Archive for the ‘film/video’ Category

What Role Does Research Play in Your Art?

Thursday, 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.

Fellows Notes – May 16

Wednesday, 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).

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).

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.

Scott Listfield has 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.

Stephanie 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.

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.

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.

James Rutenbeck on The Clemente Project

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

James Rutenbeck‘s latest film-in-progress, The Clemente Project, explores the The Clemente Course in the Humanities, a tuition-free, college-level course targeting adults from disadvantaged backgrounds. The film tells the stories of participants in Dorchester, such as Kafi Dixon, a recently evicted MBTA bus driver, and Carl Chandler, a father/grandfather/mentor in a struggling neighborhood.

James Rutenbeck has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the project. We asked him about the film, the campaign, and his career listening to – and sharing – voices seldom heard in film.

YouTube Preview Image

Can you talk about the trajectory of The Clemente Project – its origins, its development, and where you hope to see it go?
I heard a Clemente graduate speak at a dinner a few years ago and I, along with everyone else in the crowd, was absolutely blown away by her. The Clemente Course in the Humanities is a rigorous, college-level night course for low-income adults in 19 cities around the world. The way she talked about how immersion in the humanities had changed her life got me thinking about the Clemente Course as a film idea. Mass Humanities came in as first funder, followed closely by the LEF Moving Image Fund, two foundations that had supported my film Scenes from a Parish. This meant we could start filming classes in Dorchester in October 2014. Over time Carl Chandler and Kafi Dixon have emerged as the kind of indelible characters one looks for in making these kinds of films. I anticipate filming and editing over the next year to continue keeping pace with Kafi and Carl’s stories.

Why are you choosing to crowdfund the project?
Mostly out of desperation – this is a tough film to pitch to funders because it’s complicated, and the outcomes are not obvious. We’ve been filming for the last eighteen months, and the characters’ stories are unfolding. We’re getting closer though, and once I have an assembly or rough cut, I’ll feel ready to approach some foundations that have supported my work in the past.

The Hatchfund goal is modest – just enough to keep us up and running at this critical moment. Every dollar will go to paying crew. That said, I’m not really comfortable with crowdfunding and don’t believe it’s a sustainable way to make films. And there’s definitely Kickstarter fatigue in the air. When the first contribution came in, my first impulse was to send Jack Cheng‘s check back to him.

I’m curious about the idea of “responsibility” as relates to the real people in your films. How does responsibility affect the way you work, at each step in the process?
I seek to give a voice to undervalued people – not unlike the Clemente model of creating a space for people to bring their life experience into a Socratic dialogue about history, philosophy and literature, or the research approach of social historians. To that end, I have to be in an honest relationship with the characters of the film. I need to understand, as best I can, how they experience the world, and that means listening closely. Not inserting myself constantly – just shutting up and listening.

I’ve realized I’m living in parallel universe with Carl and Kafi. When Kafi asked me to observe her meeting with Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, a meeting that could determine whether or not she would end up homeless, she told me, “This is your trip to Taiwan.”

The question of responsibility is a deep one, especially when the people you are filming are living so close to the edge. I’ve been transparent with Carl and Kafi about my intentions, and they are intelligent people who push back when they’re not comfortable with what I’m suggesting. They understand the implications of what we’re doing and have accepted the risk of becoming film characters.

That said no one ever really knows how what is recorded digitally will be shaped behind cutting room doors. This is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. What ends up on screen is my understanding of what happened, and that filter is flawed. I’m stating the obvious now.

And with this film, racial undercurrents are always present. Executive Producer Llewellyn Smith, an accomplished filmmaker and African-American who grew up in Dorchester, helps me keep perspective.

Do you maintain relationships with your films’ subjects after the films are completed?
Sometime it’s clear that the relationship was based on the heightened experience of making a film together; in other cases, it’s more than that – a lifelong friendship. Sometimes I may want to continue a relationship, but they may not. It’s a two-way street! I do have a bunch of friends, many on Facebook, from films I made many years ago.

Still from SCENES FROM A PARISH by James Rutenbeck (2009)

Am I correct that you studied film at MIT? How did that experience shape your filmmaking style? Your career?
I’d learned about the MIT Film Section during a month-long seminar with Jean Rouch in 1978. It was a studio-based program – students and teachers were always heading out to shoot films, and filmmakers came from around the world to screen their films in classes and at Monday Night Screenings. For a small town Iowa kid, being part of it all was exciting and transformative. I’ve supported my family with dozens of editing and producing jobs over the years, and I wouldn’t have been able to hold onto an aesthetic that feels like my own if I hadn’t had that formative time at MIT.

I believe a non-fiction film, at least the kind we made at MIT, is an entity with a life of its own. It will reveal itself over time. You have to be patient and open to what might happen next and where it will lead you. That was a principle of Ricky Leacock’s that has stuck with me. I’m a spiritual person, and it’s how I see the world anyway. My life has been disrupted by harrowing life events that have turned out be absolutely transforming.

What, if anything, is the throughline that connects the subjects you’ve explored in your films throughout your career?
Some of the people in my films have been badly bruised by savage capitalism; others are vulnerable people who are in one way or another excluded from society. Being the father of a non-speaking autistic son has made a deep imprint on me. Twenty-six years spent with Anthony at home and out in the world, endless hours speculating about how he might be experiencing his day and being challenged later by reading his eloquent writing about his experience, have made me acutely aware of people who live as outsiders.

