Teachers and critics agree: Emily Erb is a courageous artist who takes on large and often difficult topics. “For me,” she explains, “it’s always been to make pretty things to make people think” and “I like to make art about things that I want people to care about.” To this end, she uses silk as the medium for her large-scale watercolors, creating beautiful and accessible paintings to highlight subjects such as the role of women and slaves in American history, and gun violence, thus encouraging viewers to look closely and reflect on important issues. Born in Richmond, Virginia, she earned a BFA at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 2005, and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2012. She has had solo exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and the Museum of American Finance in New York City. Her work also has been shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She was a 2015 TEDx speaker in Richmond. Hoping to benefit from both the creative and career opportunities associated with the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, she plans to attend art fairs in Miami, Chicago, and New York City, present her work at galleries, art institutes, and museums in a dozen cities, rent separate studio space, purchase equipment and supplies, and participate in an arts residency in Japan.