Experimental Music Pioneer Pauline Oliveros, guest artist at the MFAIA-WA in 2009, spent time with students, with explorations in Deep Listening in the Dan Harpole Cistern at Fort Worden. Image right: Pauline with Monique Fleming (MFAIA-WA ’11) and Stacy Dawson Stearns (MFAIA-WA ’12). Photos: Goddard College
In Memory of Pauline Oliveros
It is with sadness that we mark the passing of Experimental Music Pioneer and Composer Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016). As a 2009 MFAIA-WA guest artist, Pauline came to our program at Fort Worden energized to be revisiting the Dan Harpole Cistern, the famous site where her Deep Listening philosophy emerged after a 1988 performance in the underground cistern, legendary for it’s 45-second reverberation.
Pauline influenced American music extensively in her career spanning more than 60 years as a composer, performer, author and philosopher. She pioneered the concept of Deep Listening, her practice based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation, designed to inspire both trained and untrained musicians to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations.
Her Deep Listening Institute (DLI) promotes the music and Deep Listening practice providing a unique approach to music, literature, art, meditation, technology and healing.  It fosters creative innovation across boundaries and across abilities, among artists and audience, musicians and non-musicians, healers and the physically or cognitively challenged, and children of all ages.
There’s more to listening than meets the ear. Pauline Oliveros herself described Deep Listening as “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing.”  Basically Deep Listening, as developed by Oliveros, explores the difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary, selective nature—exclusive and inclusive—of listening.  The practice includes bodywork, sonic meditations, interactive performance, listening to the sounds of daily life, nature, one’s own thoughts, imagination and dreams, and listening to listening.  It cultivates a heightened awareness of the sonic environment, both external and internal, and promotes experimentation, improvisation, collaboration, playfulness and other creative skills vital to personal and community growth.

Stacy Dawson Stearns (MFAIA-WA ’12), a faculty member at CalArts School of Theatre, remembers: “Descending into the cistern with Pauline brought back memories of sneaking into construction sites and abandoned buildings with my friends as a teenager. How extraordinary to be in the same situation as an adult, led by this radical woman who reminded me of my very fierce and wild grandmother Grace! Being in that timeless, beautiful hollow with my fellow Goddardites made me realize that thrilling bodily experiences of my youth were not mere acts of rebellion, but vibrations of the body/mind in a state of transformation. We don’t outgrow this attraction to the phenomenal pleasure of learning through experience! Pauline held the space with a knowing grin and a wise gleam in her eye. And like my childhood friends who found the abandoned buildings first, she couldn’t wait to share her secrets. She was familiar and comfortable in the cistern — it was as if she was revisiting an old friend again. When we entered it via the steep rung steps, we were eager and giddy. When we came out, we were subtly different as individuals and as a group. Pauline had shared something deep, of deep listening, with us. Her trademark trickster smile and laughing eyes held the space for all of us as we took our turns in the descent. When we climbed back up into the light, we had new smiles of our own. Thank you, Pauline!”

*Deep Listening Institute On Vimeo
*Pauline Oliveros in the Dan Harpole Cistern with the MFAIA-WA
*A Guide to Pauline Oliveros’ Music
*December 2016 Article in Freize Magazine
Beverly Naidus, AND NOW, Behind Curtain #2: an interactive installation about the perils and rewards of activism, Seattle (from the new website). Image courtesy of Beverly Naidus

New Website and other morsels
After many years of preparation, the new website of former MFAIA-VT faculty member and past MFAIA-WA guest artist Beverly Naidus is finally complete. It is an archive of excerpts of her artwork and writings, syllabi, and students’ projects. Some of the early writings focus on the inspiration of being part of the early days of the Goddard MFAIA program. Her blog will share updates of current projects and is linked through the website: With the closing of her Seattle studio and her move to Tacoma, Beverly has continued to collaborate with her collective, ARTifACTs (their interactive, multi-media project called, “We Almost Didn’t Make It” is still in formation). She’s also begun a new collaboration with a team of transdisciplinary thinkers/creators/activists that focuses on place, ecology, the memories of ancestors and future descendants. The forms will include story maps that focus on healing the trauma caused by environmental devastation and the attempted erasure of cultures and their histories.
