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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 FY2012.
Jamie Jewett is the director of Lostwax Multimedia Dance, a company that seeks to examine the visceral cusp between installation, performance space and narrative through the use of technology. Jewett has choreographed across the U.S., as well as in Asia and Europe. He has been an artist in residence at HERE Center for the Arts in New York, at STEIM in Amsterdam, and currently at Perishable Theater in Providence, RI. Jamie received his BA in Dance and Buddhist Studies from Naropa University, an MFA in Dance and Technology from the Ohio State University, an MA from Brown University's MEME@Brown program, and a PhD in New Media and Performance at Brown. He currently teaches at Dean College. Jamie was also the recipient of the 2010 RISCA Choreography Fellowship Merit Award. In 2011, Lostwax was voted the best dance company in Rhode Island.
Colleen Cavanaugh received her B.A. in Art History from Wheaton College and a medical degree from Brown University. She is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist and an assistant clinical professor at Brown. Before returning to her native Rhode Island, she danced professionally in New York and Europe; studied extensively with Alfredo Corvino and Janet Paneta; and she choreographed and directed at Cadence Dance Project. Currently, she works as an independent choreographer making ballets for regional companies and college dance programs such as Rhode Island College, Providence College, Wheaton College, Festival Ballet in Providence and Island Moving Company in Newport. Colleen has created over 40 ballets, which integrate classical and contemporary techniques in their partnering, phrasing and musical accompaniment.
Cavanaugh previously received the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in choreography in 1999 and 2009. Two of her ballets were chosen and presented by Ballet Builders in New York City and her ballets have been presented in Europe in collaboration with the late sculptor Christiane Corbat. Locally, she has created contemporary works in collaboration with composers Elaine Bearer and Michael DeQuattro and she has created works for the Pawtucket Arts Festival for the past four years. Her work Clarity was presented at American College Dance Festival, Northeast Section last year with Rhode Island College Dance Company and she recently presented Under the Bridge with Festival Ballet Providence dancers in N.Y.C.
Jenna Goldberg is a Providence based artist working primarily as a furniture maker. Raised in a family of artists, she started creating at a young age. She grew up in Mount Kisco, NY, but spent her final two years of high school studying and living on a farm in Israel. Her travels throughout the Middle East influenced her love for pattern and antiquities. Jenna received her BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1990 and acquired her MFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. She is an obsessive ornamentalist and has a hard time not decorating or carving every surface she comes in contact with. Jenna is currently doing a one year residency at AS220, a Providence based community art center and print shop. She is boning up on her silk screening and printmaking skills and one day plans to design and produce wallpaper.
The Crafts Fellowship panel described this artist’s furniture pieces as professionally crafted with fantastic surfaces and beautiful color choices. They recognized that she employs woodworking techniques that other craftspeople use and she is clearly influenced by Japanese textiles, however, she uses these techniques and imagery in a completely original way.
The Crafts Fellowship panel enjoyed the combination of glass, ceramics and paintings submitted by this artist, commenting that it is unusual to find someone who is both an accomplished glass blower and thrower. They enjoyed the concept and theme running through her works, which she explores through bold abstraction, as well as humble motifs.
Yizhak Elyashiv was born in Jerusalem and has become an internationally recognized printmaking artist. Elyashiv received a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem in 1990 and his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992. His prints have been exhibited and collected by the Israel Museum, the British Museum, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, among others. Elyashiv has won many distinguished awards, including three previous RISCA Fellowships in 2000, 2003 and 2006. He currently serves on the faculties of Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Agata Michalowska (born 1984, Warsaw, Poland) works through print, paper, textiles, books and installation to examine the moment of translation, when the ordinary becomes poetic. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design and is involved at the AS220 Printshop, where she works as an Intaglio Instructor, Artist Assistant and Master Printer. Michalowska has been a guest critic for RISD’s Printmaking, Glass and Foundation Departments and a curator at the Special Collections of the Providence Public Library. Her work, characterized by an attention to detail and focus on the subtleties of materials, has been shown in Providence, Chicago and Seattle.
