Moonshot Artist Opportunities

May 24th, 2016

THE PATH TO THE MOON by Wililam T. Horton (1898)

Visual and Performing Artists Emergency Grants The Foundation for Contemporary Art is accepting applications for Emergency Grants of up to $2,000 to innovative visual and performing artists who have unanticipated, sudden opportunities to present their work to the public (in a short timeline); or who incur unexpected expenses for projects close to completion with committed exhibition or performance dates. Learn more.
Deadline: Ongoing

Curatorial Proposals Gallery 263 in Cambridge has issued an open call to individuals and groups for the Curatorial Proposal Series, which provides artists in all media and experience levels an opportunity to experiment with curating contemporary art. Gallery 263 provides guidance, support, and modest financial assistance to artists to cover the cost of promotional materials. Proposals should come from New England residents (for individuals) or 50% New England residents (for groups). Learn more.
Deadline: Sunday May 29, 11:59pm

Artist Residency The Joshua Tree National Park Artist-in-Residence Program offers visual, performing, and literary artists a 2-4 week residency at the park’s Lost Horse Ranger Station, a rustic and self-sufficient cabin with nearby panoramic views of the park. In exchange for the adventure of living and working in a national park, the resident artist will have the opportunity to create a body of work and to share it with the surrounding regional and Southern California communities. Learn more.
Deadline: June 1, 2016

Emerging Immigrant Artists The Vilcek Foundation will award three prizes of $50,000 each to young artists, born outside but currently living in the U.S., who demonstrate outstanding early achievement. Artists practicing in a variety of media such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and other visual arts processes are eligible. Applications will be evaluated based on quality, level of creativity, clarity of vision, and impact. Learn more.
Deadline: June 10, 2016

Choreography Luminarium Dance has announced that applications are open for the fifth 24-Hour ChoreoFest. The 2016 festival will take place from Friday, September 9 through Saturday, September 10, with an overnight creation period and a morning production period followed by two Saturday performances. ALL work must be created overnight. Learn more.
Deadline: June 10, 2016

Performing Contemporary Composition The Aaron Copland Fund for Music has launched the Performance Program, a grant program where performing ensembles, presenting organizations, and festivals can seek support for the performance and presentation of contemporary American concert music and contemporary jazz. Learn more.
Deadline: June 30, 2016

Calls for Public Art and Artists/Artisans Hyde Square Task Force has issued two calls to artists. First, the organization seeks proposals for the Domino Installation, a domino-themed permanent art installation in the plaza of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Jamaica Plain. Designs should be site specific and incorporate elements of the cultural history of the neighborhood, and may include sculpture, mural, and other elements such as seating. Artist payment of $10,000. Learn more. Second, Hyde Square Task Force is looking for visual artists and artisan vendors to show or sell at the Latin Quarter Fiesta on September 17, 2016. The Latin Quarter Fiesta will showcase arts and artists, live music, local Afro-Latin food, and participatory family-friendly art installation. Email if you’re interested in being a vendor or for more information.
Deadline for both opportunities: July 1, 2016

Thriller/Horror/Thriller/SciFi/Fantasy Filmmakers Entries are currently being accepted to Shriekfest, a festival dedicated to getting horror/thriller/scifi/fantasy filmmakers and screenwriters recognition. The festival will be held in Los Angeles at Raleigh Studios. Prizes awarded to the winning filmmaker in each category. Learn more.
Deadline: July 1, 2016 (Late); August 10, 2016 (Extended)

Mid-Career Artist Grants The Artist’s Resource Trust provides support to the creative work of mid-career (aged 35 and older) visual artists who have demonstrated substantial commitment, development and quality in their work. Visual artists who live in New England and in the towns in NY that are part of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s catchment area can apply for the grants, which generally range from $1,000 to $10,000. Learn more.
Deadline: August 1, 2016

Project Grants The Creative City grants enable artists to create projects of all disciplines that take place in the public realm in the city of Boston and that integrate public participation into artistic process and/or presentation. Learn more.
Deadline: September 12, 2016

Sculptors National Sculpture Society is accepting submissions from individual sculptors for the 2016 Dexter Jones Award. Through the annual competition, an unrestricted prize of $5,000 will be presented to a sculptor for an outstanding work of sculpture in bas-relief. Preference will be given to figurative or realist sculpture. Learn more.
Deadline: October 3, 2016

Image: A PATH TO THE MOON by 19th century artist and mystic William T. Horton, from Public Domain Review.

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Crowdfunding: A Primer

May 20th, 2016

From THE CIRCLE by Julie Mallozzi, crowdfunding on IndieGoGo

This is an updated version of a previously published article.

So, you have a creative project (an unfinished film, music album, graphic novel, etc.) and you want funding so you can adequately – make that epically – realize your vision.

Instead of relying solely on traditional grant programs (such as our Artist Fellowships or Local Cultural Council grants), which may or may not match up with your project’s timeline, you might consider using a crowdfunding site as part of your fundraising strategy.

