Alumna Imani Uzuri (MFAIA-VT ’12) conducts the Revolutionary Choir at the Haybarn Theatre, Goddard College, to launch the pilot MFAIA Alumni Gathering that was held concurrent to the July 2015 residency in Plainfield, Vermont. Photos: Goddard College
by Tyson Pease (MFAIA-VT ’15)
In the spirit of its residency theme, “Artist in the World: Working Collectives,” the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program piloted an Alumni Gathering during its Vermont campus’ July residency. Taking place over graduation weekend, a small corps of participating alumni joined the expanding campus community with six guest artists—three of whom are fellow program alumni–representing four separate artist collectives and collaborations.
Alumni guest artists’ presence opened and enriched the residency kickoff for the entire MFAIA community, through participatory performances from Imani Uzuri (MFAIA -VT ’12), and experimental, inquiry-based collaborative workshops from John Borstel and Catherine Mueller (MFAIA-VT ’14). Alumni guest artists joined other guest artists—Dylan Miner of The Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and Just Seeds, and Emily Simons of the Beehive Design Collective—for a panel discussion exploring how artists work with or in collectives towards social transformation. Victoria Zolnoski (MFAIA-VT ’13) also had the opportunity to mount a solo exhibition called “Beauty is Interconnectedness.”
Residency activities and graduation events were open to alumni who came to participate in the Gathering, giving alumni a chance to (re)connect with each other, faculty, staff, and current students. As a participating alumnus myself, I detected from fellow alumni and current students the the alumni presence on campus was completing a circle left open each previous residency. An MFAIA Alumni Association came out of these sessions, and it now has several upcoming projects in mind: build an effective communications network among MFAIA alumni, plan future gatherings and develop long-distance alumni professional development opportunities.
MFAIA alumni who are interested in staying abreast or being part of future alumni developments should reach out to Tyson Pease at firstname.lastname@example.org.