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IN RESIDENCE 2019 Vermont College of Fine Arts ALUMNX MAGAZINE

inside this issue Faculty View: KIM COSIER, PHD Life after MFA: ALDRENA CORDER, ANN HUANG, C MARQUEZ, KYLE PEDERSON Postgrad Opportunities for VCFA Alumnx Diversity & Inclusion at VCFA Class News


The MFA IN WRITING & PUBLISHING Class of 2019 strikes a pose on graduation day, along with Director Rita Banerjee and faculty member Erin Stalcup.


Features 4 Vermont Book Award & Gala 8 Faculty View KIM COSIER, PHD

10 Life after the MFA ALDRENA CORDER ANN HUANG C MARQUEZ KYLE PEDERSON

15 VCFA after your MFA

15

POSTGRADUATE OPPORTUNITIES

IN RESIDENCE 2019

Vermont College of Fine Arts

Alumni Focus 3 President’s letter 6 Faculty news 18 Diversity & Inclusion 22 Class news 38 Giving at VCFA 18 Above: Jessica Baisey (’19 VA), MFA in Visual Art winter 2019 residency

42 Report of Gifts

Dear Alumnx Community, At the time of this writing, the college is in the thick of its summer residency season. This means not only is the campus calendar full with artistic activity, with lectures and art show openings, with readings and performances happening morning, noon, and night, but every 10 days or so the campus goes through a transition as it bids goodbye to students from one program while welcoming students from another. In this past week alone we have graduated students from our Visual Art and Art & Design Education programs and are busy welcoming our Music Composition students. And this year, not only is transition business as usual for the campus staff who support our programs during the busy residency cycle, but the college community as a whole is in the midst of transition as founding president Tom Greene, after 11 years, stepped away from his duties on July 1 in order to focus on his writing career. For me, as interim president, and a person who embraces the concept of transition as synonymous with possibility, this is an exciting time to take stock, recognize the past accomplishments that have led to the college’s outstanding programs and unique strengths, and engage in exploration and dialogue to build the foundation for VCFA’s future. Since I began on July 1, I have had the privilege of talking with staff and faculty groups as programs cycle through residency. I have been struck by the deep dedication each staff person brings to the college and each faculty member brings to their program and their students. This dedication is characterized in the best of ways by not only pride in what is being accomplished but also by frank and robust discussion of how and where we must continue to evolve and grow. I have also had the wonderful opportunity of meeting with students as they come to campus

We are committed to working in partnership with all members of our college and the external community to build and sustain a welcoming and inclusive environment. for residencies and with our alumnx who return as graduate assistants. I have been asked penetrating and challenging questions, heard their gratitude for faculty members and the rigor of program content, and listened intently as they have outlined areas that need focused attention and support. In each instance, whether I am speaking with staff, faculty, or students, as a group or individually, I am grateful for the candor, thoughtfulness, intelligence, and caring that characterize all these discussions and the commitment on everyone’s part to make sure VCFA’s past legacy of excellence remains part of its future.

editor

Angela Paladino design

Sian Foulkes Foulkes Design contributing writers

Cathy Donohue Cameron Finch contributing photographers

Joe Brusky Brittany Powell Keith MacDonald Paul Richardson

In Residence

Two areas that have been highlighted in these conversations and that we are focusing on intently are diversity & inclusion and alumnx relations. As we state on our website, “At VCFA, we are committed to working in partnership with all members of our college and the external community to build and sustain a welcoming and inclusive environment.” Under the guidance of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee led by Jericho Parms, we are committed to understanding how best to continue our work in moving that statement from a well-intentioned concept to a deeply integrated practice. You can learn more about the committee’s ongoing efforts on page 18. The commitment we note in our mission statement, to “foster the excellence of emerging and established practitioners,” does not end when a student leaves our campus with a diploma in hand. Our alumnx are an integral part of our community. As VCFA embarks on this next stage of its maturation and growth, we are investing energy and resources toward finding more, and more significant, ways we can support our alumnx. Please read on page 21 about some of our plans in this area.

Volume 7, Number 1 © 2019

VER MO N T COLLEG E OF FI NE A RTS

On the cover: Jimmy Henderson (’19 GD), thesis exhibition (detail)

36 College Street Montpelier, VT 05602 angela.paladino@vcfa.edu www.vcfa.edu

In closing, let me circle back to the beauty of possibility that moves hand in hand with transitions. I am committed to using this time of interim leadership to listen, learn, and help VCFA evolve and grow into the future.

Sincerely, Leslie Ward (’16 W) Interim President


Vermont Book Award 4 :: Vermont Book Award & Gala

&Gala

Saturday, November 9 VCFA will host the fifth-annual Vermont Book Award Gala on Saturday, November 9. As always, the evening will be a gorgeous celebration of the best in Vermont literature, with live jazz by the Geza Carr Quintet, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, readings by the finalists, and the chance to dress in your finest and rub shoulders with Vermont’s literati.

PREVIOUS YEARS’ WINNERS: Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes, by Martin Philip (2018) Swallowed by the Cold, by Jensen Beach (2017)

Learn more and get your tickets today!

Roll Deep, by Major Jackson (2016) Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, by Kerrin McCadden (2015)

This year’s committee of judges selected 10 books as finalists—three books of poetry, two works of children’s literature, three fiction books, and two works of creative nonfiction:

Box, Sue D. Burton (’96 W) (poetry) My Bishop and Other Poems, Michael Collier (poetry) Age of Glass, Anna Maria Hong (poetry) H&G, Anna Maria Hong (fiction) A Stitch in Time, Daphne Kalmar (’10 WCYA) (children’s literature) Berlin, Jason Lutes (fiction) The Season of Styx Malone, Kekla Magoon (’05 WCYA) (children’s literature)

The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai (fiction) The Animal One Thousand Miles Long: Seven Lengths of Vermont and Other Adventures, Leath Tonino (creative nonfiction) Drunk in the Woods, Tony Whedon (’86 W) (creative nonfiction)

We hope you can join us for this special celebration. For those who can’t make it but still want to salute their fellow alumnx and faculty who are among this year’s nominees, we have the answer: our new Committee to Honor Vermont Writers. Keep an eye on your email or visit the website for details!

vcfa.edu/vermont-book-award


class news faculty news SEREINA ROTHENBERGER’s book Questions? Looking for answers in the middle of somewhere, co-written with David

Art & Design Education KELLY GROSS contributed an

Film YELLOW ROSE, which ANNIE J. HOWELL co-wrote with director Diane Paragas, screened at three different festivals in early 2019: a world premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, CAAMFest in San Francisco, and the Bentonville Film Festival. The film won the Grand Jury award at each one.

IAN LYNAM released two new booklets in 2019: The Thing,

about the problematics of design, and Visual Strategies for the Apocalypse, which features contributions from VCFA alumnx Matthew Scott Barnes and Michael Scaringe and VCFA faculty Natalia Ilyin, Yoon Soo Lee, Matthew Monk, David Peacock, and Lorena HowardSheridan. Lynam also was featured in Japan’s leading design magazine, IDEA, in March 2019.

Graphic Design Faculty Co-Chair DAVID PEACOCK was featured in The Theory and Practice of Motion Design: Critical Perspectives and Professional Practice, published in early 2019. The book features academic essays and professional interviews on the field of motion design from an interdisciplinary perspective. David’s chapter examines the role of motion in contemporary rebranding efforts, with case studies on Airbnb, Google, Instagram, and Southwest Airlines.

Faculty Co-Chair NIKKI JUEN (’16 WCYA), also an Assistant Professor in Experimental and Foundation Studies at Rhode Island School of Design, accepted RISD’s highest pedagogical honor: the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching. In presenting the award, RISD Provost Kent Kleinman noted Juen’s commitment to academic excellence, community-building, and modeling engaged citizenship in creative practice. Juen was also named an “Educator to Watch” by GDUSA in 2018. Learn more at nikkijuen.com/blog.

In February 2019, NATALIA ILYIN published Writing for the Design Mind on Bloomsbury. The book offers clear, concise, and humorous writing tips, techniques, and strategies for people who have spent their lives mastering design rather than learning to write. Ilyin also published another work in 2019 based on a class Ilyin and Elisabeth Patterson co-teach at Cornish College of Art & Design. The class, Parallel Narratives, explores the current state of design history and criticism, and in it students research and compile annotated bibliographies of 80–100 citations about a topic they believe has gone missing from the history books. In 2019, Ilyin and Patterson co-edited and published these bibliographies in Parallel Narratives: Annotated Student Bibliographies Toward a Broader History of Design.