Artists crowdfund by soliciting donations from many individual supporters, directing donations to one central online presence. There are a number of crowdfunding sites for artists to choose from, which generally have these things in common:

  • They make it easy for individuals to make tax-deductible donations.
  • They ask artists to set a fundraising goal.
  • They provide helpful and novel ways to interact with donors, including the ability to offer rewards.
  • And a certain percentage of the donations go to the crowdfunding site to pay for the service.

What sites are out there, and what differentiates them?


From the Kickstarter video for THE CHEMICAL WEDDING BY CHRISTIAN ROSENCREUTZ by John Crowley, illustrated by Theo Fadel, to be published by Small Beer Press

The most prominent crowdfunding site is Kickstarter. Anyone from tech entrepreneurs to working artists can use the site to create campaigns for their project, with a funding goal. Kickstarter campaigners then offer creative rewards (say, an embroidered t-shirt or a DVD of the project or a personalized portrait) to donors, increasing the appeal of the reward based on the donation amount.

Things to keep in mind about Kickstarter: if campaigns do not meet their fundraising goal, the artist gets nothing, so the incentive is high to drum up support. Also, project campaigns need to be approved by Kickstarter to launch.

For an example, check out this campaign by Small Beer Press (out of Easthampton, MA) to publish a new version of what just might be the history’s first science fiction book. The background story is unique and appealing, and the project’s video is especially strong.


THE CLEMENTE PROJECT by James Rutenbeck, crowdfunding on HatchFund

Another major crowdfunding site is Hatchfund (formerly called United States Artists Projects). Hatchfund is similar to Kickstarter in many ways, with tax-deductible donations, creative rewards, and an all-or-nothing fundraising goal. (Additionally, there’s a “stretch goal” if the original is exceeded.)

Unlike Kickstarter, Hatchfund is specifically focused on artists. Some projects may receive matching funds from Hatchfund for a portion of their campaign. And perhaps most significantly, Hatchfund offers one-on-one coaching and support for artists by Hatchfund staff.

Check out The Clemente Project by James Rutenbeck (Film & Video Finalist ’11), which you can also read about here. The campaign does a great job conveying how a story about unheralded voices in one struggling community can have universal significance.


THE CIRCLE Crowdfunding video from Julie Mallozzi

Another crowdfunding site is IndieGoGo. The big difference is that, unlike the all-or-nothing approach of Kickstarter and Hatchfund, you can elect to keep all of the money you raise (minus site fees), even if you don’t meet your goal.

Check out The Circle by Julie Mallozzi (Film & Video Finalist ’15, ’07), which very successfully conveys the potential impact of the project and its appeal to both targeted communities (like anti-violence activists) and a wider audience.

Go Totally DIY
Not a joiner? You could also take the principles of crowdfunding and set up your own campaign. You’ll need a PayPal or similar online payment account, a home base (like a web site homepage or a blog), and a group that will act as an organizational fiscal sponsor so that donations will be tax deductible. In film, the Center for Independent Documentary and Filmmakers Collaborative both serve as fiscal sponsors for film projects, and the New York organization Fractured Atlas serves as fiscal sponsor for artist projects in all disciplines, and throughout the country. You can even include creative rewards and frequent updates to your donors – you’ll just have to handle the infrastructure of these actions on your own.

Best Practices
What are best practices in crowdfunding? Successful campaigns tend to…

  • Tell a compelling story. The campaign, whether through its video, description, updates, or all of the above, successfully conveys why this project is essential and why its supporters’ contributions are meaningful.
  • Tap into and cultivate an interested community.
  • Incentivize support. Rewards are part of that incentive, but even better is when the story is the incentive: the project’s storytelling convinces an interested community that this is a can’t-miss opportunity to be part of something important.

Further research:
Read How do you use online platforms as an artist? on ArtSake
Beth Kanter’s blog shares five basic crowdfunding tips
Find tips on best practices when crowdfunding an artist project on The Abundant Artist

Image: still image from THE CIRCLE by Julie Mallozzi (Film & Video Finalist ’15, ’07) crowdfunding through IndieGoGo; still image from the Kickstarter video for THE CHEMICAL WEDDING BY CHRISTIAN ROSENCREUTZ by John Crowley, illustrated by Theo Fadel, to be published by Small Beer Press; screenshot of the crowdfunding campaign for THE CLEMENTE PROJECT by James Rutenbeck (Film & Video Finalist ’11); IndieGoGo video for THE CIRCLE.

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MCC Announces 35 Awards in Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting

May 19th, 2016

Nicole Duennebier, TUNICATE AND GOLDEN SAC (2014), acrylic on panel, 48x34 in

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is honored to announce the 2016 MCC Artist Fellowship awards in Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting. Eighteen artists will receive fellowships of $12,000, and 17 artists will receive $1,000 finalist awards. See a full list of this year’s fellows and finalists.

