Archive for the ‘film/video’ Category

Three Stages: Sarah Bliss and Rosalyn Driscoll

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Moving image artist Sarah Bliss and sculptor Rosalyn Driscoll (Sculpture/Installation/New Genres Fellows ’13) have just premiered their latest collaborative project, a four-channel, 30-minute, immersive sculptural video installation, Blindsight (6/11 – 7/19/15 at Boston Sculptors Gallery). Here, they retrace their journey through its maze.

Installation detail of BLINDSIGHT, with Woody Bliss, photo by Sarah Bliss


Sarah Bliss: We bring to our work together a deeply shared interest in the human body as starting point. Both the visible outer body and the inner, subjective experience of one’s body have long been sources of inspiration, imagery and mystery for both of us. My own experience as a mover very much informs my art practice. I need my body to be physically engaged in my work, which drives the way I approach my filmmaking. We knew from the start that bodies would be central to the project, and decided to focus on aging bodies, which are rarely seen and often taboo.

Roz Driscoll: My work has derived its imagery and materials from my experience of my body, but the body has also become the medium through which I want people to experience my work. For the last few decades I’ve explored tactile, proprioceptive, visceral perception as a basis for my sculpture, making sculptures that people can touch, as well as sculptures that speak to people’s proprioceptive, visceral selves. This is the first time I’ve constructed an entire multisensory, immersive environment animated by moving images and by visitors’ movements within the environment.

Sarah: Yes and likewise, the awareness of place, and its conscious engagement for embodied encounter is a central concern of mine. I create moving image installations that engage site-specific architecture, where space and place are used as central metaphoric and narrative elements. For instance, I’ve projected the moving body onto the massive scaffolding of a bridge-under-construction, and into the extremely cramped space of a miniature stainless steel elevator.

Installation detail of BLINDSIGHT, photo by Sarah Bliss

Roz: We also both shared a desire to work with water—to explore its nature, behavior and life-sustaining qualities. You’d already been experimenting with filming bodies underwater, using an underwater camera housing and an underwater light. When we started work on Blindsight, research of ritual uses of water revealed that sauna, which compresses the elements of steam, fire, water and bodies into a small room, is traditionally considered a ritual cleansing. We ended up filming in a small steam room (another tiny, compressed space filled with water and steam that intensified the feeling of intimacy and internality), and underwater in fast-moving streams beneath ice.

I became intrigued with the physical, psychological power of these small, contained spaces as a way to imagine the structure of the installation. The obscurity of the steam room suggested being lost and wandering in the dark, which crystallized for me into the idea of a maze. The concept of maze suggested the Daedalus/Icarus myth, which offered us a narrative line as well as a physical structure for the installation.

Installation detail of BLINDSIGHT, photo by Sarah Bliss

Sarah: I’ve long grappled with the question of how to make meaning in the absence of a shared cultural story, religious framework or mythology. How do we face and embrace aging, loss, death, entrapment, destruction? Can we face the apocalypse of climate change without denial, and without collapse? For me, the answers lie in community and connection, and the creative act.

So I drew from a rich world of visual and cultural referents: early WWII-era paintings by Phillip Guston that depict troupes of street kids reenacting their world at war using the detritus of back alleys; filmmaker Bela Tarr’s remarkable opening scene in Werckmeister Harmonies, in which a young man injects possibility and meaning into listless has-beens in a barren bar, catalyzing them to co-create with him a literal dance of the spheres; the masks and costumes adopted by Carnival-goers as memento mori in medieval times; and Diane Arbus’ unsettling photographs of developmentally disabled people promenading in masks on Halloween.

We wanted to create an encounter with these elemental forces of Eros and Thanatos that was not fully tamed — still wild, raw, mysterious and sensual. It was also important to us to give people enough space to enter the risk of encounter. We needed to find ways they could modulate their distance.

Installation detail of BLINDSIGHT with Hope Wen, photo by Sarah Bliss

Into the Maze

Roz: By designing the installation as a loose maze, we could invite people to enter into the experience, take a journey, find their way and choose their path. Like a labyrinth, there is a center, but with many ways to move around it. We also wanted to contrast the ephemeral evanescence of film with concrete, palpable matter, so we searched for materials to bridge those two poles.