Max Winter, a graduate of UC Irvine's MFA program and a recipient of a 2011 RISCA Merit Award Fellowship in Fiction, lives in Providence with his wife and son. He also teaches writing at the University of Rhode Island and co-edits their literary journal, The Ocean State Review. He thinks people shouldn't check out with their sunglasses on and that there's no such thing as ?!
The Fiction Fellowship panel described this writer as having a confident and distinctive voice. They felt that he had done an excellent job of “making the unlikable likable” and allowing the protagonist to do “monstrous things” while remaining sympathetic, human and complex.
Hester Kaplan is the author of The Edge of Marriage, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Kinship Theory, a novel. Her short fiction has been widely published and anthologized, and has appeared in The Best American Short Stories series. She has received numerous awards and grants for her fiction and non-fiction, including most recently a fellowship from the NEA. Her new novel, The Tell, is forthcoming in 2013. Her new collection of stories is Unravished. She is on the faculty of Lesley University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, and has taught at RISD and MIT. She lives in Providence.
The Fiction Fellowship panel appreciated this author’s ability to make typically unlikable characters feel “human, real and likeable,” and felt that she created a real world and sense of place in her work.
Reshad Kulenović is a writer/director based in Rhode Island. He has worked in the production department of numerous films and TV shows, including The Education of Charlie Banks and in the camera department for the Newport Jazz Festival. He has been awarded the Antonio Cirino Memorial Art Fellowship and the University of Rhode Island gave him the first ever President's Award for Excellence in Film. For his short film Snovi he became one of the first artists to be funded by the Heinrich Boll Foundation. Another producer of Snovi was the Centre Andre Malraux Sarajevo, which also produced Jean-Luc Godard’s Notre Musique. Snovi is nominated for a 2011 Student Academy Award. He is currently writing his follow up film and teaching in the film department at the University of Rhode Island.
The Film & Video Fellowship panel described this artist’s film, Snovi, as beautiful, powerful and moving. They felt that it draws the viewer in with gorgeous cinematography and excellent acting. They were also compelled by its subject matter.
Edward J. Delaney is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker. Delaney has directed and produced the documentary films Library of the Early Mind, which premiered in 2010, and The Times Were Never So Bad: The Life of Andre Dubus, which premiered in 2007. He has published two books of fiction, the novel Warp & Weft and the collection The Drowning and Other Stories, and has published short stories and nonfiction regularly in The Atlantic and other magazines and quarterlies. He is a recipient of a 2008 Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a winner of the 2005 PEN/Winship Award for Fiction, and a past winner of an O. Henry Prize for short story writing. His work has been included in Best American Short Stories, and he has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award. As a journalist he has written for such publications as The Denver Post, The Chicago Tribune and The Atlantic, and is a past winner of the National Education Reporting Award, as well as other national and regional awards. In 2008-2009, Delaney served as an Assistant Editor of The Nieman Journalism Lab, at The Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard University. He is the co-author of Born to Play, by Boston Red Sox second baseman and 2008 American League Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia. His play The Umbrella Man, based on his short story "Conspiracy Buffs," premiered at The Pittsburgh Playhouse in September 2010. His new novel, Broken Irish, will be published in September 2011.
The Film & Video Fellowship panel used words such as “clear”, “professional”, “polished” and “interesting” to describe this film maker’s work.
Sidy Maiga is a djembe and dun dun drummer who grew up in the capitol city of Bamako in Mali, West Africa surrounded by a strong Malian music culture. He started playing at a very young age by first assisting master drummers and eventually becoming a drummer in the Troupe Artistique du District de Bamako, one of the largest dance and drumming troupes in Mali. Sidy then moved to the US. He is a very active musician, playing with a wide variety of musicians and house music DJ’s throughout the US and Canada. He also teaches drumming classes in schools, colleges, and other venues. He currently is the drummer in residence at Uhuru Akrika based in Boston. He returned to Mali in 2010 to record his new album, Maliden. He worked with many talented musicians creating a unique album that incorporates kora, guitar, drum set, bass, keyboard, and many other instruments.
