Carl Phillips: Poetry of the Irreconcilable

October 2nd, 2015

In 1990, Carl Phillips was a high school Latin teacher in Falmouth when he had a chance encounter with a Massachusetts poet. That experience led him to apply for a state fellowship in poetry – and onto an extraordinary career exploring the irreconcilable forces of need and desire.

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Carl Phillips’ thirteenth collection of poetry, Reconnaissance, was just published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Hear Carl discuss the collection on NPR.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is celebrating 40 Years of Fellowships by sharing video interviews with some of the extraordinary artists who have received Artist Fellowships since the program’s inception in 1975.

  • On MCC’s YouTube Channel, experience the stories of some of the amazing artists we’ve funded over the last 40 years.
  • If you’re a past Fellow or Finalist of the program, sign our Alumni Book to get back in touch and share your own story.
  • Contact us if you have ideas for the project.

Video Credits: interview recorded at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; title animation by Basia Goszczynska (Film & Video Fellow ’13); intro music by Laura Andel (Music Composition Fellow ’99), “Sao Dao,” BMI ©1997, performed by the Laura Andel Orchestra; montage and closing music by Sai Ghose (Music Composition Fellow ’03), “Changing Table,” Summit Records ©2002, performed by the Sai Ghose Trio; portrait of Carl Phillips by Ben Kirchner, originally in The New Yorker, ©Ben Kirchner; video footage of Washington University, ©Washington University, 2011; still image credits: Martín Espada (Moyers and Company, 2013), Alan Dugan (Tom Philion/George Mason University, 1975), Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award invitation (Claremont Graduate University, 2002), Carl Phillips at Poets Forum (Brian Palmer/Academy of American Poets, 2008).

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Matching Artist Opportunities

September 29th, 2015


Call for Artists Under 30 Entries are still being accepted for the Cambridge Art Association’s exhibition 30 Below, for artists ages 18-30 open in all medias. Fitchburg Art Museum Curator Mary Tinti will be jurying the show. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2015

Call for Art Vendors Zeitgeist Gallery & Artist Studios is now accepting applications from artists, makers, jewelers, artisans and crafters for their First Annual Indoor Bazaar. Booth fee if accepted $25 and can be shared by a max of 2 artists per space. Application instructions:  Email a letter of interest, links to your products and art online, relevant contact information and images & descriptions of what you plan to sell with the subject line Bazaar Vendor Application.
Deadline: September 30, 2015

Of Note: MCC Support for Individual Artists: A Presentation, September 30, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the New Art Center.

Printmakers Entries are now being accepted for Sixty Square Inches, the 18th North American Small Prints Exhibition. Entries must be original fine art prints in any media completed in the last 3 years (2013-2015). No image size larger than 60 square inches (height x width). Juror: Kim Vito, Wright State University. Learn more.
Deadline: October 2, 2015

Photographers Entries are now being accepted for the Dave Bown Projects: Photo Competition  2015. Jurors: Brian Paul Clamp, Director, ClampArt, New York; and Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography. Learn more. Questions, email
Deadline: October 3, 2015

Artist Fellowships Applications are accepted for the MCC Artist Fellowships in Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry, and Traditional Arts.
Deadline: October 5, 2015

Call to Eastern MA Artists ArcWorks invites artists from Eastern MA, to submit entries for their juried exhibition Artsy Autumn. The juror is Erin Becker, the Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Cambridge Art Association. Learn more.
Deadline: October 9, 2015

Visual Artists The Pearl Street Gallery in Chelsea, MA, is now accepting entries for The Holiday Show, Nov 7 – Dec 20th 2015. All mediums considered for this juried show. Learn more.
Deadline: October 15, 2015

Artist Business Training AES for the Springfield Artist-in-Business (AIB) training on Friday, October 16 – Saturday, October 17, 9 am – 4:30 pm at the UMass Center at Springfield. In this two-day intensive, artists learn best business practices and create elements of their marketing/business plans, leaving with next steps to build – or expand – their unique business. The registration fee for the Springfield AIB training is $25 for Springfield and Indian Orchard based artists. The registration fee for all other artists is $40. Learn more.

Call for Art Mattatuck Museum is currently accepting applications for Mixmaster: Juried Members Exhibition. Works will be judged by Elizabeth Denny, Director of the Denny Gallery in New York. Learn more.
Deadline: December 1, 2015

Image credit: Vintage 1950s Irish Aran Knit Cable Zippered Cardigan Sweater & Matching Knee-High Socks.