My favorite material is rawhide cow skins. Their capacity to both reflect and transmit light is what originally led me to incorporate moving images into my work. In this project, the use of the skins as receptive surfaces resonates with the rich variety of human skin in the film — skin of various ages, genders, colors and textures, skin with many sorts of markings, and skin that both hides and reveals the being inside. The rawhide skins underscore the film’s themes of death and transformation, and hint at the presence of the Minotaur. We also explored other reflective, translucent materials, such as various kinds of cloth, paper, and metal, to see how they would interact with the projected images.

Sarah: Wanting to break the constraints of standard projection screens, and its collusion in turning the viewer into a passive observer, we experimented with projections onto and through these materials, from various angles and heights. The tension between the integrity and legibility of the moving image and its transformation and abstraction by the materials and angles of projection became a source of joy and wonder as we played. We thrilled to the many ways that the physical architecture of the installation created opportunities for new kinds of engagement with people’s bodies, and for new perceptual practices.

Roz: Right. We wanted to create an experience for visitors that would speak to the somatic, haptic dimensions of their perception—the way we sense with our bodies and respond empathically and viscerally to what we see. We wanted to create a range of sensory possibilities and to stimulate people’s perceptual powers. We wanted to reveal how context determines what we perceive — how the same image appears radically different on rippling cloth, wrinkled rawhide, hanging vellum or a flat wall; when seen from different sides, angles or perspectives; or when seen in changing relationship to other moving images, spaces or materials.

Sarah: That said, we sometimes felt trapped in a maze of our own making. The challenges of filming multiple bodies enveloped in fog and steam in a tiny, dark space in complex lighting conditions, and filming in fast-moving water under ice, along with the challenges that inherently arise in any collaborative venture, amplified that feeling of being trapped in a maze, and mirrored for us the narrative that we were seeking to express. We found ourselves actors in our own story.

In addition, I wanted the choreography of bodies in the film shoots to continue and extend into a choreographic dance between the four projections in the installation. This required development of a software and hardware system that could implement the finely tuned choices we made concerning rhythm, pacing, convergence, emphasis, singularity and focus. Arcs of movement, gestures, forms, and color move from one projection to another, appearing and disappearing like dancers throughout the installation. We were very fortunate to work with the highly skilled artist and software designer, Jeff Warmouth, to develop and program a hardware and software system that could meet our needs.

Roz: Throughout the project, we explored the territory between visual and tactile (optical and haptic) perception: in the film shoots, in the editing process, in the projections, and in the installation materials and structure. The film shoots, for example, were intensely physical and haptic as you moved with the actors and I moved with the light. The imagery then became optical when footage was transferred and compartmentalized onto the flat computer screen for editing. It was a revelation when you realized that the editing process could only be accomplished by projecting the images onto the materials and spaces of the maze, thus returning the imagery to hapticity and tangibility.

Installation detail of BLINDSIGHT, with Hope Wen and Peter Schmitz, photo by Sarah Bliss

And Out Again

Sarah: It’s interesting too, to reflect on our different relationships to narrative. We felt tension between the desire to create a coherent experience and the desire for an open, polymorphous container for the work. Between literality and abstraction. The choice of the flight and fall of Icarus as our narrative inspiration provided rich interpersonal themes as well as a metaphor for the cycles of creativity, dissolution, death and rebirth that informed all stages of the filming, editing and projection. That narrative arc also became a metaphor for our own creative and collaborative processes, for the ways we work through the differences in our respective disciplines, temperaments and aesthetic intents.

Roz: In the end, the materials, structure and imagery of the installation — the maze — became a place to be inhabited by the two of us, by the filmed figures, and by visitors to the installation, a place both dream-like and substantial—underworld, inner world, and the world itself. The maze invites an experience of wandering, losing one’s way, and encountering unexpected revelations, just as we did in our collaborative creative process. We hope the metaphor enables visitors to the installation to undergo their own liminal, transformative experiences.


Blindsight is on view at Boston Sculptors Gallery thru 7/19. Read a glowing review in the Boston Globe.

Sarah Bliss is a moving image artist focused on the intersections of body, place, language and memory. Recent screenings include the Alchemy Film Festival, Scotland; TransArt Film Festival in Berlin; and a new media public art commission on Boston’s 80-ft tall, seven-screen MCCA Marquee. Bliss received her M.T.S from Harvard Divinity School, and teaches video production at Greenfield Community College.

