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Fellowships for FY2011

Fellowships for FY2013

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 FY2013.

Heidi Henderson grew up in Skowhegan, ME and now lives in Rhode Island. Her work has been shown in London, Korea, NYC, at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out and in many other places in New England. Heidi danced in the companies of Bebe Miller, Nina Weiner, and Paula Josa-Jones, and with Colleen Thomas, Peter Schmitz and Sondra Loring. She is a sometimes contributing editor at Contact Quarterly: a vehicle for moving ideas. She teaches regularly at the Bates Dance Festival and is on the dance faculty at Connecticut College.  www.elephantjanedance.com/

Kathy Gordon Smith (teacher, choreographer and performing artist) is Assistant Professor of Dance at Rhode Island College, in Providence, Rhode Island.  Prior to her position at Rhode Island College, Kathy was an adjunct faculty member at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, and the director of the dance program at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island.  While performing with various dance companies including Concert Dance Company of Boston, Kathy worked with renowned choreographers such as Lucinda Childs, BeBe Miller, Keith Terry, Pooh Kaye, Sean Curran, Daniel McCusker and Mark Taylor and has performed works by Laura Dean, Mark Dendy, and Mark Morris.   Locally, she has had the opportunity to work with talented choreographers/colleagues such as Kelli Wicke Davis, Gary Shore, Melody Ruffin-Ward, and Heidi Henderson among others, and performed with numerous Rhode Island companies such as Groundwerx, Fusionworks, and Elephant Jane. 

Current choreographic projects include "Conversations With My Dad" and "Hello Only Ends in Goodbye".  Kathy's work has been presented at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island College, Perishable Theater, Providence College and The Carriage House.  Kathy holds an MFA-IA from Goddard College and is a certified yoga instructor from Eyes of the World, Providence, RI.  She is a three-time merit Fellowship award recipient from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Jill Colinan grew up in Central Falls, RI. After earning a BA in English from the University of Rhode Island, she rented a studio at AS220 in Providence and got to work. Jill has shown her work at AS220, Gallery Agniel, ABC NO RIO, The Stairwell Gallery and the Dirt Palace, as well as designing sets for Perishable Theatre. Colinan was awarded the Fellowship in Crafts for 2001 and 2009. Jill currently lives in Providence with her best friends Shawn and Louise.

Jay Lacouture has been making pottery for nearly forty years. He has been a Professor of Art at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI for thirty-two years. He is a Fellow and former President of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and served on the Board of Directors for the Studio Potter Organization. He has been an artist in residence in; Kamioka, Japan, Jingdezhen, China and at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. He works at the Carolina Pottery in Carolina, RI where he fires his work in a two-chamber wood-soda kiln.  His pottery has been exhibited and published in the US, Australia, China and Japan. He is a graduate of West Virginia University (MFA) and Rhode Island College (BA). 


Leslie Hirst received her M.F.A. from the Mount Royal Graduate School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001, and her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a concentration in Painting in 1999. She has had solo and group exhibitions at Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York City, and her work has been exhibited nationally in group shows, including Maryland Art Place (m.a.p.) in Baltimore, MD, Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco, and the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington, DE. Internationally, her work was included in the VI Biennale di Soncino a Marco in Soncino, Italy and at the Center for Contemporary Art in Pont-Aven, France. Current group exhibitions are taking place at Weatherspoon Art Museum in NC, and the Hunterdon Art Museum in NJ. She has been awarded residencies at Centre d'Art Marnay Art Center (CAMAC), Blue Mountain Center, Ucross Foundation, Djerassi Resident Artists Program and Hall Farm Center for Artists and Educators. Her works are in the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago and private collections. She has taught drawing, painting, printmaking and design since 2000, and has been a visiting artist at several universities and institutions. She is currently Associate Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, and her studio is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. http://lesliehirst.com