Brooklyn Raga Massive with Neel Murgai. Image courtesy of Lyn Hughes
Brooklyn Raga Massive in Village Voice Best of NYC
Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM), co-founded by alumnus Neel Murgai (MFAIA-VT ’10) was featured in the Village Voice’s yearly Best of NYC. BRM is a collective of musicians steeped in Indian classical music who have held a Weekly Concert and Jam Session for 4.5 years. They became a 501c3 Non-profit last year and have been enjoying explosive growth with additional concerts at Lincoln Center, BRIC, Pioneer Works, as well as accolades from the New York Times, Timeout NYC, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, and more.
Zero Waste Summit
Current MFAIA-WA student Erin Lavelle gave a presentation on the ethics of art and sustainability at Eureka Recycling’s 2016 Zero Waste Summit in Saint Paul, MN. Local speakers, as well as anchor guests from Baltimore, Chicago and Washington DC, shared their expertise in efforts to reduce waste across industries, with an emphasis on equity. Lavelle also spoke about the specific challenges to and successes in implementing a zero waste philosophy into the art making process at the Northern Spark Festival in Minneapolis in 2016.
Shante’ Sojourn Zenith in Vulneraries. Photo: Bruce Silcox
Performance of Vulneraries in Culmination of 7-Month Naked Stages Fellowship
Current MFAIA-VT student Shante’ Zenith has spent the past 7 months on a leave of absence from Goddard to create “Vulneraries” for the Naked Stages Fellowship at Pillsbury House + Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Vulneraries” is a performative response to a culture that is afraid of our vulnerability. Shante’ writes: “In this ritual journey of reconnection, we provoke the question. ‘What cultural and ecological healing would be possible if we felt safe to be present to our own depth of feeling?’ Our insides are as vast as the ocean. What if the emotions that consume us could be transformed into creative acts of opening, of liberation?”
Pi Luna and Edward Worden at the NM/AZ Book Awards and at Creative Startup’s Deep Dive. Photos courtesy the artists
Personal Finance Brought to Life
Pi Luna (MFAIA-WA ’12) and Edward Worden recently founded Engage Publications, a company that integrates math, art and storytelling to make personal finance accessible, teach financial empowerment, and to transmit that personal finance is fun to learn. Their book, Life Savings: Navigate the Financial Course was named the best family and parenting book in the 2016 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. Pi and Edward just completed a six-week intensive with Creative Startups, a program designed to give business skills to creative entrepreneurs.
tamara-lynn-wallace-annexation-and-assimilation-1Tamara Lynne Wallace, Annexation and Assimilation Art Exhibit. Photo: Kamala Kingsley
Public Art Exhibit on East Portland: Annexation and Assimilation
Current MFAIA-WA student Tamara Lynne Wallace collaborated with Portland Archives and Records Center resident artist Sabina Haque to create shadow theatre with a group of 5th grade students from Harrison Park School, exploring themes related to the disputed annexation of East Portland. Students created images of isolation and exclusion based on their personal experiences, and then collectively imagined ways they could express what community and a sense of belonging means for them. Documentation of this piece and the art exhibit will become a permanent part of Portland Archives and Records Center.
Link to YouTube Annexation Assimilation Documentary and Performance
Disability Culture/Poetry Podcast: Petra Kuppers, Pitt Humanities Series
The Being Human podcast series at the University of Pittsburg released an interview with MFAIA-WA faculty advisor Petra Kuppers, on her engagement with disability culture, performance actions, and poetics. Listen to the podcast here.
Petra Kuppers, The Road Under the Bay. Illustrations © 2016 Miranda Jean
Water-based Movement Story published in Future Fire
Petra Kuppers published a story, The Road Under the Bay, on Future Fire, an online journal of social political and speculative cyber-fiction.
Mentorship Renewed
Emerging First Nations artist and recent MFAIA-WA residency assistant Anne Riley received a second British Columbia Arts Council Early Career Development Grant to work again with MFAIA-WA faculty advisor Laiwan as part of a 2017 mentorship project.
