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A Biannual Publication For MassArt Alumni And Friends

A WORLD OF GOOD chasing dreams, inspiring passions near and far

Resurrecting ancient wooden synagogues in Poland to educate the world about an important chapter in Jewish history. Creating multimedia projects in Indonesia based on multi-dimensional realities of the Javanese people. Exploring the relationship between ceramics and architecture in China. Receiving a national award in Washington DC on behalf of an innovative youth arts outreach program. Inspiring others in Boston and beyond through a stirring autobiographical installation. Generously contributing to help the next generation of MassArt students from around the country thrive. As you’ll soon discover in this issue of Folio, MassArt professors, students, and alumni are making a real difference all around the globe.


When Allison Holt, MFA ‘07, and Andrew Ippoliti, ceramics ‘02, won Fulbright scholarships last year to study abroad, they joined a select group of recipients.


BRIGHT FUTURE Alumni Win Prestigious Scholarships to Study Abroad

A Nobel Peace Prize winner, former securitygeneral of the United Nations, chairman of the board at Intel, even several MassArt professors are Fulbright alumni. Just to be named a Fulbright scholar as a student is a rare honor. And although they are each working on very different types of projects, they both plan to add to the impressive Fulbright legacy in their own distinct ways. Holt is currently researching Javanese culture and philosophy in a small village in Indonesia. She’s specifically focusing on the Javanese concept of multi - dimensional reality and how it influences society and the individual. To better understand these concepts, she’s creating novel diagrams and using them to shape her artwork, which eventually will include sculpture, video, performance, and installation.

Ippoliti atop his SHEAR (2009, Canadian red cedar skin with a skeletal structure of pine) at the Cranbrook Art Museum

“My professors introduced me to the Fulbright. They made me believe it was possible.”

“China is a great place if you’re interested in history because every day you can find a cultural artifact or tradition that dates back to an older period,” he said. “It’s also a country that’s on the move and growing, and I feel that

“Apparently visualizing the Javanese culture

architecture in the future is going to be a very important way for them to define their culture.”

in this way has never been done before” she said. “But it allows me to use their structure

Ippoliti plans to stay in China after his Fulbright

of thinking to inform my thinking and develop

runs up later this year and eventually he would

my art.”

like to open up his own studio there. “Ten years

While Holt examines the philosophical world, Ippoliti is investigating the physical world in China. Based in Beijing and working through a museum, Ippoliti is researching the relationship between ceramics and architecture in

ago if you asked me if I would be spending this much time in China it wouldn’t have seemed logical or even probable,” he said. “But MassArt taught me not to fear anything and to stay open to new ideas.”

China’s dynastic history. Part of his experience


Holt, who plans to return to the United States

will include traveling around the country to

in the fall and pursue a PhD in the fine arts,

three other historical capitals of ceramic

feels a similar gratitude to her alma mater:

production, including Jingdezhen, where he’ll

Holt Part of Holt’s diagram - in - progress describing the basic behavior of energy during a Javanese ritual Bottom:

“I experienced community at MassArt to a

get to create his own ceramic pieces using ancient kilns.

greater level than I have in any social situation in my life. My professors introduced me to the Fulbright. They made me believe it was possible.”

2009 alumni award recipients On October 31, 2009, the Alumni Association recognized the following individuals with a 2009 Alumni Award: Ambreen Butt

The Friends of

Savvas Spyridopoulos

Robert Ferrandini

Fine Arts 2D, MFA ‘97, for Distinguished Achievement as an Artist

Kirsten Malone

Glass ‘02, for Distinguished Achievement as an Artist

Painting ‘72, for Distinguished Achievement as an Artist

Distinguished Achievement in Support of the Arts

NIMMER EARNS DISTINGUISHED PRIZE He’s displayed his artwork in

Emeritus Dean Nimmer has a new

to make art by giving them lots of

museums from Boston to Beijing to

honor for his résumé — the College

options and doorways that open up

Barcelona. He’s been a guest lecturer

Art Association’s prestigious 2010

the process to the best potentials of

and visiting artist at some of the

Distinguished Teaching of Art Award.

their creativity. In turn, I’m inspired

most prestigious institutions in the world. He’s recently written a book on his unique teaching methods, which he honed during his thirty - four years at MassArt. And now, Professor

“I am very proud and humbled to be given this award, particularly considering some of the past recipients. As a teacher, I strive to energize and encourage my student’s desire

to paint as I observe my students working and that cycle has kept me going over my 40 - year dual career as an artist/teacher.”

