Archive for the ‘conceptual art’ Category

Fellows Notes – Jan 17

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Each month, we share the news and honors of Artist Fellows & Finalists. Here’s the newest, in this new month of the new year.

Cover art for BEFORE YOU by Rebecca Doughty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017)

Regie Gibson, Letta Neely, Monica Raymond, and David Valdes Greenwood are among the artists whose work will be performed at Pinning Our Hopes, an evening of poems and scenes exploring the years ahead under the new president. The show, which is curated by David Valdes Greenwood, has two performances (1/14, 4 PM and 8 PM) and is free/donation-based.

Marky Kauffmann and Rania Matar both have photography in Outspoken: Seven Women Photographers at the de Menil Gallery at Groton School (opening reception 1/18, 7 PM). Marky Kauffmann curated the exhibition.

Kenji Nakayama and Ben Sloat are among the artists in the exhibition All That Glitters Is Not Gold at Drive-by Projects (1/28-3/11, reception 1/28, 4-6 PM).

Rachel Perry, Joe Wardwell, and Deb Todd Wheeler are among the artists exhibiting in Loud and Clear at Miller Yezerski Gallery (1/6-2/7).

Daniela Rivera and Evelyn Rydz are both exhibiting in latinx@mericañaza at Samson Projects.


Kati Agócs had the U.S. premiere of her string quarter Tantric Variations, performed by the Cecilia String Quartet on Stradivari instruments, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in December.

Alexandra Anthony has a one-week theatrical run of her film Lost in the Bewilderness in Athens, Greece (1/12-1/18) at the Alkyonis Art Cinema. National Greek TV (ERT) will broadcast the film 1/15. The film’s December premiere in Greece received press attention in Madame Figaro and

Carrie Bennett has poetry in Issue 30 of jubilat.

Steven Bogart has a staged reading of his play Rehearsal at First Church in Boston Unitarian Universalist (1/24, 7 PM).

David Bookbinder has recently published two books: 52 (more) Flower Mandalas (an adult coloring book collaboration with Mary O’Malley) and Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas.

Rebecca Doughty has a new picture book, Before You, which will have a book launch event at Joie de Vivre in Cambridge (1/15, 4-6 PM).

Michael Dowling co-wrote the feature film Brave New Jersey, and it’s screening at the Berkshire Film Festival (1/12, 6 PM reception, 7 PM screening, q&a to follow).

Samantha Fields has a performative sculptural installation in the exhibition Is this Something at the Lasell College Wedeman Gallery (1/24-2/11, reception 1/29, 4-6 PM). Next summer, she will be Artist-in-Residence at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin.

Sean Greene has a solo exhibition, Impulse Control, at the Williston Northampton School Grubbs Gallery (thru 1/30, reception 1/14, 1 PM).

Carrie Gustafson is exhibiting in the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair (1/18-1/22).

Michael Hoerman‘s poems “Disoriented Fascination,” “The God-box Killer,” and “The B-side of Stuxnet,” published in Eureka Literary Magazine, were nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Eric Hofbauer‘s album Three Places in New England (with The Eric Hofbauer Quintet) was named one of the Boston Globe’s Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2016.

Joel Janowitz has a solo exhibition, Protected Trees, presented by Cambridge Arts at Gallery 344 (1/23-4/7, reception 1/30, 6-8 PM).

Niho Kozuru is among the artists in Plastic Imagination Fitchburg Art Museum (thru 1/15).

Scott Listfield is exhibiting in Supersonic Invitational (New York City), Platinum Blend 3 at Modern Eden Gallery (San Francisco), BRINK at Antler Gallery (Portland), and a Rick and Morty-themed exhibition at Gallery 1988 in LA.

Caitlin McCarthy is included in the book The Top 100 Indie Writers in the World.

Nathalie Miebach is in the group show Weather or Not, That Is the Question at the Children’s Museum of New York City (1/16-5/23). She’s also exhibiting in Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America at the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology (1/27-5/14).

Anna Ross has a poem, Back Porch Aubade, published on Harvard Review Online.

Evelyn Rydz‘s exhibition Floating Artifacts is at Tufts University Art Gallery (1/24-5/21, opening reception 1/26, 5-7:30 PM). As mentioned above, she’s also exhibiting in latinx@mericañaza at Samson Projects.