Exhibition Essay
Alumna Margaret DeLima’s (MFAIA-VT ‘07) artwork, “Reliquary for a Boy Down South,” is included in the exhibition catalog for Justified Art! and discussed in an accompanying essay by Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis.
misha-penton-02-12-16bMisha Penton, new music vocal artist and performance creator. Photo courtesy of the artist
A New Experimental Opera Video from Misha Penton
Alumna Misha Penton (MFAIA-WA ‘13) released a new experimental opera video titled, This is our Universe, based on her adaptation of text excerpts from Virginia Woolf’s 1931 novel The Waves. The novel follows the inner monologues of a group of children from their carefree island play into an adult world of unexpected hardship. Stream-of-consciousness images offer scenes of singular, fleeting moments of everyday life, “If we curl up close, we can sit under the canopy of the currant leaves and watch the censers swing. This is our universe.” The music was made from three distinct solo performances from which Misha created the final edit: a combination of chance and indeterminacy.
Misha Penton, soprano, concept, Virginia Woolf text adaptation, Director and Producer; Thomas Helton on the double bass; Hsin-Jung Tsai on the piano, with music created by Penton / Helton / HJ Tsai.
Virginia Woolf’s text for This is our Universe is used by permission from The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Virginia Woolf.
Unsettling Trauma: Embracing Wellness, Cultivating Joy
As her contribution to the November 24-25, 2016 international conference held at the Université de Montréal titled “Inside the Ritual: Approaches, Practices and Representation in the Arts”, MFAIA-WA faculty advisor Devora Neumark’s keynote address focused on recent performance art projects. During the keynote, she also facilitated live art exploration of cultivating joy as radical practice in which the conference participants were invited to actively take part. This was an opportunity for Devora to establish a link between much of her work to date—which she suggests has emerged largely from a place of trauma—and her current intention to create from a place of wellness.
Almost immediately following that presentation, Devora Neumark, left for an artist-in-residence project of the same name (“Cultivating Joy as Radical Practice”) at the contemporary art space Things that Can Happen, which is located in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Devora invited alumna Jennifer Van de Pol (MFAIA-VT ’13) to collaborate with her for the month-long residency. More details about the residency will be shared in the January blog.
Left: Art Wings Urban Festival, Icaron Theatre, Matanzas Cuba October 2106, Photo: Rod Ambala, The Kayla Project. Right: Kitten and Castro. Photo: Rosemary Alpert
Art Wings Urban Festival, Matanzas, Cuba
Current MFAIA-WA student Rosemary Alpert recently returned from Matanzas, Cuba where she was invited as an international artist to teach a series of photography workshops during the Art Wings Urban Festival. She was invited by The Kayla Project, which is based in Seattle and Switzerland. In addition to teaching photography, Rosemary documented the cross-cultural exchanges among the participants of the festival. Prior to the trip, Rosemary raised funds to purchase cameras and equipment to bring along and donate to The Icaron Theatre, which was partnered with The Kayla Project for this festival. Rosemary writes: “After the experience in Cuba, I was reminded that art has no borders, no boundaries, and no language barriers.”
Link: Video provided with permission by The Kayla Project.
satterlee-unnamedVermont Dance Alliance. Photo: Derrick Senior for Paula Higa
Vermont Dance Alliance
Alumna Hanna Satterlee (MFAIA-VT ’16) recently began the Vermont Dance Alliance, as a yearlong effort to independently network all Vermont based professional dance artists. The intention behind this project is to gather and be inspired by one another, pool resources, build audiences, and share in administrative, fundraising and logistical tasks to produce more high quality dance events throughout the state. Hanna has taken to organizing and producing more events throughout this first “experimenting” year and acknowledges that the project may extend beyond one year. Each event includes a collaborative component with participants working as a collective; sharing in tasks as it pertains to the event.