Ernest Jolicoeur received his BFA from Rhode Island College and his MFA from Yale School of Art.   He was born in Woonsocket and returned to Rhode Island in 2005 after living and working in New York City for nearly ten years.   His paintings were included in Greater New York at MoMA PS1 and exhibited at Feature Inc., Jeff Bailey Gallery and others in New York.  Ernest’s most recent work has been shown at Brown University’s Bell Gallery and Roger Williams University’s SAAHP Gallery.  His work on paper is affiliated with the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons Gallery in Boston.  Prior to his RISCA Fellowship Merit Award in Drawing and Printmaking, he received an Artist Resource Trust Foundation Grant and was nominated for a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award.  Reviews of his work have appeared in the New York Times, Art News, Art New England and Tema Celeste.  He currently teaches at Rhode Island College and Salve Regina University and serves as the Director of Salve Regina’s Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery.  www.ernestjolicoeur.com

Edward J. Delaney is an award-winning author, journalist, filmmaker and educator.  His books include the novels Broken Irish and Warp & Weft and the short-story collection The Drowning and Other Stories. He was a 2008 National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellow, 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 appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and other magazines, and has appeared in Best American Short Stories. He is also the co-author of Born to Play, by Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Anna Solomon’s fiction has appeared in One Story, The Georgia Review, Harvard Review, The Missouri Review, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. Her stories have twice been awarded the Pushcart Prize, have won The Missouri Review Editor’s Prize, and have been nominated for a National Magazine Award. Her essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Slate’s Double X, and Kveller.  Previously, Anna worked as a journalist for National Public Radio's Living On Earth, where she reported and produced award-winning stories about the impacts of environmental policy and politics.  Anna holds a BA from Brown University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and has taught writing at the Sackett Street Writers Workshop and Manhattanville College. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and daughter.


Ann Fessler is a professor at Rhode Island School of Design. Her audio and video installations and award winning short films on adoption have been shown in galleries, museums and film festivals internationally. In 2003–2004 she was awarded a prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, where she conducted interviews and research for the book and film. She is the recipient of visual art and film grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the LEF Foundation; the Rhode Island Foundation; the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities; Art Matters, NY; and the Maryland and Rhode Island State Arts Councils.

Steven Subotnick is an animator and artist living and working in Providence, RI. His animations have received international awards and his work has been included in competitive and curated shows at festivals, museums, and galleries around the world. In addition to his work as an artist, Steven is also a dedicated teacher. He has taught animation at a number of institutions, including the Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University.

Kevin Doyle was born to Irish parents in the Fox Point section of Providence, R.I. Kevin has been dancing for over fifty years. He learned his first steps from his mother, Margaret, a stepdancer from Co. Roscommon, Ireland. He furthered his dance from instructors Steve Carney and Mary Sullivan from Boston, and then progressed to the McCory School of Irish Dance in Pawtucket, R.I. A U.S. Irish Dance champion, he achieved success in Irish dance competitions throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey in the 1960's. Kevin also excelled as a tap dancer, studying at the legendary Theresa Landry School of Dance in Pawtucket, R.I. Since 1996, he has performed with the Rhode Island Celtic band Pendragon. Kevin also performs with American clogger Aubrey Atwater and Irish dancer/ choreographer Kieran Jordan of Boston.

Silvio Cuellar is a Composer, guitarist, vocalist, Music Director, Workshop Facilitator and Journalist.  In 2005 he with His son Alex and other youth and children; founded the Music Group Voces de los Andes “Voices of the Andes”. Voces de los Andes, have played at numerous community and ethnic events, like the Children Museum, First Work, 2011 Heritage Month Closing, Colombian and Bolivian Festivals, La Salette Shrine Festival of Lights, and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Newport. Silvio Cuéllar, has also  been the Music Director of St. Patrick Church in Providence since 2004, directing Choirs and Music Ministries in English and Spanish and a freelance writer photographer for El Católico de Rhode Island Monthly Publication. Silvio also has many years of experience in facilitating musical and family enrichment workshops, not only in Rhode Island, but in many parts of the United States, as well (RI, MA, CT, NV & MO).  He also has help organized 3 National Conferences for Hispanic Pastoral Musicians.