Jenine Shereos has a solo show of new work, Thaw, at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston (1/14-3/8, reception 2/25, 5-7 PM).

Karen Skolfield won the Jeffrey Smith Editors’ Prize in poetry at Missouri Review.

Shubha Sunder wrote about the writing workshop experience for the Grub Street’s GrubWrites blog.

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

Image: cover art for BEFORE YOU by Rebecca Doughty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017).

Artist’s Voice: Coe Lapossy

Monday, February 1st, 2016

An artist’s process of searching to discover a yet unknown truth to herself and her viewers can be simultaneously exhilarating, challenging, and inspiring. Coe Lapossy is embarking on this path and has graciously invited us to come along for the ride. 

Lapossy MegSydneyAlec

My project for Brink v.2 is titled Meg/Sydney/Alec. About halfway into the project, I began to think of it more like a play, with a cast of characters and four acts. The action is taken from both the classic sawn-in-half woman illusion, and the film Prelude to a Kiss (1992). Both references involve a wide exploration of what can be experienced by the human body: body swapping and segmenting the body. This painting/sculpture/performance/video is excavating painting as a material itself, but also excavating these stories and illusions, blurring age, gender, and bodily experience.


I visit the Mills Gallery each day, building a mass from paint bricks that is then covered with wet paint. This paint mass dries into one solid form that will be sawn into segments during a performance March 12, 2016. The physical struggle to saw these objects is a way to get closer to them, to build intimacy with them. I look inside, dig through the sediment, over the course of three months I get closer, and cut deeper, in order to understand the paintings inside.

In addition to the performance, visitors to the gallery may ask for my phone number in order to text me directly and I will send them short video clips of objects in the show speaking and acting.

The show is curated by John Pyper and includes the work of six artists: Johnny Adimando, Samantha Fields, Coe Lapossy, AJ Liberto, Steven Pestana and J.R. Uretsky. The show catalog is also available to order.


BRINK v2: Space and Intimacy
Boston Center for the Arts, Mills Gallery
Hours: Wednesday, 12–5pm; Thursday-Saturday, 12–9pm; Sunday, 12–5pm

All images courtesy of Coe Lapossy.


Fellows Notes – Feb 16

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

It’s a Leap Year, so there’s an extra day this month to enjoy the awesomeness of Massachusetts artists!

For a taste, we offer news from past Fellows and Finalists of MCC’s Artist Fellowships.

Melinda Lopez, who has a new play opening this month (see below), in the 40 Years of Fellowships project


Two exhibitions at the University of New Hampshire Museum of Art feature past MCC awardees: Sophia Ainslie and Cristi Rinklin join Nathan Miner in the three-person exhibition, Groundswell, while Shelley Reed and Randall Thurston exhibit in Natural Wonder. Both shows run thru 4/3.

Elizabeth Alexander and Randall Thurston are both exhibiting in Paper and Blade: Modern Paper Cutting at the Fuller Craft Museum (thru 7/24).


Deborah Abel of the Deborah Abel Dance Company recently returned home from a 3 city tour of India where she gave Bhakti Modern Dance master classes. See pictures from a master class at Kalakshetra Conservatory of Music and Dance in Chennai India in January.

Kati Agócs was recently featured on WBUR’s The ARTery for a recent concert of her work. Kati’s new CD The Debrecen Passion was featured by WQXR as its album of the week.

Allison Cekala‘s solo show Salt Mountain at the Howard Art Project was listed as Cate McQaid’s highlights from 2015, and her photo show Salt is on view at the Mayor’s Gallery at City Hall (thru 2/29). Allison’s project Fundir (which she submitted to win her 2015 fellowship) is a video piece tracking salt gathered from northern Chile and transported to Boston for winter road maintenance. She spoke on a segment in PRI’s The World about the road salt harvesting and transport process.

Alexander Chee‘s new novel Queen of the Night is published this month. He was interviewed on Late Night with Seth Meyers!

Georgie Friedman‘s video installation Slippery Slope is on view at the Wold Atrium of Union College in Schenectady, NY (thru 11/2016).