The Folk Arts Fellowship panel was impressed with this artist’s travels to Mali as part of his ongoing commitment to building his drumming skills. They also appreciated his work in sharing his art form with the community.
Shanthi Muthu, formerly a software engineer, now follows her passion of wellness consulting through authentic real-deal Yoga, meditation, Indian dance, vegan/veg cooking, chants in the Samskrit language, stress management workshops and more. She teaches both kids & adults. She performs a classical dance form from India called "Bharatanatyam" in elaborate costumes, bells and jewelry. The dance form is colorful, vibrant, dynamic, rhythmic and yet graceful and expressive. Shanthi offers Indian culture classes in schools, and India-themed birthday parties with Henna, Kolam floor designs, participatory storytelling through Yoga postures and dance movements, enabling viewers to explore their body and to create various hand gestures for depicting objects, emotions, actions and ideas.
The Folk Arts Fellowship panel was impressed by this artist’s generosity in sharing her Indian background with her community, incorporating cultural and spiritual elements in her work. She has practiced and explored Bharatanatyam dance through choreography, teaching, performance and her own continued learning for over 34 years.
Born in Connecticut, Barbara Kolb attended the Hartt College of Music of the University of Hartford, where she received her B.M. (cum laude) and M.M. degrees. She has been the recipient of many awards, including three Tanglewood Fellowships, four MacDowell Fellowships, and two Guggenheim Fellowships. Ms. Kolb became the first woman to receive the American Prix de Rome (1969-71) in music composition. She was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a year of study in Vienna. Other honors include a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Institute for Arts and Letters grant, and two previous Fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
Many organizations have commissioned works from Barbara Kolb, including the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Radio France, IRCAM, the New York Chamber Symphony, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Fromm Foundation. Her music is performed internationally: Millefoglie (1983), her much-admired score for chamber ensemble and computer tape, has been played in Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Dallas, Washington DC, Gelsenkirche (Germany), Helsinki, Liège, Montreal, Paris, San Francisco, Vienna, and Tokyo, where it was performed by the Tokyo Sinfonietta under Kunitaka Kokaji as part of the 1996 Tokyo Summer Festival. She teaches music theory and composition at Rhode Island College.
Steven Jobe began composing in 1987 when he was commissioned by the Community College of Rhode Island to compose the lyrics and music for an original musical, Walking on Air. A few years later he wrote the lyrics and music to an opera, Joan of Arc, which was performed in concert version in 1993. In 1994, Jobe began composing chamber music, creating small ensemble pieces for theatre projects at the Rhode Island School of Design and for two productions of the Pan-Twilight Circus (a RI-based circus/theatre project). In 2005, Jobe composed a string quartet, Four Movements for String Quartet and Soprano, which premiered at the Carriage House School in Providence. Subsequently, he was commissioned by bassoonist, Jim Morgan (a specialist in the French-style bassoon) to compose Concerto for Bassoon. That piece had its premiere in June 2006 with Morgan as soloist. In 2007, Jobe was commissioned by the First Works Festival in Providence to compose Music for Three Hurdy-Gurdies. A substantial work scored for chamber ensemble with vocalists, it featured three hurdy-gurdies, two of them large-scale (7 and 10 feet long), one-of-a-kind instruments. In May 2010, Jobe premiered "Joan of Arc" as a fully staged opera at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI to sold-out audiences. Jobe’s newest project, the opera, "The Legend of the Fairy Melusine," will be mounted in collaboration with Vanessa Gilbert, who will direct the staging, and Dan Butterworth who will provide shadow screen and marionettes. http://www.stevenjobe.com
China Blue is a two time NASA/RI Space Grant recipient and an internationally exhibiting artist who was the first person to record the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. She represented the US at OPEN XI, Venice, Italy an exhibition held in conjunction with the Architecture Biennale. Reviews of her work have been published in the New York Times, Art in America, Art Forum, artCritical and NY Arts to name a few. She has been interviewed by France 3 (TV), for the film “Com-mu-nity” produced by the Architecture Institute of America and was the featured artist for the 2006 annual meeting of the Acoustic Society of America. She has been an adjunct professor and Fellow at Brown University in the United States. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Engine Institute www.theengineinstitute.org.
