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Fellowship grants acknowledge the work of 25 of Rhode Island's finest artists in a variety of arts disciplines. Meet below the recipients of our 2016 Fellowship Awards:
William "Bill" Evans became a resident of Rhode Island in August, 2014. Since then he has performed at AS220 and the Movement Excchange in Pawtucket. He delivered a keynote address/performance at Rhode Island College. He has created new works for Rhode Island College and Providence College and restaged one of his signature pieces for Fusionworks Dance.Company. He choreographed "Saints The Musical," written by David Payton, at Saint Raphael's Academy in Pawtucket. He has taught master classes at RIC, PC, AS220 and Fusionworks. Evans is currently a professor of dance and artist in residence in the Palladino School of Dance, Dean College, Franklin, MA. He is professor emeritus at the College at Brockport, SUNY and distinguished professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico. He danced, choreographed and served as artistic coordinator with Repertory Dance Theatre from 1967 through 1974 and created a new work for RDT's 50th anniversary in November, 2015.The Bill Evans Dance Company celebrated its 40th anniversary in April 2014. It has appeared in all 50 states, throughout Mexico and Canada, and in 24 other countries. William has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, numerous fellowships from the NEA, the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Dance Education Organization, American Dance Guild and Dance Teacher Magazine and an honorary doctorate from the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He received the second Outstanding Service Award ever bestowed by the National High School Dance Festival and was the third recipient of the Honorary Member Award by the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science. He was named National Dance Association Scholar Artist in 1997. He was named one of three favorite world tap dancers in the Dance Magazine Readers' Poll. He is celebrating his 75th birthday (April, 2015) with a tour of performances in Providence, Cambridge, Winnipeg, Salt Lake City, Rochester and Seattle. He teaches special intensive workshops for dance educators and graduate students in dance and hosts an international conference in somatic dance every summer.
Betsy Miller is a dance artist, educator, and facilitator currently based in Providence, RI. Her choreography, described as "haunting, spunky and full of imagination," (NYSCA) has been presented in venues throughout New York City, as well as in Ohio, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Texas. She has performed with Lostwax Multimedia Dance, Fusionworks Company and shove gently dance, and has recently appeared in works by Kathleen Hermesdorf, Heidi Henderson, Terry Creach, Pascal Rioult, Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Rachel Boggia, and Deb Meunier. Betsy serves as the Dance Coordinator of Providence's major community arts organization, AS220. She is on faculty at Providence College, Dean College, and AS220, and regularly teaches as a guest artist throughout New England and beyond. Betsy holds an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University and a BA in Dance from Connecticut College.
Topher Gent is an American artist and furniture designer based in Providence, Rhode Island. He is known primarily for his work in steel, but has a fascination for materials, and often integrates wood, concrete, ceramic or stone into his designs. As a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Topher considers craftsmanship and the act of making to be an integral part of his studio practice. His work frequently seeks a balance between nature and an industrial aesthetic, while implementing a combination of traditional craft and modern technology. As a culmination of his passion for art and design, he founded Gent Design Co. in 2015 – a contemporary furniture studio that produces limited edition and one-of-a-kind artist quality furniture and objects.