The films I make are all personal, but some are more political than others – The Clemente Project is inherently political, dealing as it does with poor people living in a city with the highest rate of inequality in the U.S.

What other artists, in film or otherwise, interest and inspire you?
I struggle to read but love books. I am a big fan of Marilynne Robinson, whose novel Lila played in a loop in my car for several months. As I listened over and over, it began to feel like a folk song. I’ve been reading Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, a non-fiction that feels like a novel – The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace is like that too. I also love theatre – a Steppenwolf performance of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer from many years ago is lodged forever inside me.

I am lucky to have long-standing friendships with some remarkable artists, like the deeply committed political filmmaker John Gianvito and Rob Todd, whose experimental films place a primacy on image. I love Alexandra Anthony’s Lost in the Bewilderness and whatever Steve Ascher and Jeannie Jordan are doing. As I’ve been working on The Clemente Project, I’ve been thinking a lot about Richard Broadman, a Boston documentarian who taught me how to sync 16 mm dailies when I was his intern many years ago. Boston is a place where a deep engagement with films is on-going. I like the small town feel of the place.

What’s the most surprising response to your films you’ve ever received?
I worked on my last film (Scenes from a Parish) for five years, and when it premiered at the MFA, the press response was strong. But the festivals largely rejected the film. Every time I’d get a rejection, it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach – just an awful feeling. But being leveled over and over again was good for me. I’m not looking for approval or attention anymore. If it comes my way, that’s a nice surprise, but it feels fleeting. When I received word that Class of ’27 would be in the IFFB line up this year, I thought it was sent to the wrong filmmaker.

Making films, telling the stories of people who are voiceless is really a vocation, and the work itself, however overwhelming or uncertain it can feel at times, is the ultimately its own reward.


The Clemente Project will be crowfunding on Hatchfund through July 10, 2016.

Read James Rutenbeck in the ArtSake discussion How Does Place Impact Your Art?

James Rutenbeck is an independent producer, editor, and filmmaker at Lost Nation Pictures. His films have been broadcasted widely and have screened at museums and festivals throughout the world. He is currently Executive Producer of Class of ’27, a series of three short films about the lives of very young children in remote parts of rural America, which will have its world premiere at the Independent Film Festival Boston April 3-May 1, 2016.

How Do You Approach the Business of Art?

Friday, April 1st, 2016

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

It can be challenging to balance artistic creation with the business, financial, or other career aspects of artists’ work. Artists are encouraged to see their art career as a “business” – but how does that translate into practice? We asked artists in different disciplines, What is your approach to the business of art, and how has it changed over time?

Part two of a two-part discussion.

Jake Fried, animator
Ultimately, my experimental animations must transcend financial concerns, otherwise they become something else for someone else. Luckily, making deeply personal work that I believe in has increasingly led to new and rewarding paid opportunities.

My main source of income is teaching, mostly at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. This past year I have created commissioned work for Adult Swim and the Marionette Record label, among others. I have screened my films at many international festivals, gallery shows and artist talks that provide awards and fees. And finally I’ve been awarded grants and fellowships, including one recently in Film & Video from the MCC.

As much as possible I want my artistic and financial success to stem directly from being true to my vision – it’s a hustle and I’m always chasing new opportunities to make this happen, but it’s worth it to make the work I believe in.

Jenine Shereos, LEAF (2013), human hair, 5x3 in, photo by Robert Diamante

Jenine Shereos, sculptor/installation artist
A few years ago, some of my work was featured on a popular art and design blog. I received a lot of exposure from this, and it had a ripple effect over the years as people continued to share the images on social media and other online venues. Many positive opportunities arose from this publicity, but it was definitely a learning experience as well. I had people contact me with bizarre commission requests, dealt with copyright issues, and even had an offer from Ripley’s Believe it or Not! This experience taught me the importance of being my own agent. To say no to things that don’t fit with my vision and to seek out the opportunities that I feel will enhance my career as an artist. I spend a lot of time researching residencies, grants, and other opportunities online. Recently, artist residencies have played a significant role in my artistic journey and have afforded me time away to focus on my art.

Similar to my artistic practice, I see the business aspect of my work as an organic process that continues to grow and evolve over time. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to support myself fully from my art, but the obstacles keep me thinking creatively. Sometimes I feel frustrated by a sense of disconnection in my life, although I know I am not alone and many artists face the same struggle. On the one hand, my work has been shown internationally in museums and included in major publications. At the same time, I am nearing forty and waiting tables while piecing together odd jobs. Recently, I was sharing my frustrations with a friend and he asked if there was anyone I know personally who is making their living exclusively as an artist who I could look to as a model. After thinking through the many artists I have met over the years, I couldn’t think of a single one. I am slowly realizing that maybe this isn’t necessarily the end goal. I try to focus on the fact that I love making art and know I will always find a way to continue to do so against any odds.