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Learn about MCC Support for Artists

September 28th, 2015
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This month, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) has been holding a series of informational sessions about MCC Support for Individual Artists, exploring the grants, services, and other forms of support MCC and its partner organizations provide for individual artists.

The final event in this series takes place Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 7-8:30 PM, at the New Art Center in Newton. It’s free and open to the public, and as a bonus, the event coincides with an exhibition of art by MCC awardees in Crafts and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres.

Watch the video embedded above for a brief summary of the evening’s topic. While by no means covering all of MCC’s programs, it offers a snapshot of the MCC opportunities that most directly benefit individual artists.

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Artist Opportunities Goes Undercover

September 23rd, 2015


Spying for artist opportunities on the gridiron.

Photographers Entries are now being accepted for the Photographic Resource Center’s Evidence and Advocacy: SPE Northeast Juried Exhibition. Jurors: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Keynote Speaker, and conference Co-Chairs, Bruce Myren and Camilo Ramirez. Photographers may submit up to five (5) images from a cohesive, exhibition-ready body of work, artist statement, and resume. Learn more.
Deadline: September 29, 2015 (11:59pm)

Female Playwrights Entries are now being accepted for the Henley Rose Playwright Competition for female playwrights. Three finalists will be announced by October 20th and will be invited to attend and be recognized at the staged reading of their play in Knoxville, TN. The competition winner will be announced on November 20th and will receive both a cash prize and the Henley Rose Award. Learn more.
Deadline: October 1, 2015

Call to Artists The Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, MA, has announced a call for an outdoor installation of fibers, textiles, and textures. They are seeking installation pieces that interpret and express the connections, tensions and intricacy of webs, strands and fibers that intersect or underlay our surroundings and the natural environment. Designs could use natural or synthetic materials to connect spaces, mimic nature’s construction, and blend in or contrast with the landscape Learn more.
Deadline: October 4, 2015

Photographers The Center for Fine Art Photography is currently accepting entries for their Annual Portraits 2016 exhibition with Juror Martha Schneider owner and director of Schneider Gallery, Chicago. All artist interpretations on this theme are encouraged. All capture types and All capture types and photographic processes welcome. Learn more.
Deadline: October 14, 2015 (Midnight MST)

Call for Art The Maker’s Waypost, a new multifunctional creative space in Whitinsville, MA, is currently accepting vendor submissions from all New England based makers and artists to sell work in their uniquely curated handmade boutique. They are a for profit creative business that functions similarly to an artists collective, selling handmade products that attest to the promise of fair profit and a voice for each maker, while maintaining affordability to the consumer. Proposals are also welcome to teach workshops in their community studio space designated for DIY classes, community social events, and local artist talks for the public. Send a brief bio, introduction to your work, and several images or a link to your website. Contact: Cydney Cnossen & Faye Hurley at
Deadline: October 15, 2015

Poetry Festival Proposals The 2016 Massachusetts Poetry Festival submission period is now open. The festival seeks programming that encompasses the diversity of Massachusetts poets. Within that diversity, they will select the highest quality content and presentation possible. Learn more.
Deadline: October 30, 2015

Image credit: Photograph of mascot Reggie Redbird (1966).

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A View From the Mountain: Bread Loaf 2015

September 21st, 2015

Recently, writer Donna Gordon attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. In this guest post, she shares her experience and personal history with the conference.

View of Bread Loaf Mountain, photo by Don Shall

Attending the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Ripton, Vermont in August was not necessarily an invitation to commune with the muse, secure an agent, or sign a book deal. What the experience did offer and deliver in spades was an opportunity to spend ten days on the idyllic mountaintop – surrounded by green fields and an umbrella of blue sky – to workshop a piece of writing, meet with already accomplished writers actively publishing work worthy of fellowships and awards, and learn about the state of the art changes and patterns in the publishing industry. One-on-one meetings with agents and editors were also arranged in a relaxed environment on the yellow Victorian porch of the Bread Loaf Inn or in the hazy sunlit lounge-like Barn, where in almost every conversation the importance of narrative voice and standards of excellence were highlighted.