International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation

associated musicians of greater new York

Writing

March 2019 l Volume 119, No. 3

EARS WIDE OPEN From the vibrations of black holes to the sounds of birds, Local 802 member Diane Moser is inspired by the world around her photo: Dennis Connors

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Lessons learned from the women’s labor movement Time for women to be heard Introducing a new committee: WOMEN OF LOCAL 802

A.S. KING’s YA novel Dig. was published in March 2019 by Dutton Books for Young Readers. Penguin Random House describes the book as “a searing and surreal dive into the tangled secrets of a wealthy white family in suburban Pennsylvania and the terrible cost the family’s children pay to maintain the family name.”

Writing & Publishing

7 :: vermont college of fine arts

6 :: faculty news

article, “Inclusive Approaches to Art Education,” to the Inclusive Curriculum section of Volume II of The International Encyclopedia of Art & Design Education, published by Wiley-Blackwell in February 2019.

Bennewith, has received the 2019 Young Book Design Award from the Stiftung Buchkunst (Book Art Foundation) of Germany. The prize honors works that are “particularly innovative, forward-looking concepts for the creative development of the book medium.”

Allegro www.Local802afm.org

Local 802 has a balanced budget

Musicians and the new tax law

Faculty Co-Director XU XI published This Fish Is Fowl: Essays of Being as part of the American Lives Series from University of Nebraska Press in March 2019. The publisher’s website notes that “Xu Xi offers the transnational and feminist perspective of a contemporary ‘glocalized’ American life [in] a 21st-century blend of the essayist traditions of both West and East.”

DIANE MOSER was on the cover of the March 2019 issue of Allegro, the monthly magazine from the AFM Local 802 (NYC), with a featured interview entitled “Ears Wide Open: From the vibrations of black holes to the sounds of birds, local 802 member Diane Moser is inspired by the world around her.” In the interview, Diane talks about her current music projects, her teaching, which of course includes the VCFA MFA in Music Composition program, and the early beginnings of her career to the present. Learn more at local802afm.org/allegro.

Visual Art

SUE WILLIAM SILVERMAN’s second poetry collection, If the Girl Never Learns, “feminist poems about a badass girl,” was published by Brick Mantel Books in April 2019.

Writing for Children & Young Adults UMA KRISHNASWAMI had a

feature article in the January 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine titled “Why Stop at Windows and Mirrors?” about diverse children’s books that act as prisms for readers.

Faculty Co-Director EVAN FALLENBERG (’01 W)’s novel The Parting Gift was published by Other Press in September 2018. The publisher describes the book as “an erotic tale of jealousy, obsession, and revenge suffused with the rich flavors and intoxicating scents of Israel’s Mediterranean coast.”

Music Composition RICK BAITZ released a new album, Into Light, in September 2018. The album features three pieces of concert music spanning various stages of his career: “Chthonic Dances,” “Hall of Mirrors,” and “Into Light.” BMI awarded Baitz their Classic Contribution Award in May 2018, recognizing his creation and 10-year leadership of BMI’s “Composing for the Screen” workshop.

KEKLA MAGOON (’05 WCYA)’s middle grade novel, The Season of Styx Malone, was FAITH WILDING participated in

a panel on “Performance as Repair” at Art Basel in Miami in December 2018, along with Nato Thompson and Sara Reisman and moderated by Stephanie Bailey. The panel examined “the performative role of language in our society.”

TRINIE DALTON published a collection of stories and collages, Destroy Bad Thoughts Not Yourself, on The Pit in November 2018.

published in October 2018 by Wendy Lamb Books. It won the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for fiction and was a 2018 Coretta Scott King Honor book. It has received multiple starred reviews and been named to best-of-the-year lists by NPR, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness. CORI MCCARTHY (’11) and AMY ROSE CAPETTA (’12) published their YA novel Once & Future in March 2019 on Jimmy

Patterson/Little Brown. The book is a fantasy/sci-fi/queer retelling of King Arthur and has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and others.

ALAN CUMYN’s middle grade novel North to Benjamin was

published in December 2018 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. Simon & Schuster says of the book, “Hatchet meets Maybe a Fox in this piercing novel about Edgar, a boy who has lost the ability to speak and can only bark, and his dog Benjamin as they travel through the freezing Yukon wilderness in order to stop Edgar’s mother from making a huge mistake.” MICIAH BAY GAULT’s debut novel, Goodnight Stranger, was

published by Park Row in July 2019. George Saunders said of the book, “Somewhere the ghosts of Shirley Jackson and the Henry James of The Turn of the Screw are smiling, because a wildly talented young writer has joined their lineage. What a taut, keenly intelligent, and provocative debut Goodnight Stranger is. Deeply compelling and enjoyable, suffused with a genuinely thrilling new mode of literary energy.”


“This year, the union hosted its first-ever presidential candidate forum, and the ‘green room’ where Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Joe Biden, and others waited to go on stage was lined with artwork we made during the art build!” Cosier said. While art builds comprise a large part of Kim Cosier’s work today, the power of art to make change is the overarching theme of her work. It’s found throughout her research and writing on the interconnected issues of anti-racist/anti-biased teacher education, urban education, and art and education for social justice, and in the Milwaukee Visionaries Project (www.mkevisionaries.com), an award-winning afterschool media-literacy project that she founded for middle and high school students. This project is also a favorite of hers. “I really love this age, working with young people, and using art to open peoples’ eyes to possibilities in the world.”

Faculty View art builds & art education in the face of injustice A conversation with Kim Cosier, PhD, Art & Design Education Imagine hundreds of educators making art together to draw attention to the need for education funding, for racial justice, for starting a new conversation about what schools need today. Then imagine them tracing designs and painting banners and picket signs, screen printing and hand coloring patches, and painting huge parachutes like the kind used in children’s games, all the while talking and smiling and caring for each other and the work they do. Then imagine the works in use: parachute banners being deployed during a march of thousands of educators on an immigrant detention center in Houston, Texas. A 40-footwide banner unfurled from the ceiling of a convention center at the annual meeting of the largest labor union in the country.

It’s called “art build.” And for Kim Cosier, MAADE faculty, it’s “the most exciting thing I am doing right now. I feel so honored and energized to be working with my collaborators in the Art Build Workers collective—my wife, Josie Osborne, and Nicolas Lampert, who have both been guest artists at VCFA in the past, and Paul Kjelland, Claudio Martinez, and Joe Brusky. It’s really quite thrilling.” This particular art build vision was realized at the National Education Association’s back-to-back events in Houston, Texas in July: the Conference on Racial and Social Justice and the NEA Representative Assembly— that collectively drew approximately 10,000. “The NEA’s on board with the power of art for movement,” Cosier said. “Joining all those amazing teachers’ union activists for this art build was a rush!” Cosier said. “We screen-printed picket signs and hundreds and hundreds of patches, organized and distributed offset posters by artists from around the country, plus painted a 40’ and a 20’ banner and three parachutes emblazoned with the messages ‘Fund Our Schools,’ ‘Red for Ed,’ and ‘Ready to Strike’— all ready for demonstrations to draw attention to the work, to the issues, to what needs to change.”

Cosier, who is also the Director of Community Engagement in the Peck School of the Arts and Professor of Art Education at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee, has helped forge Milwaukee’s unique take on art builds. She writes in her commentary “What Can Art and Art Education Do in the Perilous Present,” which will be published in a forthcoming volume of Studies in Art Education, “For the past couple of years in Milwaukee, we have been building a collective effort through activist arts-based community events called art builds. Art builds craft community in the making phase as well as in the streets, where the art helps create cohesion and a sense of purpose among participants in a demonstration. The art

invites playfulness and a joyful approach to social justice work, which is important to maintaining momentum over the long haul.” Social justice is at the heart of VCFA’s Art & Design Education program, as well, and Cosier finds that students are drawn to the program out of a desire to expand their own horizons and develop new ideas for their teaching practice, all with a social justice commitment in mind. “This activist mindset toward making the world better is part of the magic of VCFA’s program,” she said. “I am drawn to teach in this program because I can really focus on the things that I think matter in education.” This is also at the heart of Kim Cosier’s desire to teach. Although raised by people with a different worldview, she says, they instilled a moral compass rooted in this same basis: to serve and to make the world a better place. “Teaching is a commitment to service to others and the world,” she said. “My parents’ commitment to the wellbeing of others was a kind of calling to local missionary work. They gave up all our worldly belongings and committed themselves and their children to their church. So we lived in a homeless mission in Grand Rapids, Michigan when I was a kid as my parents ministered to people who had even less than we did. Later, my mom started a food pantry in a trailer park in Cedar Springs, Michigan. They are both still really committed to their system of beliefs. I didn’t follow that exact path, but I came away from my childhood experiences with a deep sense of the importance of a spiritual life and having a sense of purpose,” she said. “I believe I was called to teach and my activism is a kind of spiritual practice.” Cosier finds art builds a way for her to have a physical presence in doing something that addresses the growing injustice in the country today. She’s also meeting incredible activists who are channeling their work to do the same She writes, “In the midst of the chaos that has become increasingly and dangerously normalized, activist art has been my lifeboat. Helping to create spaces where a movement imagination flourishes has given me a place to be among artists, teachers, and other community members who are creating a collective of care. I invite you to join us.”