Rosalyn Driscoll explores the dynamic relations between sight, touch and the body. Her work has received awards from the New England Foundation for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Dartington Hall Trust, UK, and Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. She is a member of Sensory Sites, an international collective in London, and has been a member of Boston Sculptors Gallery since 2008.

Images: installation details featuring performers Woody Bliss, Hope Wen, and Peter Schmitz, photos by Sarah Bliss.

Fellows Page to Screen

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is celebrating 40 Years of Fellowships by delving into the Commonwealth’s history of support for Massachusetts individual artists.

We have awarded many superb literary artists since 1975, and one fun sidenote to this history is the number of past Artist Fellowships awardees who’ve gone on to have novels adapted into films.

Here are the page-to-screen adaptations we know of:

Andre Dubus (Fellow ’76) wrote Finding a Girl in America (1980). One of the stories, “Killings,” is the source material for the 2001 movie In the Bedroom.

Tim O’Brien (’76) wrote the short story “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong,” included in his seminal book The Things They Carried (1980). “Sweetheart” was later adapted into the movie A Soldier’s Sweetheart (1998), which starred Kiefer Sutherland.

Rita Mae Brown (’77) is the author of the Mrs. Murphy “cat” mysteries, and she adapted her novel Murder, She Meowed (1996) into the 1998 TV movie Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery. (Fun fact: Brown has written a number of other screenplays and teleplays, including the script to the 1982 film Slumber Party Massacre. According to IMDB, she wrote the script as a parody, but the producers decided to film it straight-faced!)

Denis Johnson’s (’83) Jesus’ Son (1992) became a movie of the same name in 1999. Johnson himself has a cameo as a man who arrives at an emergency room with a knife in his eye.

Sue Miller’s (’84) novel The Good Mother (1986) was made into a movie in 1988; same goes for Inventing the Abbotts (1987) in 1997.

Stephen Dobyns (’85) wrote the novel Cold Dog Soup (1985), which was adapted to an American film of the same name in 1990 and a 1999 French film called Doggy Bag. Also, his novel Two Deaths of Senora Puccini (1988) spawned the film Two Deaths in 1995.

Tom Perrotta (’98) published Election (1998) while the movie version was being made (it was released in 1999). Little Children (2004) became a movie, too, in 2006.

Michael Downing (Finalist ’08) wrote the book Breakfast with Scot (2000), which was adapted into a 2007 film starring Tom Cavanaugh. Read about this process.

Other Literary Adventures in Film
Mary-Louise Parker is connected to a proposed TV series adaptation of the life and writing of Mary Karr (’87). Rumor has it that Parker, the former Weeds star, would not only executive produce, but actually portray the past Massachusetts Poetry Fellow!

Sabina Murray (’02) wrote the lauded short story collection The Caprices. While her books have yet to be adapted to the screen, film director Terrence Malick commissioned her to write the screenplay for the film Beautiful Country.

Regie Gibson (’10) and his poetry appear in the 1997 movie Love Jones. According to a Taunton Daily Gazette interview, the film was actually loosely based on events from Regie’s life.

Steve Barkhimer (’11), along with being an award-winning playwright, is an accomplished actor who has appeared in feature films such as The Fighter.

Are there other Fellows-to-film stories we’ve missed? Tell us.

Images: Cover art from the original edition of BREAKFAST WITH SCOT (Counterpoint, 2000); cover art from the movie tie-in edition (Counterpoint, 2008).

Artist Opportunities Netminder

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015


Take your best shot!

Of Note: SpaceFinder Mass is like an Airbnb for creative spaces.

Of Note: The Massachusetts Cultural Council is hosting a series of webinars for the UP inclusive design initiative. A webinar on Wednesday, June 10, 1-2 PM, explores Inclusive Theater, followed by a discussion of Inclusive Exhibits on Monday, June 15, 1-2 PM. Both webinars will feature representatives from Massachusetts cultural organizations discussing their work in inclusive theater and exhibits, share tips and lessons learned from their experience, and spark ideas for simple things you can do to make your work more inclusive to all. Learn more and register.

