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Fellowships for FY2014

Fellowships for FY2014

Fellowship grants acknowledge the work of Rhode Island's finest artists in a variety of arts disciplines. Meet below the recipients of our 2014 Fellowship Awards:

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Ali Kenner-Brodsky, originally from Rhode Island, moved to New York City after graduating with honors in Dance from Skidmore College. Once in NYC, she founded her own dance company Ali Kenner & Co and performed at reputable places such as the Joyce SoHo, the Puffin Room, DanceNow Festivals, DanceSpace Center, Wax, Dixon Place and Dumbo Dance Festival. While an Artist-in-Residence at Joyce SoHo (2003-2004), she had the great privilege of being mentored by Phyllis Lamhut. During her stay in NYC, she was also fortunate to study choreography with Martha Myers, Larry Goldhuber, Keely Garfield and Debra Fernandez. Since her return to Rhode Island, Ms. Kenner Brodsky has been a guest choreographer at Salve Regina University, Providence College and Dean College. She serves as rehearsal director for and dances with national touring company LostWax Multimedia Dance. This past fall she performed with Emma Hogarth in an interactive film/dance piece at the RISD Art Museum and in January 2014, Ali will be performing with 83 paperbirds moving lab (Boston, Ma). Currently Ms. Kenner Brodsky is on the adjunct dance faculty at Salve Regina University and Dean College. She is artistic director of Ali Kenner Brodsky & Co. and has been touring the East Coast since 2011. In April 2014, she will be co-producing an a+b concert with Betsy Miller at AS220, working with local Providence band Brown Bird on the musical score. Ali and her family make their home in Providence.

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Danielle Genest is Assistant Director and choreographer for Part of the Oath Dance Theatre here in Rhode Island, as well as, Associate Artistic Director and choreographer for New York City based Janusphere Dance Company. Danielle's choreography has been commissioned by New York Theatre Ballet, Island Moving Company, Tallahassee Ballet, Salve Regina University, Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, and Texas A&M University. Her work has been showcased at Hartford Ballet's Arts Exclusive, the Elan Awards in New York City, and the 10th International Ballettmeeting in Austria. Danielle has also created work for video, in collaboration with Dennis Diamond and for commercial use by PC Connection. In addition to her choreographic career, she has been teaching ballet and dancing professionally, performing and touring both nationally and internationally with companies including Hartford Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, Island Moving Company, Providence Ballet Theatre, Spindle City Ballet, and Cadence Dance Project among others. Danielle currently resides in Newport, RI with her husband, Petar, and their sons, Niko and Rafael.

Judith Larzelere was trained at Rutgers University, where she received an M.F.A. degree. She has been a leading studio art quilt maker for thirty years. Her abstract designs emphasize an exciting knowledge of color interaction and are machine pieced and quilted. Her work is in the permanent collections of the American Quilt Museum, International Quilt Study Center, Museum of Art and Design, New England Quilt Museum, San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum, the Visions Art Museum in San Diego, and many corporate and residential spaces. www.judithlarzelere.com

Olivia B. McCullough was born in Kentucky, grew up in Florida and has lived in Rhode Island since 1983. She has a post graduate degree in art therapy and received an MAE from the Rhode Island School of Design. A photo educator for over 25 years, most recently at Northeastern University, Olivia works with a variety of materials, including alternative photographic processes and mixed-media sculpture and is the recipient of 3 previous RISCA grants, as well as a URI Sea Grant. She as been a guest artist at Tufts, Marlboro College, the Museum School, U.Conn, URI and conducted alternative process workshops for many years in the photo department at the Rhode Island School of Design. She was the gum bichromate printer for Duane Michel’s book, Eros and Thanados, Osiris Editions. Her work has been shown at the Photographic Resource Center of Boston, Fuller Museum of Art, Newport Art Museum, URI, Stonehill College, AIR Gallery in NYC, as well as numerous other locations. She recently exhibited her series, ‘Triage’, at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point.   Olivia maintains a studio in Pawtucket, RI.