As a vocalist and multi instrumentalist, Glenda Luck has been professionally composing and performing her works since 2001. Her first full length album, Recording One was self produced and released in 2005 while living in Duluth, MN. It received regional airplay and sales.

In 2009 Glenda Luck relocated back to Block Island, Rhode Island. Her current eclectic, contemporary folk project, Manisses, A people and a place is slated for a spring 2013 release. The music that comprises this record is inspired by Block Island and it's little known history of the island's indigenous people. Simultaneously she has recorded a third album, Little Red Lipstick slated for a 2013 summer release. Glenda Luck has been a member of the Rhode Island Songwriter's Association since 2011.

On the strength of her articulate songs and compelling performance style, Glenda Luck is a performer and composer whose music resonates to broad audiences. She has been described as "a finger-picking folk artist", "a jazz-savvy experimentalist", and "a captivating anti-folk artist" all at the same time.


Brian Knoth is a musician/composer, digital media artist, and, interactive systems designer. His work explores concepts related to multi-sensory perception, empathy, and human/environment interaction. This work is realized in several formats including electro-acoustic music, audio-visual composition, interactive multimedia performance, installation art, and interactive systems for mind-body rehabilitation. Knoth was one of three recipients of the prestigious 2011 MacColl Johnson Fellowship in Music Composition. He has also been awarded grants by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Creative Arts Council (Brown University). As a composer, engineer and producer, the music he has worked on is distributed widely through digital outlets including iTunes, eMusic, and CDBaby. Knoth has also worked as a sound designer and musical score composer for award winning independent films. Also an educator, Knoth is currently teaching at Bridgewater State University, Emerson College, and Rhode Island College. He has also taught at the University of Rhode Island, Bryant University, RISD (CE), Brown University (as a Graduate Teaching Fellow), and, the New England Institute of Art. He holds a B.A. in Psychology/Cognitive Science (summa cum laude) from SUNY Geneseo, an M.A. in Media Arts from Emerson College, and an M.A. in Music from Brown University. In 2011, he completed his Ph.D. in Computer Music and Multimedia at Brown University.

Aaron Jungles is a co-founder and co-artistic director of Everett: Company, Stage and School (1986), bringing a variety of performing, design and technical skills to his work with the company. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in Film and Video Studies, and from the Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Theater, Aaron began integrating his interests through the development of multimedia dance theater performances with Everett. He designs and constructs many of the innovative props, set pieces, and untraditional projection surfaces used by Everett. Aaron personally renovated a carriage house for the company's school and black box theater, Everett’s Stage and School, which opened in 1994. Aaron has received Project Grants, Fellowships and Merit Awards for his work from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. In 2007, Aaron received a Multi-Arts Production Fund grant from Creative Capital and a National Endowment for the Arts grant to develop a follow-up to his successful performance piece Silas (2003), about his autistic nephew. The new piece, Silas the Teenager, premiered in Spring 2009. Most recently he spearheaded the research and development of Everett’s latest project Brain Storm a multimedia dance theater work that explores the the latests findings of neuroscience research. Brain Storm has received support from Creative Capitals MAP Fund as well as the New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project. It premiered at Dartmouth College in January 2012 and has gone on to tour to ten sites including the Granoff Center at Brown University and the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, OH. Currently Aaron is directing the company’s research for their upcoming piece The Freedom Project (working title) on the American prison system. The Freedom Project will premiere in the fall of 2014.  http://www.everettri.org/

Andrew Oesch sees making and learning as spaces for expansive collaborative creation. Past projects explored oral histories with families & communities, constructing metaphorical architectural models, and transforming environments through costumes and temporary installations. His work engages the questions - How do we ground our identities in place? and How do we encounter and utilize common objects to give everyday a sense of possibility and wonder? In seeking answers through social and art/design media he is drawn to moments when many meanings pile up. The processes and work surrounding these moments are messy, ephemeral, ambiguous, and a great deal of fun. He currently works at the RISD Museum of Art as an artist educator, serves as secretary on the board of directors at New Urban Arts, and is the lead artist on "Characters in the Collection" this years featured project of the Community Arts Innitiative at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. He is proud to previously have worked with The Learning Communiy Charter School, The Providence Community Libraries, English for Action, CityArts, as well as other community-based and leaning institutions.  http://www.andrewoesch.com/