Born in Iran, Chris Taylor attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he received his MFA degree. He has been the recipient of many awards, including The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, Fulbright Foundation, grants and fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rhode Island School of Design. Mr. Taylor has exhibited at Artists Space in New York, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, Exit Art, New York, among other non-profit organizations. Chris was represented in the 2012 DeCordova Museum's Biennial. He has work in the permanent collections of The DeCordova Museum in MA and The Currier Museum of Modern Art in NH. Chris will be part of the upcoming exhibition, Explode the Everyday at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Johnny Adimando's work has been reviewed as; "art that speaks to a constantly shifting and material reality." He has a developed artistic practice that is defined by a focus on intense detail, technical proficiency, and the harmonious mixture of various mediums. His work does not subscribe to one particular convention; bridging dedicated engagement with various print media processes into performance, photography, sculpture, and video. In his most recent work, he begins explorations into the utilization of hand-printed textiles and altered ready-made objects. Major themes in his overall body of work include, systems/structures of authority, armoring oneself against the world, and accessioning primordial escapist urges. His work is held by public and private collections including; The Philadelphia Free Library, Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University, Tower Investments Gallery, Lyman Allan Museum, various print exchange projects and flat file collections, and has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent solo-exhibitions include: The Forlorn Incantations at Yellow Peril Gallery; The Beast of Broken Sleep at Weil Gallery - Wheaton College; and Retainer for the Remainder at AREA: Lugar de Proyectos in Caguas, Puerto Rico. An upcoming solo-exhibition, Shrouds of Mallatrax, will be on view from January-March of 2016 at Naugatuck College. Adimando is currently represented by Yellow Peril Gallery and Diane Birdsall Gallery. Adimando earned his BFA from the Tyler School of Art (2005) at Temple University and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2009). He is the recipient of a multitude of major awards including a two-year fellowship at Bucknell University, Temple Rome Grant, Frogman's Print and Paper Workshop scholarship, and more recently, Professional Development Funding Grants from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 and 2015. He will attend a fully funded residency at the Art Students League of New York in 2016. Adimando is currently part-time faculty in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he has served as a faculty member since 2010.
Professor James Janecek holds a degree in Design from The Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Master of Fine Arts from Stanford University. He teaches courses in the Art Department at Providence College in the fields of Printmaking, Design, and Digital Imaging, has taught innovative special topics courses such as Bauhaus Interactive and Nintendo Drawing and has received two Davis Foundation grants for Drawing with Digital Media.
Colin Channer lives in Providence. He writes novels, novellas, stories, essays, lists—and lately poems. He was born in Jamaica to a pharmacist and cop. His books of prose include The Girl with the Golden Shoes — “a nearly perfect moral fable” in the words of Russell Banks. He received a 2015 Fellowship Merit Award in Poetry from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. His first collection of poetry, Providential, was polished with this kind support. Eileen Myles calls the collection “one of the most lucid and telling poetry books of this exact time.”
Craig has called Providence his home for nearly ten years. He is a graduate
of Bennington College, where he had the great fortune to study under the
guidance of writers such as April Bernard and Mary Oliver. He has served
as editor of the Wildwood Journal. He has also participated in classes
and workshops organized by this state’s own Frequency Writers. In
addition to short fiction, he writes poetry and is currently at work on
a novel set in the forests and steel and coal towns of his native Pennsylvania.
Brian O'Malley is a Greenville, Rhode Island based multi-media artist. He has been showing his work both Nationally and Internationally since the late 90's. Brian has been a faculty member at the University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island since 2001. Brian received an MFA from the University of Miami in 1999, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1995, and a Certificate in Animation from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. Brian has received Fellowships to attend residencies at Weir Farm National Trust (2009), Ragdale Foundation (2012), Brush Creek Foundation (2013), and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts (2013). Brian’s animation short, in the blink of an eye (2014), has been screened at the Hamilton Film Festival (Canada), the Freethought International Film Festival (Atlanta, GA), the Athens Animation Festival (Greece), and the inaugural Please Hold Magazine International Short Film Festival- Somebody’s Reality (St.Louis, Missouri). His paintings and drawings have been shown in private galleries and institutions in New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Florida, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Christian de Rezendes was born on April 2, 1975 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Under his company Breaking Branches Pictures, Christian has produced, directed, filmed and edited critically acclaimed and award-winning feature films including “41” (2007), a documentary about the youngest victim of the Station Nightclub Fire, the fully improvised dramedy “Getting Out of Rhode Island” (2003), and the family-inspired documentary “Alzira's Story” (2000). Many of his films have been distributed, have screened internationally at film festivals, and have been broadcast regionally on RI PBS. Other recent short films produced include “Zach: A Film about Epilepsy” (2009) and "REVEALED: Portraits Beneath One’s Surface" (2011). In 2012, Christian completed the short comedy "Cat Scratch", which won several awards including the Boston Comedy Festival's Audience Award. In 2013, he directed the short film "Memories for Sale," based on the award winning play by Jerry Bisantz, which was filmed in Lowell, MA. Most recently, Christian directed the feature-length documentary "Raising Matty Christian" (2014), which has screened at 16 film festivals and received 9 awards, including the Audience Award for Best of Fest at the Woods Hole Film Festival, the Human Spirit Award from the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in Ohio, and had its World Premiere at the Arizona Int'l Film Festival. The story focuses on the life of Matthew G. Christian (1983-2009) of Canton, MA, who was born without full limbs and a tongue, but lead an athletic life and that inspired thousands in his community and around the world. Currently, Christian is in development on a number of film projects, including his most ambitious documentary to date, "Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village", which has been several years in the making, and the drama "Subject 62," based on the award-winning play by Providence writer Lenny Schwartz.