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Ernest Jolicoeur was born in Woonsocket and returned to Rhode Island in 2005 after living and working in New York City for nearly ten years. He received his BFA from Rhode Island College and his MFA from Yale School of Art. His work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, Feature Inc. and Silverstein Gallery in New York and locally at the RISD Museum, 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 and it can be found in the permanent collection of the RISD Museum. RISCA honored Jolicoeur with a Fellowship Award in 2014 and Fellowship Merit Award in 2013, both in Drawing and Printmaking. He also 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. His home and studio are in Scituate, RI. www.ernestjolicoeur.com

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Originally from the state of New York, Eleanor Sabin graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006 with a BFA in Sculpture. Since graduating she has made her home and studio practice in Providence. She teaches drawing and design classes at Bristol Community College as well as with the RISD Continuing Education Department, and has had various studio production jobs around Rhode Island. Intrigued by the remains and ruins of past human habitation that can be found in the woods across New England, Eleanor has developed a series of drawings exploring the ways in which these structures can be re-contextualized through the use of narrative elements. Working primarily in pen and ink, she tries to evoke a sense of the uncanny in her work. In her free time Eleanor enjoys exploring the coastline and woods of little Rhode Island, documenting her excursions in photos, playing a few good foot tapping songs on banjo with her band Honey Hollow, and obsessing about composting and vegetable gardening. www.eleanorsabin.com

Anna Solomon is the author of the novel, THE LITTLE BRIDE, and co-editor of LABOR DAY: TRUE BIRTH STORIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, forthcoming from FSG in 2014. Her short stories have been published in Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, One Story, and elsewhere, have twice been awarded the Pushcart Prize, have won the Missouri Review Editors Prize, and have been nominated for a National Magazine Award. Her essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, MORE, Slate's Double X, and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Bread Loaf, and the Rhode Island Council for the Arts, Anna holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and a BA from Brown University. She lives with her family in Providence. www.AnnaSolomon.com

Tina Egnoski is the author of In the Time of the Feast of Flowers, winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize, and the fiction chapbook Perishables.  Her work, both fiction and poetry, has been published in a number of literary journals, including Carolina Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Folio and Saw Palm Journal.  A native of Florida, she has made her home in Rhode Island for the last twenty years.  She currently lives in Barrington with her husband and son.   www.tinaegnoski.com

William Smyth is a 7-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker and photographer. His work has appeared on MTV, Discovery, The Hallmark Channel and local television stations in Boston and Providence. He has directed and served as cinematographer on numerous short films and music videos including such acts as Mark Culter, Marissa Nadler and Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores. His corporate clients include Gravity Lab Studios, North Star Marketing, (add)ventures and UMass Med School.  His most recent works include Director of Photography on Guitar 1711, Guy Benoit’s documentary on custom guitar maker Otto D’Ambrosio and Dahiana Torres’ feature film debut, “Pain, Love & Passion”, and the critically acclaimed horror-short "Microcinema” for director Skip Shea. He has just completed principal photography on his short film, Late Shift. Will holds a B.A. in Film Studies from Rhode Island College and has studied at the International Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine.  www.williamsmythvisuals.com

Xander Marro is a fake scientist/olde style tinker based out of the Dirt Palace; a feminist cupcake encrusted netherworld located along the dioxin filled banks of the Woonasquatucket river (which is to say in Providence, RI USA). Dina Deitsch, Curator of Contemporary Art at DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum writes: “Marro is an artist, community activist, performer and filmmaker ‘steeped in the underground’ of Providence, RI. As co-founder of the Dirt Palace, a feminist art collective, Marro is equally diverse in her artistic practices. Her work ranges from printmaking to puppetry to performance to film animation and installation and is loosely gathered under a distinctive sensibility that has been described as “a blend of girly Victorian dreaming, Monty Python cartoons, Russian onion domes, beehive hairdos, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Barbarella, and Dr. Seuss” (Greg Cook, Boston Pheonix) Marro’s work is generally low-tech and handmade and embedded with a community of collective art-making. Typically using arcane pieces of visual culture to create strange and fantastic worlds, this almost Luddite approach presents an alternative to today’s fast-paced media-driven environments.” Her adventures underground have included curating and touring with the "Movies with Live Soundtracks" film series and performing in various theatrick/musical formats as one of the variety of her alter egos (Madame Von Temper Tantrum, Lady Long Arms, Lil Blood-n-Guts, Madame Von Malt Liquor etc.) She has also played the part of “business lady” at various posts including as the Managing Director of the epic and revolutionary Art Space AS220 where she crafted endless spreadsheets and reports documenting the possibility of an organized egalitarian approach to art making as a transmutative tool in generating beauty, achieving equality, next level human consciousness and putting a final end to humanity’s terrible habit of endless war making. http://xandermarro.com/