The awards are anonymously judged, based solely on the artistic quality and creative ability of the work submitted. Applications were open to all eligible Massachusetts artists. A total number of 1109 applications were received: 54 in Choreography, 485 in Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and 570 in Painting.

From 2125 STANLEY STREET by Dahlia Nayar

Cover art for SHELTER (Picador 2016) by Jung Yun

The Choreography panelists were Junichi Fukuda, James Morrow, Cheri Opperman, and Sydney Skybetter.

The Fiction/Creative Nonfiction panelists were Jane Brox, Kristiana Kahakauwila, Helen Elaine Lee, and Mehdi Tavana Okasi; the readers were Alicia Anstead, Sybil Baker, LaShonda Barnett, Sarah Blackman, Lydia Conklin, Steven Edwards, Joseph Fazio, Sheba Karim, Kate Leary, Tien-Yi Lee, William Peters, and Harry Stecopoulos.

The Painting panelists were Philip Brou, Gwen Strahle, Azadeh Tajpour, and Mary Tinti.

This is the second series of Artist Fellowships awards to be given by the MCC in 2016. In February 2016, MCC announced 32 awards in Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry, and Traditional Arts.

Find a full list of 2016 Artist Fellowships awardees.

Catherine Kehoe, STILL LIFE WITH WHITE PEONY (2015), oil on panel, 8x8 in

Raul Gonzalez III, EL MALVERDE (2012), fluid acrylic, pencil and pen, 12x9.5 in

Images: Nicole Duennebier, TUNICATE AND GOLDEN SAC (2014), acrylic on panel, 48×34 in; still photo from 2125 STANLEY STREET by Dahlia Nayar; cover art for SHELTER (Picador 2016) by Jung Yun; Catherine Kehoe, STILL LIFE WITH WHITE PEONY (2015), oil on panel, 8×8 in; Raul Gonzalez III, EL MALVERDE (2012), fluid acrylic, pencil and pen, 12×9.5 in.

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Mushrooming Artist Opportunities

May 16th, 2016

Ok wow. 

Writers Queen of Cups is a mini lit mag delivered to subscribers’ inboxes via the TinyLetter platform. Each weekly issue features the work of one contemporary writer: poets, fiction and non fiction writers. Queen of Cups is accepting submission of 1-3 poems, or micro fiction or non fiction of under 500 words. Submit in a word document to Subscribe for free at

Call for Artists The Autorino Center for the Arts at University of Saint Joseph, CT, invites submissions from artists who break new artistic ground with an experimental and pioneering spirit to create an interactive, site specific AUDIO/VIDEO WALK inspired by Janet Cardiff’s work. Learn more.
Deadline: May 22, 2016

Short Fiction Entries are now being accepted for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. The author of the winning manuscript receives a cash award of $1,000, and the collection is subsequently published by the University of Georgia Press under a standard book contract. Learn more.
Deadline: May 31, 2016

Poetry Entries are now being accepted for the Boston Review’s prize of $1,500 as well as publication in Boston Review for a poem or group of poems. Submit up to five poems totaling no more than 10 pages. All entries are considered for publication. Learn more.
Deadline: June 1, 2016

Playwrights Entries are now being accepted for the MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition. Playwrights may be Latino or of any other ethnic or racial background as long as the play’s subject matter and characters resonate with Latino audiences and accurately depicts the Hispanic experience. No screenplays, one act plays, musicals, adaptations or translations will be accepted. Playwrights must be at least 18 years of age and residents of the U.S. or Puerto Rico. Learn more.
Deadline: June 1, 2016

Call for Artists The Harvard Ed Portal’s Crossings Gallery is has announced its first open Call for Artists, An exhibition called Changing Allston is planned for late summer, and the Crossings Gallery is looking for artists whose work engages with the Allston community and landscape. The exhibition will reflect on the ways in which the neighborhood has changed over the last century, and how it continues to change even now. All artists, especially those living and/or working in Allston-Brighton, are encouraged to apply. All visual mediums welcome. Learn more.
Deadline: June 3, 2016 (11:59 pm)

Exhibition Proposals The Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) Gallery in Boston is seeking exhibition proposals for their 2016/2017 season, in all media, for five shows for the 2016-17 season. Each show must include two exhibition artists and preferably more. The juror is Jeffrey De Blois, curatorial assistant at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Learn more.
Deadline: June 15, 2016 (5:00 p.m.)

