Left – Rising: Small World Map, detail of work in progress. Center – Sharon Siskin introduces graduates during the MFAIA-WA Spring 2016 Commencement Ceremony. Right – Where There is Life — mirror, wood, herbs, seeds, 62”x 66” 12”, 1994. Photos courtesy of Sharon Siskin.
Activities with Sharon Siskin
MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Sharon Siskin recently exhibited an installation entitled: Where There is Life, consisting of four framed mirrors etched with the letters H O P E. The work also includes drawings of healing herbs and plants, seeds hanging from the etched mirrors, and rich earth on the floor with four live herb plants thriving in the soil. This installation was part of a larger group show called Rite of Passage: Creating a Profound Conversation Between Environmental Art and Personal Spirituality, which was hosted by the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California and curated by Minoosh Zomorodinia and Arash Shirinbab. The exhibition ran from February 20 through March 20, 2016.
Sharon also took part in another group exhibition: Smaller Footprints: Artists Examining Global Warming. This show was curated by Linda Weintraub and hosted by the Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, CA. Sharon’s work, titled “Rising: Small World Map” consists of a found world map with text burned into it spelling out the names of the low-lying island nations most at risk from rising waters due to climate change, placing the identifying text within the oceans where they are located. This ongoing project is informed by research and influenced by the spirit and intention of the “Names Project Memorial Quilt”. Sharon was also a panelist during the March 4th discussion moderated by Linda Weintraub. The exhibition ran from January 28 through March 27, 2016.
Finally, Sharon exhibited “Rising: Small World Map” in the group show called Crossing to Safety, curated by Pamela Blotner and Elizabeth Addison, which was hosted by the Abrams Claghorn Gallery in Albany, CA. The exhibition also included four additional works from Sharon’s project titled “Lifeguarding” that combines mirrors etched with detailed drawings of water safety & life-saving techniques with frames referencing old buoys. The exhibition ran from March 3 through March 31, 2016 with a panel discussion on March 26.
All that Remains: Joy Cosculluela and The Wayfinding Performance Group
All that Remains is a series of physical journeys that explores themes of loss and impermanence and the ways we leave marks in the world. May 21, 2016 at 7:30 PM at NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa Street San Francisco, CA. This full-length show is directed by alumna Joy Cosculluela (MFAIA-WA ’14) and performed by The Wayfinding Performance Group, with Jessica Brown, Tomoko Hiraoka, and Bricine Mitchell, a collaborative group of dance/ movement artists dedicated to excavating, shaping, and reshaping personal material into performance. “Our sources of inspiration are human relationships, nature’s patterns, light and darkness, and liminal spaces. Through movement, imagery, and sound we coax the body and enter the ‘in-between’ spaces where we ask questions, play, get lost, and rediscover each other and ourselves. This performance is dedicated to people and places that have been left behind, the stories that celebrate joys, sorrows, and our interrelatedness.”
Joy Cosculluela is a Filipino-American interdisciplinary performing artist working with themes of hybridity, colonized somatic bodies, and social-ecological interdependence. She is interested in finding choreographic fragments that repel and attract. Working with the “underbody” as a provocation, she breaks down the body to reconstruct it in a new way.
In the New York Times Arts Section
Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM), along with cofounder alumnus Neel Murgai (MFAIA-VT 2010), was featured in the Sunday, March 27, 2016 New York Times Arts Section. Neel credits BRM’s entire community and supporters for this recognition, which has come after four years of hard work. BRM has a weekly concert series in Brooklyn with an upcoming birthday tribute to Ravi Shankar and a compilation album.
On March 2, 2016, Neel also played at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City:
Sameer Gupta and Neel Murgai performing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Neel Murgai.
Archives Matter: Queer, Feminist and Decolonial Encounters
Alumna Risha Rox (MFAIA-WA ’15) will be presenting at Archives Matter: Queer, Feminist and Decolonial Encounters in London, UK. This conference will take place on June 2 & 3, 2016 at Goldsmiths, University of London and is hosted by the Centre for Feminist Research.
