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Fellowships for F.Y. 2007

Fellowship grants acknowledge the work of Rhode Island's finest artists in a variety of arts disciplines. Meet below the recipients of our fellowship awards in FY2007.

Crafts: Nicholas Hollibaugh

nicholas hillibaughMr. Hollibaugh received his MFA in Furniture Design from RISD and recently won the Best of Show award at the Providence Fine Furnishing Show. He is a visiting Artist lecturer at the Portland College of Art in Maine and a Visiting Artist at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is co-owner of Box Elder Studios in Providence. The panel found Mr. Hollibaugh’s abstract wood and metal sculptures to be well executed, with complex designs and impeccable craftsmanship. The panel felt that his work demonstrated a range of ideas, which they described as “interesting”, “cool”, “exciting” and “consistently strong.”

The recommendation for the Crafts Fellowship Merit Award is Joshua Enck.


Film & Video: Raphael Lyon

A graduate of Brown University, Mr. Lyon is a filmmaker, musician, performance artist and screenprinter living in Providence, where he also runs the record company, FreeMatterfortheBlind. He has been the recipient of two RISCA Project Grants for Individuals. The panel remarked that they had seen many documentaries about political activists, but that Mr. Lyon’s stood out as being of very high quality. They appreciated the “cobbling together” of the piece through the voices of many “insiders, instead of outsiders.” The film provided privileged access to the inner circles of these groups, giving viewers a unique and important perspective on the film’s topic – the creation of Indymedia in Argentina and beyond. The panel felt that the film has a sophisticated use of imagery and that it provides interesting and intelligent information from multiple perspectives.

The panel recommends that the 2007 Film & Video Merit Award go to Johanna Dery.


Folk Arts: Barlow "Skip" Healy

The 2007 Fellowship in Folk Arts was awarded to Barlow “Skip” Healy. Healy who runs his own business, the Healy Flute Company (1993), started playing traditional American fife and drum music at the age of eight, with the Kentish Guards Fife and Drum Corps in his hometown of East Greenwich; he branched out into the related field of traditional Irish flute music in 1976. Healy has built over one thousand fifes which are now played by the majority of fife and drum corps in the United States and in Europe. Healy’s flutes are considered some of the best in the world, and are prized internationally. In addition to making fifes, flutes, and piccolos, Skip is an extraordinary international performer and was nominated for a Grammy Award. He has released six solo CDs, an instructional guide, and has appeared as a guest artist on over thirty collaborations. Skip is the founder and the artistic director of “Wind on the Bay”, a symposium and workshop series that he created five years ago. This event, which takes place annually, attracts master musicians from the Celtic world, and attendees from all regions of the US, to East Greenwich, RI. For more information, visit: www.skiphealy.com

The merit award receipient is luthier Karl Dennis.


Fiction: Anne Harleman

Ms. Harleman is the author of Happiness, a collection of short stories that won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, and Bitter Lake, a novel. In addition, she has won Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, two Rhode Island State Arts Council grants, the Berlin Prize in Literature, and the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. She teaches writing at Brown University and at the Rhode Island School of Design. The panel felt that Ms. Harleman’s short story “Thoreau’s Laundry” was well crafted and mature. The panel described her writing as “tight” and they remarked on her ability to successfully balance two story lines simultaneously. They discussed the strength of her metaphors and descriptive writing and specifically enjoyed her use of weather parodies. They debated whether her writing falls into the category of “chick-lit” with some panelists feeling that the character of Max who lives in a yert was too romantic. Other panelists loved her description of the main character’s work and felt that the piece had great substance and potential to be a full novel. Overall, the panel felt Ms. Harleman’s submission was very unusual and interesting and they loved her writing.

The panel’s recommendation for the Fiction Fellowship Merit Award is Edward Hardy.

