In Memory of Amy Oestreicher

Goddard MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts 2021 Candidate

Amy Oestreicher envisioned things we couldn’t. A natural writer, performer, and presenter, she didn’t strive for perfection, as she often said, “creativity isn’t perfect.” In spite of her many hardships, Amy still believed in moment bubbles,” tiny and beautiful experiences one has, for example, walking among nature’s path and seeing a butterfly or a tree – an experience that could forever etch in one’s memory. She wanted us to treasure the earth we live in.

In the last months of her life, Amy relished doing puppetry and she was incorporating this art into her thesis at Goddard. She was completely fascinated by the idea of breathing life into a puppet. Amy loved the people at Goddard and the surrounding landscape of Vermont. She was so proud to be part of the MFA community for so many reasons, but above all because of their focus on making the world better, kinder, smaller, sweeter, and more just.

Amy’s memoir, “My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful” was recognized as one of the top memoirs of the year by the 2019 Connecticut Press Club and is available as an audiobook at Audible. This book sums up who she was and what she believed in.

Amy is survived by her parents Mark and Marilyn, three older brothers Adam, Matt, Jeff, and sister-in-law Alisa, and niece Hannah (named after Amy’s loving grandmother).

Her Goddard advisors add these thoughts about Amy:

Amy Oestreicher was a very engaged, generous member of our MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts community.  She was eager to share resources and actively participated in group studies and workshops offered by the program. 

She expressed fierce and hopeful energy for life –  and a life in art –  despite her very difficult health issues. For her practicum, “Walking for Joy: Claiming Your Walking Practice for Connection, Discovery, Resilience and Play,” she shared six engaging prompts with a large online community.  She often seemed to work around the clock – creating music, building puppets and masks, making paintings, writing about her readings and documenting everything! Amy pursued her work in puppetry — a newer medium for her – with a depth and discipline that was already showing promising results. Her most recent advisor wondered if she ever slept. 

Amy was a talented singer/songwriter, an articulate writer and prolific painter. She pursued her studies with unbridled passion and enthusiasm.  Her work grew tremendously as she explored many new terrains, from butoh, walking practice and many forms of puppetry, to ecofeminism, earth-based spirituality and ecological activism.  She was working on synthesizing all of her explorations in a culminating autoethnographic eco-feminist performance that expanded her focus from personal healing to global healing, featuring her text, puppets, masks and music.

Amy was a gift to our community. She had tremendous drive, a great sense of ironic humor, and expressed unbounded joy in her work and the possibilities that life might hold for her.  We were all looking forward to experiencing her culminating performance and are forever grateful for her inspiration and example.

Dedications to Goddard College in honor of Amy can be made below:

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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