Upcoming events include:
Silent Auction Party Fundraiser
To be held on Friday, December 16 5:30-9:00 pm at the Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier, VT, this is the official kick-off fundraiser for the February Winter Dance Gala at Lost Nation Theater. Enjoy a tasty beverage by Halyard Brewing Company (VT-brewed alcoholic ginger beer), shop around the silent auction items and bid on original items for your holiday gifts, see dance films made by Vermont artists, and meet and greet Vermont choreographers and dancers. Light refreshments served. Cash bar. Have something to donate to the silent auction? Please email:
Dance Party Fundraiser
Friday, January 13 , 7:00 pm to midnight at the La Puerta Negra, 3rd floor in Montpelier, VT. 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm: Sneak Peak Performances and Meet the Artists. 8:30 pm to midnight: dance party. Enjoy Mexican food and drinks from La Puerta Negra and catch a sneak peak into works by Vermont dance artists. Then dance the night away with local DJ Bay 6. $10-$20 sliding scale entrance fee: cash only at the door.
Winter Dance Gala
On Friday and Saturday, February 3 and 4 at the Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier, VT, the Vermont Dance Alliance will present Vermont’s finest new works, highlighting choreographers from around the state and region during 2 evenings of performance and 1 day of master classes.
**Note that this event will be taking place at the same time as the MFA-IA VT residency**.
Performances at 7:00 pm, tickets are $15-$25 / sliding scale. Buy tickets in advance on line,, by phone, 802-229-0492, in person at the LNT office, at the City Clerk’s Office on the 1st floor of City Hall, or at the door. (check, credit card or cash accepted). Contemporary Dance Master classes on Saturday February 4: teachers to be announced, 11:00 to 12:30 and 2:30 to 4:00pm. Register through The price is $10-20 / sliding scale per person. There will be a four-person minimum and 18- person maximum per class.
Recent media performances by ARCOS: The Tower Is Us (left) and Spheres (right). GIFs: Eliot Gray Fisher
Building New Media Performance and Creative Community
This fall, ARCOS, for which alumnus Eliot Gray Fisher (MFAIA-WA ’15) serves as co-Director, has continued cultivating new performance and emerging artists, since premiering the culmination of its transmedia project, Domain. Domain was supported by Texas State University with music commissioned by the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation, and is documented in an article in the Arts and Culture Texas magazine. Recent pieces include a 360°-video performance, which was live streamed as part of the Belgrade-based Online Performance Art Festival an interactive sensor-integrated dance performed for a single audience member at a time, and a site-specific smartphone-integrated performance-installation on San Antonio’s historic East Side at Luminiaria Contemporary Arts Festival. The group has also continued its training and development programming, awarding a micro-grant for a professional dance artist to expand their current practice (the review panel of which included respected fellow Goddard alum Anjali Austin) as well as offering an upcoming interdisciplinary dance workshop that will, among other courses, introduce performance artists to the fundamentals of creative coding.
H. Lan Thao Lam, opening title from a video promoting Mel Chin’s GALA Committee Project at Red Bull Studios NY. Click to view the video. Image courtesy of the artists.
Interventions into Melrose Place
GALA member and recent MFAIA-VT faculty advisor H. Lan Thao Lam discusses the anonymity and collectivist nature of the GALA Committee in this video, for the exhibition Total Proof: The Gala Committee 1995-1997 at the Red Bull Studios in NY, which ran from September 30 through November 27, 2016.
The GALA Committee was a collective project initiated by artist Mel Chin, from 1995 to 1997 when graduate art students from Georgia (GA) and CalArts (LA) came together to make works that were then placed on the set of the Melrose Place TV series. The name GALA fused the abbreviations for Georgia and Los Angeles, but eventually the committee absorbed dozens of artists around the country. The team included students; professional artists; and media scholar Constance Penley of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Twenty years ago, the conceptual artist Mel Chin cold-called the offices of “Melrose Place,” Aaron Spelling’s wildly popular prime-time soap opera, with a proposition. What if a task force of artists supplied free artworks and props for the show’s apartment-complex set, with coded cultural messages on pressing topics like reproductive rights, American foreign policy, alcoholism and sexual politics?
This was the beginning of a conceptual artist’s dream, an ongoing intervention into the very heart of American mass culture. In late 1995, Mr. Chin and a team of 100 mostly unknown artists, called the Gala Committee, began a two-year experiment, placing objects on the set of “Melrose Place”. They took their cues from scripts provided in advance and in some instances worked with the writers to modify plot lines and develop characters. On Friday September 30, at the Red Bull Studios New York in Chelsea, 100 objects from the committee’s work went on display in the exhibition Total Proof: The Gala Committee 1995-1997.