Poetry: Nicole Reinert

Ms. Reinert studied poetry at Hampshire College and at the City College of San Francisco. Her work has been published in The Southern Poetry Review, The Ledge, The Iconoclast, Nerve Lantern, and The Yalobusha Review, among others. The panel felt that Ms. Reinert’s poetry deals with difficult, bitter subjects with restraint and “an allegiance to poetry.” They described her collection of poems as consistently strong, “compelling”, “brilliant”, “powerful” and “affecting”. The panel was unanimous and enthusiastic in their selection of this fellowship winner.

The panel’s recommendation for the Poetry Fellowship Merit Award is Tina Egnoski.


Playwrighting/Screenwriting: David Eliet

The panel described Mr. Eliet’s play “Alissa Through the Looking Glass and into Terezin” as scholarly, professional, moving and informative. The panel discussed the play at length and remarked that the work “stuck with” them long after they read the manuscript. They were impressed with Mr. Eliet’s writing, stage direction, the use of projected images within his vision of the play, and the amount of research that clearly went into the project. The panel felt that the play’s analogy to Alice in Wonderland was strange and unsettling (is the play her post-traumatic breakdown or the dazed way in which she is currently experiencing horrible events?), but effective for dealing with historical events that were truly surreal in their horror. They thought the use of the train at the beginning and end of the play is effective and they felt that the ending of the play is particularly strong with potential for a very intense audience reaction. They remarked that the play’s characters are complex (no one is portrayed as obviously good or bad) and that the manuscript leaves room for various interpretations.

The panel selected Nancy Hoffman for the 2007 Playwriting/Screenwriting Fellowship Merit Award.


Photography: Lucas Foglia

lucas foglia

Mr. Foglia recently graduated with a degree in Art-Semiotics from Brown University and is an editorial, commercial and portrait photographer based in Providence. The panel loved the palette and composition of his work. They particularly admired his photographs of a young boy sitting in front of a large television and a photograph of a local farmer surrounded by blossoms. The panel appreciated this photographer’s portrayal of the South Side of Providence and the South East Asian community there. They felt that he presents his subjects as “real people” and not just as “ideas of people.”

The panel selected Jennifer Kodis for the Photography Fellowship Merit Award.


Choreography: Mark Adrian Harootian

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Mark began his training at the Performing Arts School of Worcester, dancing with the Worcester Youth Ballet. He went on to receive his BFA in ballet from the University of Utah. He has performed and choreographed with Festival Ballet since 2004. For his Fellowship, Mark submitted three works, each revealing a different approach and style. The panel commented that, though the pieces were not extremely experimental or unconventional, they were all structurally sound, creative, beautifully rehearsed and danced and comprised a strong body of work. Each work had multiple layers of movement and activity, all working together cohesively. There was interest and beautiful movement throughout each piece, making them well rounded and a joy to watch.

Fellowship Merit Award in Choreography - Kathleen Gordon Smith

Design: Pippi Anne Zornoza

Pippi Anne Zornoza

Pippi received her BFA in Printmaking from RISD. She is a co-founder of the Hive Archive as well as the Dirt Palace where she currently works as an artist-in-residence. The panel felt that her work shows a high level of creativity and complex composition. They appreciated the beautiful detail of her prints and the skill evident in their execution. There was some discussion of whether this applicant’s work would fit better in the Drawing and Printmaking category. However, the panel felt that the work showed a strong design sensibility; pushed the aesthetics of a promotional tool; and showed considerable risk-taking while remaining professional and beautiful. They liked the vernacular quality of the work and acknowledged that their cute, kitschy, glittery style is appropriate for the events that they promote such as rock concerts and art exhibits. The panel felt that the body of work as a whole was inconsistent, with some works much stronger than others. The group of prints in its entirety, however, shows a true commitment to the work and a high level of skill and talent.