Bisi Kolawole was born in Ile-Ife, an ancient city in the Yoruba Kingdom and part of the Osun State in Nigeria, Africa. He started playing the talking drums at the early age of eight years old and went on to learn with his uncle Ayansola, who led a traditional group of talking drummers. Bisi would watch and imitate his uncle while he played the talking drum. This form of traditional music making has been in Bisi’s family for many generations. He continues to practice his traditional art of playing drums and has passed down his craft to many students. He also works in partnership with local and regional schools, where he conducts workshops on Yoruba drumming. Bisi has performed at major events including the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Regional Arts training Workshop in Providence, RI in 2014. He has played the talking drum for over 25 years all over the world.
Traditional singer, dancer, speaker and artist, Jonathan Perry is grounded in the traditions of his ocean-going ancestors. He considers designs by examining the raw materials closely, and draws his images from the grain, hues, and patina of wood, stone and copper. Jonathan enjoys using the materials and knowledge handed down from his ancestors to express his understanding of the natural world as well as the changes over time since Creation. An articulate and thoughtful speaker, he has lectured on the topics of Eastern Woodland art and traditions for over 15 years at both regional and national venues and his performing arts career has spanned over 25 years. Jonathan’s three dimensional artwork ranges in size from large, hand-carved dugout ocean vessels, to stone effigy pipes and high-end copper jewelry. Jonathan is an enrolled member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and resides in North Providence, Rhode Island.
Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky are the founding members of Low Anthem. After playing middle infield together and graduating from Brown University in 2006, they chose to stay in Rhode Island and set up residence in Providence. Low Anthem recorded the albums What the Crow Brings (2007), Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (2009) and Smart Flesh (2011) in Rhode Island, the latter with Jocie Adams, a fellow resident of Providence, and released on Nonesuch Records. After six years of touring across the US, Europe, and Canada, they began looking for Providence locations to set up a new rehearsal space and recording studio for the band. One day, while Jeff was eating pizza across the street from the Columbus Theatre, he decided to connect with the theater's owner. Through Barnaby Evans (Executive Artistic Director of Waterfire) the band met with Jon Berberian and made arrangements to record their fourth Low Anthem album at the Columbus. In 2012, Ben and Jeff joined with Bryan Minto and Tom Weyman to form the Columbus Cooperative, a group working alongside the Columbus Theatre’s ownership, to reinvigorate both the theatre and the West End community by programming a range of unique live events in an unequaled space. These days, you can find Ben and Jeff at the Columbus Theatre, or, on the road touring as Low Anthem.
Paul Phillips is a composer, conductor, pianist, and scholar whose compositions often explore connections between music and science (Brownian Motion, Celestial Harmonies, Wave) or music and literature (War Music, A/B, Battle-Pieces). He is currently composing an opera, to a libretto by Bill Harley set in California's Central Valley in 1940, for North Cambridge Family Opera. Paul is Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University and Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony and Chorus. He has conducted more than 60 orchestras, opera and ballet companies, and choirs worldwide, including the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, and Orquesta Sinfonica de Salta (Argentina), and recorded with the RTE National Symphony of Ireland (Naxos) and Iceland Symphony (ITM). Educated at Columbia and Cincinnati, with additional studies at Eastman, Aspen, and Tanglewood, he is author of A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess and Music Advisor to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in England.