ACCOMPLISHED CAREER branson retires after 28 years

When Johanna Branson, senior vice president for academic affairs, first arrived on campus

“The people here are so talented and it’s been such a privilege to work with them and help build this community.”

in 1972 to teach contemporary art part time, she knew immediately she didn’t want to leave. Now, twenty-eight years later, after helping MassArt grow into one of the nation’s top art

dean of graduate education, and chair of the

and design colleges, she feels it’s time.

exhibitions committee. Her research, which tackles a diversity of subjects, includes an

“I don’t know if most people have the oppor-

exhibit she considers her most important —

tunity over the course of their career to feel

Seeing Through “Paradise”: Artists and the

like they’ve been a part of something that’s

Terezin Concentration Camp, which debuted

progressively and constantly gotten better,”

brave and poignant drawings by Jewish

said Branson, who will retire at the end of June.

prisoners, discovered decades after the war

“The people here are so talented and it’s been

ended. Branson wrote the exhibition catalog

such a privilege to work with them and help

and helped organize the 1991 event — which

build this community.” In her current role, which she’s held since 1995, Branson has helped grow the academic programs, shape curriculum, build a diverse

received a rave review from the New York Times — with MassArt’s Michèle Furst and Jeffrey Keough. When she leaves in June, Branson said she’ll

faculty, improve the facilities, and keep

most miss the people at MassArt and the

the college true to its mission of offering a

thrill of seeing art as it’s being produced. But

comprehensive art and design program.

she’s also excited about “the opportunity to

Prior to transitioning into administration full - time, Branson taught art history and held a number of other posts — chair of the media and performing arts department, acting

improvise with my time and follow all these same interests, but in a different way.”

donor profile

generous gesture

annual fund is an annual priority

Each year the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), the city’s first and only high school for the visual and performing arts, awards a full - year internship to a deserving graduate student.

That is, until Katie Osediacz, art education ‘06, won the honor as a senior at MassArt. It was no surprise, really. Since transferring to MassArt as a sophomore, she excelled in the classroom, ultimately graduating with departmental honors and earning the Rachel Whittier Memorial Fund Award for excellence in teaching and learning. To say thanks to her alma mater, Osediacz has contributed each year to the MassArt Fund, which helps support scholarships, financial aid, and academic programs. “I feel like the

Osediacz with senior visual artists at Boston Arts Academy

opportunities I’ve been afforded here have been invaluable. Although I can’t give much, I feel like giving something is a symbol of my appreciation and reflects how MassArt has affected my life.” Osediacz is especially appreciative of the pro-

“Although I can’t give much, I feel like giving something is a symbol of my appreciation and reflects how MassArt has affected my life.”

fessors who influenced her, particularly Beth Balliro, MSAE ‘99, Maureen Kelly, John Crowe, and John Giordano. “They helped me be more realistic and grounded as a teacher. I learned how to approach really difficult situations with kids and be much more helpful to them.”

After graduating, Osediacz earned a post -  baccalaureate certificate at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, then taught art at Narragansett Regional High School for a year, followed by a year and a half at BAA. In January she moved to Chicago, where her brother lives, to explore new career opportunities, which might include teaching or blending her passion for art with her passion for urban gardening and farming. “I told my students [at BAA], ’I’m casting my net and I’ll see what I get back.’”

Alumni Focus

a river runs through it

installation flows with emotion and history

The installation, which debuted at MassArt’s

One night in 2008, when her teenage son didn’t come home when he was supposed to, Evelyn Berde’s mind raced back to July 12, 1956, the day her nine - year - old brother and best friend Danny drowned in the Charles River.

Arnheim Gallery in November 2009, chronicles three of the most influential experiences in her life — how she and her staunch Irish Catholic parents dealt with her brother’s death; watching the slow destruction of her tight - knit West End neighborhood as construction crews leveled it, house by house, to make way for high - rise buildings, until her family was forced to move when she was nine; and living with congenital scoliosis, a condition that forced her to wear a

She remembers hearing her mom sobbing and

plaster back brace and undergo several painful

screaming Danny’s name outside their West

procedures to straighten her crooked spine

End Boston home, then looking out the window

well into her teens.

and seeing two police officers holding her up on each side as they helped her towards their house. Berde was just six years old at the time.