9 :: vermont college of fine arts

“Art invites playfulness and a joyful approach to social justice work, which is important to maintaining momentum over the long haul.”


Bringing Diversity & Inclusion to the Design Community

Utilizing design to express and explore her personal identity and experiences has been at the forefront of Aldrena’s mission as an artist, activist, and storyteller. During her time at VCFA, Aldrena worked with faculty Natalia Ilyin, Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton, Ian Lynam, and Ziddi Msangi. Her thesis project was called Little Brown Girl: Essays on the Influence of Black Womanhood in Visual Communication, and examined colorism, bias, and the respectability of Black women through a series of personal stories, essays, and graphics. Little Brown Girl was broken up into three distinct themes. Aldrena explains: “‘This Skin I’m In’ discusses the history and effects of colorism, and what it means to be judged by one’s own race by the lightness or darkness of skin. ‘Better Than Good Hair’ reveals the complex, emotional struggle and celebration of a Black woman’s hair, as I share my own personal journey in the struggle to love and accept my hair no matter what state she’s in. ‘On Loving Blackness and Black Womanhood’ explores the struggle to love one’s own Blackness, and how doing so is both a personal and sometimes political choice.” Since Aldrena’s graduation in 2016, Little Brown Girl has certainly received well-deserved attention and praise, receiving PRINT Magazine’s 2017 Regional Design Award, among other recognitions. Aldrena had the opportunity to share her work at AIGA’s (American Institute of Graphic Arts) 2017 Design Conference and AIGA NY’s FreshGrad 2017 program, as well as in exhibitions at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Mosely Gallery and at the Goodall Gallery at Columbia College of South Carolina. This October, she’ll be speaking at the UCDA Design Conference in Portland, Oregon about how Little Brown Girl set her on a path to champion the importance of incorporating personal story, identity, and self-love in one’s creative work.

Although Aldrena had been an active member of AIGA for years, she had yet to find a place within the organization where she really felt included. Then, in 2014, AIGA held an online Town Hall meeting, where the Task Force chair put out a call for those interested in serving on the diversity initiative. Aldrena says, “I was immediately drawn to the sense of urgency and passion to create a more diverse and inclusive space for marginalized designers of color.” The D&I Task Force gave her the exact feeling of belonging that she had been craving for years. “It was the first time I could actually call the design community ‘home.’” Now, in her current role as a lecturer of graphic design and art at Columbia College, Aldrena is providing that feeling of belonging to undergraduate design majors. While she plans to take a hiatus from the D&I Task Force in order to focus on other professional and personal goals, her experience on the Programming Committee was invaluable to her growth as a designer and a supporter for diversity in the arts. “The Task Force provided me with opportunities for learning about the history of both the design community and the organization itself.” Aldrena says that her service pushed her to challenge outdated traditions and question the status quo within the design industry. “I’ve gained insights, made new friends that truly support and celebrate wins, learned about different cultures, and challenged my own biases.” Still, there’s much more work that needs to be done to continue to recognize diversity and inclusion in the design community. Aldrena says, “The arts—especially design— play an essential role in how we perceive and interact with each other within our communities and the world. For the design community, I would love to see more celebration of uniqueness while adding (and keeping) more diverse voices at the table.” To learn more about the AIGA Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, you can visit aiga.org/diversity-and-inclusion-initiative, or visit your local AIGA chapter to see how you can get involved with D&I initiatives.

What better way to approach writing about the fragmentation of the political world than with the nonnarrative and dreamlike gestures of surrealist language? A longtime lover of works by Man Ray, Maya Deren, and René Magritte, Ann was fascinated by the way her dreams seemed to have a logic of their own, yet possessed a “darkly rational truth.” Throughout her time at VCFA, she explored the transformative philosophies of the surrealist artists she admired, as well as questioning the meanings of the dreams created in the core of her own unconscious.

Ann Huang (’14 W)

Transforms her Multifaceted Dreams into Art Guided by the surrealist artists of the twentieth century and her own deep subconscious, Ann Huang is turning her dreams into lyrical poems that provide a sharp commentary on the fragmented world we find ourselves in today. Ann’s newest book of poems, A Shaft of Light, was published this summer by Finishing Line Press. VCFA faculty Leslie Ullman says of Ann’s book, “This lovely, unusual book is inhabited by a shapeshifting ‘you,’ who is sometimes the speaker, sometimes an intimate other, and sometimes, perhaps, figures mentioned along the way—Plath, Matisse, Obama, Jung, a grandparent, a parent. They mesh into one consciousness that is almost but not quite troubled— bemused, questing, dreaming its way into and through observed surfaces to offer partial insights that question and tease and resonate. As does the language, which is surreal and fresh at every turn.” Written specifically for socially minded women between the ages of 25–55, A Shaft of Light serves as a kind of collective memory for the group of people who grew up during recent significant political events, including the Clinton and Bush presidencies, 9/11, and the Iraq War. Ann says of her target audience, “This is a generation who developed a sincere interest in politics as a result of the changing world around them. They gained the right to vote and saw Barack Obama’s presidency, and then were shocked to the core in November 2016.” It was the 2016 US elections which were a catalyst for many of the poems collected in A Shaft of Light. “It was a very low and disappointing time for me,” Ann says. “It reminded me of the time we got out of China during the Tiananmen Square Protests in 1989. Horrendous memories resurfaced in my mind, and I was compelled to write about these turbulent years, where teen suicide rates and adult mental health issues had risen all at once.” Everywhere she turned, the world seemed to be unraveling. Newly elected presidents around the world were tightening their control and putting on dangerous shows of power. Journalists were disappearing. Human extinction became an ever more serious threat. Through her poetry, Ann attempts to bring people together by exploring our commonalities instead of differences. She is a melting pot of cultures herself. Ann was born in China, moved to Mexico as a teen, and later moved to the United States. Because of her multicultural and multilingual

In the MFA in Writing program, Ann worked closely with faculty Ralph Angel, Leslie Ullman, and Richard Jackson. Each mentor inspired and transformed Ann’s work. Pairing Angel’s “pure romanticism” with the exposure to contemporary painters and photographers she received from Ullman, Ann says that her writing has “defined itself as pure lyricism with a twist of contrast and ‘pull’ within each poem.” Professionally, Jackson taught Ann about discipline and encouraged her to write one poem every night. “I am constantly in debt to them for all the good work we’ve put together,” she says.

life after the mfa

Aldrena Corder has always incorporated design into her professional life, but it’s making things by hand that is her true passion and, as she puts it, her “first love.” Prior to coming to VCFA’s Graphic Design program, she was the creative director at a nonprofit in South Carolina while also running her own freelance business. “Work was good, but not personally rewarding enough for me,” Aldrena says. “What drew me to VCFA was the focus on the personal expression and the chance to focus on making again.”

upbringing, she says, she resists the limitations of space: “I have incessantly wished the countries that I have loved and lived in would share the same language and culture, with no borders or racial discriminations.”