Bread Loaf has a laid back atmosphere with its signature Adirondack chairs, surrounding scenic trails, and moose-crossing signs. The pastoral campus hosts the larger inn, and the accompanying fields are strewn with guest cottages. But coming here is a big deal to a lot of people and marks a kind of validation for the approximately 200 writers of fiction, poetry and nonfiction who attend. Categories for acceptance include fellowships, scholarship, contributors and auditors. This year 27% of applicants were invited. And of those, only 5% received financial aid. But the conference is so renowned for its workshops and networking opportunities, that people came from as far away as India and Iceland. Bottom line: writers here are treated with respect. And this becomes most evident in those private or small group meetings with the pros, including publisher Fiona McCrae of Graywolf, and agents like Janet Silver and Mitchell Waters. Instead of waiting for the dreaded “no” that writers often encounter with online submissions and protracted email exchanges with literary magazine editors, the face to face meetings allowed for more intimate conversation, “tell me about your project,” and, “please send me your manuscript.” Just being here meant we had been filtered through a large screening process.

The Barn at Bread Loaf, photo by Don Shall

Set in the Green Mountain National Forest, Bread Loaf is the oldest writers’ conference in the country. The conference dates back to 1926 when poet Robert Frost and novelist Willa Cather decided to start a summer writers’ camp on a horse farm near Middlebury College. Over the years, it’s drawn the participation of writers at the top of their craft, including Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, Anne Sexton and Eudora Welty. This summer MacArthur recipient and poet Terrance Hayes was there, and through a discussion of the poetry of Langston Hughes, rallied every one of us to find our political point of view. While I was there, three Bread Loaf participants had books reviewed in the Sunday New York Times.

Morning lectures on topics ranging from, Notes on the Dramatic Image by Charles Baxter to After the World Ends: The Artist’s Response to Crisis by Stacey D’Erasmo, roused people to thoughtful appreciation and were delivered to a consistently packed house in the Little Theatre (most of the lectures available online through iTunes U). Afternoons were devoted to craft talks ranging from Chris Castellani’s Mixed Signals: Modulating the Third Person, to Randall Kenan’s The Last Word: Notes on Endings, to Afaa Michael Weaver’s What Matters in Writing a Bop. Evenings were reserved for readings by faculty, fellows and scholars in the Little Theatre. The Blue Parlor was a place for contributors in all genres to read their work to a live audience. The conference also hosted a road race, two dances and a gala reception in the middle of a goldenrod studded field at sunset.

Bread Loaf Inn, photo by Don Shall

Bread Loaf accommodations in both the Inn and the cottages are spartan but clean. Most people share a room with one other person. The dining room tries hard to suit the likes of the masses and special dietary options are available.

Bread Loaf Dormitory, photo by Don Shall

Years ago, the conference had reputation for hedonism – some called it “Bed Loaf.” But Michael Collier, who took over as director in 1994, runs a tight ship with a structured agenda. A watchful eye is maintained by staff, ensuring that things go smoothly.

Still, writers are writers and given to creative twists and turns. Forty years ago I came to the conference as a young poet assigned to work with Donald Justice. I had a roommate from somewhere in the Midwest who kept her hair dryer running all night long in order to sleep. I had a riveting conversation in the middle of a field with poet Gregory Orr during which he told me how he had accidently killed his brother during a hunting incident. Back then I was living poem to poem. This year I came back as a fiction writer with a novel to try to pitch.

Ann Hood ended the conference with a talk entitled, Why Write? “Where the imagination runs supreme and creativity is a given, our minds are stretched,” she said. “We write to live.”

Adirondack chairs, Bread Loaf, photo by Donna Gordon

View from cottage porch, Bread Loaf, photo by Donna Gordon

Related reading: ArtSake’s post on artist residencies and travel.

Donna Gordon‘s fiction and poetry have been published in Story Quarterly, Ploughshares, the Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Boston Globe Magazine, and the anthology Sister to Sister. In March 2015, she won the chance to meet and play tennis with Serena Williams, an experience she wrote about for Medium.

Images: top four photos by Don Shall, used with permission of the artist; bottom two photos by Donna Gordon.

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Artist’s Voice: Leigh Craven

September 18th, 2015

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and the New Art Center (NAC) will present MCC Awardees in Crafts and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres, September 18-October 17, 2015, at the NAC.

Leigh Craven one of the exhibiting artists, takes us to the inner and outer realms of her work.


The mixed media bell jar pieces incorporate both flat and three-dimensional imagery. The artwork examines how both physical and emotional factors can consume the body and mind.