Fellowship Merit Award in Design – Emily Tamzen Norton


Drawing & Printmaking: Chelsea Heffner

Chelsea Heffner

Chelsea is a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where she majored in illustration with a focus in fine arts and currently serves as Gallery Director for Hera Gallery. The panel felt more assured about their selection of this artist for the fellowship award each time they looked at her images. They found that every time they viewed her work they saw something new and compelling, such as juxtapositions of masculine and feminine imagery and colors, unexpected use of geometry, and sophisticated composition. They described her drawing style as skilled yet playful and they appreciated her exploration of original ideas and interesting subject matter. They felt that she presented a consistently strong body of work with a very identifiable style and approach, yet each piece is unique and engaging.

Fellowship Merit Award in Drawing and Printmaking - Jim Frain

Music Composition: Evan Johnson

Evan received his PhD in Composition from State University of New York, Buffalo and his BA in Music from Yale University. He has received numerous awards throughout his studies and has participated in Masterclasses at Centr Acanthes, Buffalo Festival, Domaine Forget, and Fondation Royaumont “Voix Nouvelles.” During the Fellowship panel meeting, this applicant’s work rose immediately to the surface as strong. The recording submitted for the fellowship was of an excellent performance of the composer’s work. The panel appreciated his sparse yet sophisticated style and enjoyed listening to both pieces. They remarked on the clear style and character of the music, but did express their desire to hear a third piece with more contrast to the others in order to understand the composer’s range. They were impressed by the tight control of every aspect of the written score, especially in passages that sounded like improvisation. They found this composer to be extremely competent and they were interested to know where his work might evolve from here.

Fellowship Merit Award in Music Composition - Joseph Grimm

New Genres: Alexandria C Marro

Xander Marro

Xander received her BA in Art/Semiotics at Brown. She is a founding member of the Olneyville based feminist artist run collective the Dirt Palace. She has received grants from RISCA, the LEF Foundation and Center City Arts. She tours her puppet shows and her movies with live soundtracks throughout the country and internationally. For the Fellowship, Xander submitted her movie with live soundtracks “Long Journey on the Arms of Death” as well as her Transmutation Transmission Tower, currently on view at the RISD Museum. The panel was unanimous in their response to this work as dynamic, captivating, “intense,” and revealing an incredible amount of work and dedication. They observed that the artist would “do anything” to express her vision and her creativity, resulting in a profusion of activity. There was some question about the cohesion between the live performance and the stop-motion animation. The panel could not quite decide if these approaches were not cohesive enough, or if they simply added to the range of expression and activity. They loved the use of live music in conjunction with film. They sensed that this artist has a real dedication to her work and her subject and felt that she is truly a new genres artist.

Fellowship Merit Award in New Genres - Victoria Crayhon

Painting: Alfred V DeCredico

Alfred V DeCredico

Alfred V. DeCredico's works on paper have been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad in the past three decades. He has been a visiting artist at Bennington College, Carnegie Mellon University, Brown University, and Syracuse University, and was Visiting lecturer in Drawing in at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University from 1985 to 1988. He is Professor of Foundation Studies at the Rhode Island of Design in Providence, where he has taught since 1981. The panel responded most positively to this artist’s larger paintings, but appreciated the works done on velvet as well. They found the larger works to be compositionally strong, yet intimate and detailed. The body of work was viewed as consistently interesting and engaging, with beautiful colors, patterns and renderings.

Fellowship Merit Award in Painting - Julie Gearan

Three Dimensional Art: Clifford Roelle

Mr. Roelle received his bachelors from the Maryland Institute College of Art and his work is regularly shown in galleries throughout the northeast. The panel felt that he presented a completely original body of work and they could think of no other artist doing work like as sophisticated and creative as his in the medium of wire. They were excited by Mr. Roelle’s ability to create a drawing/painterly effect within sculptural work. The panel felt there was an almost manic compulsiveness to the pieces, which appealed to them. They were excited by the use of light and shadow in his birdcage pieces, and would like to see even more utilization of those effects. They were intrigued by the quotes in his works and appreciated the wit and bizarreness of their content.

Paul Carlotto was the panel’s selection for the Three-Dimensional Art Fellowship Merit Award.