Collaboration and transformation are front and center in another aspect of Ann’s work, as well: she is the founder of Saffron Splash Media, an experimental short film and production studio based in Newport Beach, California. Sharing a name with one of her previous book-length poetry collections, Saffron Splash Media works to manifest her dreams (and poems) into motion pictures. No longer restricted to paper, her poems burst with life and energy on the screen, just as they do in her own mind. To date, the small production crew of just five people has adapted Ann’s published poems into four experimental films, including PALPITATIONS OF DUST (2017), which won the 2017 Prince of Prestige Academy Award for Best Experimental Film. Before making PALPITATIONS OF DUST, Ann had never taken any film classes but had read film-related books and articles, particularly on the surrealist and Dadaist movements, during her final critical thesis semester at VCFA. However, to Ann, the processes of writing and filmmaking share very similar qualities. In both art forms, she carefully chooses words that visually and acoustically evoke mythologies, dreams, and the mysteries of the human psyche. Like a kind of alchemy, ink on a page transforms into palpable sentiments of loss, pain, and desire. These emotions bubbling under the surface are what drive Ann’s creativity. “My poems and poetry films are intended to be consumed with introspection. When my audience navigates their memories with detailed attention to their feelings, they can explore the complex emotions of my films with fluidity.” Above all, Ann wants the power of her poetry to reside in its connectivity with her audience, in her work’s ability to let readers create their own meaning and conclusions about the world. Ann says, “This allows [viewers] to be happier and better individuals in this increasingly disparate and volatile society”—a theme that runs throughout A Shaft of Light, too. Among the countless geopolitical and technological upheavals we are currently experiencing, Ann’s poetry reminds us that we must search for joy where we can. She asks us to not merely consume life as it comes, but to live our lives actively and fully, and always, always dream.

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10 :: life after the MFA

Aldrena Corder (’16 GD)

Aldrena is also making things (and changing things) not only with her hands, but with her work in the nonprofit sector. Aldrena has continued her mission of supporting and empowering marginalized designers through her work with the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force of AIGA. The Task Force is divided into four committees (programming, awareness, education/community, support) and is made up of AIGA members from across the nation, all with the purpose of encouraging diversity in design education, discourse, and practice. Along with serving as a resource and support system for Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) directors and their chapters’ events, an initiative that Aldrena and the Task Force’s programming committee recently worked on was a soft-skills bootcamp to “help level the playing field for marginalized and disadvantaged creatives.” Despite working within a multicultural population, Aldrena says that “designers from diverse backgrounds continue to find it challenging to get their foot in the door or advance their careers.” The D&I bootcamps teach topics such as interviewing techniques, communication skills, brand building, networking, and storytelling to designers. The Task Force’s goal is to eventually provide these easy-to-implement workshops to every chapter in the nation.

life after the mfa

She’s even working on a children’s book based on part of her thesis. The book will take the form of a letter to her daughter (and to all young Black girls). Aldrena says, “It’s about finding confidence in the skin she’s in and being proud of her heritage and culture, despite what the world will tell her.”


c marquez (’18 VA)

Barely There: Making Art as an Environmental Act Visual artist c marquez is changing the way we look at our world, one art piece at a time. In their sketches and 3D installations, marquez utilizes the natural materials, such as tall-tumble-mustard, that grow in their own backyard to remind us of the beauty (and fragility) of the environments we inhabit. c marquez graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Kansas and completed an MFA in Visual Art from VCFA in 2018, where they realized how to grow their artistic practice while lessening their environmental footprint. Now, marquez serves as faculty at the University of New Mexico-Taos and inspires undergraduates to think critically about the traces they leave on our Earth. What is the arts scene in northern New Mexico like, and how does this specific environment nurture your own practice?

The art scene in northern New Mexico is diverse, abundant, and always evolving, as is the land itself. We have it all, from landscape art to traditional art to contemporary art. Every one of these art genres has influenced my practice, and the land environment has nurtured my practice by inspiring me to acknowledge truths of the land and to advocate for its wild existence. Stewardship, preservation, and activism for Earth’s healing are integral to the work i make. How would you describe the essence or the heart of your work, and why?

Impermanence, fragility, and spirit are at the heart of my work. i make with the belief that we are not here for long. We are barely here (under precarious and vulnerable conditions). And we are all (animal, vegetable, mineral) connected by spirit. The pieces i make are grounded in these beliefs. The main intention is to connect through acts of beauty with other spirits in a way that honors, protects, and, if possible, contributes to the healing of our planet Earth. How has your relationship with impermanence changed throughout your life, or more specifically, as you worked on the 3D installations you exhibited recently in Taos and Santa Fe?

You also use biological materials in your beautiful collection of sketches. The pigments you create are handmade, mossy and rust-stained, taken from the earth itself. When and why did you first begin to make your own pigments?

Moving into making my own natural pigments came out of a response to wearing a respirator, goggles, gloves, and protective clothing to make work. i wanted a healthier, more earth-friendly set of materials to touch and breathe every day. Simultaneously, i was creating an art class for UNM called “Modern Retablo.” It looked at the history, purpose, and techniques of early retablo* making and brought the medium into contemporary personal and social activism applications. In preparation for the class, i reached out to locally renowned Santeros.** They welcomed me and generously shared their pigment and varnish-making procedures. i shared these processes with my students as we stirred up earth pigments, cooked up rabbit-skin gesso, made pigments from indigo and cochineal bugs, and dissolved piñon sap into glossy, aromatic varnish. Inspired by this process, i developed pigments from my daily life substances: carbon from my wood stove, coffee, rust, chili, sage, berries, and tall-tumble-mustard. How has your work as an arts educator informed your work as an artist?

In my studio, i focus a lot on play, wandering invention, technique, and practicing skills while offering a wide invitation to serendipity. In teaching, things are more organized and more linear, with finite timelines for the projects. Exhibition installations and commissioned projects are similar in this way. Teaching and project completion share many necessary aspects to be successful, but the foundation of the work is allowing time to dawdle aimlessly in the studio and in nature, sowing seeds for new creative discoveries.

You have a big show coming up at 516 ARTS in Albuquerque this fall. Can you give us a brief preview of what you’ll be exhibiting there?

This upcoming show is titled “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande.” i was selected as one of the commissioned artists to create an installation for this environmentally important show. It is a chance to inform people about the climate change occurring in our fragile ecology due to human intervention: ranching, farming, damming, road building, border walls, etc. The piece i am working on is titled “521,” as there are 521 weeks in the 10-year span that was given as the extinction prediction for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (NMMJM) when it was listed as an endangered species in 2014. The NMMJM is dying out due to gaps in their overlapping populations created by humans, through land disruption and river intervention. i am building a sculptural wall installation from tall-tumble-mustard that will consist of 521 orbs about the size of the mouse’s day nests. The nests will be organized in various-sized, overlapping, circular forms. The installation opens with all the nests on the wall, then releases over half of the nests during the run-time of the exhibition, reflecting the steady loss of the NMMJM. This project speaks to painful truths about imperiled species along the Rio Grande, while offering space for reflection through these light, fragile, ephemeral beings. Perhaps it will inspire us to slow down, take a closer look, and fall in love with small parts of nature that are right around us on the land where we live, inspiring stewardship and preservation.

Attending a low-res program was vital to my being able to endeavor graduate school, since i live outside a small rural town, hours away from any residential graduate programs. By traveling and shipping work back and forth to Vermont, i learned how to make and ship work within the relevant parameters and conditions that ensue. Thinking about these things partially influenced my shift into minimalism and helped me take an honest look at my carbon footprint as an artist. Do you have any advice for the new class of graduated visual artists as they begin their postgrad life?

Make. Listen. Believe in yourself. Explore. Make...always make. The rigorous schedule, thorough research, writing skills, and deep connection to practice you developed at VCFA will be drawn on constantly in postgrad life. Embrace and continue to nurture these skills. They are invaluable. **Retablo: two-dimensional Catholic devotional art that depicts the story of a saint’s commission or is made as thanks to a saint for their miraculous intervention in personal precarious situations, e.g., surviving a house fire, car accident, flood, etc. *Santero: an artisan who creates devotional Spanishstyle religious artwork such as retablos, bultos, altar screens, etc. (feminine form: santera; gender-free form: santerx)

What did you work on for your thesis at VCFA and what has the journey looked like for that particular project? Where is it now?

My process paper, titled “barely here,” documented the deindustrialization of my materials and my development of an acute attention to impermanence. My thesis art project was born out of this journey. It was an all tall-tumblemustard plant sculptural installation, titled “161,” that reflects this idea of being barely here but here nonetheless, until we are not. “161” traveled in variations after my graduate show at VCFA to two other exhibition locations: a solo exhibition at the Harwood Museum of Art here in Taos and to Kansas as part of the 2018 Salina Biennial: Contemporary Art from the Mountain-Plains Region. Who did you work with on the VCFA faculty that was particularly influential to you? Was there a particular transformative experience you had during your time in grad school?

i was lucky to have a dream-team of faculty advisors and artist-mentors, starting in my first semester with Faith Wilding and Harmony Hammond. Their influences were tremendous and life-changing. i went to grad school to gain further teaching credentials and to learn to speak more intelligently about my work. i came away with both of these, but, more importantly, i came away making the work i am supposed to be making and deeply knowing why.