Publicity photo from THE LAUNCH PRIZE, written by MJ Halberstadt, produced March 2016 at the Calderwood Pavilion of the Boston Center for the Arts, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene, featuring Katharine Chen Lerner, Bari Robinson, John Tracey, and Angela K Thomas

MJ Halberstadt, playwright
People joke that Masters Programs in playwriting are “red headed stepchildren” that can’t be boxed neatly into more easily articulable Theatre or Creative Writing programs. Similarly, reconciling playwriting within the framework of a business model presents questions and problems. On one hand, I’m an artist-for-hire because different companies present my work. When they do, I am not the play’s “producer.” On the other hand, I am a free-lancer because I am the sole proprietor of my own playwriting “business.” The minimum viable product of what I can produce is a script, not a play, which is not sellable by itself – except, arguably, in the case of having the script published. It becomes necessary to tease apart distinctions, especially between my script and a company’s production of it. Combined, they make the product (a “play”) but assigning value to my part in it is tricky, especially when all of the theatre world is starving for monetary resources and many of the producers of my work are personal friends. I’m not a playwright for gain; in fact, only about a dozen American playwrights sustain themselves entirely off royalties. That’s why I have a totally unrelated day job at present; this is getting more and more difficult to reconcile since my playwriting “career” demands more of me each year.

[MJ takes a sip from a glass of whiskey.]

If my “brand” has “worth,” it’s not quantifiable. If anything, I’m building up artistic capital through making myself known and archiving reviews and, yes, “networking.” The hope is that it’ll pay off if and when I sell a TV pilot or get a job teaching playwriting.

[MJ takes another – longer – sip.]


Related reading: Who Is Your Audience? and How Do You Define Success as an Artist?

Jake Fried ( is an experimental animator whose work has shown on Carton Network’s Adult Swim, at the Tate Modern, in the Sundance Film Festival, and many other festivals and venues. He recently screened work in the Boston Underground Film Festival and has upcoming screenings at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and the Melbourne International Animation Festival.

MJ Halberstadt’s ( new play is That Time the House Burned Down, produced by Fresh Ink Theatre at Boston Playwrights Theatre April 8-23. His play The Launch Prize was produced by Bridge Rep in Boston in March ’16 (read a great review in the Boston Globe). In February, he was profiled by Emerson College, and he wrote about race and privilege in theatre for HowlRound. In 2014, he was one of the artists selected to participate in Assets for Artists, a program supporting artists through financial and business training opportunities and matched savings.

Jenine Shereos ( is a sculptor and installation artist specializing in fiber and textile processes. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including in France, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Austria, and Canada, and has been published in the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, Make Magazine, and and the compendium Textiles: The Art of Mankind. Her work is currently on view at Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Netherlands, and in 2017, she will have a solo show at the Hampden Gallery at UMass Amherst.

Images and Media: BRAIN LAPSE by Jake Fried; Jenine Shereos, LEAF (2013), human hair, 5×3 in, photo by Robert Diamante; publicity photo from THE LAUNCH PRIZE, written by MJ Halberstadt, produced March 2016 at the Calderwood Pavilion of the Boston Center for the Arts, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene, featuring Katharine Chen Lerner, Bari Robinson, John Tracey, and Angela K Thomas.

Fellows Notes – Apr 16

Friday, April 1st, 2016

In April: MCC artists venture into books and onto screens, up on stages and out on the airwaves, and just generally do great things in the Commonwealth and beyond. The latest news from our Fellows/Finalists…

Still from KAKANIA (1989) by Karen Aqua

Elizabeth Alexander and Randal Thurston are exhibiting in Paper and Blade: Modern Paper Cutting at Fuller Craft Museum (thru 7/31).

Rick Ashley, Claire Beckett, and Kelly Carmody all have work in Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition The Outwin: American Portraiture Today. The exhibition runs thru 1/8/2017 at the National Portrait Gallery, and then travels elsewhere. Both Rick and Claire have been featured by the Gallery in blog posts.

Frank Egloff and Matthew Gamber both have solo exhibitions at Gallery Kayafas (4/15-5/21).

MCC Poetry Fellows Richard Michelson, Sarah Sousa, and Michael Teig are reading in an event curated by another Fellow, Karen Skolfield, at Pelham Library (4/27, 7 PM).


Alexandra Anthony‘s documentary Lost in the Bewilderness screened at The University of Roehampton (London) and the Moraitis School (Athens, Greece) in March.

Karen Aqua‘s animated films will be screened and celebrated at a special event at Harvard Film Archive, Sacred Ground & Perpetual Motion – The Animated Cosmos of Karen Aqua (4/9, 7 PM).

Claire Beckett has a solo exhibit of her series The Converts at Carroll and Sons Art Gallery, mid-April through the end of May.

Pelle Cass has work from his Selected People series in three books: Photoviz (Gestalten, Berlin); Deleuze and the City (a scholarly book which features an entire chapter based around a discussion of Pelle’s photo of Quincy Market; and Langford’s Basic Photography. He will have work in UNM Art Museum/Center/516 Arts’ PhotoSummer festival. Also, he will have a summer fellowship at Yaddo.

Mary Jane Doherty‘s documentary Secundaria was released on DVD and streaming.

Steve Edwards has a flash fiction story called Sometimes My Father Comes Back from the Dead in SmokeLong Quarterly.