Choreographers Luminarium Dance has announced their call to artists for The 24-Hr ChoreoFest, an opportunity for Boston’s diverse and varied choreographers to unite through an equally shared experience, while pushing each other to our personal limits and to create new work. Learn more.
Deadline: June 12, 2015

Printmaking Residency Zea Mays Printmaking, one of the premier green studios in the USA, is now accepting applications for residencies which would provide artists an opportunity to learn the latest developments in safer and non-toxic printmaking. Learn more.
Deadline: Rolling basis

Women Filmmakers, Directors, Producers Entries are now being accepted for the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant,  a film completion grant of $7,500 to a woman filmmaker for a film on physical or developmental disability issues. Director and producers are eligible to apply. Films may be of any length or genre, and must be works-in-progress that have completed principle photography. Filmmakers must be U.S.-based.  Learn more.
Deadline: June 15, 2015

Call for Art The Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is accepting entries for their annual exhibition NO DEAD ARTISTS,  open to living, emerging to established artists working throughout the world. All mediums are accepted including, but not limited to, painting, sculpture, design, glass, metalwork, photography, video, mixed media and installation art. Learn more.
Deadline: June 15, 2015

Fiction Entries are now being accepted for the New American Press Fiction Prize. The winner receives $1,000 and publication by New American Press. Larry Watson will judge. Using the online submission system, submit a collection of short stories or flash fiction, a novella, or a novel between 100 and 500. Learn more.
Deadline: June 15, 2015

Poets Entries are now being accepted for the Cultural Center of Cape Cod’s Poetry Competition. A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a poem that has not won a national competition. Sascha Feinstein will judge. Submit up to three poems totaling no more than five pages. Learn more.
Deadline: June 19, 2015

Women Playwrights The Athena Project is now accepting submissions for its Plays In Progress Series (PIP Series). This series will take place in Denver over the course of 3 weekends, in March 2016, as part of a larger arts festival celebrating women artists, including the yet-to-be named world premiere, winner of this year’s PIP Series. Four new plays will be selected based on a blind submission process and given a dramaturg, director, designers, cast and workshop presentation during the festival. One play from the 2016 PIP Series will win a full production to be produced in March of 2017, based on a combination of audience vote and board input. Learn more.
Deadline: June 19, 2015

Playwrights The North Park Playwright Festival in San Diego, CA, is seeking new short plays (15 minutes or shorter) that are easily staged, have casts of 4 or fewer, and have minimal set requirements. Plays should be complete (no excerpts from longer works) and preferably unproduced. Festival directors will choose plays. Any themes and subjects are welcome; the only regulation is no nudity. Include a title page with complete contact information, a character summary, and the script in proper format. Only one submission per playwright. NOTE: No e-mail submissions. No Fee. North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe, 2031 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104, Attn. Summer Golden, Artistic Director .
Deadline: June 30, 2015

Filmmakers The Broad Humor Film Festival (September 24-27, 2015, Los Angeles, CA) features funny films written and directed by women. Entries must either be written or directed by a woman, and the subject matter must include “a healthy dose of humor.” Learn more.
Deadline: June 30, 2015

Photography Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 Somerville Toy Camera festival at Nave Gallery, Nave Gallery Annex and Washington Street Art Center. The juror is Aline Smithson. Learn more.
Deadline: July 1, 2015

Artist Grants The Artist’s Resource Trust provides grants to talented mid-career visual artists who have demonstrated substantial commitment and who have a financial need. A.R.T. supports artists (aged 35 or older) living in New England, or Columbia or Northeast Dutchess Counties, NY. Learn more.
Deadline: August 1, 2015

Image credit: Photograph from Bread

Fellows Notes – Jun 15

Monday, June 8th, 2015

This June, our past Artist Fellows & Finalists are exhibiting, publishing, premiering, winning, and just generally being excellent, here and abroad.

Still from BLINDSIGHT, immersive sculptural video installation by Sarah Bliss and Rosalyn Driscoll

Sandra Allen, Dale Broholm, Todd McKie, and Harold Reddicliffe are among the artists exhibiting in Dynamic Conversations, fine craft furniture paired with distinctive two-dimensional works, at the Dillon Gallery of the South Shore Art Center (thru 7/9).

Michael Beatty, Stephanie Chubbuck, Joo Lee Kang, Andrew Mowbray, Cristi Rinklin, and Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz are among the exhibiting artists in Nature, Askew at Suffolk University Gallery (6/11-7/5, opening reception 6/11, 5-7 PM).