Photos: Patti Levey, Camilla Motta

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12 :: life after the MFA

Photo: Camilla Motta

While working on the latest installations for shows in Taos and Santa Fe, i felt this impermanence firsthand. In Fall 2017, i started working exclusively with one material, specifically a plant that grows exactly where i live: Sisymbrium altissimum, commonly known as tall-tumblemustard. Bringing this plant into my studio to study, play with, and learn from was a pivotal step in deindustrializing my materials to lower my carbon footprint and lessen my environmental impact. Then, an unfortunate event happened. We had a terrible drought year in Taos with almost no snow or rain. That spring, many perennial plants did not come up. We had wildfires, no wildflowers, and very little water in our rivers and acequias. Tall-tumble-mustard did not grow that year so i had no new material and had to conserve what i had gathered from the previous year. This compounded my sense of impermanence and planted the question in me, “Might they never come back? Could our biological end come this swiftly?” This year, in contrast, we are having an abundance of precipitation and a proliferation of wildflowers. So came a sense of relief, but the sense of impermanence rooted deeper in me.

life after the mfa

i have always had a sense of being mystified by this physical, gravity-based life. i feel there is something else beyond everyday existence. By acknowledging my own mortality and the mortality of others, i am rooted in this feeling that every day is a gift. Also, with the ecological tragedy that is currently happening, i feel pulled to address our fragile truth in my art practice.


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Kyle Pederson (’17 MC) Creates Hymns of Hope

For Kyle Pederson, there is an infinite amount of awe and spirituality to be found in our world, and one way to easily share his discoveries is through his music. Five of his newest awe-inspiring pieces recently won the 2018-19 American Prize for Composition for the Choral Octavos Professional Division. His award-winning portfolio featured five pieces (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “Can We Sing the Darkness to Light,” “Psallite,” “Stars,” and “In the Beginning”) which all were either conceived, workshopped, or critiqued at VCFA. These compositions were among Kyle’s first pieces to be accepted for publication by a major publisher. Each of the five pieces has its own unique history and inspiration. In “A Mighty Fortressis Our God,” Kyle took the iconic hymn and reimagined it for a modern audience by integrating an ambient electric guitar line and giving the text a 21st-century makeover. He jokes, “I’m not sure the original line of ‘hordes of devils fill the land all threatening to devour us’ speaks in the same way today as it did 500 years ago.” Likewise, Kyle used the Bible passages of Isaiah and John as thematic inspiration for the textual element of his piece, “In the Beginning.” “Can We Sing the Darkness to Light” was originally posed to Kyle as a challenge from his VCFA faculty mentor, John Fitz Rogers, to get him out of his comfort zone. What began as “noodling” on a chord progression turned into a poignant melody with lyrics. Two days prior, there had been a terrorist train attack outside of Paris, which had followed several mass shootings in the US. With the tragedies floating around his mind, the lyrics “What if instead of more violence…” appeared to Kyle. Suddenly, he was off and running, creating a song about the healing power of music. Similarly, “Psallite” was initially created for the mission of peace and hope. In 2015, Kyle wrote and entered his piece to a choral composition contest, sponsored by The Little Singers of Armenia. That year marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Kyle says, “The choir desired a piece that would breathe hope and celebrate life, and remind us that there is much to be thankful for, even in the midst of tragedy.” “Psallite” was selected as the winner and was performed by the girls’ choir at the memorial ceremony in Armenia. Yet another contest, one on the theme of “stars,” inspired Kyle to craft a totally new composition based on his own experience and the wonder of the cosmos.

life after the mfa

Kyle has been singing in choirs and playing the piano since his early years, and he notes that he’s always felt a deep comfort with the choral genre, more so than any other style of music. “There’s something about the intimacy and vulnerability and raw presence of choral singing that just hooks me,” Kyle says. “Bodies breathing together, moving together—it is simultaneously both an intensely personal thing as well as an intensely communal thing. Integrate text into all that? There’s just nothing quite like it.”

Music composition has always been a through line for Kyle, but until his MFA program, it had remained in his periphery. Following his undergraduate studies at Augustana University, Kyle moved to the Minneapolis area and taught middle school geography for eight years. Of course, he found a way to integrate music into the classroom. “I shared my classroom with the music teacher,” he says, “so I took advantage of the out-of-tune Baldwin piano with the sticky low C that sat in the corner—creating all sorts of little musical ditties to help students learn geography.” Kyle, then co-founded Learner’s Edge, an education company which helps educators around the globe better their craft and improve student learning. There, Kyle taught several courses and workshops on how to integrate music and the arts into the classroom, with a special emphasis on how to compose songs to improve retention. It was the release of his first two albums, Renewal and 12.25, which created the impetus for Kyle to transition into pursuing music full time. “As much as I had enjoyed both teaching and creating a business, nothing provided the same sheer joy and feeling of aliveness as creating music and hearing it come to life.”

Soon after, he enrolled in the Music Composition program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the rest is history. “Like every other VCFA graduate I know, I was excited to earn the degree, but incredibly sad that my time there had come to a close,” Kyle says, though he is happy that many of the friendships he made have continued on to this day. He cites his work with John Fitz Rogers and Diane Moser as especially influential to his postgraduate success.

Along with the concerts, rehearsals, and conversations with fellow students and faculty, one of the many highlights of the residencies for Kyle was the Choral Workshop, coordinated by Margie Halloran. “Hearing a piece come together for the first time with real voices—and hearing how well the singers could sight read their part—was incredibly helpful. Though the feedback sessions weren’t long, I could always count on a nugget or two of insight that I could take back and incorporate into the piece.” In fact, it was there that Kyle received integral feedback for his American Prize-winning piece, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Currently, when he is not doing freelance projects, Kyle works part-time in the music ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN. While his success as a composer is a sum of his many experiences, there’s no question about the great impact that VCFA has had on Kyle’s confidence and career. He says: “[VCFA] helped me better ‘own’ my own process and journey, to be able to more quickly say ‘yes’ to my own developing voice, and to trust that I have something unique and interesting to contribute to the musical world.” You can listen to Kyle’s award-winning compositions on SoundCloud at soundcloud.com/user-30409674/sets/americanprize-portfolio-works.

VCFA after your MFA Postgrad opportunities abound for alumnx and new-to-VCFA students, too Focused learning, one-on-one faculty mentorship, conferences, international writing retreats— postgraduate opportunities can help you to reconnect with peers and mentors, refresh your approach to your craft, and even help you to redefine your career.


Here’s a look at just a few of the opportunities available and what they have to offer.

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Stepping outside the US and beyond English-centric writing, an International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation residency offers the opportunity to engage with the local writing culture in Lisbon or Istanbul, for instance, immersing students from a range of cultural and experiential backgrounds in a six-day writing retreat. With two of the three residencies each year in varying international locations (one residency per year is held on VCFA’s Montpelier campus), the program brings participants into literary cultures they might not access otherwise, expanding the way each thinks about their work within an international context. This residency-only opportunity is currently open to VCFA alumnx through an application process. “It’s so fantastic to focus on your writing, learn about another culture, and gain the perspective of participants from a variety of cultural backgrounds who can offer fresh eyes on your work,” says Evan Fallenberg, Faculty Co-Director of the International MFA. With the goal of “bringing the publishing and media worlds of New York and LA to you,” VCFA has just launched a Certificate in Publishing program, and the first group of students began in September. This full-semester residential program will be offered each fall (SeptemberDecember), “focusing on the business side of writing,” says Lizzy Fox, Associate Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing (MFAWP). The certificate program introduces students to the broader publishing industry by connecting them with editors, agents, freelancers, leaders of literary arts organizations, publishing houses both independent and commercial, and with the greater film, journalism, and media industries. By demystifying the publishing industry, this certificate reassures students that full-time careers in writing and publishing are viable, says Rita Banerjee, Director of the MFAWP. “If you want to be a writer, it’s important to know how the publishing world works,” says Banerjee. “This program offers three-and-a-half months of intense training” on how students can thrive and survive in the publishing world as writers and literary professionals. The program features an exciting lineup of visiting faculty from the publishing world from organizations such as Black Ocean, Akashic Books, Rizzoli International Publications, and Tin House. Certificate in Publishing students will have a chance to work on Hunger Mountain, VCFA’s literary journal, from vetting submissions through copy editing, design, and promotion. During the program, students can also enroll in creative writing classes in the MFA in Writing & Publishing program. With special discounted VCFA alumnx pricing and free student housing (space permitting), this new certificate program is an exciting opportunity to explore the publishing side of the literary world and gain the “foot in the door” networking experience necessary for any successful literary career, Fox says.