Chris Frost is in the show Danger Play at Lens Gallery (thru 4/22, opening reception 4/1, 6-8:30 PM).

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick‘s new string quartet composition Imagined Memories will have its world premiere as the musical centerpiece of a Boston College symposium, The Kurdish Question: Ethnicity, Identity, and Integration. The work, commissioned by the Vienna-based Hugo Wolf Quartet, premieres 4/28, 7:30 PM in St. Mary’s Chapel at Boston College (free admission) and will be followed by a performance at Carnegie Hall in NYC (4/29, 8 PM).

Jan Johnson is a Fulbright Scholar this year at the University of Dundee, the Scottish University.

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson reads at the Boston Athenaeum (4/26, 12 PM).

Colleen Kiely‘s painting Still Life with Cookie Cutter (Hound) is included in the Cape Cod Museum of Art’s exhibition Breaking the Mold: Inspired by Innovation, (3/31-6/12, opening reception 3/31, 5:30-7 PM).

Jesse Kreitzer has a unique crowdfunding campaign to sponsor submissions of his new film Black Canaries to different film festivals.

Julie Levesque has work in the group show Bird: metaphor & muse at Concord Art (4/7-5/7).

Fred H.C. Liang has a solo show, Stream, at Carroll and Sons Gallery (thru 4/16). Read an interview on Huffington Post.

Melinda Lopez was mentioned by President Obama during his landmark March 2016 speech in Havana, Cuba. She discussed the experience, and what led up to it, on Radio Boston.

Taylor Mac presents a six-hour work-in-progress performance of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1836-1896, at MASS MoCA (4/9, 4-10 PM).

Rania Matar is exhibiting at The National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC as part of She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World (4/8-6/31), which originated at the MFA Boston.

Mary Bucci McCoy has work in the group show Drishti: A Concentrated Gaze, presented by NurtureArt and curated by Elizabeth Heskin and Patricia Spergel at 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery, New York, NY (4/11-7/1, opening reception 4/11 6-8 PM).

Gary Metras was recently interviewed on Blog Fly Fish MA about fly fishing, letterpress printing, and poetry.

Joshua Meyer is the first artist to have a solo exhibition at the new Matter & Light Gallery in Boston (4/1-4/30, artists reception 4/1, 6-9 PM).

Richard Michelson announced that he has an upcoming book about Leonard Nimoy (Nimoy’s visual art is represented by Richard Michelson Gallery) called Fascinating, to be published in September. Richard has poetry readings this month at AWP (4/1 and 4/2), the Split This Rock Conference in Washington DC (4/16), and at the Pelham Library (4/27, see above).

Lisa Olivieri‘s film Blindsided will be having its Boston Premiere as part of the The National Association of Social Workers (MA Chapter) Film Series at Belmont’s Studio Cinema (4/3, 2 PM).

Jendi Reiter‘s debut novel Two Natures will be published by Saddle Road Press in September.

Nick Rodrigues created the interactive installation CAR-A-OKE and the Auto Umwelt The New Children’s Museum in San Diego, on view thru Spring 2017. He contributed to The Felt Book, a collaborative publication featuring a collection of home remedies created by 90+ invited artists.

Anna Ross has a new chapbook, Figuring, to be released by Bull City Press in May. The book was the Editor’s Selection in the 2015 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Anna will have her first reading from the book at the AWP conference in LA.

Leslie Sills has an exhibit of figurative sculpture Personnages at Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford (4/23-5/12, reception 4/30 5-8 PM).

TRIIIBE, aka the identical triplets Alicia, Kelly, and Sara Casilio along with photographer Cary Woliknsky, will give a gallery talk at Fitchburg Art Museum 4/24, 1:30 PM, in conjunction with their exhibition TRIIIBE: same difference (thru 6/5).

Sarah Wentworth has more than a dozen photos from her Untitled (fishline) series in the 3-person show Caprices at the Simmons College Trustman Gallery (thru 4/14). The fishline series features performed photos centered on a costume made of knit fishing line, taken on Deer Isle, Maine.

Jung Yun is getting terrific reviews for her new novel Shelter. She reads this month at Northshire Books in Vermont (4/1, 7 PM) and Amherst Books (4/19, 7 PM). Both events are with author James Scott.

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

Image: still from the animated film KAKANIA (1989) by Karen Aqua.

Basia Goszczynska: Reclaimed Wilds

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Early in 2015, we were thrilled to work with Basia Goszczynska (Film & Video Fellow ’13), who created an animated title sequence for our 40 Years of Fellowships video project.

In recognition of the 40th anniversary of fellowships in the Commonwealth, we have been asking artists “what came next,” after their state-funded award. We decided to explore the same topic with Basia, as well as ask about her current work exploring environmental grief and the “penance” of art.

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ArtSake: Where were you in your career when you got the news about the MCC Award?
Basia: I received news about my MCC award while contemplating whether or not to apply to grad school. I had been working professionally in somewhat creative positions, but always for a client, and I loved entertaining the idea of spending two years focusing on my own projects and ideas. The boost of confidence that came with the MCC award helped me decide to accept my spot in the MFA program at Rutgers University.