Frank Egloff, Raul Gonzalez, Masako Kamiya, Colleen Kiely, and Mary Bucci McCoy are all exhibiting in the pop-up exhibition No Shake, Not Here at the Montserrat Gallery, Montserrat College of Art (6/8-6/12, opening reception 6/11, 7-9 PM).


Sarah Bliss and Rosalyn Driscoll‘s new room-sized, multichannel immersive sculptural video and sound installation, Blindsight, premieres at Boston Sculptors Gallery (6/11-7/19, opening reception 6/11, 5-8 PM, artists’ talk 6/25, 5-6 PM).

David J. Bookbinder has signed with the literary agent Stephany Evans of FinePrint Literary Management for his recently completed book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, a collection of images and essays that distill into one volume his work as artist and healer.

Sari Boren‘s essay In a Corner of the Hebrew School Classroom is in the Spring issue of Lilith Magazine.

Ria Brodell has five paintings in the 2014 Boston Artadia Awardees exhibition at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA (6/11-6/21, opening reception 6/11, 6-8 PM).

Kelly Carmody‘s painting Father and Son has been selected for the 2015 BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London (6/18-9/20). The exhibition goes on tour to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (October–February ‘16) and the Ulster Museum, Belfast (March–June). Her painting Woman with Rooster is also a Semi-Finalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in D.C.

Mary Jane Doherty‘s documentary Primaria (6/9, 8 PM) is screening as part of the Dance for World Community Festival at Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre.

Dana Filibert is among the artists with work in the Peep This empty storefront project in Springfield, MA. Her installation will be at 176 Worthington St until 9/2015.

Patrick Gabridge has published a new novel, Steering to Freedom, about an escaped slave who seeks to convince Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops in the Civil War.

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick‘s composition Kollwitz-Konnex (…im Frieden seiner Hände), a large song-cycle for soprano and guitar will be the musical centerpiece of the Boston Guitar Fest (The Eternal Feminine) at New England Conservatory (6/20). It will be performed by Soprano Anne Harley and guitarist Eliot Fisk, the festival’s artistic director.

Holly Guran will read from her recently published poetry book River of Bones at the New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton (7/1 7 PM). She’ll also read on 8/1 at the Hunnewell Building of the Arnold Arboretum, with the Jamaica Pond Poets, in conjunction with an exhibit called Arboretum Inspiration: Image and Word, featuring poems by Holly and photographs by Philip McAlary.

Danielle Legros Georges, the Poet Laureate of Boston, was recently profiled in the Boston Globe.

Scott Listfield has new paintings in Astronaut at Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, IL (6/12-7/12, opening reception 6/12, 7-19 PM).

Congratulations to Yary Livan, who was named a National Heritage Fellow from the National Endowment for the Arts!

Holly Lynton‘s photographic series Bare Handed exhibits at Goodwin Fine Art in Denver, CO (6/5-7/18) (read a review of her recent solo show in Miami). She’ll be part of the group shows The Disrupted Landscape at Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston (6/12-8/15) and Fraction of a Second at 516 Arts in Albuquerque, NM (6/5-8/8).

Rania Matar exhibits photographs at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, as part of She Who Tells a Story (thru 9/28), a group show that originated at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. She is also exhibiting in a dual show (with Gordon Parks) called Exposure at Richard Levy Gallery (6/13-7/24, opening reception 6/19, 6-8 PM), and in the group show Fraction of a Second at 516 Arts (6/5-8/8); both shows are in Albuquerque, NM.

Caitlin McCarthy‘s TV pilot “Free Skate” recently received a glowing review from the prestigious script reviewing site Black List. Read excerpts of the review.

Congratulations to DK McCutchen, whose novel in progress Ice has won a Speculative Literature Foundation grant, and whose short story Jellyfish Dreaming will be published in the July ’15 issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Nathalie Miebach has work in Mapping Knowledge at the Mundaneum Museum in Mons, Belgium (6/27-5/15/16) and in Flight Patterns at The Welch Gallery at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA (6/4-7/31). Also, she recently completed a commissioned piece for the Troy Boston, a condominium tower in Boston’s South End, and she’ll be giving a talk at the Cannes Lyon Festival in Cannes, France (6/23).

Lisa Olivieri‘s film Blindsided has been selected to show at the OM Film Festival in Kansas City, MO in September. The films for the festival are selected by audience votes, and Blindsided has received more votes than any other film thus far.