Nick Carter was born in Philadelphia and received a BA in Visual Art from Brown University in 2011 where he received the William Weston Award in the Fine Arts. He lives and works in Providence, drumming in the band Cool World and teaching at AS220 Youth. Manipulating and layering upon found objects and patterns, his paintings, assemblages, and videos explore ways that abstract art objects are both supported and support themselves. His distorted and deconstructed t-shirts -- held up by tacks embedded in acrylic paint mixed with sawdust -- combine and confuse the ideas of front, back, and inside. His recent exhibitions include the three-person show Don't Let Me Down at RK Projects, Mining the Collection at the 186 Carpenter branch of the Reanimation Library, and Added Walls, a two-week solo show at List Art Center, Brown University.  http://www.nickcarter.us/

Michelle Benoit’s work often utilizes recycled and reclaimed materials. Collected, cut and painted, stacked, mortared and coalesced. Time and again appeal, experimentation and intent are embedded, revealing process and structure as image. Color combinations are coded and symbolic of and for, past events, memory and place. Benoit has exhibited at AS220, The Eve Drewlowe Gallery, The Reservoir Space, the Sarah Doyle Gallery, the Bannister Gallery, The Chazan Gallery, The Courthouse Center for the Arts, The Grimshaw-Gudewicz Gallery,  The Native Gallery, The Byron Burford Gallery, The Hera Gallery and the Arbor Gallery. Benoit was the recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship at the University of Iowa and The Special Talent Award at Rhode Island College. She received a BFA from Rhode Island College and an MA and an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1999 and 2000. While studying in Iowa, Benoit was influenced with her work under Bill Green in the archeology laboratory at the Office of the State Archeologist. Born in Bridgewater Massachusetts, Benoit currently lives with her husband and five rescued dogs and cats. They are restoring a historic 18th century farmhouse home in West Warwick, Rhode Island.


Denny Moers was born in Detroit, MI and lives in Riverside, RI. He received his B.A. from Empire State College, (SUNY NY) and his M.F.A. from the Visual Studies Workshop. During the early eighties, he worked as Aaron Siskind's first assistant. He currently serves as adjunct professor of photography in the Visual Arts Department of the School of Architecture, Art & Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI.  He has also served as guest lecturer at Harvard University and the Rhode Island School of Design, among other institutions. He has previously received RISCA Photography Fellowship awards in 1986, 1991 and 1998. His photographs are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; the Israel Museum in Jerusalem; and the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City.  He is represented by June Bateman Gallery, New York, NY; Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA; and Thomas Meyer Fine Art, San Francisco, CA.

Maria Scaglione was raised in southern Italy and Westerly. She attended Rhode Island College and also apprenticed herself to a marble-carving studio in the historic town of Pietrasanta in northern Italy. Even as she was learning to carve marble, she began a serious (and the more modern) pursuit of making photographs. When she returned to this country to pursue her M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York, she found a fertile subject in her immediate family who carry on their old-world traditions in small-town America. Her recent work features a cast of characters in their personal environments. The photographs are planned as if they were three-dimensional maquettes, following Renaissance perspective exercises. The images are a shadowbox world, her own created landscape, almost a small museum of humanity, an asylum for dreams and desires. Maria owns and operates her own studio photography business, Maria Scaglione Photography, based in Rhode Island. She offers photography and Italian cooking workshops at her studio in Westerly. She is also writing a photo-illustrated cookbook documenting her family’s foodways and traditions.