Call For Plays The Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, MA, is currently accepting submissions of short plays, one-act plays, and full-length plays by New England playwrights. Over the past 14 years, more than 175 new plays have been performed on their stage through our annual New Works Festival. Submissions are given to an independent panel who select the festival’s shows in anonymous readings. Directors and their casts then work with selected playwrights to produce two weekends of original theater. New Works Festival 2017 will be held on January 21 & 22 and 28 & 29, 2017. Learn more.
Deadline: June 19, 2016

Call for Artist  Entries are now being accepted for the Seventh Annual New England Collective Juried Exhibition at Galatea Fine Art in Boston’s SOWA Art District. The NEW ENGLAND COLLECTIVE VII is open to artists from New England working in all media. Learn more.
Deadline: July 10, 2016

Artist Residency Willapa Bay AiR offers month-long, self-directed residencies to emerging and established artists, writers, scholars, singer/songwriters, and musical composers. The Residency provides lodging, meals and work space, at no cost, to six residents each month from March 1 through September 30 of the year. Applications are evaluated by selection committees comprised of working artists and professionals in the applicants’ respective fields of discipline.  The 16 acre Residency, located in coastal southwest Washington State, has been specifically designed, from the site selection to the architecturally specific building concepts, layouts, and materials, to combine the opportunity for solitude with the opportunity for daily community that fosters creative endeavor. Learn more.
Deadline: July 31, 2016

Image credit: Animated gif of mushrooms growing quickly and enormously on city sidewalk from

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Health and Wellness for Performing Artists

May 16th, 2016

Free Panel: Athletes and the Arts – Integrating the Science of Sports Medicine into the World of Performing Arts.

This event will feature members of the national Athletes and the Arts coalition and local performing artists who will talk about ongoing efforts to integrate relevant sports medicine and wellness science into the world of performing artists. The performing artist and the sport athletes face similar and unique challenges as they strive to optimize performance while maintaining physical and mental health. Learn what these challenges are and how Athletes and the Arts can help you maintain good health.

City of Boston Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros will be moderating this discussion, which is presented in partnership with City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. The Boston Public Library hosts the event, with outreach support from the Boston Dance Alliance, the Boston Musicians Association, and the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coaltion (MALC).

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 7pm
Commonwealth Salon
Boston Public Library, Copley Branch, Central Library
700 Bolyston Street Boston 02116
Facebook Event Page


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Good Humored Artist Opportunities

May 10th, 2016

Reach in for your favorite.

Billboard Proposals 14×48 is accepting proposals for the 2016 Open Call for Billboards. 14×48 repurposes vacant billboards as public art space in order to create more opportunities in public art for emerging artists, to challenge emerging artists to engage more with public art. 14×48 invites proposals for a billboard project to be installed in New York City. Proposals must include an original work of art that can be printed and installed on an outdoor billboard. The exact billboard location in New York City cannot be determined in advance. Learn more.
Deadline: May 16, 2016 (10pm EDT)

Arts Writers Grant Applications are now being accepted for the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. The grant supports writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through project-based grants, ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, issued directly to twenty individual authors a year. The Arts Writers Grant Program aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship. Learn more.
Deadline: May 18, 2016

Boston Latino Artists La Galería at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts is looking for Latino and Latina artists of all disciplines to be part of the upcoming exhibit Emerging Latino Artists of Boston. Learn more.
Deadline: May 20, 2016

Call to Muralist YW Boston is looking for an  artist to create a colorful mural for their office at 140 Clarendon Street, in honor of their 150th Anniversary. The mural should showcase YW Boston’s work to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The contest is open to artists aged 18 and older. No entry fee. Learn more.
Deadline: May 29, 2016

Photographers The Aaron Siskind Foundation is offering a limited number of Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grants of up to $10,000 each, for artists working in photography and photo-based art. Learn more.
Deadline: May 30, 2016

Short Story Entries are now being accepted for Salamander Magazine’s Fiction Prize. The winner receives $1,500 and publication in Salamander for a short story. This year’s judge is Joan Wickersham. Learn more.
Deadline: June 1, 2016

Call for Artists The 9th Annual Governors Island Art Fair, New York’s largest independent exhibition, is seeking artists worldwide working in all disciplines. The entire massive event is free to the general public. And as an emerging or established artist, you are free to present your work, your way, at this acclaimed independent art fair in New York City. Learn more.
Deadline: June 1, 2016

Printmakers Zea Mays Printmaking is offering a unique opportunity for a select group of artists seeking to deepen their artistic practice while developing their printmaking skills.  Learn more.
Deadline: June 15, 2016

Image credit: Black and white photograph of Good Humor truck with children purchasing ice cream. In public domain.

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Modulating Artist Opportunities

May 3rd, 2016

We try to tailor to every style.

Museum-Led Incubator NEW INC (New York, NY), the first museum-led incubator, wants to foster cultural value, not just capital value. The incubator based at NYC’s New Museum is a 12-month program (September through August) that includes business and entrepreneurial training with seasoned experts, mentorship programs, group critiques, peer-to-peer learning, and critical discourse about the changing nature of culture, technology, and entrepreneurship. There is currently an open call for applications. Learn more.
Deadline: May 13, 2016

Proposals for New Plays Set in Boston SpeakEasy Stage is accepting proposals for The 2017 Boston Project, which includes a $2,500 commission and a year of development on a brand-new play about Boston. Playwrights should submit proposals for unwritten plays set in Boston or its surrounding areas, taking place within ten years, plus or minus, of the present day. The development process will culminate in a two-week workshop and invited staged reading in Winter/Spring 2017. Learn more.
Deadline: May 15, 2016