Archives matter. Archives are bound up with the question of whose history is worth preserving. Scholars in postcolonial and decolonial studies have broadened our understanding of archives by thinking of ‘imperial archives’ (Ann Stoler/ Thomas Richards) and colonialism as a ‘cultural archive’ (Edward Said/ Gloria Wekker): ways of understanding how the documents left behind by empire were made, distributed as well as stored, and ways of opening up what is meant by a document: to document is an action that is performed in relation to bodies. This conference will focus on the ways in which we encounter the archive and consider how we might engage the archive differently within feminist, queer and decolonial studies.
Alumna Heather Bryce (MFAIA-VT ‘07) relocated to NYC from VT in Late September. She held auditions for Bryce Dance Company shortly after arriving and now has a nine-member touring company. Bryce also started working as a Teaching Artist and Administrator at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
ATHE Award for Innovative Studies
Current MFAIA-VT student Thomas Rothacker won a KCACTF/ATHE Award [Region 1] for Innovative Studies as a Graduate Student. Rothacker serves as an Executive Board Member for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival [Region 1], as well as being an active member of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education. Thomas is continuing his MFAIA studies in arts education, dramaturgy and playwriting. Rothacker is an adjunct professor of Theatre Arts at the City University of New York, Kingsborough Community College.
Poison Play at Islip Art Museum
Alumna Margaret DeLima (MFAIA-VT ‘07) is honored to be one of four artists invited to create installations that will “investigate the toxicity of our consumeristic [sic] footprint and abuse of natural resources.” Poison Play will be on exhibit at Islip Art Museum from April 10 through June 5, 2016, with a reception on Sunday, April 24th from 1 PM through 4 PM. Curated by Beth Giacummo.
Spring Tour Europe
Spring is here for alumnus Ronnie Burrage (MFAIA-VT ’16) who is going to Germany and Poland in April. Please check out the new website events page and come on out in support of the master classes and workshops he will be conducting. If you know anyone in Cologne, tell them to check out the program.
Ronnie’s April dates:
April 2 & 3 at the Jazzhaus
Jazzhaus Masterclass Drums
April 4 gig at the Salon
April 8 Drumtrainer in Berlin
April 14 Krakow, Poland
April 15 Zielona Gore Poland
April 16 Nidzica Poland
April 20 & 21 Jazz Institute in Berlin
April 21 A-Trane Berlin
April 29 RoBurrage Productions and KON present Java Jam at the VFW Hall in State College
May 13 The Side Door with Rene McLean
NYSCA 2016 Individual Artist Grant Awarded for New Work, Wayfinding: Imaging History With (Our)story
Current student Dawn Breeze received the 2016 Columbia County Individual Artist Grant funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) decentralization program administered through Greene County Council on the Arts, in support of a new Interdisciplinary Socially Engaged Art (SEA) piece slated to begin this fall. The project will be sited at Olana State Historic Site, home of famed Hudson River School artist Fredric Church, located in Hudson, NY. The piece, “Wayfinding: Imaging History With (Our)story” is a public interactive multi-media mapping piece. It is set outdoors and will examine intersections between history and current experiences of solitude in nature.
Breeze says: “In my SEA work I am interested in exposing individuals private experiences in a collective encounter. I bring attention to both the differences and similarities, unmasking unknowns and exposing points of connectivity. […] The platform for this project empowers all participants to be artists by collectively creating the content of the piece, literally in the footsteps of Frederic Church.”
Craftsbury Community generated environmental sculpture
With support from the Vermont Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Art House Gallery in Craftsbury, alumnus J. Angus Munro (MFAIA-VT ‘13) has been commissioned to create a community-engaged local environmental art project for the spring of 2016. A core group will filter through community inspiration and choose a project and location for this new work.