China Blue is an artist who captures the tenor of our times by transforming common electronic waste into biomimetic artwork with an environmental focus that also sings. In one of her most recent works the Firefly Tree she translates the firefly’s rhythmic signaling pattern into sound heard in Firefly Chorus and light as seen in the blinking LEDs. The loss of fireflies due to light pollution from cities makes them a succinct metaphor for the fragility of our ecosystem.
Murray McMillan and his partner, Megan McMillan, are video, photography and installation artists who have been collaborating since 2002. They have exhibited at the Casa Masaccio Center for Contemporary Art in San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy, the Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense, Denmark, the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece, and the National Museum of Art in La Paz, Bolivia. They are represented by Qbox Gallery in Athens, Greece. The McMillans will have their work featured in the upcoming 2012 DeCordova Biennial at the DeCordova Museum in Boston. The McMillans have been artists in residence in Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tzia and Athens, Greece and Turku and Kokar, Finland. Their work has been featured in film festivals in New York, London, Los Angeles, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Greece and Romania. Their work has been included in the Wild Things exhibition at the Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense, Denmark (2010), the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009), and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007). Their solo show at White Flag Projects in St Louis was reviewed in Art in America. The McMillans are 2010 Finalists for the Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship from The Rhode Island Foundation.
Murray McMillan (born 1973, Dallas, TX) has a MFA from The University of Texas at Austin and a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute. The McMillans have been married since 1997 and live and work in Providence, Rhode Island.
Daniel Talbot received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. He residencies such as the RISD European Honors Program in Rome, Italy and the RISCA Painting Fellowship Merit Award in 2008. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout Rhode Island and North America with his solo and group shows. He has recently been in Artist Talks workshops at AS220.
Dimitri moved from Providence to Los Angeles to pursue music and songwriting in the early 90s. After three years in California, he enrolled in a graduate program in literature at the University of Essex, England. In 2000, he returned to Providence where he taught, wrote and painted. He published a novel and some short stories at this time, but painting became increasingly dominant. It had a way of taking everything over and of containing all of the abstractions, rhythms and forms he found in music and writing.
Mary Beth Meehan is a Providence-based photographer whose current projects deal with immigration, culture, and community. Her goal is to create a connection with the people of those communities, whose identities are often obscured by economics, politics, and race. Meehan’s work has been exhibited and published widely, including in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Washington Post; has been honored by Pictures of the Year International and The National Conference for Community and Justice; and was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. Her series entitled Undocumented was featured in the Boston Sunday Globe and has received financial support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts toward a touring exhibition in the fall of 2011.
She is currently working on a second long-term project entitled City of Champions: A Portrait of Brockton, Massachusetts, which responds to her changing, post-industrial hometown. That work earned her a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship Merit Award in 2009, and has received financial support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She has recently won a grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities for her work in Brockton to be installed as a large-scale public banner project in the city's downtown in September of 2011. Meehan teaches Documentary Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and is director of the Documenting Cultural Communities program at the International Charter School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
The Photography Fellowship panel described each photograph submitted by this artist as beautiful and strong enough to stand on its own. They felt, however, that the images are strengthened as a series and that they “hang together” beautifully. This is an emotionally mature body of work that shows real sensitivity toward its subjects.
Scott Alario received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and currently lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. Alario's art practice is realized through photographs. Using a 100 year old view-camera, he tells stories that are often inspired by his ancestors. Currently, his work is focused around his 2 1/2 year old daughter, and with his wife, Alario is working toward creating a fable. The narrative myth hopes to travel between personal and universal and deals with themes of fatherhood and the pursuit of his own legend, gleaned from reality, but colored by magic. Alario's work has been shown in New England and in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The Photography Fellowship panel appreciated that this artist’s photographs feel like a cohesive and original body of work. They also commented that they “like the story” that he is telling, even if they don’t know exactly what it’s about. He has a strong and original aesthetic and a unique point of view.