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Kirsten Volness is a composer, pianist, and educator who grew up outside a small town in southern Minnesota—a place which fostered in her a keen interest in the outdoors. The magic to be found in the natural world informs and inspires her creative work, as do various spiritual traditions, environmental, and sociopolitical issues. She has received commissions from the BMI Foundation, ASCAP/SEAMUS, World Future Council Foundation, the Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance, and has written for various performers such as Hotel Elefant, REDSHIFT, NOW Ensemble, Colorado Quartet, and Ann Arbor Symphony. A frequent and eager collaborator and performer, she has written songs with EXILKABARETT and Tenderloin Opera Company, is a founding member of multimedia performance groups Awesome Collective and Meridian Project, is an affiliate artist of Sleeping Weazel, and pianist/multi-instrumentalist for Hotel Elefant. She holds composition degrees from the Universities of Michigan (DMA, MM) and Minnesota (BA summa cum laude) and teaches privately and at the University of Rhode Island. She also serves on the board of directors for the non-profit Boston New Music Initiative. www.kirstenvolness.com

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Paul Phillips is a composer, conductor, pianist, and author whose compositions often explore connections between music and science (Brownian Motion, Celestial Harmonies) or music and literature (War Music, A/B, Battle-Pieces). His arrangements include a reduced orchestration of Stravinsky’s Mavra published by Boosey and Hawkes. In collaboration with two-time Grammy winner Bill Harley, Paul has composed and arranged works for the Norwalk Symphony and Allentown Symphony, and in 2013 was selected as winner of the North Cambridge Family Opera Commission Competition. Paul is Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University, Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony and Chorus, and an active guest conductor who has conducted over sixty orchestras, opera and ballet companies worldwide, including the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Academy of Music, and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. His recordings include two CDs with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and a Naxos recording with the RTÉ National Symphony of Ireland of music by William Perry; in 2014, he returns to Dublin to record a second CD of Perry’s music with the RTÉ National Symphony. Paul’s honors include 10 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, 1st Prize in the NOS International Conductors Course in Holland and Wiener Meisterkurse Conductors Course in Vienna, and numerous composition prizes. He is the author of A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess and additional publications on Burgess, Stravinsky and other musical subjects. As a pianist, Paul has recorded for film and television, and performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Carnegie Recital Hall, and Lincoln Center. He studied composition and conducting at Eastman, Columbia (BA cum laude, MA), and Cincinnati (MM), and pursued additional studies at the Music Academy of the West, The Festival at Sandpoint, Aspen, and Tanglewood, where his conducting teachers included Gunther Schuller, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, and Leonard Bernstein. For further information visit www.paulsphillips.com. www.paulsphillips.com

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Megan and Murray McMillan are multidisciplinary artists who have been collaborating since 2002. Their work is a blend of video, sculpture, installation, performance, architecture and photography. While the end result of the work is often video installation, they see the entire process — from generative dialogue and animated digital models and concept drawings to their specific engagement with the people who participate to construction to filming to final installation — as equally essential to their practice. The McMillans 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, the National Museum of Art in La Paz, Bolivia, and the deCordova Museum in Boston. Their work has been reviewed in Art in America and ArtLies Quarterly. The McMillans have been artists in residence in Barcelona, Los Angeles, Athens, and Turku, 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 2012 deCordova Biennial, the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009), and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007) and featured in a television special curated by Paolo Colombo during the Ikono On-Air Festival out of Berlin. Their current projects include a video installation for the Nuit Blanche 2014 exhibition in Toronto and a video installation at MASS MoCA that opens in 2015. Megan McMillan (born 1975, Dallas, TX) has a MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 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. They are represented by Qbox Gallery in Athens. meganandmurraymcmillan.com