Point-by-Point — ROOTED AMERICA
A thread of narratives told to choreographer and current MFAIA-VT student Suchi Branfman while on a seven-week mobile residency that circled throughout the United States during the summer of 2015 played February 19 and 20, 2016 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. From the quilt-makers of Gee’s Bend, Alabama to the Lakota, whose sacred lands were destroyed to build Mt. Rushmore, and from the Gullah people of South Carolina to Southern Texas where Sandra Bland never survived a simple traffic stop, Branfman, brings stories into dialogue through dance, song, text and gesture, as well as prints and visual narrative by Bay area artist Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo.
Guest Artist at International Jazz Dance Conference
Choreographer and current MFAIA-WA student Pat Taylor is traveling to Sao Paolo, Brazil April 13-26, 2016 to set a new jazz dance work on Galpao 1 Erika Novachi dance company and teach at the 8th annual Congresso Internacional de Jazz Dance. The Congresso Internacional de Jazz Dance aims to go beyond the dance studio and immerse participants in a more in-depth jazz dance experience that melds technique and theory, while exploring history and culture. In addition to dance classes, the congress also includes lectures and presentations, panel discussions, a variety of opportunities for conversation and sharing, and more.
Assistant Professor and FATE Regional Coordinator
Alumna Stephanie J. Baugh (MFAIA-WA ‘14) has just accepted a full-time, tenure-track position of Assistant Professor of Art at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. She will begin this new position in August of 2016. Currently, Stephanie is serving as a Regional Coordinator for the FATE (Foundations Art Theory and Education) Associate. She has co-organized a Regional FATE Exhibition of 47 midwestern artists who teach foundations courses at regional colleges and universities.
How To Make Space Crowdsourcing Campaign Successful
Cross-site MFAIA Faculty Advisor Devora Neumark will be returning to Hong Kong in the summer 2016 to install her newly developed project as part of the APEXART-winning group exhibition How to Make Space, curated by Jennifer Davis & Su-Ying Lee. Devora is currently in Hong Kong to research and develop local partnerships for this project. Devora’s second trip to Hong Kong will be possible in part thanks to the generous donations of Aeroplan miles by many contributors to the successful crowdsourcing campaign.
Devora’s work will also be featured in the April 1, 2016 launch of the Entre-Deux international performance toolkit: http://www.lieuxpublics.org (in French only).
Left to Right: Sarah Boles, Coordinator of Mental Health Services at Suffolk Community College Counseling Center-Ammerman Campus; Chanika Svetvilas; Lisa Melendez, Professor Library Services & Curator. Photo courtesy of Chanika Svetvilas.
New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Individual Artist grant and more
Alumna Chanika Svetvilas (MFAIA-WA ’14) received a New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Individual Artist grant. She will be working on a collaborative project that will include participation from NAMI members and the Suffolk County Community College community of students, faculty and staff that will highlight conversations between loved ones, one of whom self-identifies with a mental health difference. The site-specific project will be on view in October 2016 at the Suffolk County Community College in Selden, NY and will travel to their other campuses on Long Island. Her work was also selected as a featured project to be followed during the course of the grant to show how a project comes to fruition as part of “Your Story” series in the Huntington Arts Cultural News newsletter. Chanika recently gave artist talks at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, NY and North Shore University Hospital in Plainview, NY, both of which were sponsored by NAMI. Currently her video work is on exhibit at Artspace Gallery in Patchogue, NY. She also interviews artists and writes art reviews for ACES (Arts, Culture, Entertainment Scene) magazine and is the Program Associate of Cultural Programs at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University. For more information or to participate in her projects, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adara Meyers co-authors article about documentary theatre
Current MFAIA-VT student Adara Meyers and collaborator Charlotte Meehan co-authored “BODY & SOLD: Playwright Deborah Lake Fortson Addresses the Teenage Sex Trafficking Crisis,” published by HowlRound in February. Using as its starting point the staged reading of BODY & SOLD that Meyers and Meehan’s theatre company, Sleeping Weazel, produced in November 2015, the article took shape as a “virtual roundtable” featuring Fortson, director Robbie McCauley, and other women involved in art, activism, anthropology, and law enforcement.