Residency The Ragdale Foundation is accepting applications for residencies for visual artists, musicians, writers, dancers, media artists, and choreographers. Organization provides housing, meals, and studio space in Lake Forest, IL. Learn more.
Deadline: May 15, 2016

State Dept Art Programs The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State currently has three opportunities in the arts. First, the Creative Arts Exchange, which includes funding for international exchanges through the Hip Hop Collaboration program and the Community Arts Incubator (a visual arts/based program). Second, the Arts Envoy Program is soliciting proposals to send U.S. artists and experts in all arts fields for short-term projects with U.S. Embassies and Consulates in all world areas. Third, the Communities Connecting Heritage is soliciting proposals for an exchange program focused on connecting U.S. and foreign communities around themes of intangible and tangible cultural heritage. Learn more.
Deadline for Creative Arts Exchange: May 26, 2016
Deadline for Arts Envoy and Communities Connection Heritage Programs: May 27, 2016

Emerging African American Poets The 2016 Gregory Pardlo Scholarship provides a full scholarship to attend the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place in New Hampshire, July 31-August 5, 2016, including room and board and a featured reading slot at the Seminar. Named for Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gregory Pardlo, the scholarship is open to African American poets writing in English who have published up to one book of poetry. Learn more.
Deadline: May 31, 2016

Toy and Lo-fi Photography The Somerville Toy Camera Festival seeks entries for its fourth annual celebration of toy and lo-fi photography. Images of any subject matter, made with a “toy” camera – a low-tech camera with plastic lenses and a lack of reliable exposure control – are eligible. Selected work will exhibit at Brickbottom Gallery, Nave Gallery Annex and Washington Street Art Center September-October, 2016. Learn more about eligible cameras and call details.
Deadline: June 15, 2016

Biology and Art Art+Bio Collaborative integrates art and life sciences through research, innovation, and education. The organization has two immersive field programs to provide hands-on experiences blending biology and art: DESERT LIFE: Field Studies of Art+Nature in the Southwest in west Texas/southwest New Mexico and ISLAND LIFE: Tropical Field Studios of Art+Nature in Puerto Rico.
DESERT LIFE Dates: July 10-16, 2016
ISLAND LIFE Dates: August 15-20, 2016

Call for Art The Principle Gallery (Charleston, SC) is now accepting application for their exhibition Root to Bloom: The Places Artists Call Home. The exhibition will feature paintings representative of where the featured artists call “home”. This theme can be applied to a range of views, from a studio interior to a street scene, from a rural landscape to an aerial view of city or countryside. Learn more.
Deadline: September 28, 2016

Image: LET’S TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT from the GIF Artists Collective.

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What Role Does Research Play in Your Art?

April 28th, 2016

Periodically, we pose a question to artists about an issue they face in their work and lives.

Historical, archival, and other research can be crucial to artists, but how and why can vary widely depending on the artist’s work. We asked artists in different disciplines, What role does research play in your process?

View a gallery of some of the research-influenced work of the responding artists

Claire Beckett, photographer
I tend to be interested in subjects that I know very little about, so I need to learn in order to make work. For example, with my current project, The Converts, about Americans converts to Islam, I initially knew very little about the subject. I needed to learn about Islam, about Muslims in America, and about the experience of conversion. I began by reading, where I always begin, because I love to read. I read novels, I re-read The Autobiography of Malcom X, I read a linguistic study, I read ethnography, I read the news. After I while I found that YouTube was full of conversion stories, so I watched those. Beyond the reading, I joined a class for women converting to Islam at a local mosque. When I began attending the class I was straightforward, introducing myself as an artist who wanted to learn about conversion. It must have been odd for the women in the class, but they accepted me. I went on to participate in the class for several years, and I still attend whenever I can. Through the generosity of this group, I learned so much.

Cam Terwilliger, writer
As a historical novelist, research plays an enormous role in my creative process. Right now I’m finishing a novel titled Yet Wilderness Grew in My Heart, which takes place in the colonies of New York and Quebec during the French and Indian War (1754–1763). As the plot develops, the book investigates how colonists conflicted and collaborated with Native people, giving rise to the North America we know today. I’m especially interested in dramatizing the lives of people that existed between cultures, such as Native people that lived in Europe, colonists that studied among Natives, and escaped slaves that took shelter in Indigenous communities.

In terms of process, I research the past first through books of history to get a broad picture of the events, and then I move into primary sources in search of concrete sensory details of the time and place – the details that make the past feel immediate and sensory. I scour through the letters of Jesuit missionaries, the travelogues of naturalists, the narratives of slaves, and newspaper advertisements, hunting for a handful of anecdotes and images that will bring the complex truth of this time into focus. As the novelist Ian McEwan remarks, “It’s worth knowing about ten times as much as you ever use, so you can move freely.”