“I wanted to have this exhibition at MassArt because it was my saving grace,” said Berde. “It changed my life. MassArt let me know that

She kept that memory trapped inside her for

I could have choices other than choices that

decades, never quite able to express it in her

my family had made for me. Because I had

drawings or paintings, like she’s been able to

so many different health issues as a child,

do with other painful memories. But something

they didn’t have high expectations of things

about her own son coming home late that

I could do.”

night made Berde think about her mom and

memory that tragic day. She went to her studio, picked

up a piece of charcoal, and began drawing.

Besides working on her own pieces, Berde

teaches art in her Brookline studio, volunteers

as an art consultant for Brookline Public

What emerged was a somber, moving portrait

Schools, and serves as artist - in - residence for

of a haunting memory — and inspiration for

Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly.

a larger collection. For the next ten months,

She’s currently exploring opportunities to

Berde, art education ‘72, worked day and night

take Leaving the River on the road. “I think it

to create an exhibit called Leaving the River,

can help others learn to process their painful

blending paintings, sculptures, pieces of fur-

memories. Sometimes it’s much easier to

niture and clothing, collage, and other media.

draw a picture and then talk about it.”

Opposite Top:

Berde’s recreation of the living room and kitchen of her childhood West End Boston home in Leaving the River Bottom Left:

Berde in the Arnheim Gallery

bottom Right:

“The Rabbi and Me” from Leaving the River


“I think it can help others learn to process their painful memories. Sometimes it’s much easier to draw a picture and then talk about it.”

faculty focus

objects of desire sculpting professors carve out historical niche

It’s a place where architects, sculptors, historians, and students work side by side to recreate centuries - old objects out of stone, wood, and metal. A place where production companies such as the Discovery Channel and PBS search for answers to history’s mysteries. A place where “learning by doing” is the guiding principle. It’s a place called Handshouse Studio,

Tucked inside dense woodlands

a non - profit educational organization that’s the brainchild of MassArt sculpture professors

twenty - five miles south of Boston

Rick and Laura Brown.

is a place where the past comes

The massive timber - frame facility, which

alive in unusual ways.

the Browns designed and built almost entirely by themselves from 1995 to 1999, provides the space they need to bring together multi-disciplinary partners to construct unique projects — a Revolutionary War American submarine, an eighteenth century French crane, a seventeenth century Polish synagogue.


“The reward of Handshouse is seeing the excitement, the interest, especially from students, when taking on these projects...”

“Our projects are cross cultural, from different time periods,” said Rick, a full - time MassArt professor since 1988. “We’re not fixed on any subject matter. We look for objects that we could potentially start with as a point of departure for a learning adventure.” Although not formally affiliated with MassArt, Handshouse often serves as a training ground for MassArt students who are able to incorporate Handshouse projects into their program. A recent example includes a nose job for the Great Sphinx of Giza, which was part of a project for PBS’s popular science show, Nova. The Handshouse team, which includes several MassArt students, chipped, chiseled, and polished a 6 - ft. block of limestone for two - and - a - half weeks into a giant nose to

Members of the Handshouse team with the Sphinx nose OPPOSITE:

Rick Brown at work on the Sphinx nose

give viewers a better understanding of how long it likely took to build the giant statue.

“It’s a real high to show them what they can accomplish when they work as part of a team...”

said Laura, sculpture ‘93, who has taught at MassArt part-time since 1996. “It’s a real high to show them what they can accomplish when

craft The students learned about the craft of sculpting

they work as part of a team and open their

as they learned about ancient Egyptian history,

eyes to a new way of studying something.”

including how to forge the copper chisels and

The Browns’ largest Handshouse endeavor to

stone hammers used by the Egyptians 4,500

date is a project they’ve been working on for

years ago.

six years — reconstructing seventeenth and

“The reward of Handshouse is seeing the excitement, the interest, especially from

students, when taking on these projects,”

eighteenth century Polish synagogues, elabo-

rate wooden structures destroyed by the Nazis

in World War II. They will be traveling to Poland

over the next three summers to collaborate

with an international team of builders on a

full - scale replica and hope to include students.

“There are certain things you can learn only by doing,” said Rick. “And as we tell our students today, you can make history.”


white house wonder

freshman accepts award from first lady

Liana Farmer thought it was a joke, or perhaps spam. Even though the email was from an organization she recognized, the Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses (FDNH), she had a hard time believing she was actually invited to the White House.