Financial Literacy Textbook Published
Alumna Pi Luna (MFAIA-WA ‘12) co-wrote a financial literacy textbook with a colleague, Ed Worden. Their textbook, Life Savings: Navigate the Financial Course, combines math, art, and storytelling with relevant, real-world examples to harness natural curiosity and the joy of learning. Life Savings is used at the high school and college level, including Monte del Sol Charter High School and Santa Fe Community College, and by numerous non-profit and community organizations for workshops across northern and central New Mexico. Unlike financial advisers who simply give advice, Life Savings presents the facts and asks the important questions so students can decide what they think for themselves.
For more info: Engage Publications Life Savings: Navigate the Financial Course on Amazon
20th Anniversary Show of Tapestry Weavers South
The tapestry of alumna Louise McCallum Halsey (MFAIA-VT ‘07) will be in a group exhibition of work by tapestry artists from the southern region, which opens May 3, 2016 and on view until July 9, 2016 at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in NC.
Alumna Christine Toth (MFAIA-VT 07) is launching a new residentially based exhibition project, Indivisible. Using her home as a cultural palette, the project offers a space that prompts different considerations than that of a traditional gallery. Located in the Division Street neighborhood in Portland, OR, Christine’s home was built in 1884, a year after Portland connected to the national railroad network, and three years before the first bridge was built across the Willamette River. Among the first developments in the city, the house now is witness to the area’s recent rapid wave of construction: it is uniquely situated in both location and time to connect the art community and the neighborhood community, as an intervention on a neighborhood that is becoming unrecognizable. In 2015, she received a Neighborhood Gallery Grant from Surplus Space to convert 500 square feet of her home into a gallery/viewing area.
For its inaugural exhibition, Indivisible warmly welcomes Portland-based artist Victor Maldonado as his social-media alter ego Madmex. As Madmex, Maldonado has programmed a small group show utilizing a living room as an exhibition space. A Living Room considers the possibility of private domestic spaces becoming open sites for activating and revealing the politics of art & design objects. Opening reception: Tacos Against Racism, April 2, 2016, 6-9 PM.
Alumna Donna Catanzaro (MFAIA-VT 07) is included in the juried exhibit, “Change Agents: Personal Art as Political Tactic”, which opened March 25th at the Lamont Gallery, Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. The show runs until April 30th. Donna is also exhibiting in “Selections 2016” at the Library Arts Center in Newport, NH till April 15th. Moreover, she currently has artwork in the exhibition “Culture Clash: Seeking Peace in a Violent Time” at the Plymouth Congregational Church, Plymouth NH ending April 29th.
Failure in Process
On March 28, 2016, a panel moderated by Faith Helma, with current MFAIA-WA student Tamara Lynne and fellow artists Linda Austin, Katie Piatt and Lesley Harper, discussed failure and how it informs our work / life / practice. There is a lot of talk in the arts these days about the importance of failure, but not a lot of details about what that looks like in real people’s lives. It happened at the Shout House, 210 SE Madison, Ste. 11, Portland, OR.
Tamara is also leading a Workshop on Puppet Making, The Dynamic Image & Cantastoria on the 3rd through the 8th of April, 2016 at the Jana Sanskriti International Research and Resource Institute, Girish Bhavan, 42A, Thakurhat Road, P.O. Badu, Kolkata India. For more information visit JSIRRI.
Cotton Patch Gospel
Alumnus Sam Vance (MFAIA-WA ‘15) returns to the role that began his musical theatre career over 20 years ago. Sam will be playing double bass and singing the bluegrass gospel score created by Harry Chapin for the hit Off-Broadway musical Cotton Patch Gospel at Taproot Theatre Company in Seattle, WA. Cotton Patch Gospel opened March 25th and runs through April 22, 2016.
