Kati Agócs had the U.S. premiere of her string quarter Tantric Variations, performed by the Cecilia String Quartet on Stradivari instruments, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in December.
Alexandra Anthony has a one-week theatrical run of her film Lost in the Bewilderness in Athens, Greece (1/12-1/18) at the Alkyonis Art Cinema. National Greek TV (ERT) will broadcast the film 1/15. The film’s December premiere in Greece received press attention in Madame Figaro and THETOC.gr.
Samantha Fields has a performative sculptural installation in the exhibition Is this Something at the Lasell College Wedeman Gallery (1/24-2/11, reception 1/29, 4-6 PM). Next summer, she will be Artist-in-Residence at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin.
We’re excited to announce that the Massachusetts Cultural Council is now accepting 2017 Artist Fellowship applications in the categories of Film & Video, Music Composition, and Photography. Deadline: Monday, January 23, 2017.
The Artist Fellowships are unrestricted, anonymously judged, competitive grants of $12,000 and finalist awards of $1,000, in recognition of artistic excellence.
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 VESSEL by Kati Agócs (Music Composition Fellow ’15)
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 2016, with a October 3, 2016 deadline. Grant results in those categories will be announced by February 2017.
Images and media: Tsar Fedorsky (Photography Fellow ’15), from the series THE LIGHT UNDER THE DOOR (2013), silver gelatin 15×15 in; excerpt from THE VESSEL by Kati Agócs (Music Composition Fellow ’15); still image from FUNDIR (2014) by Allison Cekala (Film & Video Fellow ’15); still image from MY HEART SWIMS IN BLOOD by John Gianvito (Film & Video Fellow ’15).
Mary Jane Doherty has two upcoming screenings: her dance documentary Secundaria screens at Prince Theater in Philadelphia (12/14, 7 PM), hosted by the Pennsylvania Ballet and Philadelphia Film Society. Her film Primaria has its Latin American premiere at La Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine LatinoAmericano in Havana, Cuba (12/16, 5:30 PM).
Christy Georg has work in the group exhibition Breaking the Block at the Santa Fe Convention Center Community Gallery (12/16-3/2, reception 12/16, 5-7 PM). She is also featured at the New Mexico Museum of Art in the Alcoves series: small one-person exhibitions featuring contemporary artists working in New Mexico (12/9-1/29, reception 12/11, 10:30 AM-12 PM).
Asia Kepka has a booksigning at 13 Forest Gallery (12/8, 6-8 PM) for the book Horace and Agnes: A Love Story, along with co-creator Lynn Dowling.
Jesse Kreitzer has received the James Goldstone Award for Emerging Vermont Filmmaker from the Vermont International Film Foundation, with an awards ceremony 12/15, 7 PM, at the Main Street Landing Film House.
October-y news from current and past MCC Artist Fellows/Finalists.
Caleb Cole, Dana Filibert, Shelley Reed, and Sarah Wentworth are among the artist exhibiting in Fertile Solitude at the Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts (10/14-12/18, opening reception 10/14, 6-8 PM). The exhibition, curated by FLUX.Boston creator Elizabeth Devlin, explores the idea of reprieve from everyday life through the physical framework of a maze that exhibition visitors are free to explore.
Alice Bouvrie is screening her film A Chance To Dress at MIT (10/13, 7 PM). The filmmaker along with the subjects of the film, Dr. John “Tephra” Southard and his wife, Rev. Jean Southard, will be present for a post-screening Q & A.
Matt Brackett‘s first solo show in Boston in four years will take place at Alpha Gallery (10/7-11/2, opening reception 10/7, 6-8 PM). One of the included paintings, Moonstone, was one of 35 works out of over 2,400 applicants to receive a Certificate of Excellence in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition last spring. See the artist’s Studio Views post on ArtSake.
Marky Kauffmann was invited to participate in the Berlin Foto Biennale after being named a finalist in the 2015 Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers. Also, she’ll exhibit in the group show Mirror with a Memory at the Peter Miller Gallery in Providence, RI (10/20-11/12, opening reception 10/20, 5-9 PM).
Lisa Kessler received a George Gund Foundation commission to photograph in the Cleveland public schools. The photography collection will be on exhibit at the Cleveland Public Main Library in downtown Cleveland (thru 10/28). A smaller traveling exhibit will be on display at several library branches around the city.
Melinda Lopez has a new play, Mala, at ArtsEmerson (10/27-11/20). Also, she contributed a short play to Still Waiting a series of vignettes created to accompany the play Waiting for Lefty at Boston College Robsham Theatre (10/13-10/16).