Matthew Gamber‘s Grammar, a survey of recent photography works, is on view at College of the Holy Cross Cantor Art Gallery (thru 2/27).

John Gianvito curated the four-person exhibition High Low at the Fort Point Arts Community Gallery (2/23-3/29, opening reception 3/3 5:30-7:30 PM).

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson was interviewed by Mass Poetry about her new book Opinel. She has upcoming readings at The Blacksmith House (2/22, with Michael Morse) and Boston Athenaeum (4/27).

Sean Greene is in the 20th Anniversary Exhibition at William Baczek Fine Arts (thru 3/12), and he’s among the artists who worked with a chair to create a new work, in Take a Seat at the UMass Amherst Museum of Contemporary Art (thru 2/27, silent auction 2/28).

Marky Kaufmann has a solo show, Landscapes and Prayers at Griffin Museum’s Digital Silver Imaging Gallery (thru 3/11, opening reception 2/18, 6-8 PM). Also, Marky curated and is exhibiting in Outspoken, a show of six female photographers (including Rania Matar), at Middlesex School in Concord.

Caroline Klocksiem has poetry in the latest issue of Opon.

Daniel Kornrumpf is exhibiting in Extrapolation at the Trustman Art Gallery at Simmons College (2/4-3/4, reception 2/4, 5-7 PM).

Joy Ladin recently received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships, and she was featured in an interview on the NEA’s Art Works Blog.

Siobhan Landry was featured on Neighbor Media for a new film project exploring the abolitionist history of this region, specifically Georgetown, MA.

Sandy Litchfield‘s solo show Filterscape is on view at Carroll and Sons Gallery (thru 2/27).

Melinda Lopez (featured in the 40 Years of Fellowships video, above) has a new play, Back the Night at Boston Playwrights Theatre (2/4-2/28).

Rania Matar has gotten advance reviews for her new photography book L’Enfant-Femme from The Guardian, ARTslant, LensCulture, and The Daily Telegraph.

Cynthia Maurice is in the two-person show Out the Window & Around the Town at Brickbottom Art Gallery in Somerville (thru 2/27).

Rachel Mello co-curated and is exhibiting in the Sketchbook Show 2016 at the Nave Gallery (thru 3/3).

Vanessa Michalak recently accepted a position for the Spring semester as the “Emerging Artist in Residence” at Penn State, Altoona. She has an upcoming Exhibition in the McLanahan Gallery on campus (3/17-4/3).

Nathalie Miebach has pieces in two shows that are part of the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition: Minneapolis Institute of Art (2/18-5/29) and Telfair Museum in Savannah, GA (2/19-9/4).

Anne Neely‘s Water Stories: Conversations in Paint and Sound, created with Halsey Burgund, is traveling from its original setting at the Museum of Science Boston to Old Dominion University Baron and Ellin Gordon Gallery in Norfolk, VA (thru 3/13).

Cecelia Raker is a 2016 PlayLab Fellow at Company One Theatre in Boston.

Kathryn Ramey has a new book, Experimental Filmmaking – BREAK THE MACHINE. There will be a book launch event on 2/4, 6-8 PM, at City Feed and Supply in Jamaica Plain, including a hand-drawn film workshop by AgX Film Collective.

Monica Raymond‘s play A to Z is a finalist for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Award of Excellence in Playwriting.

Cristi Rinklin is among the artists exhibiting in Collaboration: The Artist and the Land at the Sharon Arts Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Art (thru 2/20).

Anna Ross wrote a moving tribute to C.D. Wright for the Mass Poetry blog.

Samuel Rowlett has a solo exhibition entitled Landscape Painting in the Expanded Field as part of the O P E N exhibition series at the Julian Scott Memorial Gallery at Johnson State College. At a gallery talk related to the exhibition, Samuel conducted an interactive digital painting session, with students and visitors using smartphones as both palette and canvas!

Mary Sherman‘s Eri, After Dark was performed at Drive-By Projects in January.

Sarah Slifer Swift is embarking on the second year of her Trident Live Art Series at Trident Gallery in Gloucester MA. The series is a platform for local and regional performance-based artists to show current projects in a salon setting. The upcoming show on 2/6, 7 PM features a new duet by Swift and cellist Kristen Miller.