ArtSake: What excites you about the project you’re working on now?
Basia: Since starting grad school, I have shifted my focus from animation to sculpture as it allows for a more tactile and spatial exploration of my interests in ecology and our material culture. My palette these days is made up of colorful, durable and lightweight materials that I find washed up on the beach or in trash and recycling piles. The most exciting moments for me in the studio are those when I successfully redress the value of a material by transforming it from a mundane material into one whose newly-established ambiguity renders it interesting. I like that by re-routing these materials into my studio, I am able to be both creatively fulfilled and environmentally active.

ArtSake: What’s the throughline in your art?
Basia: My work is mainly grief-work. These days, when I visit the beach or forest in search of comfort, I instead experience disheartening landscapes strewn with hazardous materials. Our contemporary vistas are a far cry from the pristine valleys in an Edmund Burke painting. The romance is over, and the only thing left is a mess too big to clean up. Those like me, who still engage in the occasional clean-up effort, are left to deal with the emotional toll that comes with the work. Gathering trash provides ample time to somberly contemplate the damage our species has wrought on this planet.

My sculptures and videos serve to document these meditative janitorial walks that I embark on. With my compulsive collecting of discarded materials, I subvert the tendency to hoard material possessions in our consumption-obsessed culture.

Today, objects of our own making are pressing us out of the spaces we rely on for our material and spiritual sustenance. We are being crowded out by objects. The monumental scale of my sculptures within the gallery setting intends to dwarf our sense of importance in an increasingly-narcissistic culture. These objects remind us of who is really “on top” now.

Swell and Detour are abstract representations of sublime landscapes already conquered and exploited. Synthetic materials have completely overtaken organic ones in a world obsessed with manufactured beauty and single-use conveniences. My sculptures’ cheerful colors attempt to counter, to some degree, the somberness that might overtake those who identify the origins of my materials and their significance. Ultimately, the work aims to bring a sense of normality to the sadness of loss. As Timothy Morton point out in his book, Hyperobjects, we are losing “the fantasy of being immersed in a neutral and benevolent Mother Nature” (196).

In the studio, I untwist marine rope, wrap plastic around wire, and shred plastic bags, among other tasks. Some time ago I learned about the need for ritual within the grieving process. I realized then that these repetitive, meditative gestures were subconsciously appeasing my need for these spiritual rites that help move one through the various stages of grief (denial, anger, depression, and bargaining) and into a space of acceptance. These creative rituals re-establish a sense of meaning despite our loss.

Recently, while cleaning a Brooklyn beach, I was handed a $275 ticket for trespassing. The image of a crumbling wall in Swell and torn fences in Detour, symbolically foreground ideas of land ownership and borders. We are a society in which people rarely take responsibility for anything they do not personally own while the privatization of land leaves little incentive for organized stewardship. Barriers keep us divided so that we fail to pay attention to the decimation of important habitats. Today, only apathy seems to enjoy the freedom of running wild.

In spite of all this, I remain an optimist. I believe art can help produce the level of shock necessary for us to face the ecological trauma of our age, while its production can serve as penance for the damage already done. I think there is hope for us still.

ArtSake: Have you ever revised your work on the spot, during an exhibition (intentionally, I mean)?
Basia: As I gain more experience installing my work in a gallery context, I find myself revising it less on the spot. There are however, many installation decisions that I can only make once I am physically in the gallery; these include lighting decisions and how the work is oriented within the space. For example, after installing the sculptures for my MFA thesis show, I made last minute decisions to fill the entire gallery floor with sand and to add dramatic directional lighting — both significantly impacted the viewing experience.

ArtSake: What’s next?
Basia: This upcoming summer, from June 7th through August 1st, my work will be exhibited as part of the Mid-Manhattan Public Library’s Art in the Windows series. The 3-part exhibition entitled Rainbow Credits for Vacation Penance will include video, installation, and performance elements to problematize ideas of leisure, currency, value, and environmental activism.

See Basia’s title animation for the 40 Years of Fellowships project on MCC’s YouTube Channel.

Images and media: video is excerpt of Basia Goszczynska’s DZIAD I BABA (watch the full film). Images are courtesy of the artist.

Fellows Notes – Mar 16

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Traveling portraits, poems of the moment, new art shared locally and abroad: here’s the March news from current and past MCC Fellows/Finalists.

Domingo Barreres, AMBITION (2001), oil, polymer, 81x61.5 in

Mass Poetry’s Poem of the Moment has recently featured poems by Carrie Bennett (Expedition Notes 34), Sarah Sousa (Epistle), and Rodney Wittwer (& the Sun Is a Fine Buggy of China: Balloons!).

Portraits by Laura Chasman and Andrea Sherrill Evans are included in Go Figure at Salve Regina University’s Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery (thru 3/16). (More news about Laura Chasman below.)

Caleb Neelon and Candice Smith Corby are exhibiting Sting! 22: ES LOG ART at The Beehive, featuring work curated by and relating to work by Doug Weathersby of Environmental Services. The exhibition opened 3/2.


Marilyn Arsem will be in discussion with Sandrine Schaefer about her recent 100 Ways to Consider Time performance at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The discussion is part of the Reports from Afield series by mobius and takes place at Samsøñ 3/18, 5-8 PM, free to the public with q&a following the talk.