Rania Matar has photography in the exhibition Mortal Things: Portraits Look Back and Forth at Tufts University Art Center (thru 12/4). Her solo show Becoming: Girls, Women, and Coming of Age exhibits at Pictura Gallery in Bloomington, IN (10/7-11/26, opening reception 10/7 5-8 PM, artist talk 10/11, 7 PM). In December, that same gallery will exhibit Rania’s work in Pulse Miami. Her work is included in Aftermath: The Fallout of War – America and the Middle East at Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, FL (thru 12/ 31. artist talk 10/23, 2 PM) Her work is also exhibiting at Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut Lebanon and at C. Grimaldis Gallery
Mary Bucci McCoy is in the experimental group exhibition Fiction (With Only Daylight Between Us) at boeckercontemporary in Heidelberg, Germany (10/15-31). Also, she will have a public conversation with Brooklyn artist David Mann at Rafius Fane Gallery in SoWa, Boston (10/8, 2-4 PM).
Angela Zammarelli is exhibiting in the group show The Unity of Opposites at A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, MA (thru 10/30, opening reception 10/14, 5-8 PM). She is currently in residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA and will be participating in an open studios 10/19, 5-7 PM.
Monica Rayond‘s play A to Z was a finalist for both the Jane Chambers Award and ATHE Award for Excellence in Playwriting. Paper of Plastic, a short opera for which she wrote the libretto (music, Charles Turner), won second prize in Opera Kansas’s short opera competition.
Jendi Reiter‘s debut novel Two Natures will be published in September by Saddle Road Press of Hilo, HI, and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, MA is hosting her local book launch (10/19, 7 PM).
If you’re a Massachusetts artist hoping for funding to make your work, both articles are worth your time.
And while we’re on the topic of awards and grants, congratulations are in order for a number of local artists who’ve recently won honors in the arts.
LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund Awards Local Filmmakers LEF Foundation, a crucial supporter of nonfiction film in New England, recently announced $30,000 in pre-production grants to early-stage film projects. Some of the funded projects include Laurie Kahn’s Y2Y, about a visionary homeless shelter for young adults in Harvard Square, Alex Morelli’s The White Pine Project, about a former mining town that becomes a travel stop for families of maximum security prisoners, and Soon-Mi Yoo and Haden Guest’s Traveling Gods, about the divergent paths Christianity has taken in Korea and Japan. The $5,000 awards go to films that “demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice.”
Call for Art Seeking submissions from New England area contemporary artists and artist groups/organizations of all mediums to exhibit in The Enso Art Gallery, located in downtown Brockton MA. Email the following to email@example.com: a link to a portfolio of work; resume, or a brief description of your art related experiences; a paragraph summary of the work you wish to present.
Documentary Filmmakers Fledgling has an open rolling application process for grants to support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the most vulnerable. Grants typically range from $10K?—?$25K, and the awards support audience engagement planning and implementation. Support for planning is for building the strategy for outreach and engagement and can be used before a project is complete to prepare for its launch. Grants are not available to support production or post-production. Learn more.
Playwrights Residency The Ingram New Works Lab is an artistic home for playwrights and a fertile environment for the creation of new plays. During monthly Lab meetings in Nashville, playwrights share and develop a new work and receive support and project guidance. During their residency, each playwright will be expected to work toward the creation of a brand new play that will be presented in a staged reading featured at the Ingram New Works Festival in May 2017. Learn more.
Deadline: June 13, 2016
Call to Artists The Rocky Neck Art Colony is currently accepting entries for their upcoming exhibition, A Visual Feast. This exhibition will be on view at the very peak of summer activity on Rocky Neck which sees hundred of visitors every day. Learn more.
Deadline: June 22, 2016
Call for Art Galatea Fine Art announces a call for artists for its upcoming juried exhibition, New England Collective VII. Open to artists from New England working in all media. Learn more.
Deadline: July 10, 2016
Choreographers The New England Dance Fund will award small, catalytic grants directly to choreographers who identify and articulate a critical opportunity that will significantly advance their career in dance. The fund aims to strengthen the dance sector in the New England region. Learn more.
Deadline: July 15, 2016
Call for Artists Roxbury Open Studios is a once-a-year opportunity to welcome the public to view and purchase paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles, jewelry, other fine arts, and studio crafts. The event provides a means for individual creativity to play its part in the cultural and economic development of Roxbury. Learn more.
Deadline: August 1, 2016
GROUNDBREAKING GRANT OPPORTUNITY**New MacArthur Competition for 100 Million $ Grant **The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a competition through which a single $100 million grant will be awarded to a project designed to solve a critical problem affecting people, a place, or the entire world. Learn more.
Deadline: September 2, 2016 (11:00 a.m. Central)
Image: the White House lit up with rainbow colors, done in commemoration of the Supreme Court’s ruling to recognize same-sex marriage nationwide, in June 2015.
Five new works created by teams of women artists – which include four past MCC awardees – will be presented as the latest Art on the Marquee by Boston Cyberarts. Ambreen Butt, Mags Harries, Nathalie Miebach, and Deb Todd Wheeler are all creating work for the 80-foot-tall multi-screen LED marquee outside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (opening reception 6/1, 6:30-8:30 PM).