Cecilia Raker is co-creator of Shiver: A Fairytale of Anxious Proportions, a devised piece of theater by Project:Project. It premieres at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (6/19-6/28).

Monica Raymond’s play The Owl Girl won the 2015 Jewish Plays Project‘s Jewish Playwriting Contest-Boston, and placed second in the international competition, with over 200 entrants. Also, her play A TO Z has a reading at Virago Theater in Oakland, California (6/8).

Congratulations to James Rutenbeck who, with Diana Fischer, received a $15,000 Production grant from the LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund for The Clemente Project. The film explores the Clemente Course, a rigorous, college-level instruction in humanities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Carolyn Webb is exhibiting in a three person show, with Betsey Garand and Kathryn Fanelli, in the Jannotta Gallery at Smith College (thru 8/21).

Scott Wheeler, currently on a residency fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, recently performed new compositions for the MacDowell Downtown series.

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

Image: still from BLINDSIGHT, immersive sculptural video installation by Sarah Bliss and Rosalyn Driscoll (Sculpture/Installation/New Genres Fellows ’13).

LEF New England for Nonfiction Filmmakers

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Still image from THE CLEMENTE PROJECT, a film by James Rutenbeck & Diana Fischer

Congratulations to the Spring 2015 recipients of the LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund awards.

As a funder and resource for nonfiction filmmakers in New England, the LEF Foundation has helped bring to life an amazing – and important – array of nonfiction films (see a sampling in their highlight reel).

Among the most recent LEF grantees is past MCC awardee James Rutenbeck who, with Diana Fischer, received a $15,000 Production grant for The Clemente Project. The film explores the Clemente Course (a project of our sibling organization, Mass Humanities). The Clemente Course is a rigorous, college-level instruction in humanities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. James Rutenbeck’s past work includes Scenes from a Parish, a documentary about a Lawrence, Massachusetts parish working to transform its community (watch a clip).

The recent grantees also include a $25,000 Post-production grant for Ian Cheney for his film Bluespace, called “a science fiction-infused documentary about the changing waterways of New York City.” This year, Ian Cheney was a Knight Fellow at MIT.

Still image from BLUESPACE, a film in progress by Ian Cheney

Next Award Deadline: June 19
If you have a nonfiction film in the works, don’t miss the next deadline for Pre-production Funding: Friday, June 19, 2015. Learn more.

Beyond the Moving Image Fund, LEF also sponsors fellowships for New England filmmakers to attend the annual Flaherty Film Seminar in NYC. What’s more, LEF Program Director Sara Archambault is co-founder and co-director of The DocYard, a series of contemporary documentary films screening in the Boston area.

Images: stills from THE CLEMENTE PROJECT, a film in progress by James Rutenbeck & Diana Fischer and BLUESPACE, a film in progress by Ian Cheney.

MCC Announces 35 Awards in Film & Video, Music Composition, and Photography

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Tsar Fedorsky, from the series THE LIGHT UNDER THE DOOR (2013), silver gelatin, 15x15 in

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is honored to announce the 2015 MCC Artist Fellowship awards in Film & Video, Music Composition, and Photography. Nineteen artists will receive fellowships of $10,000, and 15 artists and one collaborative duo will receive $1000 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 505 applications were received: 100 in Film & Video, 70 in Music Composition, and 335 in Photography.

Allison Cekala, still image from FUNDIR (2014)

The Film & Video panelists were Ned Hinkle, Flip Johnson, Ann Kim, and Cristina Kotz Cornejo. The Music Composition panelists were Amy Beth Kirsten, Amelia LeClair, John Mallia, and Jason Palmer. The Photography panelists were Dan Boardman, Frances Jakubek, Jason Landry, and Francine Weiss.

This is the second series of Artist Fellowships awards to be given by the MCC in 2015. In February 2015, MCC announced awards in Crafts, Dramatic Writing, and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres.

Find a full list of 2015 Artist Fellowships awardees.

Kate Merrill, UNTITLED (2012), 4x6 color negative film, archival inkjet print

Jake Fried, still image from BRAIN LAPSE (2014)


Images: Tsar Fedorsky, from the series THE LIGHT UNDER THE DOOR (2013), silver gelatin, 15×15 in; Allison Cekala, still image from FUNDIR (2014); Kate Merrill, UNTITLED (2012), 4×6 color negative film, archival inkjet print; Jake Fried, still image from BRAIN LAPSE (2014); Howard Stelzer performs live in Oakland, CA, photo by Randy Yau.