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Quintín Rivera Toro was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico in 1978. He holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Hunter College, New York - 2001; a B.A. in Communications and Film Studies, from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras - 2007; and an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the Sculpture Department at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island - 2013. He has been awarded a DAAD German Academic Exchange Travel Grant; Full fellowships for residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, in Johnson, Vermont and the National Academy of Design in New York City; He has also been an artist in residence at the Ox Bow School of Art, S.A.I.C., in Saugatuck, Michigan; Quintín was named one of the "Top 10 rising art stars" curated by Casey Fremont, for Refinery29 in New York City. quintinriveratoro.com

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Nationally recognized and exhibited, Bob Dilworth’s works on canvas and paper, assemblages, and most recently three-dimensional pieces, have won countless awards. Bob has also been the recipient of grants from the Rhode Island Foundation, University of Rhode Island Center for the Humanities, the University of Rhode Island Council for Research, the National John Biggers Award and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. His work has also won fellowships from the Contemporary Artist Center in North Adams, Mass, the African American Master Artist in Residence program, Northeastern University in Mass and Le Cite International des Artes, Artist Residency, Paris. Bob earned a masters of art degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelors of art degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition to teaching, Bob works as a full-time artist. He has taught art and design at colleges and universities throughout the country including Princeton University, Brown University and Columbia College in Chicago. He now lives in Providence, RI and teaches full time at the University of Rhode Island. Professor Dilworth’s work graces numerous corporate and private collections, including those of several Chicago libraries and public institutions. bobdilworth.com

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Kirstin is a painter living in Providence, Rhode Island and working in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Kirstin became obsessed with classical still life and notions of stacking and heaping during her final year of graduate study in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005. She began her studies as a literature student at Brown University, graduating in 2001 with Bachelors degrees in both Literatures in English and Visual Art. Kirstin’s work has been shown in venues across the Northeast, notably the Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh, NY, Salvatore Ferragamo Gallery in New York, the Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University, The Watermill Center Benefit in Watermill, NY, Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY, and Bromfield Gallery in Boston. Recent and upcoming shows and projects include an affordable collection of pictures with Kate Singleton’s online project Buy Some Damn Art in March 2013, a group show at The Art Gallery of Calgary in Fall 2013, a group show with the Chazan Gallery in Providence in 2015, and a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Winter 2014. Kirstin loves to garden and spends most of her time with her husband and two cats. www.nitsrik.com

Steven B. Smith is a photographer whose work chronicles the transition of the Western landscape into suburbia. For this work was awarded the First Book Prize for Photography by the Honickman Foundation and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. His book The Weather and a Place to Live: Photographs of the Suburban West was published by Duke University Press (2005). He has received Guggenheim, Kittredge and RISCA Fellowships. His work has been widely exhibited and can be found in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Smith received a BFA from Utah State University and an MFA from the Yale School of Art. He has taught photography at Yale and Brown University and currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island where he teaches in the photography department at Rhode Island School of Design.  stevesmithphotography.net

Jonathan Sharlin has lived in Rhode Island for over 25 years, after living and working in New Mexico. Born outside of New York City, in Englewood, NJ. Jonathan received his MFA from Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. He was an assistant for Paul Caponigro and on the board of the Center for the Eye in Santa Fe, NM. A photo educator for 30 years, he has taught at CCRI for over 20 years, as well asTufts, RISD, Roger Williams University and Rhode Island College.   A recipient of grants from RISCA, RI Foundation, and the New England Foundation for the Arts, Jonathan is in numerous public and private collections, including those of the Fogg Art Museum , MFA of Houston, Polaroid Collection, RISD Museum and Fidelity Investments. One person exhibitions have included shows at Houston Center for Photography, Duke University, Notre Dame University, Brown university, RISD, the University of Virginia, and Blue Sky Gallery, amongst others. He most recently showed at Rhode Island College’s Bannister Gallery in 2011. http://jonathansharlin.com