Sarah Sousa (one of the brand new Poetry Fellows!) is featured in Mass Poetry’s Poem of the Moment, with her poem Epistle.

Laurel Sparks has a solo show, Magic Squares, at Sarah Lawrence College Barbara Walters Gallery (thru 3/13). There will be an artist lecture on 2/16, 4 PM.

TRIIIBE, aka the identical triplets Alicia, Kelly, and Sara Casilio along with photographer Cary Woliknsky, have a solo show at Fitchburg Art Museum, TRIIIBE: same difference (2/7-6/5, opening reception 2/7, 1-3 PM).

Evan Ziporyn was named one of the 40 Most Intriguing Musicians of 2016 by The Daily Beast.

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

Media: Melinda Lopez, interviewed at the Huntington Theatre Company, for the 40 Years of Fellowships project.

Boston Supports Artists

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Sushi set featuring Tobin Bridge by Nicole Aquillano, 2015 Brother Thomas Fellow

Two recent announcements reflect a steadily growing landscape of support for artists in Boston.

Brother Thomas Fellowships
Congratulations to the ten artists named as 2015 Brother Thomas Fellows – a list that includes four past MCC awardees. The Brother Thomas Fellows receive unrestricted grants of $15,000 through a fund established at the Boston Foundation in 2007 to honor the legacy of Brother Thomas Bezanson, a Benedictine monk and world-renowned ceramic artist.

The 2015 Brother Thomas Fellows

  • Nicole Aquillano, ceramics
  • Halsey Burgund (featured on ArtSake), sound art
  • Raúl Gonzalez III (Drawing & Printmaking Finalist ’12), visual art
  • Napoleon Jones-Henderson, visual art
  • Masako Kamiya (Painting Fellow ’06, ’10), painting
  • Balla Kouyaté (Traditional Arts Fellow ’10), traditional balafon
  • Danielle Legros Georges (Poetry Fellow ’14), poetry
  • Sandrine Schaefer, performance art
  • Michelle Seaton, literature
  • Jae Williams, film


Boston AIR
Last week, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) announced that 11 artists (including four past MCC awardees) were selected for the City of Boston’s first artist-in-residence program, Boston AIR.

Funded in part by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Boston AIR will allow the artists to “expand their own civic and social practice, alongside a group of liaisons from city agencies, including: Public Works, Property and Construction Management, Parks and Recreation, Veterans’ Services, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Education, Policy, Neighborhood Development, Women’s Advancement, Elderly Commission, and the Boston Police Department.” The artists will work City liasons to co-design proposals to work with a city department.

The 2015 Boston Artists in Residence

  • Peter DiMuro (MCC Choreography Fellow ’90), dance
  • Rashin Fahandej, film
  • Pat Falco (featured on ArtSake), visual art
  • L’Merchie Frazier, textiles
  • Georgie Friedman (Sculpture/Installation/New Genres Fellow ’13), video installation art
  • Shaw Pong Liu, performance art
  • Roberto Mighty, film
  • Caleb Neelon (Sculpture/Installation/New Genres Fellow ’07), murals
  • Melissa Nussbaum Freeman, photography
  • Liz Nofziger (Sculpture/Installation/New Genres Fellow ’05), mixed media
  • Juan Obando, time-based media

Image: Nicole Aquillano (2015 Brother Thomas Fellow), sushi set featuring Tobin Bridge.

Why Fund Artists? Part 3

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Massachusetts has been funding artists for 40 years, and to help illuminate why, we’re asking past Artist Fellowships awardees to tell us what happened after they were honored with a state award.

This is the third gallery exploring the history of the Artist Fellowships Program. See the first and second. And if you’re a past awardee, visit our Alumni Book to tell your story.

Samuel Rowlett: Itinerant Painter

Wednesday, September 9th, 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.

Samuel Rowlett, one of the participating artists, will be exhibiting new work. “New” as in, painted-day-of-the-opening new.

