a great encouragement to be acknowledged in this way." 

Before the academic year started, Phaup's major collaborative project with Harrisonburg's Explore More Discovery Museum and the Harrisonburg Electric Commission was complete, and the exhibit's grand opening was just a few days before Phaup received the Beck Fellowship.

During the summer of 2022, Phaup pitched a concept to HEC with Explore More to design and construct a completely new area of the museum dedicated to teaching about electricity, where it comes from, how it’s generated, safety, and more. HEC made a generous contribution of $50,000 towards the design and construction of the exhibit. Phaup spent 2023 designing and planning the exhibit and construction began in March of 2023, then fabrication and installation took place over the summer and the exhibit opened this fall.

Phaup and a team of SADAH Industrial Design students developed the installation, marking another project in Phaup's ongoing collaboration with the Explore More Discovery Museum. "I’ve been involved with Explore More Discovery museum for years, connecting with them in and out of the classroom to bring new ideas and exhibits to Harrisonburg's children’s museum," shares Phaup.

The Beck Award brings more resources to Phaup to further aid the community, and he plans to use the funding in his upcoming projects over the next few years.

"Winning the Beck Faculty Fellowship was a huge honor that came at a perfect moment in my career."

-Kevin Phaup
Assistant Professor, Industrial Design

As for what is next, Phaup plans to develop a Nomadic House of Worship. "Through the support of VA Urban Wood program and my previous scholarship in skin on frame kayaks, I hope to produce a skin on frame tent-style house of worship." Phaup hopes that various ministries in the Harrisonburg area could utilize the Nomadic House of Worship for outdoor worship events. Through this project, Phaup has connected with The Table 61A missional worship + prayer base to the greater Harrisonburg region and beyond.”

Phaup worked in the construction and fabrication industry prior to his academic career, with additional time spent working in ministry with troubled teens in southwest Missouri. His professional work as a social entrepreneur in Nepal focuses on wheelchair design and transitional housing following the 2015 earthquakes. Phaup taught in art at Miami University and industrial design at the University of Notre Dame. He started as an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at James Madison University in 2016.

The Beck Fellowship was established by alumni Phillip and Christina Updike (’73) in memory of her parents, Paul and Lillieanna Beck, in support of SADAH, where Christina Updike earned a B.S. in art with teaching certification and then worked as visual resources specialist for 38 years before retiring with the staff emerita designation in 2012.

Photos courtesy of Kevin Phaup, 2023.

Published: Monday, November 13, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, November 16, 2023

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