Kelli Rae Adams currently lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2013, she was invited to complete a special project for the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, which culminated in her first solo exhibition. She has also exhibited internationally in private galleries in Japan and India and at the Museum of International Ceramic Art in Denmark and the Contemporary Urban Centre in Liverpool. Her study of ceramics began in Japan, where she apprenticed over a period of five years with Tetsuro Hatabe, a master potter in the Karatsu tradition. Kelli holds an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Visual Arts and Spanish from Duke University and currently serves as adjunct faculty at RISD. She is also a certified yoga and meditation teacher and a longtime student of contemplative traditions.
Richard Goulis is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in television production. His video work is largely documentary based and has worked professionally in television production since 1985. He has worked with the New Television Workshop at WGBH in Boston where he collaborated with dancers Douglas Dunn, Michael Clark and filmmaker, Charlie Atlas. He also worked with children at Pittsburgh Filmmakers as a visiting artist on a video project in reaction to the work of Kara Walker. The piece was shown at the Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum. He is the Producer and Director of over 100 video portraits of Rhode Island visual artists in a project called NetWorks, currently broadcasting on Rhode Island PBS. He has experimented with performance art and theater since graduating from the Film/Video Department of the Rhode Island School of Design. He founded The Worcester Artist Group in Massachusetts, The Harwood Art Center in New Mexico and has performed around the world with BIG NAZO Puppets. His durational performance piece "BLOCK" was presented at the last Convergence International Arts Festival in Providence and at the last Emerging Artists Performance Festival at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, Colorado. His documentary and installation video work has been seen at many shows and festivals and is part of the permanent collection at The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. He is a founding member in The Sparkling Beatniks of The Empire Revue, a monthly comedy variety show at Providence's AS220 Art Center. He lives and works in Olneyville, Rhode Island with his wife and two children.
Talia Levitt is painter living in Providence, RI. Upon graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011, she began working in publishing while simultaneously upholding a painting practice. She also continues to instruct at RISD in varying capacities during the summer and winter sessions. Talia's paintings explore personal and socio-historical signifiers of value through the depiction of decorative still lives, landscapes and the female figure. She continuously re-imagines her archive of conceptually significant structures, such as sukkahs, or specific plant life, in an effort to create talismanic images which both memorialize and challenge issues of spirituality, beauty and gender. Talia's recognitions include fellowship residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, VT, Rancho Linda Vista, AZ and The Manson Estate, NY. She continues to exhibit throughout New England and New York and is currently applying to graduate school.
Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Brett Eberhardt is a representational painter whose subject is the banal and the commonplace. Brett has exhibited internationally and won numerous awards, including the Manifest Prize, from Manifest Creative Research and Drawing Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received a BFA at Northern Michigan University and an MFA at Syracuse University and has taught at Western Illinois University, State of New York University at Potsdam and Maine College of Art. Brett is represented by Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont, New York and Aron Packer Projects in Chicago, Illinois.
Mara Trachtenberg was born and raised in Long Island New York. At the University of Rhode Island she studied English Literature and Women’s Studies and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1995. In 1997 she returned to school to study photography and art education and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 2000. She began teaching art and photography to high school students in Bristol, RI. In 2002 Mara left teaching to continue her studies and earned her Master of Fine Arts Degree from The University of Connecticut in 2004. After the birth of her daughter in 2006, she began experimenting with cake makers media to make sculpture, and began working on her current body of work, A Decadent World. Mara has exhibited her work nationally and currently lives with her husband, daughter, dogs and chickens in Wakefield, RI. She is an adjunct professor of photography and Gender and Women’s Studies at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the University of Rhode Island. Mara is also the current President of Hera Gallery in Wakefield, RI.