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For me, the combinations and/or confrontations of the human components accompanied with elements from nature, symbolize the psychological conflicts we might have when circumstances are beyond our control. In my mind, nature, storms, and swarms of insects or animals are physical representations of forces that we can not contain or control, these forces often times have dramatic impact our lives.




See Leigh Craven’s work at the upcoming exhibition, Massachusetts Cultural Council Awardees in Crafts, Sculpture, Installation & New Genres, September 18 – October 17, 2015. Opening Reception: September 18, 7-9 PM. New Art Center, 61 Washington Park Newtonville, MA, 02460

All images courtesy of Leigh Craven.

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Artist’s Voice: Amy Podmore

September 16th, 2015

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and the New Art Center (NAC) will present MCC Awardees in Crafts and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres, September 18-October 17, 2015, at the NAC.

Amy Podmore, one of the exhibiting artists, walks us through her art-making process.

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I’m interested in investigating new media solutions to questions I’ve been exploring about the limitations of the sculptural object. The question that has been of great interest to me recently is- how can I heighten the poignancy of stillness? How do I push past boundaries—spatially, materially, and emotionally?

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In the past, I have used nuanced gesture combined with objects that tend to surprise the viewer—rabbits-headed figures, udders, pitchers with legs– to imply animation and to reflect ineffable moments. For example, in “Measured Rest” the boot-clad figure grasps a violin; she is awkward and tense, conjuring, I believe, both immobility, as well as an urge to flee. Animation was implied by the gesture; but how to get beyond the implied without being obvious—how to heighten that charge, increase the tension in the work, and in the experience of the work.

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In recent work, such as “Edge Drift” and “Lana”, I attempt to push beyond relying on gesture alone and employ actual animation as a juxtaposition or counterpoint to help bring forward what is so difficult to capture in material: tension between action and inaction. In all my work, I hope is to heighten the experience of absence and the gap between stillness and animation through physical, sensory and sound components that speak to the idea of loss and gain, and a sense of emotional finality caused by what is vs. what could have been. I hope to facilitate and highlight and extend the simple gesture into the corporal, spatial, and sensate.

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See Amy Podmore’s work at the upcoming exhibition, Massachusetts Cultural Council Awardees in Crafts, Sculpture, Installation & New Genres, September 18 – October 17, 2015. Opening Reception: September 18, 7-9 PM. New Art Center, 61 Washington Park Newtonville, MA, 02460

All images courtesy of Amy Podmore.

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Mapping Technology and Art-Making

September 15th, 2015

From the Smithsonian Libraries Tumblr

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) hosts a Nonprofit Arts Community of Practice, a place where people working at the intersection of the nonprofit arts sector and technology can share ideas, resources, and anything else that comes to mind.

Next call: September 22, 2015 at 2pm ET

How is mapping technology informing the narrative of art-making and ownership?

Join NTEN’s Nonprofit Arts Community of Practice for a conversation with arts organizations utilizing mapping technology on September 22 at 2pm ET (11am PT).

Learn about how Carnegie Museum of Art makes its provenance accessible and interactive and hear from HowlRound about their New Play Map, establishing new narratives about who theatermakers are and about how new theater and artists get supported.

Jamie M. Gahlon, Senior Creative Producer, HowlRound
Neil Kulas, Web & Digital Media Manager, Carnegie Museum of Art
Brad Stephenson, Director of Marketing, Carnegie Museum of Art

Join the call:

Optional dial in number: 866-853-1888 (No PIN needed)

Learn more about the Community of Practice’s conversations to date.

NTEN Communities of Practice center on themes that reflect both a specific programmatic focus and an ongoing opportunity for growth. They are supported by volunteer community organizers who agree to nurture and ignite conversation and engagement. You do not need to be a member of NTEN to participate.

The NTEN NonProfit Arts Community of Practice is a place to launch discussions, pose questions, share ideas and tools, and interact with others. To participate, create an NTEN profile and join the NonProfit Arts Community of Practice (which includes discussion board, event listings, resource libraries, etc.).

To connect on Twitter, use the hashtag #nptecharts

Image: gif from the Smithsonian Libraries Tumblr.