Samuel Rowlett, ITINERANT PAINTER (2013) acrylic on canvas, wood, gouache on paper, mixed media, 6x6x3 ft

Itinerant Painter Map
Samuel Rowlett and his mobile portrait painting studio will be roaming to locations in Newton on Friday, September 18, 2015 (opening day for the exhibition). You can stop by for a free portrait, which will then be on display in the gallery during the show. The paintings will even be available for pickup on October 20.

Itinerant Painter Schedule:
**Approximate times, subject to change.
11:00 Newton Senior Center
12:00 Newton North High School
1:00 Walnut St. near Cabot Street
2:30 Newton Free Library
3:30 Newton City Hall 5:30 Walnut St. near Newtonville Ave.
7:00 New Art Center

More info.


Samuel Rowlett, ITINERANT PAINTER, at Nuite Blanche in Toronto (2014), Photo by Andrew Williamson

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

Images: all images courtesy of Samuel Rowlett, photo of Nuite Blanche exhibition by Andrew Williamson.

Fellows Notes – Sep 15

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Back to school. Bummer!/Awesome! (Depending on whether you like school.)

Take a break from the syllabus and read this news from past MCC awardees.

From the ONE TO ONE project by Linda Bond

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and The New Art Center (NAC) will present the MCC Awardees in Crafts and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres, 9/18-10/17) at the NAC, with an opening reception on Friday, September 18, 2015 from 7-9 PM, and MCC Support for Individual Artists, a talk about state grants and services for artists, on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 7-8:30 PM.

Harriet Diamond co-created the installation Rising and Falling, exhibiting alongside the exhibition Human Impact (which includes work by Rachel Perry Welty), at the Deerfield Academy von Auersperg Gallery (9/20-10/30).

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, Christian McEwen, Anna Ross, and Rodney Wittwer are all participating in the New Hampshire Poetry Festival on 9/19 – schedule.

David B. Harris and Mimi Rabson join drummer Phil Neighbors in the band Triarky, which will give a free performance 9/10, 7:30 PM, at the Berklee Uchida Building in Boston.


Sophia Ainslie has been commissioned to create a new, site-specific work for the new Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex at Tufts University, and the exhibition In Person—574: Sophia Ainslie (9/10-12/6) in the Remis Sculpture Court explores the creation and installation of the commission. The artist also has her first solo show with Gallery NAGA, Pata Pata (9/8-10/3, opening reception 9/11, 6-8 PM).

Amy Archambault and her artist residency at the Boston Center for the Arts are featured on the New England Foundation for the Arts blog.

Simeon Berry has published his second book of poetry, Monograph. His first book, Ampersand Revisited, was published in April. Both books won the National Poetry Series (2013 for Ampersand Revisited and 2014 for Monograph).

Linda Bond has a solo exhibition, Reconnaissance, at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis (thru 10/27, opening reception 9/17, 5-8 PM).

Prilla Smith Brackett has a solo show, Fractured Vision IICatamount Arts in Vermont (9/16-10/25, reception 10/2, 5-7 PM, artist talk at 6 PM). She is also in a 3-person show, Reveal, at 13 Forest Gallery (9/19-11/13, opening reception 9/19, 4-6 PM, artist talk 10/17, 4-6 PM).

Vico Fabbris will teach a painting workshop at the Provincetown Association and Art Museum (9/26-9/27) and a five week course at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Watercolor and Inventive Thinking (11/2-11/20).

Georgie Friedman‘s large-scale sculptural video installation Eye of the Storm is on view in the Roberts Gallery at Lesley University’s Lunder Arts Center (thru 11/1). Also, her works Sky Study I (premiere), Snow Study II, and Snow Study III will be on view in the Vandernoot Gallery.

Steven Gentile‘s film A Pirate Named Ned screened at the National Gallery of Art in D.C., in July, as part of the Black Maria Film & Video Festival.

Christy Georg has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Gardiner Art Gallery at Oklahoma State University and was awarded a John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry residency in 2016.

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson has published a new book, Opinel, and will read from it at Broadside Bookshop in Northampton (9/16, 7 PM), at the New Hampshire Poetry Festival (9/19, 9:15 AM), the Grolier Book Shop in Cambridge (9/29, 7 PM), and more.

Joo Lee Kang is exhibiting in the group show No Dead Artists at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans (thru 9/26).