Misha Penton: Dialogue entre, An Experimental Trio
Alumna Misha Penton (MFAIA-WA ‘13) premiered Dialogue entre with contemporary and historic dance company, Dancestry, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas, January 15 and 16, 2016. This experimental, collaborative work features Misha Penton, soprano; dancer and choreographer, Meg Brooker; and bassist Brent Fariss, with music devised by Penton and Fariss. Dialogue entre is a contemporary, immersive meditation on the complex inner life of early modern dance icon, Isadora Duncan. The sung text is poetry of Charles Baudelaire and Stéphane Mallarmé, re-imagined and translated by Penton.
Andrea Parkins in Prague
MFAIA-VT Faculty Advisor Andrea Parkins will be performing at the vs. Interpretation Festival of Adventurous Art, which takes place from April 27 to May 1, 2016 at Studio ALTA and other venues in Prague, such as Alfred ve Dvore and the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery. Now in its second iteration, vs. Interpretation is an ongoing, transdisciplinary project promoting innovative improvised artistic projects and research. This year it will keep up its signature focus on sound improvisation, and offer related discussions and workshops as well. vs. Interpretation will further extend its interdisciplinary reach into media such as movement, sound art, film, visual art, and new concepts in music composition.
On April 30, 2016 at 4:00 PM. Andrea will be performing a free concert at the old wastewater treatment plant in Bubeneč and on May 1, 2016 she will be performing with Julyen Hamilton and Company.
Andrea also will be performing during her two-day residency at IBeam, Brooklyn.
April 1 and 2, 2016: Andrea Parkins (el. accordion, objects, electronics) – two evenings of electroacoustic music @ iBeam, Brookyn
8:30 PM: duo w. Mat Maneri (viola)
9:30 PM: trio w. Matthew Ostrowski (electronics) and Ches Smtih (drums, electronics)
8:30 PM: duo w. Brian Chase (drums)
9:30 PM: trio w. Nels Cline (guitar) and Tom Rainey (drums)
IBeam Brooklyn: 168 7th St, Brooklyn, NY
Rennie Harris & Michael Sakamoto: Flash
Flash, a duet choreographed, written and performed by Rennie Harris and MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Michael Sakamoto, combines their dual approaches to manifesting a body in crisis. The work is conceived as a “conversation” between the artists’ respective aesthetics (Hip-hop and Butoh), cultural backgrounds (African American and Japanese American) and personalities. Hip-hop and Butoh were both born from marginalized, postwar urban subcultures, and each embodies a philosophical approach to the creation of cultural identity through dance. Flash is an interdisciplinary performance project combining Butoh and Hip-hop dance, multimedia and other theatrical elements to address the intersection of urban and environmental crisis, social resistance and identity.There was a Post-performance conversation on Thursday, March 31, 2016. Runs on March 31, April 1 & 2, 2016, 7:30 PM at The Dance Center, Columbia College: Chicago, IL.
American Dance Festival’s Movies By Movers
The American Dance Festival’s International Screen Dance Festival and the Movies By Movers International Film Festival have merged to become ADF’s Movies By Movers, of which alumna Cara Hagan (MFAIA-WA ’12) is the new Artistic Director and Curator. Since assuming the position of director, she has been working with the staff at ADF to create a platform to forge formal partnerships with academic institutions resulting in an Institutional Partnership program. Submissions for the 2016 ADF’s Movies By Movers festival are open until April 18, 2016. The festival accepts both professional and student films. Notification of results will be announced on May 25th. The festival will screen in Durham, NC July 6-9, 2016 and in Boone, NC September 8-10, 2016.
Additionally Cara hosted Appalachian State University’s first ever Symposium for Creative Social Stewardship on April 1st and 2nd 2016 on the campus of ASU. Highlights included guest speaker William Cleveland from the Center for the Study of Art and Community and a full roster of interactive panels and workshops by presenters of all disciplines. Full information and schedule on the symposium website. There is also a write-up about the event in the Mountain Times newspaper.