Taught by award-winning international faculty who speak many languages and have lived in various countries and cultures, the lectures and panel discussions on craft and publishing provide valuable insight into the contemporary international literary world. Manuscript workshops in fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation will provide feedback from a wide variety of cultural and linguistic perspectives. Even if literary translation is new to you and you aren’t proficient in a second language, these workshops will help you to understand the cultural limitations of the English language and how important translation is in global literature, Fallenberg says: “This awareness is hugely beneficial to a writer. Participants will look at their language in a way they’ve never had to before.”

Graphic designers who are looking for the opportunity to dive deeper into a particular design project will find the

Postgraduate Semester in Graphic Design

especially useful. Postgraduate residencies coincide with MFA in Graphic Design residencies, giving participants full access to feedback and discussion with the close-knit community of students, faculty, and guest designers. Following an initial residency, this 12-credit semester comprises six months of independent work from home with the support of a faculty member. The experience culminates with a public presentation and critical discussion of the work at a second residency. While we especially love welcoming alumnx back to campus for a postgraduate semester, you don’t have to be a graduate of VCFA’s MFA in Graphic Design to participate. Anyone who holds an MFA and works in the field of design or design education can take advantage of this offering. On top of that, the semester is discounted as compared to a semester in the full MFA program, and your studies may be supported by your employer as a professional development course. Design professionals who want to engage with an internationally minded faculty, explore new forms, gain creative insights, and expand their own practice will thrive in this unique semester. As MFA in Graphic Design Program Director Danielle Dahline notes, “There’s no other opportunity quite like it!”

While these four offer a taste of the breadth of the postgraduate offerings, there are many more!

If you want to write picture books, we have just the ticket: the Picture Book Intensive Semester. This full-semester program teaches the ins and outs of this genre, focusing solely on writing. With just five applicants accepted into the program and applications open to current MFA students, alumnx, and new prospective students, the admissions process is competitive. If you’re committed to writing for young children, this is a unique opportunity to focus on the form for six months with an expert in the field.

Both the Writing and Writing for Children & Young Adults MFA programs offer Residencies Abroad—WCYA offers a summer residency in Bath and Oxford, UK, while the Writing program offers a summer residency in Slovenia and a winter residency in Cozumel, Mexico. If you’re an MFA alum missing the residency experience, this option is for you!

“The program is for folks who have already dipped their feet into picture books and are excited about the genre and about having an opportunity to focus on it,” says Katie Rasmussen, Program Director of the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults. Participants will write 10-12 picture books by the end of the semester, Rasmussen said, learning in depth about story structure and economy of writing—valuable skills for all good writing. Applicants awarded one of the five coveted spots are notified in November for a mid-January start. The program features one-on-one work with an individual faculty member; Mary Quattlebaum will be the faculty mentor for the January 2020 program.

Other Opportunities, Too

For alumnx seeking the one-on-one work with faculty that the full programs provide, a postgraduate semester offers the opportunity to really dig into your work. This option is available not only for designers but also for screenwriters/filmmakers, visual artists, composers, and writers.

For details on international opportunities for alumnx and current students, please see: vcfa.edu/residencies-abroad. This page: Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna (’19 GD), MFA in Graphic Design spring 2019

Short-term options to recharge and reconnect include our Postgraduate Writers’ Conference (August 2020), the Novel Retreat (June 2020), the Writing Novels for Young People Retreat (March 2020), and the WCYA Alumnx Mini-Residency (November 2020). For details on all of these postgraduate and non-degree programs, visit vcfa.edu/non-degree-programs.


Diversity & Inclusion Our Definition of “Diversity” 18 :: diversity & inclusion

VCFA recognizes diversity as the many ways in which people differ, both as individuals and as members of intersecting groups, and we strive to honor a broad and inclusive definition of diversity within our community. Diversity of identity may include race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, socioeconomic status, and geographic region. Forms of diversity may also include perspectives and values that arise from different cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations.

Alumnx

a•lum•nx noun \ uh-luhm-niks \ Vermont College of Fine Arts values diversity, inclusivity, and respect for all. In keeping with these principles, VCFA has adopted the term alumnx to refer to our graduates. This non-binary, gender-neutral term embraces the full spectrum of gender identities within our community and reflects the college’s ongoing work to ensure a welcoming, safe, and collaborative environment.

Diversity & Inclusion Committee

The term alumnx is increasingly being used among our students, faculty, and graduates, and throughout the broader arts and academic communities. After thoughtful deliberation across the institution, we consider this break from the traditional term “alumni” to be a clear step toward exercising more intentional language, which we strive to implement in all aspects of college life.

With representation across VCFA programs and departments, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee works to bring greater equity and inclusion to all levels of the institution and to review planning, policies, and procedures related to staff, faculty, students, and alumnx, as well as the on-campus experience of all who visit the college and VCFA’s role in the community at large.

While the term “alumni” in its Latin origins is inclusive of male and female, such terminology adheres to an outdated, limited concept of gender. As an institution that believes in the vitality of words, we are committed to moving beyond the default, the traditional, the assumed. We are committed to the practice of pushing back against binary systems which inherently oppress and dismiss anyone who does not see themselves within two distinct categories.

We see you. We value you.

Our main focus areas in the coming year include:

Education & Training Communications & Reporting Inclusive Language Recruitment & Retention of Diverse Faculty Campus Planning To learn more about the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, contact diversity@vcfa.edu.

Beyond VCFA: The Young Writers Network Founded by alumnx of VCFA’s Writing for Children & Young Adults Program, the VCFA Young Writers Network connects the college’s passionate—and growing—alumnx community to the children least likely to be able to meet and learn from professional authors. Our goal is to raise a diverse next generation of writers by creating a mentoring network that inspires young writers to discover their voice, develop their craft, and explore future careers in writing. We work with existing nonprofits in communities where VCFA authors live, connecting our talented authors with youth populations underserved by existing creative writing resources and underrepresented in children’s literature as a whole. We currently focus our work in the northern New England states—Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts—where we offer intensive school- and community-based residencies in collaboration with our nonprofit partners. These programs (available for grades K-12) offer children an opportunity to explore their own stories through engaging, authentic activities that increase their confidence, motivation, and skill as writers.

To learn more, visit youngwriters.vcfa.edu.

With this change, we recognize the importance of language and its ability to empower those who have come through our VCFA programs. Each one of our graduates is a vibrant individual and part of a collective that upholds equity and celebrates difference. In our mission to be “a global community of artists continuously redefining what it means to be an arts college,” we openly embrace opportunities for change that embody our belief that “the arts are central to the human experience and have the ability not only to reflect reality but also to create it.”

We welcome you to share your thoughts with us at alumnx@vcfa.edu.

We see you. We value you. This page: Tom Jessen (’19 VA), MFA in Visual Art winter 2019 residency


Dear Alumnx,

As stated in the College’s strategic plan, “VCFA is fundamentally an exercise in community.” Our community of graduates is one of our most sustaining and powerful resources. We are committed as ever to fueling the ongoing growth of our alumnx and to supporting your work beyond the boundaries of VCFA, so that in turn you can effect change in the communities you know and love. In the year ahead, in addition to strengthening opportunities for alumnx to return to campus, we plan to focus our efforts on enhancing communications through our quarterly newsletter, and the development of an online Alumnx Commons site to include postgraduate resources, content related to professional development, and ways to connect and collaborate across class years and programs. We also hope to establish regional networks and to utilize our presence at industry conferences and events as opportunities to engage with more of you across the country.

We are committed as ever to fueling the ongoing growth of our alums and to supporting your work beyond the boundaries of VCFA. One of the greatest setbacks to an artist’s creative process is to lose momentum, grow stuck, experience a block, hear silence, draw a blank. Your unique voices and varied experiences as alums keep us moving forward, push us as an institution to respond to the world around us, to effect and inspire change while remaining true to who we are as a community. Before I leave you to peruse the many accomplishments of your fellow graduates compiled in the following Class News, I’ll end on a note of gratitude. Thank you for being a part of this community, and for continuing to infuse the world with art. We are all better for it. It has been an honor to step into this role this past year and to connect with so many of you. Please continue to keep in touch, send us your news, and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, new ideas, or for more information about how to get involved.