Barry Kiperman had work in three exhibitions this summer: Picture This! Community of Artist exhibition at Danforth Art, Art of the Northeast at the Silvermine Arts Center (where his work Of Rhetoric and Reason 2 was voted “Best in Show”) and the National Juried Competition 2015: Works on Paper at the Long Island Beach Foundation of the Arts and Sciences.

Dawn Lane‘s new dance work ALL RISE: Court Dance will be performed at Shakespeare and Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse 9/24-9/26, 8 PM.

Scott Listfield is exhibiting in LAX/LHR at Thinkspace Gallery in London (9/3-9/26). Recently, he had a “Hot Wheels”-inspired painting in the official Mattel show at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles.

Sarah Malakoff has a solo show, Sarah Malakoff: Second Nature, at the Vermont Center for Photography (9/4-9/27, opening reception 9/4, 5:30-8:30 PM).

Jane Marsching is co-organizing (with Andi Sutton) Stitching the Shore, a day of environmentally-focused art events, including a collectively-stitched shoreline tarp map of Boston Harbor, on 9/12, 10 AM-1 PM, on the banks of the Mystic River. Visit the Facebook page for more info. Jane is the Fall 2015 Artist in Residence at the Boston University Dept of Earth and Environment. She’ll be moderating an event, Footprint: Building a dialog at swissnex Boston 9/30, 6 PM.

Tara Masih is series editor of the new collection Best Small Fictions, coming in October 2015.

Lisa Olivieri‘s film Blindsided was an August selection for the Just Film Awards Festival in San Francisco.

Cecelia Raker has a play in Eager Risk Theater’s Shoebox Festival at John DeSotelle Studio in NYC (9/3-9/6).

Evelyn Rydz has work in Gyre: The Plastic Ocean at Fisher Museum of Art in Los Angeles (thru 11/21).

Jenine Shereos was recently featured in the art journal HiFructose.

Peter Snoad‘s new multi-media play, The Draft, about personal experiences with the military draft during the Vietnam War, premieres at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury (9/10-9/20), where Peter has been Visiting Playwright. The play will then go on the road for performances at Westfield State University, The Academy of Music in Northampton, and Trinity College in Hartford, CT, a tour supported by a crowdfunding campaign.

Rachel Perry Welty‘s fifth solo exhibition at Yancey Richardson Gallery in NYC, Chiral Lines, runs 9/10-10/17. The works are ambidextrous, two-panel drawings made using every writing instrument in the artist’s home.

Linda K. Wertheimer‘s new book Faith Ed: Teaching about Religion in an Age of Intolerance has gotten recent reviews in the Boston Globe, New York Times Sunday Book Review, and Publishers Weekly, among others. She’ll read from the book at Newtonville Books (9/10, 7 PM), Cary Library in Lexington (9/17, 7 PM), and BookEnds in Wichester (9/27, 2 PM).

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

Image: from the ONE TO ONE project by Linda Bond.

Why Fund Artists?

Friday, August 7th, 2015

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been supporting artists for 40 years through the Artist Fellowships Program. To help illuminate why, the Massachusetts Cultural Council has asked past awardees going all the way back to 1975 to share their personal stories of receiving the state award for artistic excellence.

The following gallery compiles of some of those stories, which tell of much-needed funding to expand projects, encouragement to take artistic chances, and the gift of time and space to grow into new directions. The reminiscences range from the ’70s through to recent years.

Watch for future galleries from the history of the Artist Fellowships Program, and if you’re a past awardee, visit our Alumni Book to tell us your story.

How Do You Talk about Your Art?

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

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

At some point, most artists are asked to either speak or write about their work and about their creative process. How much do they explain? What aspects do they steer away from discussing?

We asked artists in different disciplines, What do you strive to convey when speaking or writing publicly about your work?

Matthew Gamber, 3D GLASSES (2010), Digital Silver Gelatin Print, 20x24 in

Matthew Gamber, visual artist
Primarily: brevity. In that brevity, you have the opportunity to distill your intent to a specific focus. Unless the statement is an artwork (producing an effect), then the statement should be written with the intent to illuminate your intention for the audience. In my opinion, to write about art is to write about it as you would any other subject. Avoid cliché, and often repeated phrases – these are descriptive crutches that have lost all explanatory power.