Ben Sloat is one of the artists in the three-person show Uncannyland at One Mile Gallery in Kingston, NY (6/4-6/25, opening reception 6/4, 6-9 PM).
Naoe Suzuki had an artist residency at the Studios at MASS MoCA, organized by the Assets for Artists Initiative, in April. In 2016, she is Artist in Residence at Broad Institute, a collaborative community pioneering a new model of biomedical research, based in Cambridge, MA. Check out Naoe’s Tumblr site for her project Flow, an extension of the participatory installation she created at UMass Lowell last year.
Jung Yun‘s novel Shelter got a great review in the Briefly Noted section of The New Yorker. She has an article, My Fargo, in the April edition of The Atlantic.
This is an updated version of a previously published article.
So, you have a creative project (an unfinished film, music album, graphic novel, etc.) and you want funding so you can adequately – make that epically – realize your vision.
Instead of relying solely on traditional grant programs (such as our Artist Fellowships or Local Cultural Council grants), which may or may not match up with your project’s timeline, you might consider using a crowdfunding site as part of your fundraising strategy.
Artists crowdfund by soliciting donations from many individual supporters, directing donations to one central online presence. There are a number of crowdfunding sites for artists to choose from, which generally have these things in common:
They make it easy for individuals to make tax-deductible donations.
They ask artists to set a fundraising goal.
They provide helpful and novel ways to interact with donors, including the ability to offer rewards.
And a certain percentage of the donations go to the crowdfunding site to pay for the service.
What sites are out there, and what differentiates them?
The most prominent crowdfunding site is Kickstarter. Anyone from tech entrepreneurs to working artists can use the site to create campaigns for their project, with a funding goal. Kickstarter campaigners then offer creative rewards (say, an embroidered t-shirt or a DVD of the project or a personalized portrait) to donors, increasing the appeal of the reward based on the donation amount.
Things to keep in mind about Kickstarter: if campaigns do not meet their fundraising goal, the artist gets nothing, so the incentive is high to drum up support. Also, project campaigns need to be approved by Kickstarter to launch.
For an example, check out this campaign by Small Beer Press (out of Easthampton, MA) to publish a new version of what just might be the history’s first science fiction book. The background story is unique and appealing, and the project’s video is especially strong.
Another major crowdfunding site is Hatchfund (formerly called United States Artists Projects). Hatchfund is similar to Kickstarter in many ways, with tax-deductible donations, creative rewards, and an all-or-nothing fundraising goal. (Additionally, there’s a “stretch goal” if the original is exceeded.)
Unlike Kickstarter, Hatchfund is specifically focused on artists. Some projects may receive matching funds from Hatchfund for a portion of their campaign. And perhaps most significantly, Hatchfund offers one-on-one coaching and support for artists by Hatchfund staff.
Check out The Clemente Project by James Rutenbeck (Film & Video Finalist ’11), which you can also read about here. The campaign does a great job conveying how a story about unheralded voices in one struggling community can have universal significance.
Another crowdfunding site is IndieGoGo. The big difference is that, unlike the all-or-nothing approach of Kickstarter and Hatchfund, you can elect to keep all of the money you raise (minus site fees), even if you don’t meet your goal.
Check out The Circle by Julie Mallozzi (Film & Video Finalist ’15, ’07), which very successfully conveys the potential impact of the project and its appeal to both targeted communities (like anti-violence activists) and a wider audience.
Go Totally DIY
Not a joiner? You could also take the principles of crowdfunding and set up your own campaign. You’ll need a PayPal or similar online payment account, a home base (like a web site homepage or a blog), and a group that will act as an organizational fiscal sponsor so that donations will be tax deductible. In film, the Center for Independent Documentary and Filmmakers Collaborative both serve as fiscal sponsors for film projects, and the New York organization Fractured Atlas serves as fiscal sponsor for artist projects in all disciplines, and throughout the country. You can even include creative rewards and frequent updates to your donors – you’ll just have to handle the infrastructure of these actions on your own.
What are best practices in crowdfunding? Successful campaigns tend to…
Tell a compelling story. The campaign, whether through its video, description, updates, or all of the above, successfully conveys why this project is essential and why its supporters’ contributions are meaningful.
Tap into and cultivate an interested community.
Incentivize support. Rewards are part of that incentive, but even better is when the story is the incentive: the project’s storytelling convinces an interested community that this is a can’t-miss opportunity to be part of something important.
Image: still image from THE CIRCLE by Julie Mallozzi (Film & Video Finalist ’15, ’07) crowdfunding through IndieGoGo; still image from the Kickstarter video for THE CHEMICAL WEDDING BY CHRISTIAN ROSENCREUTZ by John Crowley, illustrated by Theo Fadel, to be published by Small Beer Press; screenshot of the crowdfunding campaign for THE CLEMENTE PROJECT by James Rutenbeck (Film & Video Finalist ’11); IndieGoGo video for THE CIRCLE.
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.
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.
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.