Rick Ashley has a photograph from his Michael project in the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition The Outwin: American Portraiture Today. The exhibition runs 3/12/2016-1/8/2016 at the National Portrait Gallery, and then travels to the Tacoma Art Museum, the Art Museum of South Texas, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City.

Domingo Barreres has a solo show, Domingo Barreres: Paintings, Drawings and Prints with Lingering Vibrations from Spain at The Fort Point Arts Community’s Gallery at 249 A (thru 3/28, artists talk 3/10, 6 PM).

Congratulations to Laura Chasman who received a grant from the Artist Resource Trust, Berkshire Taconic Foundation for 2016. She also received a fellowship to attend Vermont Center Studio Residency in September. Recently, two of her portraits were included in the recent exhibition Director’s Favorites at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

Tsar Fedorksy has a solo exhibit of photography, The Light Under the Door, at Garner Center at New England School of Photography (NESOP), (thru 3/18). Read about the exhibition on the Elin Spring Photography blog. She will also exhibit in Exposure 2016 from the Photographic Resource Center (4/28-6/26). She had 2015 exhibitions at Danforth Art, the Camera Club of New York, and Candela Books + Gallery (Richmond, VA) and she was featured online at Feature Shoot and Don’t Take Pictures’ Photo of the Day.

Congratulations to Georgie Friedman, one of 3 artists whose projects will be realized in the Boston Artist-in-Residence Program. She also has work in 32° – The Art of Winter at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont (thru 5/30) and her installation Slippery Slope is on view at Union College in Schenectady. She was recently featured in Good and Long Looks at the Providence College Reilly Gallery.

John Gianvito‘s film WAKE (SUBIC) screened at the Viennale Film Festival and made it to Top Ten Lists of 2015 in Artforum, Sight & Sound, and Senses of Cinema. It recently screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and had its North American premiere on 2/27 at the Museum of Modern Art in conjunction with their annual Doc Fortnight series. The first Boston screening will be Sunday 3/13, 3 PM at the Harvard Film Archive.

Mags Harries has a solo show, Precautionary Tales at Gallery Kayafas in Boston (3/4-4/9, opening 3/4 5:30-8 PM).

Nona Hershey has work in Art On Paper New York at Pier 36 (3/3-3/6).

Michael Hoerman was handpicked by the Sedona Arts Center for its inaugural summer residency program. They are bringing together “artists, cultural managers, and interesting people from all over the world” at Verde Valley School, a private school on 1,300 acres in Sedona, AZ.

Kieran Jordan Dance presents Little Gifts at Green Street Studios in Cambridge (3/11-3/12, 8 PM).

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson has readings at the Brookline Public Library (with Holly Guran, Brookline Poetry Series 3/20, 2-4 PM), Brewbakers Café in Keene, NH (3/27, 4 PM), and Boston Athenaeum (4/26, 12 PM).

Mariko Kusumoto‘s translucent textile jewelry exhibits at Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge (3/15-4/16).

Danielle Legros Georges is the guest speaker for the Writer’s Union Annual Book Party at the Durrell Family Theater in the Central Square YMCA (3/20 2-5 PM).

Fred H.C. Liang‘s solo show Stream is at Carroll and Sons Gallery (thru 4/16, opening reception 3/4, 5:30-7:30 PM).

Caitlin McCarthy‘s unproduced TV pilot Free Skate has been named “One To Watch” by the 2016 WriteHer List. She was recently interviewed by Forty Over 40, and she spoke about TV writing at the Woods Hole Film Festival and the Orange Beach Public Library, in February.

Richard Michelson reads in the Calliope Poetry Series in Falmouth (3/13) and at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse Poetry Café (3/15).

Lisa Olivieri‘s film Blindsided will be having its Boston Premiere as part of the The National Association of Social Workers (MA Chapter) Film Series at Belmont’s Studio Cinema (4/3, 2 PM).

Monica Raymond reads from “A Walk on Norfolk Street,” a poetry sequence about the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston bombings, at goodTHANG, a multi-media extravaganza at Arts at the Armory (Somerville) on Good Friday (3/25).

Susan Rivo‘s documentary Left on Pearl screens at Kendall Square Theatre for International Women’s Day (3/8, 7 and 9 PM). Followed by Q & A with the filmmakers and members of the Executive Producers’ Collective.

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 (thru 6/5), and the show was recently reviewed in WBUR’s ARTery. A companion exhibition of work by TRIIIBE is at Gallery Kayafas (thru 4/9).

Sarah Wentworth has more than a dozen photos from her Untitled (fishline) series in the 3-person show Caprices at the Simmons College Trustman Gallery (3/16-4/14). The fishline series features performed photos centered on a costume made of knit fishing line, taken on Deer Isle, Maine.

Jung Yun has readings for her new novel Shelter at Odyssey Bookshop (3/15, 7 PM) and at Newtonville Books (with James Scott, 3/22, 7 PM).

Michael Zelehoski has work in Objects and Everyday Goods at Mike Weiss Gallery in NYC (thru 3/26).

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

Image: Domingo Barreres, AMBITION (2001), oil, polymer, 81×61.5 in.

Why Work Collectively?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

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

Artists are often encouraged to collaborate, but there’s a tension inherent in this advice. How to find the shared good for the individual’s vision and the group’s? We asked artists in different disciplines, Why work collectively?