Stefanie Lubkowski, composer
Much like the title of the piece, an introduction is an invitation into the world of the music. Many times when I am asked to speak before a performance of my music, my mind goes blank until moments before the preceding piece ends. This is not only due to a bit of stage fright, but also because any pre-performance talk has enormous potential to foster a more personal relationship between the audience and the music they are about to hear. I want my words to accurately and carefully address the issues of the piece, while at the same time conveying a sense of personal warmth. What you say has to get to the heart of your work, but yet contain palpable sincerity and emotion. For me, the most successful formula consists of a brief description of the piece’s inspiration, a simple explanation of one of the work’s key concepts, and an expression of appreciation for the performers, the venue, and the presenters.

Pat Shannon, STREET WORK: PARKING SPACE (ON SITE) (2013), sheet aluminum, 11x18 ft

Pat Shannon, STREET WORK: PARKING SPACE (PARTIAL STUDIO VIEW) (2013), aluminum sheet, 11x18 ft

Pat Shannon, visual artist
Writing or speaking about my work often feels like taking a step out from inside the art to offer others a way in. I prefer to talk about the questions that fuel my curiosity and process rather than attempting to explain the work. My goal is to allow people a way to get closer to the work while still having their own experience.

The Street Works project started with my reflections on touch as the most intimate sense, which then led me to form a key question: “What would happen if I choose a site and set up a system to literally feel my way across it? What would it mean to know – and record – a place by touch?”

I began taking rubbed impressions of the street in response to this question, so I guess you could say that communicating that question to others conveys something about the “Why?” of the work. I’m the only person who can account for why I made something. When I look at other artists’ work, I’m always curious about their inner reasons. “What motivated them to make this??”

As a visual artist, learning how to speak publicly or write about my work in a way that adds something more without distracting from the art is always a challenge, yet often one that furthers my own understanding of the work.

Paul Matteson, choreographer
I know it is important to talk and write about my creative work and myself as an artist, yet I am often resistant to public opportunities. I tell myself that my artistry is a fragile relationship with doubt and that addressing it critically will disrupt my growth. In truth, I am afraid that I am not smart enough to have a scholarly perspective. Also, it is hard work! Recently while preparing for an artist talk at the Salt Dance Festival, I saw in the mess of my index cards the potential to contemplate a searching life. I think the timing was right. A midlife view helped me add context to my naïve history as an aspiring dancer. I framed the talk as a type of self-reckoning with all of my intertwining influences, which allowed me to simply talk about everyone who has inspired me. And in the act of acknowledging others, there was the affirming realization that I have always had the intention to go as deep as possible.

Linda K. Wertheimer, writer
Speaking, like writing, is an art form. It takes work to woo an audience, and my goal is to fashion engaging talks that rely on more than just reading passages from my book. I’m a reading junkie, and authors that keep me listening tell their back stories. They spend more time chatting about why they wrote their book than they do reading what I can easily find on the page. They take me along on their literary journeys whether they are novelists or nonfiction writers. They sometimes use interesting props, like the model of an old stage wagon author E.B. Moore displayed as she talked about her novel set in Amish country. Or they show historical footage, like author Lou Ureneck did as he described a dramatic rescue of Armenians. I took hundreds of photos on reporting trips around the country for Faith Ed and will include some in my talks. “Reading” for me is a misnomer. I consider a book talk a dialogue with the audience. If I do my job well, hands will fly with questions and comments. I don’t want to be the only one talking.

Cover art from FAITH ED (Beacon Press 2015) by Linda K. Wertheimer


Matthew Gamber‘s photography was recently included in In/Sight at the Lunder Arts Center at Lesley University and has also exhibited at Gallery Kayafas, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Flash Forward Festival, and Fitchburg Art Museum. Through the first week of August, he posted photos on Instagram on behalf of Self Publish, Be Happy.

Paul Matteson is a Five College Assistant Professor of Dance. In June, he taught at the Salt Dance Festival in Utah and co-created the NOW Festival with Jennifer Polins, Andrea Olsen, and Peter Schmitz in Amherst, MA.