Jericho Parms (’12 W) Director of Alumnx Affairs & Diversity Initiatives

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Gulick (’19 VA) leads a group of MFA in Visual Art students and faculty in We, a live action performance during the summer 2018 residency. Tied together with threads, the group walked from College Hall Gallery to the Ark Gallery (Alumnx Hall) as one collective, literally joined, mass.

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During periods of transition, we tend to focus on change, alternative directions, new ideas. As I write to you from College Hall, VCFA is abuzz. Change is certainly in the air. But equally palpable is what remains unaltered, inexorably grounded, central—core—to the values and heart of a place. This place.


class news 1984

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1985

Phillip Godenschwager VA Godenschwager designed and created the Waterbury Express (September 2018), a 56-foot aluminum train with 10 cars and an engine that hangs from the north side of the Main Street railroad bridge in Waterbury, Vermont. The train cars depict historic landmark buildings from the town and serve as a gateway to the community. The Waterbury Rail Art Project was a collaboration between the Revitalizing Waterbury Organization, The Vermont Arts Council, and The New England Central Railroad. The piece will be a permanent installation.

Rustin Larson W Larson’s book Library Rain, released in June 2019 from Larson’s own Conestoga Zen Press, was reviewed by Grace Cavalieri in The Washington Independent Review of Books and was named a February 2019 Exemplar. His chapbook Howling Enigma, released in October 2018, was reviewed by Helene Cardona in North of Oxford.

1992

Susan Aizenberg W Two of Aizenberg’s poems have been published in The Summerset Review (summer/fall 2019), and her poem “Kiss” has been included in A Constellation of Kisses, a poetry anthology published by Terrapin Books in July 2019. She also has poems forthcoming in Blackbird, VCU’s online arts and literature journal.

Yvonne Daley W Daley’s book, Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont, was published by University Press of New England in June 2018. This is the story of how thousands of young migrants, largely from the cities and suburbs of New York and Massachusetts, turned their backs on the establishment of the 1950s and moved to the backwoods of rural Vermont, spawning a revolution in lifestyle, politics, sexuality, and business practices that would have a profound impact on both the state and the nation. The book chronicles the stories of more than 125 people who were part of this movement, exploring the impact they had on Vermont and the influence the state had on them. Daley’s account focuses closely on politics, the women’s movement, food and farming, communes and living

Sharon Darrow W Darrow released Now in a Far Sky: Vermont Poems in March 2019. Darrow’s poems reflect the vision and solitary spirit of the land and seasons of Vermont, and the uniqueness of this beautiful, welcoming, and yet sometimes harsh and lonely place. These poems explore the emotional intersection between inner and outer worlds and the breakthrough of voice into the silence. Learn more at sharondarrow.com.

Les Edgerton W In late 2018, Edgerton’s memoir, Adrenaline Junkie, led to his daughter finding him. An account of his “Thanksgiving Miracle” can be found at lesedgertononwriting.blogspot. com/2018/11/a-true-thanksgivingmiracle.html.

Elizabeth Powell W Atomizer, Elizabeth A.I. Powell’s third book of poems, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press in September 2020. Her novel, Concerning the Holy Ghost’s Interpretation of J.Crew Catalogues, was published by Leaky Boot Press in March 2019.

Rebecca Doughty VA Doughty’s work was shown in Here We Are, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper at Gallery Kayafas in Boston from April 12 through May 18, 2019. Learn more at gallerykayafas.com.

1990

1995

1997

1994

Scott Hutchison W Hutchison’s second book of poetry, Moonshine Narratives was published by Main Street Rag Publishing in February 2019). Tim Seibles (’89 W), Poet Laureate of Virginia, wrote one of the jacket blurbs for the book.

Mark Fleckenstein W Fleckenstein’s chapbook of poems, Memoir as Conversation, was published by Unsolicited Press in May 2019. In January 2019, Fleckenstein’s full-length poetry collection, God Box, was published by Clare Songbirds. Another full-length collection, Making Up the World, was published by Editions Dedicaces in May 2018.

arrangements, entrepreneurship, higher education, drugs, and creativity. A final chapter explores the experience of children raised by counterculture parents. A Vermont Humanities Council speaker, Yvonne is available for discussions of her book, how she researched it, and what she discovered in the process and has learned since its publication.

Andrea M. Scharf W Scharf’s book, Saving Big Creek: How a Persistent Group of Activists Blocked a MultiMillion Dollar Resort, Rescued an Endangered Butterfly, and Expanded Opportunities for Citizen Involvement in Land Use Decisions in Oregon, was published by Dancing Moon Press in November 2018. It tells the story of a developer from Honolulu who bought 186 acres on the central Oregon coast in 1981, intending to build a destination resort. The local community of young backto-the-land “hippies” began efforts to stop the development, which would have destroyed habitat for elk, Coho salmon, and the endangered Oregon Silverspot Butterfly. The battle went on for almost 40 years before Big Creek was protected forever. Braiding geology and land use law, nuclear power plants and new age settlers, this history will inspire all of us to persist in efforts to preserve the health of the planet. Learn more at savingbigcreek.com.

1996

Sue D. Burton W Burton’s poetry collection, BOX, selected by Diane Seuss for the Two Sylvias Press Award, received the Silver Award for Foreword INDIES Poetry Book of the Year (2018) from Foreword Reviews. Learn more at suedburton.com.

Annette Baumgard W released the hardcover edition of My Heart Grows Wide Within Me through Dog Ear Publishing in 2018. Set in the 1870s, the book tells of shattered lives on the Western frontier during the Indian wars.

Elaine Lorenz VA “Forms and Layers,” a two-person exhibition of ceramic sculptures by Elaine Lorenz and paintings by Howard Nathenson, was the inaugural show of the new Passaic County Arts Center in Hawthorne, NJ. Lorenz’s abstract sculptures are unglazed, high fire ceramic referencing the textures, sober beauty, and delicate details of empty and dried seed pods. She has also been awarded a commission in bronze, which will be the first outdoor sculpture sited in the town of Piermont, NY, as part of the public arts committee’s programming. It will be located on the land pier that reaches into the Hudson River south of the Tappan Zee Bridge. The piece, “Élan Vital,” consists of three abstract, birdlike forms in a joyous gathering. It is over eight feet high and six-and-a-half feet wide and is planned to be unveiled in summer 2019.

Katy Martin VA In “Pastiche or Critique: Reworking the Canonical Avant-Garde, and the Female Body,” an article in Quarterly Review of Film and Video (Volume 36, Issue 3), film historian Vera Dika brings a feminist lens to a reconsideration of cinematic language in experimental film. In this article she discusses films by alum Katy Martin and two other women, situating them within the historical context of an avant-garde shaped by traditional gender roles. Martin was also included in “Art & Jazz in Dialogue,” a discussion with Jo Wood-Brown in Arteidolia in January 2019. In this conversation, Katy and Jo discuss the challenges and rewards of creating visual art within the context of a live jazz performance. They talk about their own studio process as open-ended yet decisive and relate that more broadly to improvisation. Rick Skogsberg W Skogsberg was represented by BigTown Gallery at The Outsider Art Fair in Manhattan in January 2019, where he met David Byrne. Recently, by email, Byrne’s representatives requested some of Skogsberg’s painted shoes. Skogsberg expects to be booked for a similar presentation by The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Vincent Zandri W New York Times and USA Today bestselling, Thriller Award-winning author Vincent Zandri’s new novel, The Caretaker’s Wife, was released by Polis Books in hardcover in late April 2019.

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Wally Lamb W Lamb’s 1998 novel, I Know This Much Is True, is currently in production for a sixepisode HBO series. Derek Cianfrance is doing double duty as the series’ screenwriter and director. Mark Ruffalo stars as identical twins Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. Co-stars include Melissa Leo, Rosie O’Donnell, Archie Panjabi, Catherine Hahn, and Isabel Poot. The series will air in 2020.

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class news 1998

In The Threshold Of Broken Waters, Emily Bilman explores the most transforming experiences of human life and the indelible traces they leave on our memories in which birthing becomes a metaphor for writing. For a woman, giving birth is a transformative experience and many of the poems are about the joy and pain of giving birth to another ultimately unknowable being. The metaphor of pregnancy is extended to tackle the contemporary issues of water as a rare resource and the current migrations that transport refugees to new shores.