Thad Russell is a fine art and editorial photographer whose work examines the contemporary American landscape in all of its beauty, perversity and pathos. Born and raised in suburban Boston, Thad is a graduate of Stanford University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he received his MFA in photography in 2006. His work has been published in the London Observer, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, New York Magazine, and the Photo District News Annual. His national exhibition record includes Fruitlands Museum, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Houston Center for Photography, the Photographic Resource Center, and the Vermont Center for Photography. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his wife Josephine Sittenfeld and their two young children, Polly and Curtis. Thad has been teaching photography at RISD since 2007.
Andy Boyd is a playwright, songwriter, and improviser based in Providence, Rhode Island. Andy grew up in Tacoma, Washington and later graduated from high school at Arizona School for the Arts. He then received his BA in American History and Literature from Harvard University. Andy has won the Phyllis Anderson Prize awarded by the American Repertory Theater for his play, Acres of Diamonds. Andy wants to get to know you, and your art, and maybe work with you on making more art.
Franny Choi is a writer, performer, and teaching artist. She is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody, 2014) and a recipient of the Frederick Bock Prize. She has been a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and multiple national poetry slams. Her work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, PANK, The Rumpus, and the Huffington Post. She is a VONA Fellow, a Project VOICE teaching artist, a member of the Dark Noise Collective. She lives in Providence and is the Co-Director of the Providence Poetry Slam.frannychoi.com
Tina Cane was born in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC in 1969 and grew up in the city’s East and West Village. She attended the University of Vermont, the Sorbonne and completed her master’s degree in French Literature at the Université de Paris IV-Nanterre. She is the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI. Over the past twenty years, she has taught French, English and Creative Writing in public and private schools throughout New York City and Rhode Island. Tina’s poems and translations have appeared in numerous journals including Hanging Loose, Spinning Jenny, The Literary Review, Barrow Street, Tupelo Quarterly, Two Serious Ladies and the Good Men Project. Her work, The Fifth Thought, was published by Other Painters Press in 2008. Most recently, her manuscripts have been finalists for the Dorset Prize, the First/Second Book Award, the Snowbound Prize and Sunken Garden Award—all from Tupelo Press. She lives outside of Providence, RI with her husband and their three children.
Juan Jose Barboza-Gubo (Peru, 1976) received his Bachelors Degree at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. He has received two MFA degrees, one in Painting and one in Sculpture, both from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (graduating with a nomination for the Joan Mitchell Award in 2008). He has had numerous exhibitions in US, including shows at the Nielsen Gallery; The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University; Chazan Gallery, Providence; The Fitchburg Museum; the Attleboro Museum; and the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. His work has been featured internationally in galleries and museums in Tokyo, Athens, and Italy, as well as the Cecilia Gonzales Gallery of Lima, Peru. Recent awards of note include first prizes in the 2008 Ceramic Biennial of the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and in 2014, the 78th Regional Exhibition at the Fitchburg Museum, and was the 2014 Breakout Artist of the Year from Artscope Magazine. In 2015 he was awarded the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Painting. His exhibitions have been reviewed in such publications as The Boston Globe, Artscope Magazine, El Comercio, and many others. Barboza-Gubo currently teaches at Rhode Island College and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Meredith Younger (b. 1980, Ft Worth, TX) graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003 with a BFA in Ceramics and a minor in Art History. She has worked with several venerable Rhode Island art organizations and communities, including the Steel Yard, AS220, and New Urban Arts, as well as collaborated with friends near and far, in cities ranging from Providence to Oakland, and New Orleans to Detroit. Well-versed in a variety of sculptural media, and with a focus on the ceramic figure, her work asks the viewer to contemplate the eternal and unyielding cycle of life, death, and rebirth - both throughout the multiverses, and within themselves. She currently lives and works in Providence, RI with her daughter, Allegra.