Cara has also been selected to participate in the spring Interlude Series through Black Mountain College and the Media Arts Project. She will present her duration performance art piece, The Body in the Breath (In Color!): Energy Practice and Poetic Response.
Finally, Cara has just completed a short tour of institutions in north India, engaging students and community members in movement, lecture and discussion around creative process. Public performances were given for both students and community members. Institutions visited include, Amity University Rajasthan, Birla Institute, GD Goenka University and the Arch Institute of Design.
Loving the Earth
Alumna Riva Weinstein (MFAIA-VT ’14) created Save the Seeds/Good to Grow, a site-specific greenhouse for the group exhibition titled Loving the Earth, curated by Paola Bari at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. Riva also installed Love of My Life, found and saved seeds, pods and more, which she collected on her walks & from her daily life. Riva was interviewed for a Poughkeepsie Journal article about the show, saying: “So often when you are talking about the environment, the work can be disturbing… shocking… and it’s important. [But] my work is more focused on the joy of the natural world. It has an accessibility so people can touch that joy and wonder.” The exhibition opened on March 19, 2016 and runs through April 23, 2016.
Alumna Jodi Patterson (MFAIA-VT ‘04) has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Washington Art Education Association as the Chair of Higher Education Division. She has recently been selected to be a co-editor of Artizein: Art & Teaching Journal an open access, blind, peer-reviewed publication produced by the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Dr. Peter London and Barbara Brickel are her co-editors. Lastly, she is wrapping up a small group traveling exhibition of her “Plated” series – a tour that began at COP21 and ended at City Hall in Paris, France.
Gallery 110 Solo Show
In January 2017, alumnus David Sokal (MFAIA-WA ‘14) will have a show in the East Gallery of Gallery 110 titled, “Rrose Sélavy” a tribute to the work of Marcel Duchamp and in memory of MFAIA cohort, Pat Renaud (MFAIA-WA ‘14), who studied Duchamp and taught David how to correctly pronounce his name. David views Duchamp as a trickster ”in both the Jungian and the indigenous sense” who playfully wove ancient streams of intrinsic human nature with the waves of dissonance emanating from the confrontation of that nature with the upheavals of Modernism. His masterwork, “Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even” is the central reference point for the show. The title is based on Duchamp’s female alter ego, Rrose Sélavy, a pun on the French for “Eros is Life.” In this show, David hopes to do a bit of complex weaving of his own. His ongoing focus on photography as a “theoretical object” within the realm of Conceptualism, will be seen in relationship to Duchamp’s seminal work, also referred to as “The Large Glass,” an appropriate metaphor for the photograph’s impenetrable surface.
Unpacking Race, Gender, and Ability – Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed
45 people came to a 5-week workshop series all about race and undoing racism. Combining readings, audio-visual media, discussion, and techniques from the Theatre of the Oppressed, alumnus Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews (IBA ’09, MFAIA-VT ‘16) co-designed and led this curriculum with Paloma Irizarry and Hariprasad Kowtha in Philadelphia. Every week Morgan posted the workshop’s take-home assignments on line as a way for those not in the workshop to follow along. See it at www.tophiladelphia.blogspot.com
In early April Morgan heads to Baltimore to lead a day-long workshop for the staff of Outward Bound. Baltimore Outward Bound has been working with both local youth and police in response to the call to action from Black Lives Matter. Now they are looking to address gender and gender identity within their organization, and have asked Morgan to help with that based on his experiences working at with queer, trans, and gender variant youth at the Attic Youth Center in Philly, and Camp Aranu’tiq in New England.
In late April, Morgan goes to Ithaca to lead a workshop about dis/ability for students and faculty at Cornell University. This workshop is a runner up to his tour of CONES, his solo show about vampires, vision loss, and ice cream that will hit the college circuit this fall. Morgan is open to opportunities to advance his work: if and as appropriate, please contact him directly.