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Samson Jardine was born in Boston and raised in Providence, RI. He has studied at Parsons School of Design and University of Rhode Island. He has lived in New York and traveled to Europe and North Africa. In the past few years he has worked as a waiter, landscaper, research assistant, English teacher, and construction worker. The poems selected for this fellowship are from his first unpublished manuscript entitled "Galilee". Samson was a Semifinalist for the 2013 Sawtooth Poetry Prize

Jennifer Lighty chose to live on Block Island over twenty years ago in order to devote her life to poetry. Over many years of working directly with the land and sea as a gardener, oyster farmer, and forager, she has developed an intimate relationship with the non-human world that is a major influence on her poetry. She has taught for many years at The Block Island Poetry Project, where she has developed a series of innovative workshops that incorporate writing, dance, meditation, shamanism, and storytelling. Her wish as a teacher is to inspire her students to become like the seannachai, the story-carriers of the Celtic tradition, who kept the soul of the land alive in the soul of the people through knowledge of their particular place. In addition to degrees in literature and writing, she is certified in Permaculture and JourneyDance™, which she taught at The Omega Institute, and is a Reiki Master/Teacher. Her poems have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, The North American Review, Prairie Schooner, The Providence Journal, Water-Stone, Seneca Review, and other journals.

Ifa Bayeza is an award-winning theatre artist and novelist. Her works for the stage include Amistad Voices; Club Harlem; Kid Zero; and Homer G & the Rhapsodies in The Fall of Detroit, for which she received a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award. Her drama The Ballad of Emmett Till was awarded a Eugene O’Neill 2007 National Playwrights Conference fellowship and received its world premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theater in 2008, garnering the Mystery Writers of America 2008 Edgar Award for Best Play and the 2010 Backstage Garland Award for Best Playwriting. In 2010 Bayeza debuted as a novelist with Some Sing, Some Cry, co-authored with her sister Ntozake Shange. Her musical Charleston Olio, adapted from the novel, was a Fred Ebb Musical Theatre Award finalist and was performed in concert performance at the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival. A graduate of Harvard University, Bayeza is currently Distinguished Artist-in-Residence and Senior Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University. As part of her residency, she will be continuing her work on the Till saga with two new plays about the trial and community of Till's killers and premiering a new comedy loosely based on her childhood, Welcome to Wandaland! http://brown.edu/Departments/Africana_Studies/people/IfaBayeza.html

Adara Meyers is a playwright originally from New York. She is the Managing Director of Sleeping Weazel and a collaborator with Awesome Collective and Tenderloin Opera Company. Her plays and multidisciplinary projects have been performed at The Factory Theatre, Perishable Theatre, 95 Empire, Wheaton College, Firehouse 13, and many public spaces in Providence. In addition to her work in the theatre, she freelances as an editor and writer. BA, Wheaton College (MA).  www.adarameyers.com

Jon Laustsen is an artist living and working along the east bank of the Blackstone River in Woonsocket and Pawtucket, RI. He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and has exhibited his sculptures and installations throughout Providence as well as in Boston, Miami and New York City. His installation project "Emergence" at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University won a Critic's Choice Award at the 2010 New England Art Awards and he is the recipient of a Fellowship Award in 3-D Art from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts in 2009 and a Merit Award in 2006.  http://jonlaustsen.wordpress.com/

J.R. Uretsky is an interdisciplinary artist who navigates the complexities of human emotion through an autobiographical voice. Uretsky’s work uses humor and empathy to both celebrate and critique a disruption of personal space through anthropomorphic sculpture, puppetry, performance and videos that are visually and emotionally intense. Uretsky has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues in New York, Los Angeles, Finland, and Germany; including The William Benton Museum of Art, The National Steinbeck Center and The Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Uretsky's work was included in the 2013 DeCordova Biennial at The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. She has been an artist in residence at Fine Art Base (California), The Dirt Palace (Rhode Island), Big Red & Shiny (Massachusetts) and Arteles Creative Center (Finland). J.R. Uretsky’s work has been published by online and video journals such as Gaga Stigmata, Big Red & Shiny and ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art. www.jruretsky.com/