Originally from New Jersey, Jesse Thompson has made his home in Providence, RI. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Masters in Sculpture Program in 2007, Jesse established a studio on Providence’s west side where he makes sculptures, paintings, drawingsand tries his best to make friends with stray cats. He teaches drawing, illustration, anatomy and animation at The Rhode Island School of Design, Monserrat College of Art, and Bristol Community College. An avid drawer, Jesse can often be found at figure drawing sessions or drawing on location in and around providence.
www.jessethompsonart.com & www.jessethompsonart.blogspot.com

Frank Poor was born in Woodstock, GA, in 1962. He received his BFA from Georgia State University and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. He and wife Peg Miller have three children and live in Cranston.  Recent solo exhibitions include; Going Home at the Newport Art Museum in Newport, RI 2011, Mapping Memory at the Welch Gallery, Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA 2011, and Enon Cemetery Project at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT 2009. 


Christine Evans’ work has been produced, published and awarded in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. Her plays are published by Samuel French (Trojan Barbie), in Theatre Forum (Issue #35), and in Smith & Kraus’ annual Best Monologues collections.  War Plays, an anthology of her plays on that theme, will be published by NoPassport Press in 2011.  Productions include multi-award winning Trojan Barbie (American Repertory Theatre, 2009; Playbox Theatre, U.K. 2011; Charing Cross Theatre, 2011); Weightless, Mothergun and All Souls’ Day (Perishable Theatre; Actors’ Theater; Boston Theater Marathon); Slow Falling Bird (Crowded Fire, San Francisco; Metro Arts, Brisbane), Fishbowl (Red Fern, “30+ NYC” and Boston Theater Marathon); My Vicious Angel (Belvoir St. Theatre; Adelaide International Festival, Australia; A.B.C. Radio Drama, Sydney) and Pussy Boy (Belvoir St. Downstairs). Evans’ plays have been read or work-shopped at the Young Vic and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London; the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, the hotINK Festival of New Plays, Synchronicity Theatre, Playwrights’ Theatre of New Jersey, Trinity Rep, the Irish Rep (NYC), Cutting Ball’s “Risk Is This” Festival, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, the Process Series at UNC Chapel Hill, the Z Space, and elsewhere.  Honors include an Australia Council New Work Award to develop You Are Dead. You Are Here., the Rockefeller Center Bellagio Residency Award, a Fulbright Award in Visual and Performing Arts, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) Playwriting Fellowship Award (2009) and Merit Award (2011); two Perishable Theatre Women’s Playwriting Competition awards, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, the Rella Lossy Playwriting Award,  the Monash National Play Award (Australia), the 2007 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, the “Plays for the 21st Century Award” and the Weston Prize for Dramatic Writing.  Christine is a 2011 O’Neill Finalist, a Resident Artist at HERE Arts (NY), and a Women’s Project Playwrights’ Lab Alum. She holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Brown.  She taught playwriting at Harvard from 2007-12 and in 2012, joined the faculty at Georgetown’s Department of Performing Arts. 

Leigh Medeiros is a self-taught screenwriter, filmmaker and former Hollywood script reader.  Since 2004 her screenplays and short films have gained recognition in national film festivals, and she was the recipient of the 2010 RISCA Play/Screenwriting Fellowship Merit Award.  She taught Screenwriting at RISD as a CE Instructor from 2005 to 2008, and currently teaches screenwriting workshops around southern New England.  Leigh is also a script consultant and story coach through her own company, Silver Wing Scripts. Her clients have gone on to on to receive work-for-hire assignments, produce their own films, place in prestigious screenwriting competitions and sell screenplays to major studios.  Her character-driven dark comedies aim to achieve what Leigh once read on the back of a DVD box: “heartbreaking comedy and hilarious drama.”

Kate Colby is author of four books of poetry, including Beauport(Litmus Press) and The Return of the Native (Ugly Duckling Press). Her first book, Fruitlands, won the 2007 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She serves on the board and hosts a poetry series at the Gloucester Writers Center in Massachusetts and works as a copywriter in Providence, RI.

David O’Connell received his MFA from Ohio State University. His poems have appeared in Drunken Boat, Juked, Rattle, and Solstice, among other journals. His work was awarded a Rhode Island State Council of the Arts fellowship in 2009.