Get Ahead Artist Opportunities

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015


Get your head in the game and take advantage of these upcoming opportunities.

Of Note Spark! Networking Event at Sohn Fine Art in Lenox, MA. Register now for the first SPARK! networking event of the year, held at Sohn Fine Art in conjunction with the 4th Annual Juried Photography Exhibition benefiting Berkshire Creative. Meet other creatives working in the region, make connections, get inspired, and learn something new – all against the backdrop of beautiful and thought-provoking photography. Free, but please register.
Thursday, March 26, 2015, 5:30-7:30pm


Emerging, Diverse Writers HBO has announced the launch of the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. The program will give emerging writers from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to attend a week of master classes held at the HBO campus in Santa Monica, California focusing on character and story development, pitching ideas and projects, securing an agent, and networking. Each participant will then enter into an 8-month writing phase where he/she will be paired with an HBO development executive and guided through the script development process. Apply using Learn more.
Deadline: Application portal opens March 4, 2015 and will close when 1,000 submissions have been reached.

Poets of African Descent The Cave Canem Foundation is accepting applications for its Poetry Prize, an award of $1000 and publication by Graywolf Press of a first poetry collection by a poet of African descent. Nikky Finney will judge. $15 entry fee. Learn more.
Deadline: March 9, 2015

First Novel Award The James Jones Literary Society of Wilkes University offers the First Novel Fellowship, a prize of $10,000 for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not yet published a novel. Past recipients include Cam Terwilliger. $30 entry fee. Learn more.
Deadline: March 15, 2015

Temporary Public Art Fort Points Arts Community (FPAC) seeks proposals for a temporary public art installation in conjunction with FPAC’s May 2015 Open Studios. Projects may be proposed for any outdoor site in the Fort and should be accessible to Open Studios viewers as well as the general public. All media considered, one month minimum duration. Q&A session for applicants Monday, March 9, 2015, at FPAC Gallery. Learn more.
Deadline: March 19, 2015

New Music New Music USA is accepting applications for its Spring 2015 Project Grants. The grants support projects that involve new music getting out into the world through a live performance or recording. Awards can range between $250 and $15,000. Projects can take place up to two years past the deadline or up to six months prior. Requests can come from individuals or organizations. Learn more.
Deadline: April 1, 2015

Forest Artist Residency Artists in all media are invited to apply for the 2015 White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) Artist-in-Residence program, a collaboration between the WMNF and the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire. The residency program seeks to use art and creative expression to explore the many ways in which people relate to forests in general and to the WMNF in particular. One residency opportunity of at least three weeks will be offered between July and September; the artist(s) selected will be able to indicate their preferred time. Learn more.
Deadline: April 17, 2015

Documentaries The Sundance Documentary Fund provides strategic financial support to cinematic, feature documentaries from independent filmmakers globally. The organization provides $1M-$2M in non-recoupable financing annually across all stages of development, production, post-production, and strategic audience engagement. Learn more.
Deadline: Applications accepting on a rolling basis until August 3, 2015

Image: vintage poster of American magician Harry Kellar, from Weird Vintage.

Fellows Notes – Feb 15

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Here it is, the February Fellows Notes, featuring the news and honors of past awardees of MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program. Enjoy!

(We’ll be shoveling snow until further notice.)

Bob_Oppenheim_Breathing 12x12 2013

Amy Archambault, Matthew Gamber, Cristi Rinklin, Leslie Schomp, and Marguerite White are in PULSE: New Works by Faculty Artists at the College of the Holy Cross Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery (thru 4/10).

Candice Smith Corby and Jan Johnson are among the artists in Drawing The Line, an exhibition of drawings by seventeen Fort Point Arts Community member artists, at Atlantic Wharf Gallery (thru 3/20).

Samantha Fields, Kenji Nakayama, and August Ventimiglia are among the artists participating in SEVEN: A Performative Drawing Project at Montserrat College of Art (thru 3/28).


Alexandra Anthony‘s nonfiction film Lost in the Bewilderness will screen at the Boston University CINEMATHEQUE on 2/13, 7 PM. The film was named was of the 10 Best Documentaries of 2014 by Arts Fuse.