“Liana started from the foundation level and increased her skills in hopes of pursuing a career in the arts.” leslie moore, director of adolescent development, fdnh

“I didn’t understand what was going on at first. They were asking for my social security num-

the Humanities — they were asked to send one

ber and all this personal information. I thought,

student and one adult representative to DC to

‘That doesn’t sound right. I don’t think I should

attend a special awards ceremony hosted by

give out that information,’” she said with a

Michelle Obama. Farmer, who at the time of

laugh. “It was kind of funny how it happened.” As it turned out, the email was real. FDNH had won the Coming Up Taller Award for its afterschool program, Art a la Carte, which engages kids from some of Boston’s underserved neighborhoods in the visual and performing

the invitation was waiting to start her freshman year at MassArt, was a likely choice, since she had participated in Art a la Carte from seventh through twelfth grade. “Liana stood out because, unlike many of our students who utilize the Art a la Carte

arts. As one of just fifteen youth programs in

program to fulfill a personal desire to increase

the country to receive the award — presented

art skills and improve their college candidacy,

by the President’s Committee for the Arts and

Liana started from the foundation level and

increased her skills in hopes of pursuing

“We thought it would be especially rewarding for her as a MassArt student to be exposed to the activities and honors associated with the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities.” leslie moore, director of adolescent development, fdnh

Full Circle Create your legacy A passionate art educator, Diane Edstrom was a loyal member of the class of ‘65 and often organized gatherings with her classmates over the years. We were saddened to learn of her recent passing in January, but grateful that she had included Farmer, with FDNH CEO Mark Culliton, accepting the Coming Up Taller Award from Michelle Obama

MassArt in her estate plans. Diane chose one of the simplest ways to remember a charity in one’s estate — specifying a

a career in the arts. We thought it would be

certain percentage to go to a cause that

especially rewarding for her as a MassArt student

the donor cares about.

to be exposed to the activities and honors

Leaving a bequest to MassArt is an

associated with the President’s Committee for the

uncomplicated way to make a gift that will

Arts and Humanities,” said Leslie Moore, director

be appreciated by future generations at

of adolescent development.

the college. A philanthropy staff member

The Coming Up Taller Awards ceremony, which

can help you discuss the type of gift you’d

Farmer attended with FDNH CEO Mark Culliton,

like to include in your will, and how it can

was held November 4, 2009. When she accepted

support students at MassArt. If the gift is

the awarded, Farmer hugged the First Lady and

over $25,000 a special named endowed

even exchanged a few quick words. It was an

scholarship or lecture fund can be set up.

experience she said she’ll not soon forget and

However, even smaller amounts can be

one for which she is truly grateful, especially

directed to your priorities.

since she got to represent a program that had

Whatever type of gift you are considering,

such a positive influence on her young career. “I think I always wanted to apply to MassArt, but

our philanthropy staff is happy to discuss your thoughts, and we can even tell you

I wasn’t sure I was good enough,” she said. “But

about gifts that give back — such as

[my Art a la Carte teachers] definitely gave me

annuities or trusts. To learn more, contact

the confidence to go ahead with it. Lucky for me

Karin Blum at (617) 879 - 7080 or

I got accepted early and it was my first choice.”



PERMIT NO. 54162

return service requested



Twenty-first Annual Benefit Art Auction

Spring Sale

We are grateful to the generous artists,

The college’s annual spring sale, open May

buyers, and sponsors who helped raise

3 – 8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., features original

more than $500,000 at the twentieth

works of glass, ceramics, painting, jewelry,

annual auction last spring. Funds raised

photography, sculpture, fibers, and more.

support student scholarships and academic

The sale benefits artists, and a portion of

programs. Mark your calendar for the

the proceeds provides financial support

auction on April 10, 2010.

to students.

For details on these and other events, visit the alumni online community at


Commencement 2010 The class of 2010 graduates and joins the MassArt alumni community. This year the college will award an honorary degree to Lowery Stokes Sims.

Editor: Dani Williams; Copy: Mike Ransdell; Design: Moth Design, Katie Magee ‘09, Dan Rukas ‘03; Photography: Sonia Targontsidis MFA ‘02, Joel Veak, and Steven Purcell Folio contains 100% postconsumer waste recycled paper that’s been manufactured with Green – e certified renewable wind-generated electricity.

A WORLD OF CHANGE: Folio Spring 2010  

Resurrecting ancient wooden synagogues in Poland to educate the world about an important chapter in Jewish history. Creating multimedia proj...

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