I then I stitch these details into a single bolt of cloth. My goal is to have all these images and anecdotes fit seamlessly together, even though I’m pulling from very disparate places. The challenge is to imagine a scenario in which they coexist in a dramatically interesting way that does not feel overly contrived or convenient.

Steve Gentile, animator
In the case of my most recently finished animated film, A Pirate Named Ned, the research found me. I was just trying to escape the idea of “reading for a purpose” because I had just finished a film about Emily Dickinson, and that involved extensive research. So I started reading about pirates just for fun. That turned into a short, animated film by accident, and I swear, the research made me do it.

Typically with film & animation, I need to become a semi-expert on the topic at hand, which means a lot of reading. Scholarly researchers who write biographies usually have more constraints with format and also the audience they intend to reach. With film, and especially animation, there’s an opportunity to take more risks, so I try to run to the margins of information. I’ve probably chased down more interesting information from footnotes and appendices than in the actual body of the texts.

Time-based media is not really the most efficient way to convey a mountain of facts and information. Writing is better suited for that. It’s hard to convey every detail of every story without putting the viewer to sleep, so a lot of the stories that I think are really neat sometimes don’t make it into a film. This is o.k. – those ideas can work their way into how a character is drawn, or how they move – how they’re animated. That’s an advantage animation has over writing.

Emily Lombardo, visual artist
When I decide to take on a project that is in direct relationship to another work of art or historical moment, I dive into research like a newly awakened conspiracy theorist. I feverishly comb the Internet for articles, links, books, interviews and documentaries. With The Caprichos, I had 80 plates to decode which Goya had made purposefully ambiguous to fly under the radar of the Spanish Monarchy. However in order for me to be able to recode and create a new independent body of work, it is important for me to step outside of the research to be able to make room for fantasy and a new narrative. The research serves as a solid point of departure where parallels and differences are revealed in my relationship with the reference. For me the research is the love affair, and the work comes after the break up. One can see the final effects of my research in the crafting of the works. This means that if I choose to appropriate a work of art that is etching I will take painstaking measures to accomplish the work in the traditional method of the artist I am referencing. By paying homage to the craftsmanship of the previous work, the audience is free to discuss why the work was made rather than how.

Azadeh Tajpour, visual artist
Research has been an essential and often the most time consuming part of my art making process. My installations of paintings, drawings, prints, and video have all been based on images or footages found within an area of curiosity, followed by further research of the subject, imagery, and the ways of representation.

Currently, I am studying a huge photo album from the 19th c., which I have been amazed not only by the photographs and their variety of genres, but also by their arrangements, and the ethnographic style of documentation. I read the textual narrative and look at their relationship with the photographs. Even though I have some vague ideas, mostly visual, the final outcome is uncertain, which can be frightening so keeping faith in the process is crucial. The next step would be to go back and look at my notes and selected images, with either a clearer sense of the direction, or just a narrower focus; this step might be repeated again and again. Research, brainstorming, drawing charts, and possible conversations will help me to progress. After all, maybe we are all doing what Michelangelo had mentioned, discovering the statue inside of the stone block by carving and carving.


Related reading: What do we owe to history in our art?

Claire Beckett is a photographer whose solo exhibition The Converts is on view at Carroll & Sons Gallery through May 28 (opening reception May 6, 2016, 5:30-7:30 pm. She also has work in the The Outwin: American Portraiture Today exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, through 2016.

Steve Gentile is an animator, documentary filmmaker, and Professor of Animation at Massachusetts College of Art & Design. His current project, “Chateau au Go Go,” is an animated film that uses the images from wine corks to make a kinetic statement about the human history of control over nature. The research involved the opening of a lot of wine bottles.

Emily Lombardo is a visual artist who applies her vast knowledge of sculpture and print across a wide range of conceptual projects.

Azadeh Tajpour is a visual artist working in various media. She recently exhibited art based on found footage and archival photos at the Hollister Gallery of Babson College, and earlier this year, she was in a group show at the Walter Feldman Gallery and had a residency at PLAYA in Summerlake, Oregon.

Cam Terwilliger is the 2015/2016 winner of the Historical Novel Society’s New Novel Award and is currently the Tickner Writing Fellow at Gilman School in Baltimore. From May 2 to May 6, he is teaching a one-week intensive online course on Flash Fiction through the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

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Fellows Notes – May 16

April 27th, 2016

In May’s news from MCC Artist Fellows/Finalists: books, pop-up shows, crowdfunding campaigns, Spring arts festivals, and excellence aplenty.

Camilo Ramirez, from the project THE GULF

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival 2016 (4/29-5/1) in downtown Salem is a festival of readings, workshops, talks, and other poetry-related events, many featuring past awardees of MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program – read more.

John Cameron and Jennifer McCurdy were both featured in the Smithsonian Craft Show in April.