Claire Beckett has photography in the group exhibition Permanent War at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (thru 3/7).

Linda Bond has work included in the Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art’s Feminist Art Base. Also, her work was selected for the Brattleboro Museum’s Open Call NNE (thru 2/7) by juror Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

Cree Bruins has a solo exhibition, Drawn to Analog, at Kingston Gallery (thru 3/1).

Georgie Friedman has an installation, Under the Icy Sky, at the Integrated Science Complex at the College of the Holy Cross (2/9-2/27, artists reception 2/9, 5:30 PM).

Danielle Legros Georges, the new Poet Laureate of Boston, read her poem Praisesong for Boston at the inauguration of Mayor Marty Walsh. Read the poem on the Boston Public Library’s site.

Congratulations to Eric Gottesman, who won a Creative Capital Grant.

Brian Knep is exhibiting in Wave & Particle at Ronald Feldman Gallery in NYC, a show celebrating Creative Capital’s 15th Anniversary.

Shirish Korde‘s multi-media chamber opera Phoolan Devi: The Bandit Queen will have its world premiere June ’15 at Ailey Citigroup Theater in NYC.

Mariko Kusumoto‘s fabric exhibition, Translucent Explorations II, is on view at Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge (thru 3/15).

Ilana Manolson has a solo show, Fragile Season, at the de Menil Gallery at Groton School (thru 3/5).

Anne Neely and her Water Stories exhibition at the Boston Museum of Science was featured on WBUR’s Here and Now.

Bob Oppenheim has a solo show, Je Suis, at Miller Yezerski Gallery (2/5-3/3, opening reception 2/6, 5-8 PM).

Cristi Rinklin‘s solo show at Steven Zevitas Gallery, Displaced, received an enthusiastic review on WBUR’s ARTery.

Emily Ross‘s young adult novel Half in Love with Death will be published by Merit Press in 2016.

Congratulations to Karen Skolfield, who will receive a New England Public Radio Arts & Humanities Award at the at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, MA, in May.

Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz has art in the Milton Academy’s Nesto Gallery (thru 2/27).

Elizabeth Whyte Schulze was the featured artist in January for James Gallery in Pittsburgh.

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

Image: Bob Oppenheim, BREATHING (2013), acrylic, thread, canvas on wood panel, 12×12 in.

Call to Past MCC Film & Video and Music Composition Fellows

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

We’re excited to share that MCC has issued two calls to past MCC Fellows:


So past Fellows: check out the calls and contact us with any questions!

Artists in Film & Video, Music Composition, & Photography: Apply Now for an Artist Fellowship

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014


We’re excited to announce that the Massachusetts Cultural Council is now accepting 2015 Artist Fellowship applications in the categories of Film & Video, Music Composition, and Photography. Deadline: Monday, January 26, 2015.

The Artist Fellowships are unrestricted, anonymously judged, competitive grants of $10,000 and finalist awards of $1000, in recognition of artistic excellence.

Who should apply for an Artist Fellowship? Massachusetts artists creating original work who meet eligibility requirements (see guidelines) are encouraged to apply. Read our tips on applying for an MCC Artist Fellowship.

Rachel Loischild (Photography Fellow '13), FALLEN, BELCHERTOWN MA (2011), from the NOT AS OF YET - STORIES OF AFTERMATH series, 20x30 in

We know artists work in ways that are not always easily categorized. If you have any questions where your work might best fit in the program, don’t hesitate to ask us.

Play an excerpt from STILL TELLING by Tamar Diesendruck (Music Composition Fellow ’13)

There are two deadlines per fiscal year, divided by discipline, and this is the second deadline. Applications in Crafts, Dramatic Writing, and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres were accepted earlier in 2014, with a October 6, 2014 deadline. Grant results in those categories will be announced by February 2014.

Read full program guidelines, eligibility requirements, and application instructions.

Images and media: still from HERMANAS by Cristina Kotz Cornejo (Film & Video Fellow ’13); Rachel Loischild (Photography Fellow ’13), FALLEN, BELCHERTOWN MA (2011), from the NOT AS OF YET – STORIES OF AFTERMATH series, 20×30 in; excerpt from STILL TELLING by Tamar Diesendruck (Music Composition Fellow ’13).