AgX is a new collective supporting artists in photochemical film

Brittany Gravely, filmmaker, member of the new AgX film collective
No matter how independently you operate, film usually depends upon a chain of wizards, even if they aren’t always collaborating right next to you (lab techs, projectionists, audiences). Filmmaking can also involve a lot of tedium or waiting; add the company of others, and you can transform these voids completely! But basically, it’s just hard to do everything yourself. In the case of our burgeoning film collective, AgX, we are harnessing all these creative energies scattered around the area (and beyond). We can experiment and play and all our varied technical and conceptual powers can feed off of each other. Plus it’s really amazing to build something together with people who are passionate about the crazy thing you are attempting to build.

Nowadays, when photochemical filmmaking approaches its supposed “twilight” — which incidentally in filmmaking is considered the “magic hour” — teaming up with fellow artists is vital. As the costs rise for a medium which has rapidly moved from consumer to niche, collective people power poses some kind of market force and, at any rate, enables bulk purchasing of film and chemistry. With a craft considered eccentric or obsolete, it is so reassuring to know that there are other eccentrics out there engaging in these strange practices.

Jess Foster, playwright, member of Boston Public Works
Boston Public Works has given me a chance to stage my play Hard and Fast: a love story, a story with content that kept it from being produced. As playwrights in BPW, we were asked to pick our most challenging work that didn’t fit into theaters’ everyday Season Planning conversations. I Hard and Fast: a love story by Jess Fostersaw it as a call to present work that was daring, experimental and immediate. Plays are often a response to something happening in the world and it can take years of workshop processes before they’re presented to audiences, making them less of a call to action and more of a museum piece. Boston Public Works is a way we playwrights can get our work, and the works of the other playwrights in the group, from the page to the stage with fewer steps, taking control of our own process and compiling our own team of collaborators. My hope is that bringing seven fresh plays to Boston that the city wouldn’t have otherwise seen will inspire other playwrights to try out the self-producing model in order to keep pushing artistic boundaries.

January Gill O’Neil, poet, Executive Director of the Mass Poetry Festival
I’ve always thought poets and entrepreneurs share a common bond: we are self starters, work long hours, usually work alone, and have a singular vision that we will see through to the end. The difference? Our capital is creative. Our success comes in the creation of the poem, with no guarantee of reaching a wide audience. So any opportunity to come together and share our work benefits the art as a whole.

While we write in our own separate spaces, we become better writers when we collaborate. Mass Poetry is a grand experiment in collaboration as we promote and celebrate poets in all stages of their careers. We share stories, we experiment, we commiserate, and, most important, we connect with our tribe. The poets I turn to in my own writing life challenge me to go deeper and never settle. They are passionate, open-minded, and know how to harness a constant flow of ideas. What’s more entrepreneurial than that?

Poet signatures from the 2015 Massachusetts Poetry Festival


Jess Foster is a playwright, librettist, dramaturg, and teacher with work being presented across the country in New York, Providence, Boston, Washington DC, Albuquerque and Iowa, where she earned her MFA from the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop. Jess is an affiliated artist of Sleeping Weasel and a member of the playwrights’ collaborative Boston Public Works. Her play Hard and Fast: a love story will be produced at The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts November 20-December 5, 2015.

Brittany Gravely works in film, sound, video, installation, and many media of the second dimension. Her work has screened at the New York Film Festival, Images Festival, MFA Boston, ICABoston’s T.I.E. Cinema Exposition, the Black Maria Festival, and many others. She is Publicist at the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge and a member of the new film collective AgX.
AgX has a special multi-format film screening and party on November 7 (during Waltham Mills Open Studios), 6:30-9 PM, to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $10,000 for its lab, equipment, and work.

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands, which was selected for the 2015 Mass Book Award in poetry, and Underlife, both published by CavanKerry Press. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and an assistant professor of English at Salem State University. Recently, she was elected to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs‘ (AWP) board of trustees. On December 7, 7 PM, Huntington Theatre will host Mass Poetry’s An Evening of Inspired Leaders. This benefit program will feature Massachusetts community and business leaders reading a poem that has inspired them in their personal and professional lives.

Fellows Notes – Nov 15

Friday, October 30th, 2015

This month, while the sunshine ebbs, the news from past awardees of MCC’s Artist Fellowships shines ever shinier.

Naoe Suzuki, LOVE, SUNSHINE, mixed media on laser cut paper

Liza Bingham and Zehra Khan are among the artists in Lost Cat: Art in the Age of Social Media, at Cape Code Museum of Art (11/24-1/17, events 12/5).

In October, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) announced that 11 artists were selected for the City of Boston’s first artist-in-residence program, Boston AIR, including Peter DiMuro (MCC Choreography Fellow ’90), Georgie Friedman, Caleb Neelon, and Liz Nofziger.

Rebecca Doughty and Zehra Khan join Phillip Knoll for Animal/Animist at Room 83 Spring Gallery, in Watertown, MA, (11/5-12/20, reception 11/7, 5-7 PM).

Congratulations to the ten artists named as 2015 Brother Thomas Fellows, including past MCC awardees Raúl Gonzalez III, Masako Kamiya, Balla Kouyaté, and Danielle Legros Georges. The 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.