At the Independent Film Festival Boston (4/27-5/4), Mary Jane Doherty screens Primaria, Michal Goldman screens Nasser’s Republic, Jesse Kreitzer screens Black Canaries, and James Rutenbeck screens Class of ’27. Also, Gabriel Polonsky‘s Release from Reason and Kathryn Ramey‘s The Empty Sign are part of the Mass Works-in-Progress Competition.

Flash Forward Festival Boston is an 8-day photography festival (5/1-5/8) of exhibitions, events, talks, and more. Since one of its primary focuses is New England photography, it’s no surprise that the lots of artists who’ve received MCC Artist Fellowship awards are featured in events: Stella Johnson and Greer Muldowney are in Art/Document (5/3, 5:30-7, Lesley Univeristy’s Lunder Arts Center); Tsar Fedorsky, Michael Joseph, Sarah Malakoff, and Toni Pepe are in the Photographic Resource Center’s Exposure (opening reception 5/5, 5-8 PM); Archiv* (opening reception 5/6, 6-9 PM, Gallery Kayafas) is a solo exhibition of work by Matthew Gamber; Eric Gottesman, Justin Kimball, and Rania Matar are in A Fragile Balance (opening reception 5/6, 6-9 PM, Fort Point Arts Community Gallery); and Stephen Sheffield, Ben Sloat, and Stephen Tourlentes are in [Photo]gogues: New England at Layfayette City Center Passageway (thru 8/26).


Amy Archambault has a solo exhibition at Boston Sculptors Gallery, Imaginate (5/4-6/5, opening reception 5/15, 4-7 PM, artist talk 3-4 PM).

Claire Beckett‘s solo exhibition The Converts is on view at Carroll & Sons Gallery through May 28 (thru 5/28, opening reception 5/6, 5:30-7:30 pm). She also has work in the The Outwin: American Portraiture Today exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, through 2016.

Sean Downey is exhibiting in the group show Interiors at Dorchester Art Project (thru 5/21).

Samantha Fields gives an artist talk, When Things Touch, at Essex Art Center (5/6, 5 PM). This month, she’s exhibiting in CounterCraft: Voices of the Indie Craft Community at Fuller Craft Museum (5/7-7/10, reception 5/7, 2-5 PM) and in Flow at Nave Gallery in Somerville (thru 5/21).

Nona Hershey is exhibiting a new body of work, sublime@subliminal at Soprafina Gallery in Boston (thru 5/28, artists reception 5/6, 5:30).

Jared Katsiane‘s film Big Willow was awarded first place at the 7th Sustainability Shorts Film Competition at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro. The film has screened at over 100 international festivals.

Danielle Legros Georges, the Boston Poet Laureate, reads from her poetry collection The Dear Remote Nearness of You, reads at Boston Public Library on 5/15, 2-4 PM, in an event co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture.

Scott Listfield has his first London solo exhibition, An American Astronaut in London, at StolenSpace Gallery (5/5-5/29). Read his interview with the gallery. Also, he curated an exhibition for Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco, Vestiges: Scott Listfield & Friends II (thru 5/12). The show includes past MCC Traditional Master Artist Josh Luke.

Melinda Lopez‘s Playwright Residency at the Huntington Theatre will have renewed funding from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, which recently announced a new round of national playwright residencies. Melinda’s residency at Huntington was featured in MCC’s 40 Years of Fellowships project.

Stefanie Lubkowski was commissioned to write Circles Circling, a three movement piece for the Charles River Wind Ensemble. The first movement will be premiered on their Boston, You’re My Home program (5/15, 3 PM, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library in Lexington). The concert is free and includes works by Michael Gandolfi, Charles Ives, and John Mackey.

Congratulations to Taylor Mac, who is among this year’s Guggenheim Fellows. Also, Taylor Mac will have an upcoming residency at HERE Arts Center, funded by the Mellon Foundation.

Todd McKie has a solo show, Suitable for Framing, at Gallery NAGA (thru 5/28, opening reception 5/6, 6-8 PM).

Nathalie Miebach has work in Interconnections: the Language of Basketry at Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ (5/15-9/4). Also, she is Artist-in-Residence at the Jentel Arts Residency Program in Wyoming, in May.

Ethan Murrow is currently at work on preparing for a large-scale wall drawing for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, FL (7/16-10/30). His new children’s book The Whale, created in collaboration with his wife Vita Murrow, is now available. Previously, Ethan published a monograph with German art book publisher Hatje Cantz.

Anne Neely has a solo show, Ireland: Place and Ritual at the Paul Dietrich Gallery (thru 7/8).

Lisa Olivieri was featured on WGBH’s Greater Boston discussing her documentary Blindsided. The film will screen in the My True Colors Film Festival in NYC in June.

Camilo Ramirez has a solo exhibition of photographs, The Gulf at ArtsWorcester (opening reception 5/6 6-8 PM).

Anna Ross has a new chapbook, Figuring, to be released by Bull City Press in May. She was interviewed about her poetry by the blog Speaking of Marvels.