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Artist Opportunities Madness

September 14th, 2015

Of Note: MCC Artist Fellowships in Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry and Traditional Arts. Deadline: October 5, 2015

Prestigious Fellowships The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships — Fellowships of approximately $50,000 each are awarded annually to creative individuals in a variety of disciplines on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise. Learn more.
Deadline: September 18, 2015

Filmmakers Entries are now being accepted for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Learn more.
Deadline: Short Films, September 21, 2015
Deadline: Feature Films: September 28, 2015

Fellowships in the Creative Arts The Harvard University Radcliffe Institute Fellowships awards fellowships of $75,000 each, office space at the Radcliffe Institute, and access to the libraries at Harvard University. The fellowships are given annually to artists in a variety of disciplines to allow them to pursue creative projects. Fellows are expected to reside in Boston during the fellowship period, which lasts from September through May. Graduate students are not eligible to apply. Learn more.
Deadline: September 24, 2015

Greater Amherst/Pioneer Valley Writers Calling all writers in the Greater Amherst/Pioneer Valley region.  Luminarium’s “Amherst Storybook Project” is in its final stage. Using artwork from local artists, the company has created 12 fanciful images for a new children’s storybook. Writers are asked to choose an image, and write a poem or short story inspired by the scene. Submissions are free. Writers may submit as many entries as they wish. Learn more about the project as a whole; view the 12 images; and to submit your writing. One submission per image will ultimately be chosen to be printed alongside the artwork in the final book, which will debut at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art on November 8th.
Deadline: September 25, 2015 (5:00 pm)

Residency Fellowships The Vermont Studio Center has announced 40+ fellowship awards for visual artists and writers. Learn more.
Deadline: October 1, 2015

Call for Science Inspired Artwork Ann Street Gallery is currently accepting submissions for science inspired artwork from artist-scientists and scientist-artists in all medium for a curated group exhibition. They are interested in contemporary artworks that blur the boundaries between the two disciplines and those that result in a fusion of art and science together. No submission fee, open to all media. Digital Submission Requirements: send up to 5 jpegs @ 72 dpi to Include on each image: artist name, title, size, medium, date for each piece.
Deadline: October 9, 2015

Call to Artists ArcWorks invites artists from Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire to submit works for consideration to the juried exhibit Artsy Autumn. Artists may submit artwork in a variety of two– and three– dimensional media for the juror’s consideration. ArcWorks’ juried exhibits are un-themed, and artists may submit artwork of any subject matter. Learn more.
Deadline: Online submission is October 9, 2015
Deadline: Hand-carried submission is Wednesday, October 14, 2015 (2pm – 7pm)

Creative Entrepreneur Fellowship Applications are now being accepted for the Creative Entrepreneur Fellowship, which focuses on individuals living and/or working in Roxbury and surrounding neighborhoods. Candidates for this program may include visual artists (e.g. public artists, photographers, painters, etc), graphic designers, writers, musicians, craftspersons and artisans, etc. Learn more.
Deadline: October 16, 2015

Image credit: Actor Colin Clive, from the 1931 film Frankenstein. Original story by Mary Shelley.

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Artist’s Voice: Dana Filibert

September 14th, 2015

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and the New Art Center (NAC) will present MCC Awardees in Crafts and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres, September 18-October 17, 2015, at the NAC.

Dana Filibert is one of the exhibiting artists, and here is more about the work, in the artist’s own words.


In my studio process I use multiple materials. From my training in metalsmithing I employ welded steel, I also incorporate mass-produced objects and carved high-density foam. While working as an exhibit preparator for natural history museums I learned to repair fossils creating seamless archival specimens. I have transferred this skill that I now apply to my sculpture.


Over the last few years I have been preoccupied with creating stylized cloud formations utilizing a collage of materials. In each sculpture I employ iconic animal imagery, references to human biology and decorative arts elements.

Gallop Filibert_Dana

When creating these pieces I am looking at them as idealized precious objects. Each animal I choose to represent is due to the hold it has as a symbol of cultural virtues. I especially look to those animals that are used as emblems to market consumer goods. I am interested in the consumer’s tendency to identify with these symbols.

PaintedPony Filibert

See Dana Filibert’s work at the upcoming exhibition, Massachusetts Cultural Council Awardees in Crafts, Sculpture, Installation & New Genres, September 18 – October 17, 2015. Opening Reception: September 18, 7-9 PM. New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville, MA, 02460

All images courtesy of Dana Filibert. Studio photographed by Geneve Rege. Sculpture photographed by John Polak

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