Warren Mather and Janice Redman join Janice Jakielski in the show Not Really Practical at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College (11/9-12/14, reception 11/12, 5-7 PM).


Elizabeth Alexander has a solo show at Flanders Gallery in Raliegh, NC, A Changeable and Unpredictable Nature: Elizabeth Alexander, 11/6-12/8.

Stacey Alickman has a solo show, Humpty Dumpty II, at Kingston Gallery (thru 11/29, opening reception 11/6, 5:30-7:30 PM).

Alexandra Anthony recently had the U.K. Premiere of her film Lost in the Bewilderness which won the Odysseus Award for Best Creative Documentary at the London Greek Film Festival. The film garnered a positive Boston Globe review when it screened in the Arlington International Film Festival in October, and it will screen at the Wellesley College Davis Museum (Collins Cinema) 11/5, 6 PM, q&a with filmmaker to follow.

Domingo Barreres has a solo show at the Brookline Arts Center, Domingo Barreres: Myth, Reality And The Illusive Glimmer Of Recognition (thru 11/20).

Congratulations to Alice Bouvrie, whose documentary film A Chance to Dress won Best Documentary Short at the Arlington International Film Festival in October.

Laura Chasman has two portraits in the exhibition Director’s Favorites: 1999- 2015 at the New Britain Museum of American Art in CT (thru 1/3).

Candice Smith Corby has a solo show, Forever and Forever and Forever, Is a Long Time at Miller Yezerski Gallery (11/20-12/22, reception 12/4, 5-8 PM).

Patrick Donnelly has his inaugural reading as Poet Laureate of Northampton on 11/1, 4 PM, at the Smith College Neilson Library. He was Mass Poetry’s Poet in the Spotlight for October.

Vico Fabbris will teach Watercolor and Inventive Thinking at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for a five-week course (11/2-11/30).

Patrick Gabridge has the world premiere of his play Lab Rats at Boston’s Atlantic Wharf (11/6-11/15), in Salisbury, MD (11/19), and in Ocean City, MD (11/20-11/23).

John Gianvito‘s film WAKE (Subic) premiered at the Viennale in Oct/Nov.

Raúl Gonzalez III, along with winning at Brother Thomas Fellowship (see above), will have a solo show, Regalo, at the Boston University Annex Gallery (thru 12/13).

Eric Gottesman will celebrate the US launch of his new photography book Sudden Flowers at Foto DC, 11/8, 5 PM.

Deborah Henson-Conant, whose musical compositions are woven into several of the MCC’s 40 Years of Fellowships videos, wrote a great blog post about the impact of her two Massachusetts Artist Fellowships, in the ’80s.

Congratulations to Elizabeth James-Perry, who won an inaugural Rebecca Blunk Fund award from the New England Foundation for the Arts. The awards are grants of $2,500 each in unrestricted support to support the creation of new work and for professional development. The fund is in honor of the legacy of former NEFA executive director Rebecca Blunk, who passed away in 2014.

Ben Jolivet‘s play Cain and Abel had its world premiere at the Wilbury Theatre Group in Providence, RI.

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson joins Gary Whited for a reading at the Suffolk University Poetry Center (11/4, 7 PM).

Cristina Kotz Cornejo launches the inaugural Women in Motion Summit at Emerson College this month (11/9), a gathering of women in film/media to discuss experiences and effect change.

Kate Leary‘s story Holy Family will be published in the November 11 issue of Amazon Day One, a weekly literary journal for the Kindle. Day One features just one story and one poem by emerging writers per issue, plus author interviews. A week after the publication, the story will be available as a Kindle Single.

Rania Matar‘s photography book L’Enfant Femme is published this month. The book features an Introduction by Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, an essay by Lois Lowry, author of The Giver, and an afterword by Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This month, her work is exhibiting in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, London (11/12-2/21).

Anne Neely has an exhibition of 30 watercolors inspired by living on the coast of Maine, traveling to Ireland for an Artist Residency in County Kerry, and a trip to Japan, called Transforming Place. It’s at The Robert Lehman Art Center at Brooks School in North Andover (thru 12/18).

Lisa Olivieri‘s documentary Blindsided is an official selection for the Broken Knuckle Film Festival.

Dave Ortega‘s 24-page comic Dias de Consuelo Issue I is now available! The publication is the first in a series about the artist’s 100-year old abuela, Consuelo Herrera, beginning in the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution. The artist will be participating in Comics Arts Brooklyn (11/7) where he will have copies of the Dias de Consuelo, as well as limited copies of Poor Mexico, a new zine published by Bien Vestido Press.

Naoe Suzuki has a solo exhibition, In Solidarity, at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Art Gallery (thru 11/25). A catalogue of Naoe’s work, Be Water, My Friend will be published this month. Earlier in the year, Naoe won a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, which enabled her to work on her project Water, is Taught by Thirst in Berlin and at Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks.

Joyce Van Dyke‘s play Daybreak (previously produced as departed/A Dream Play, is being produced at the Tufts University Balch Arena Theater (10/29-11/7), directed by Barbara Wallace Grossman (MCC board member!).

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

Image: Naoe Suzuki, LOVE, SUNSHINE, mixed media on laser cut paper.

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.