James Rutenbeck, along with screening a film in the Independent Film Festival Boston (see above), has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support his film-in-progress, The Clemente Project. Read about it on ArtSake.

Leslie Sills has an exhibit of figurative sculpture Personnages at Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford (thru 5/12).

Congratulations to Cam Terwilliger, the 2015/2016 winner of the Historical Novel Society’s New Novel Award.

Amber Davis Tourlentes has photography in Grounded at Boston Cyberarts Gallery (5/14-6/16. opening reception 5/13 6-8 PM).

Hannah Verlin has a site-specific installation, Remnants, at the Simmons College Trustman Art Gallery (thru 5/25).

Helena Wurzel is in a two-person pop-up exhibition (with Crystalle Lacouture), called Let’s Talk about the Weather, at Lacouture Studio in Wellesley (5/21 reception, 6-8 PM, 5/22 open house, 12-4 PM).

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

Image: Camilo Ramirez, from the project THE GULF.

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Regal Artist Opportunities

April 26th, 2016


Call to Artists Discover Quincy, the official tourism agency of the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, invites artists to submit their work to possibly be featured in the upcoming event series “Art Walk Fridays” during the Annual 50 Days of FREEdom. This event is focused on building the community’s creative economy and engaging local artists with the local population.  Discover Quincy is bringing a free arts and entertainment event to each of their business districts. They welcome artist applications to be submitted and possibly featured in the exhibits. Panels measuring 3′ x 5′ will be used to display works within a local business. Artists are encouraged to sell and advertise their work. Each event will take place from 5-8pm on June 17 in Quincy Center, June 24 in Wollaston, July 8 in North Quincy, July 15 in West Quincy, July 22 in Quincy Point, and July 29 in Quincy Center. Learn more.
Deadline: A.S.A.P.

Artist Residency The Arteles International artist residency programs bring together creative minds & professionals from all over the world. Located in the scenic landscapes of Hämeenkyrö, Finland, the residency serves as the perfect platform to explore and expand the boundaries of your art & mind. Learn more.
Deadline: April 29, 2016

10-Minute Plays The Exquisite Corpse Company in Brooklyn is seeking to build a collaborative writing team for an original immersive experience to be presented as part of the company’s upcoming summer season. Inspired by the work of surrealist painter, Rene Magritte. Learn more.
April 30, 2016

Artist Residency The Turkey Land Cove Foundation in Edgartown, MA, offers personal, individual working residencies for motivated women to pursue their professional, educational, or artistic goals away from the distractions of daily life. TLCF provides a quiet space for a woman to progress towards a defined goal, complete a project, and develop tools to propel her life in a new direction. The successful candidate will have a clearly defined goal and a plan to reach that goal. Learn more.
Deadline: May 1, 2016

Painting Commission  ArtsinStark is awarding a $25,000 commission for the creation of a painting to celebrate, “The Reintegration of Pro Football.” Learn more.
Deadline: May 6, 2016 ( midnight, EST)

Fiber Artists The Maryland Federation of Art invites all artists residing in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico to enter its 4th biennial Fiber Options: Material Explorations competition. Any original 2-D or 3-D artwork created with fiber is eligible. Works selected will be on exhibit in the MFA Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland from July 14-August 6, 2016. The exhibition chair is Kass McGowan. Learn more.
Deadline: May 12, 2016

Art Writers The Arts Writers grant supports both emerging and established writers who are writing about contemporary visual art. As long as a writer meets the eligibility and publishing requirements, they can apply. You may only apply for one project per grant cycle. You must choose one project type: Article, Blog, Book, New and Alternative Media, or Short-Form Writing. The grant period is for one year, allowing for either regular publishing (Short-Form Writing and Blog applicants) or specific completion dates (as for Article and Book applicants). Learn more.
Deadline: May 18, 2016

Artist Residency The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) in association with First State National Historical Park of the National Park Service now offers a Residency in Northern Delaware, close to many of the historic colonial sights of Delaware, but in a pastoral forest setting that inspired the Wyeth family. This is one of the newest parks in the National Park Service. Learn more.
Deadline: June 1, 2016

Sculptors The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center invites artists to submit proposals for SculptFest 2016, September 10 – October 23. The theme for this year’s outdoor exhibition is Forecast Now, guest curated by artist Taylor Apostol. “Forecast Now” encourages artists to respond to current experiences of weather. Artists and artist teams are invited to submit proposals for sculpture, installation, video or performance to be exhibited on the historic grounds of the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, Vermont.
Learn more.
Deadline: June 24th, 2016

Photographers The CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography competition is open to North American photographers of any age who have never published a book-length work and who use their cameras for creative exploration, whether it be of places, people, or communities; of the natural or social world; of beauty at large or the lack of it; of objective or subjective realities. The prize honors work that is visually compelling, that bears witness, and that has integrity of purpose. Winners receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner also receives a solo exhibit and the photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library. Learn more.
Deadline: September 15, 2016

Image credit: Silhouette of Prince.


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