Julie Danho O'Connell received an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University and is currently at work on her first full-length collection. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Southern Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Cream City Review, and West Branch, among others. In 2010, she received a Fellowship Merit Award in Poetry from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She currently works as an editor in Providence.
The Poetry Fellowship panel described her writing as memorable and inventive, with fabulous imagery and emotional resonance. They appreciated the range of experimental structures that she uses, emphasizing that those structures always enhance the language and voice of the poems.
Darcie Dennigan's first collection of poems, Corinna A-Maying the Apocalypse, was selected by Alice Fulton for the Poets Out Loud Prize. Her second collection, Some Antics, is forthcoming from Canarium Books. Dennigan is the recipient of a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, the Cecil Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a fellowship from the Breadloaf Writers Conference. A Rhode Island native, she currently lives in Providence and works as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut.
The Poetry Fellowship panel felt that this poet has a fresh voice with impressive range in language and tone. They described the work as unpredictable in shape, movement and pacing.
Mia Chung is a member of New Dramatists and the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. She was a member of the inaugural 2010-2011 Civilians’ R&D Group in Brooklyn; as a member of this group, she wrote her new play Page Not Found, which had a reading in May. She is the recipient of a 2011 TCG Global Connections grant to support a pansori collaboration with South Korean musical theatre artist Song Yong Jin. Her play You for Me for You will be developed at the 2011 Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, which will include a reading at ACT in Seattle; this play will also be presented by Inkwell at the Kennedy Center’s 2011 Page to Stage Festival. Her play Exquisite Corpse received Honorable Mention for the 2011 Jane Chambers Award. In the coming year, Rites and Reason Theatre in Providence, RI will present her play Cape Verde. Her work has been developed by the Magic Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Mu Performing Arts, Brandeis Theatre Company, and PlayGround SF. She received a Sloan commission, a Creative Arts Council grant, and a residency at the Millay Colony. MFA, Brown. BA, Yale.
The Play/Screenwriting Fellowship panel described this writer’s 88 page play You for Me for You as “fresh”, “enjoyable”, and “original”. They appreciated that she is addressing complex and timely issues and they enjoyed the ways that her writing plays with and pushes language.
Christine Evans’ plays have been produced in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S., and published by Samuel French, Smith and Kraus and Theatre Forum. Honors include the 2007 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award (Trojan Barbie), a Fulbright Award, the 2007 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) Play/Screenwriting Fellowship, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, a Rockefeller Center Bellagio Residency, an Australia Council for the Arts New Work award and the “Plays for the 21st Century Award.” Evans is a Resident Artist at HERE Arts (N.Y) and a Women’s Project Playwrights’ Lab alum. She holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D from Brown and teaches playwriting at Harvard.
The Play/Screenwriting Fellowship panel commented that this writer’s 79 page play Can’t Complain started out feeling very traditional, but turned into something much more interesting. They described her work as enjoyable to read, conceptually strong, charming and moving.
The Three-Dimensional Art Fellowship panel was unanimous and enthusiastic about their selection of this artist for the Fellowship Award. They described the artwork as “museum-ready”, “on a higher level”, and worthy of publication. http://davecoledavecole.com/
Mo Kelman is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has taught at leading New England arts institutions and shown her work in more than 40 exhibitions across the United States and in Europe, Japan and Korea. In her current work, Kelman dyes fabric “skins” using her own innovations on a Japanese shibori method, stretches them over bamboo or wire structures and tethers them to the wall. She has exhibited at the Federal Reserve Art Gallery in Boston; Providence College; the Wheeler School’s Chazan Gallery; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the British Crafts Center in London; the International Shibori Symposium in Nagoya, Japan; the International Textile Symposium in Kyoto, Japan; and at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale and Heyri Art Factory in South Korea. Kelman, who lives in Providence, is a professor of art at the Community College of Rhode Island and has taught classes and workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Massachusetts College of Art and RISD. Kelman received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
The Three-Dimensional Art Fellowship panel described this artist’s work as “resolved”, “polished”, and “gorgeous”.