LINK: NY Times article on Mel Chin’s GALA project 
water-show-siskin-rising-atlantic-duoIn Praise of Water: MFAIA-WA faculty advisor Sharon SiskinRising is focused on the effects of climate change. Inspired by the 1987 Names Project Quilt—a personal response to the AIDS pandemic—Rising is a personal imperative to speak the names and remember what may be lost globally, due to rising temperatures and resulting rising waters. Rising is a 98-page re-purposed world atlas bearing the names of low-lying island nations that I have burned, into the maps where these nations now exist. Rising also tells stories of the rising up of 5% of the world’s population. AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) is a coalition of island and low-lying coastal countries sharing concerns about the environment, and their vulnerability to the effects of global climate change. I am interested in making work that makes me remember, that memorializes, and most importantly that makes visible the stories of people who are raising their voices within the United Nations, building global alliances and taking direct action in the face global of unprecedented crisis. Images courtesy of the artist
Goddard College Pratt Gallery Exhibition: In Praise of Water
In Praise of Water features artwork by artists from Goddard College, past and present, approaching the theme of Water from multiple perspectives—aesthetic, ecological, social, political, spiritual, and contemplative. This exhibition was conceived as part of a celebration of the life and work of ecological artist, Jackie Brookner (1945-2015), who, as a visiting artist in the MFA-IA, inspired many to turn their attention to our natural environment and the issues that impact it, not least Water, the lifeblood of the planet. Artists include alumni and students Richard Ambelang, Susan Buroker, Kate Egnaczak, Dan Goldman, Tom Hansell, Phillip Robertson, Nanci Worthington, and MFAIA faculty advisors Seitu Jones, Laiwan, Cynthia Ross, Sharon Siskin, and Ruth Wallen.
In Praise of Water runs from November 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017
Eliot D. Pratt Library Art Gallery, Goddard College, 123 Pitkin Rd. Plainfield, VT
water-show-trioIn Praise of Water. Left: Current MFAIA-VT student Kate Egnaczak, Waste Stream 1 & 2, 2016. Magazine Ads, Ink, Found Oil Pastel. Centre: MFAIA-VT faculty advisor Ruth Wallen, Threatened and Endangered California Frogs and Toads, 2007. Right: Alumnus Phillip Robertson (MFAIA-VT ’05), three block prints with letterpress, hand-sewn as a hanging scroll — Green River, 2010; Spring, 2011; Tritium Leaks, 2012. Images courtesy of the artists
ATLAS trio: Exploring New Music Territory. Photo: Adam Chandler
New Chamber Trio Spells Treble/The ATLAS Trio Opens Ballet Evolution Season Two/Works by Turina, Ginastera and Piazzolla
The newly formed ATLAS trio—Rachael Kister on the violin, Courtney Sharp on the cello, and alumna Laura Ball (MFAIA-WA ’12) on the piano —bursts onto the chamber music scene with new collaborations with Kristin Fieseler Alexander and ANNEX Dance Company (Charleston, SC). This innovative trio crosses the musical map bringing to life a new program of modern American-inspired chamber works for a site-specific program in the Holy City (City Gallery, Charleston, SC). As part of both groups’ educational directives, the piece will be work-shopped in local schools as part of STEAM-based integrative arts curriculum.
David Sokal, Marie Ong, Art 214, in completion of assignment to create a tableau or collage in Photoshop (copyright Marie Ong, 2016)
New Faculty Position at South Seattle College
Alumnus David Sokal (MFAIA-WA ’14) was hired as part-time adjunct faculty at South Seattle College teaching “Digital Art and Graphic Design.” The class is a hybrid of online and in-class. Due to low enrollment, all three levels (Art 210, 214 and 215) are combined to reach the required minimum of 25 students. This mix of ability levels has made David’s initiation into higher education quite a challenge. So far, so good: his supervisor has asked if he is available winter and spring quarters. David confesses he’s probably learning a lot more than his students, not only about the art of teaching, but also about his artistic practice. He also admits that it “has been a godsend that I has such wonderful students, otherwise I may never have lasted this long!”
Website link to the gallery for completed student projects

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to

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