Composer Stefanie Lubkowski‘s piece for the bass clarinet/marimba duo Transient Canvas will be premiered at The Record Company in Boston (9/12, 8 PM), and her chamber orchestra piece “Bliss Whispers” will be premiered by the EQ Ensemble at the Cambridge YMCA (10/15, 7:30 PM).

Pat Shannon is a visual artist working in sculpture, conceptual art, and interdisciplinary forms. Her work is exhibiting in “VILLISSIMA! Des artistes et des villes,” at the Hôtel des Arts, Toulon France (thru 9/27).

Linda K. Wertheimer is a journalist and author of Faith Ed, Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance, (Beacon Press, Aug. 18). Linda’s first public reading for the book will be on 8/18, 7 PM, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. She will speak at 7 PM on 8/25 at Tewksbury Library as part of the library’s summer author series. Find more:

Images: Matthew Gamber, 3D GLASSES (2010), Digital Silver Gelatin Print, 20×24 in; two images from Pat Shannon’s STREET WORK project (2013); cover art from FAITH ED (Beacon Press 2015) by Linda K. Wertheimer.

Fellows Notes – Aug 15

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

As our Artist Fellowships turn 40, here’s the current news of the awards’ recent and past recipients.

Still from THE EMPTY SIGN, film-in-progress by Kathryn Ramey

Watch 40 Years of Fellowships videos featuring Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, Niho Kozuru, Melinda Lopez, and Rania Matar.

Mark Cooper and Joo Lee Kang are both exhibiting at the Seattle Art Fair, as part of the Samson Gallery.


Sandra Allen‘s drawing Warrior is exhibiting in the Minneapolis Institute of Art Michael Graves Stairwell (thru 7/2016). She was recently included in the group show Land and Sea at Danese/Corey Gallery in NYC.

Alexandra Anthony‘s film Lost in the Bewilderness was screened for the closing night event at the International Classics Conference Time & Space in Greek Myth and Religion at the University of Patras, Greece, in July. It also screened in the Independent Film Festival of Bogota in July. As part of that festival, the filmmaker did a master class at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University called “Women Behind the Lens.”

Denise Bergman was interviewed by Mass Poetry about her poetry book A Woman in Pieces Crossed a Sea.

Nancy Berlin is exhibiting paintings and drawings this summer in Line as Structure or Continuation at Causey Contemporary in New York. She was recently in Cape Whale at SEA Space Gallery in Provincetown and had drawings as well in Appearances at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, as part of the Eco-Arts Festival.

Poems by Kristin Bock were recently published in Apercus Quarterly.

Vico Fabbris is exhibiting work at Rice Polak Gallery in Provincetown (8/20-9/9). He will also teach a workshop, “Exploring Drawing & Mixed Media,” at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill (8/24-8/28).

D.M. Gordon was Mass Poetry’s July Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight.

Zehra Khan is exhibiting a series of drawings on bed sheets and blankets at artSTRAND Gallery in Provincetown (8/7-8/26). She recently designed the 2015 Swim for Life! logo.

Colleen Kiely‘s painting Beau (Skyward) was included in the exhibition Faces at Post Office Gallery in North Truro, MA, in July.

Holly Lynton‘s in among the artists in The Disrupted Landscape at Miller Yezerski Gallery (thru 8/14).

Congratulations to Randall MacLowry, who received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the documentary The Mine Wars.

Ilana Manolson is included in the group show Images of Grief and Healing at the Maud Morgan Arts Chandler Gallery (8/10-9/1).

Greer Muldowney curated the group exhibition Landscape as Fetish at Gallery Kayafas.

Congratulations to Kathryn Ramey, who received a LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund Pre-Production Grant for a new film project about the history of US involvement in Puerto Rico.

Pat Shannon is exhibiting in VILLISSIMA! Des artistes et des villes, curated by Guillaume Monsaingeon, at the Hôtel des Arts, Toulon France (thru 9/27).

Linda K. Wertheimer‘s book Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance will have its book launch 8/18, 7 PM, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. She’ll also be reading at Tewksbury Public Library (8/25, 7 PM).

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

Image: still from THE EMPTY SIGN, film-in-progress by Kathryn Ramey.