PLAINFIELD, Vt. – Goddard College is proud to announce the recipients of the Spring/Summer 2015 Alumni Arts Project Award, a bi-annual grant that aims to bring the arts to communities by supporting new work by graduates of the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program.
Three alumni artists with collaborative community art projects received $500 each to produce work in contemporary dance, theater, class art, and multi-media productions. Honorees were selected by a committee of Goddard MFA faculty.
Ryan Conarro, New York City
“this hour forward”
this hour forward, a performance installation featuring video, sound, photography, song, and storytelling, presents a collision of Conarro’s childhood memories with the latest headlines in LGBTQ equality rights. Conarro developed the piece at Goddard and premiered the installation at the JACC Gallery in Juneau, Alaska in fall 2013. Since then, he’s toured and further developed the work at the Gainesville Theatre Alliance in Georgia; the Stonington Opera House in Maine; and the Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon. this hour forward made its New York City premiere at The Performance Project @ University Settlement in May.
Ryan Conarro is a performance maker whose creative pursuits explore identity and place in contemporary landscapes. He’s lived and made work in Alaska for 13 years, where he’s a Perseverance Theatre company member, co-founder of Generator Theater, occasional documentary radio producer, and teaching artist. He’s written for the Teaching Artist Journal and is a chapter contributor to the 2014 book The Reflexive Teaching Artist. He’s a Resident Artist with the international ensemble Theater Mitu, and his work as a director and deviser has been presented at the Kennedy Center, the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian, the Oregon Contemporary Theatre, the Stonington Opera House, Gainesville Theatre Alliance, as well as numerous venues in Alaska. Ryan is in residence as Artistic Collaborator and Community Projects Associate at Ping Chong + Company in New York, through TCG’s Leadership U: One-on-One Program. He earned his BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. Ryan likes spending time outside, and he loves a good cup of coffee. Learn more at www.ryanconarro.com
Bridget Erin, New Orleans
“Sonata for Four Hands”
Jonah and Eliza grew up playing piano alongside each other, under the guidance of Jonah’s mother Ruth, their piano teacher. When they take on a difficult four-hand sonata by the 19th century Russian Jewish composer Anton Rubinstein, the piece moves the pair of talented young pianists in surprising directions. Eliza begins to question her dream of becoming a concert pianist. Jonah connects deeply with his Jewish heritage in ways that challenge Ruth, who opposes organized religion, and Eliza, who has strong feelings about the politics of Israel. Sonata for Four Hands is a play about what happens when people we love do things we can’t accept or understand, and the power of music to bring us together…or pull us apart.
Bridget Erin has a BA in Theatre Arts from Mount Holyoke College and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Her plays have been produced at New Orleans Fringe Festival, Second Star Performance Collective’s “Two for Tennessee” (New Orleans), Chameleon Theatre Circle’s New Play Festival (Minnesota), ArtsCenter Stage’s “10 by 10 in the Triangle” (North Carolina), Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival (Ontario), and Buffalo United Artists’ “BUA Takes Ten” (New York). She is a member of the New Orleans-based playwriting collective Generate INK, which will produce one of her full length plays in fall 2015. She also makes puppets and creates original puppetry performances. She lives in Denham Springs, Louisiana, with her husband and son.
Charlene Smith, Massachusetts
“Never a Victim”
Never a Victim is a research and writing project on sexual violence. In 1999 Smith was raped and stabbed in her home. She began writing about the assault the next day and an article was published a week later. That started extensive campaigning around sexual violence and domestic abuse, counseling and support of those harmed and/or with HIV and other infections that result from violence. Her work resulted in the 2014 release of a CDC protocol on post-exposure prophylaxis after sexual assault, changes to WHO guidelines and reform to medical care, public terminology, and criminal justice system efforts around sexual assault globally.
She writes: “I hate being seen as ‘the woman who was raped,’ but I also believe that silence is an enabler and I am disturbed by a worsening climate of harm against women and young people. Young males are particularly vulnerable to rape and with incest victims are the least likely to speak out. And so I am doing a major update of my book in the hopes that it will spark new awareness, new ways to combat and halt growing harm.”
Charlene Smith is a multi-award winning writer, editor, lecturer, and management consultant. An authorized biographer for Nelson Mandela she teaches writing in the USA, UK and South Africa. As a journalist she worked for many years as a feature and analysis writer for the Los Angeles Times, managed the largest English radio station in South Africa, was an assistant editor on four financial publications, worked in television for CBS 60-Minutes, ABC Nightline and helped produce award winning documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC, among others. She also covered President Barack Obama’s White House. She reported on violent conflict in Africa, Southeast Asia and Argentina, studied Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism through Georgetown University and is reasonably expert on ISIS. She has a Masters of Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Vermont.
About Goddard College
Initially founded in 1863 as the Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vt., Goddard College moved to its current Plainfield campus and was chartered in 1938 by founding President Royce “Tim” Pitkin. In 1963, Goddard became the first U.S. college to offer low-residency adult degree programs. Goddard now offers accredited MA, MFA, BA and BFA degree programs from the main campus in Plainfield, Vermont and sites in Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington. The low-residency education model offers the best of on-campus and distance education, with experienced faculty advisors, rigorous on-campus residencies, and the freedom to study from anywhere.