Just as a woman gives birth to a baby, a poet gives birth to a poem with all its attendant joy and pain and its ultimate mystery. In the words of Emily, she becomes the voice which unfurls / into a poem. In poetry as in life, one enters through one threshold which leads to another and another, rather like the character of Judith in Bartók’s opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle who opens one barred door after another, dreading what she might find but unable to renounce the human need to search for what is most true, whatever the cost. Only through such courage and persistence can one achieve those rare moments of transcendence. It’s only after we go through those life-altering experiences and achieve an emotional balance that we can begin to explore the deepest questions of existence. There is the sudden memory of the poet’s father waving to bring (her) back to the safe shore. The book contains a moving reference to Emily Dickinson as though the vicissitudes of time itself had, at last, been overcome and the poet’s watch stopped at eternity. Out of all the struggles which many of the poems in this collection enact, there comes those unexpected healing shafts of memory, perhaps the richest of all our human gifts as revealed by Marcel Proust and Emily’s poetry.

James Knox Whittet President of Suffolk Poetry Society

Matador

POETRY

£15.00

Bilman_FC(F8).indd 1

Nash Hyon VA Hyon’s work was included in the annual Silvermine School of Art faculty exhibition in September and October 2018. She recently completed a commission of 11 paintings for installation in NYC in the lobby of a Lincoln Square residential building and also teaches various classes and workshops in encaustic painting and mixed media painting at Silvermine. Barbara Rockman W Rockman’s second collection of poems, to cleave, was released in July 2019 from University of New Mexico Press. Marie Howe says of the book, “to cleave, meaning both to cut and to cling, contains its opposites economically, and so within Barbara Rockman’s luminous collection we find ourselves standing within the familiar fallen world: living to die, loving from a solitude we both long for and long to escape from. These are poems that cast a spell, an incantation, a divination in language rich enough to eat, that calls out from the soul and returns us to our senses.”

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Emily Bilman W Bilman’s book of poetry, The Threshold of Broken Waters, which deals with poetic creation through the metaphor of pregnancy, was published by Troubador Publishing in September 2018. This work, like Bilman’s others, concerns the creative process and how it is associated with the water issues of our contemporary society. Also, Bilman’s essay, “Sublimation, Integrative Writing, and Poetry,” was published in the August-September issue of The London Magazine, one of the oldest literary magazines in England. The essay deals with the creative process behind poetry and the power of poetry as a therapeutic tool for the cure of addiction and depression.

Suzanne Rancourt W In April 2019, Rancourt gave a talk at the Our Voices Day of Learning with Indigenous Authors, Educators, and Artists at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. The day-long event encouraged participants to imagine what it would look like if they had access to indigenous educational materials in their schools and community organizations. The event showcased indigenous educational materials from the Americas through panel discussions with indigenous authors, classes on different aspects of indigenous philosophy and culture, and a book fair. Our Voices is a campaign from the Ayni Institute that was developed out of the need for a larger presence of Indigenous voices in our educational institutions, cultural organizations, libraries, and more. Learn more about Our Voices and sign up for the newsletter at ourvoicescommunity.org. Barbara Sullivan VA Sullivan’s work was featured in Domestic, a show of domestic-shaped fresco objects at The Turtle Gallery in Deer Isle, ME, in June 2019. She also taught a fresco workshop in the Gallery Annex.

2000

Muriel Angelil VA Angelil was featured in multiple exhibitions in 2019. “Making an Impression” (June to July 2019 at the Sargent Gallery in Newburyport, MA) was an exhibition of 12 printmakers exploring multiple techniques, with Angelil’s mostly created using wax (encaustic) on paper. Each piece is a unique print or monotype. The Abstract Group of New England’s 18th Annual Exhibit, shown in July 2019 in the Sargent and Hartson galleries in Newburyport, included 17 artists exhibiting abstract works and sculptures in various mediums such as painting, fiber, collage, pastel, mixed media, and watercolor. Angelil also mounted a solo exhibit of new acrylic paintings in April and May 2019. Using texture, fluid motion, and bright colors, these paintings portray the movement of satellites, the mystery of dwellings, and the movement of nature. Learn more at murielangelil.com.

Kim Cope Tait W Cope Tait’s first full-length collection of poems, Shadow Tongue, was published with Finishing Line Press in July 2018. She notes her gratitude to Maureen T. O’Neill for the beautiful cover art and to Vermont College for providing the foundation for her publishing life.

Louella (Ellie) Bryant W Louella Bryant’s coming-of-age novel, Cowboy Code, was published by Black Rose Writing in August 2019. The book is set in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains at the end of WWII. The novel was born during Bryant’s second semester at VCFA when her mentor, Sena Nasland, encouraged her to write about her own background, and part of the manuscript became her creative thesis. In post-WWII Virginia, 14-year-old Bobbie Grey is crazy about cowboy movies and uses Gene Autry’s code of ethics as her moral guide. In a mill town with an undercurrent of racism and violence, she learns that love transcends race and gender and that it sometimes requires the ultimate sacrifice—letting go. Learn more at louellabryant.com. David Ebenbach W Ebenbach released his second poetry collection, Some Unimaginable Animal, through Orison Books in May 2019. In it, Ebenbach addresses the full scope of the human condition—past, present, and future. Exploring the vast sweep of history, from our ancient evolutionary origins to our future archaeological remains, Ebenbach’s deceptively lighthanded poems penetrate to the core of what it means to be human, a brief but exquisite being, full of appetites both healthy and harmful

Lynn Levin W Lynn Levin is pleased to announce the publication of the second edition of Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets (Texture Press, 2019), co-authored with Valerie Fox. The new edition includes six new classroom and workshop-tested prompts and a wealth of new examples of poems written to the prompts. The example poems are written by a diverse selection of undergrads, poets in community workshops, and working poets. The first edition of the book was a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in the Education/Academic category. “There may be no end to the usefulness of these writing prompts,” says poet Jeanne Murray Walker.

2001

Renne Emiko Brock VA Brock was one of five nominees for the 2019 Virtual Environments Pioneer of the Year Award from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). For the past 10 years, Brock has been teaching in virtual environments at Peninsula College. Her educational, transformational virtual experiences and lessons in color theory and communication, superheroes, avatars, student agency, multimedia, and personal artwork tackling identity and encouragement were noted. Her Digital Storytelling and 3D Design curriculum and “The Hero’s Journey” project have received positive attention from several educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

Maggie Kast W Kast’s book, Side by Side but Never Face to Face: A Novella and Stories, will be released from Orison Books in January 2020. These stories continue to chronicle the lives of Greta and Manfred, characters Kast invented during her time at VCFA, while the novella picks up after Manfred’s death and confronts Greta with the challenges and adventures of single womanhood. Jan Wesley W In addition to a new book of poetry she is currently writing, Wesley is a member of a poetry workshop that has been together for 22 years. In 2018, the group released a poetry anthology titled Angle of Reflection from Arctos Press. Wesley also facilitates a monthly writing workshop in Los Angeles. Tanya Whiton W Whiton’s flash fiction has recently been featured in The Cincinnati Review, Al Pie de la Letra, and Fanzine. Her story “Up” was nominated for the 2018 Best Microfiction anthology. Her short story, “Atlantic Window in a New England Character,” was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Tennessee Williams Contest. Whiton also was a writer and associate producer for a documentary film, THE ZEN SPEAKER: BREAKING THE SILENCE, directed by Robin Greenspan (Culture Dog Films) and edited by Chris DeFranco. The film was screened in April 2019 as part of the 12th Annual Las Vegas Film Festival.

2002

Alexandra Chasin W Alexandra Chasin will hold a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2020, in support of the research and writing of The Family of UnMan. Brian Yansky W Yansky’s story, “The Curse,” was published in Glimmer Train’s winter 2019 issue.

2003

2004

Trish Annese W Annese’s short story, “Mine,” was published in the Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly. “Mine” is a story about a young woman and the quiet disruptions she faces as struggles to understand what belongs to her—and what doesn’t. Joan Cohen W She Writes Press published Cohen’s Land of Last Chances in August 2019.

Michelle Demers W Demers’ first full-length collection of poems, Green Mountain Zen, was released from Blue Light Press in February 2019. The book was described by poet Julia Shipley as “a cycle of poems devoted to witnessing the immediate natural world.” Laurette Folk W Laurette Folk’s novel, A Portal to Vibrancy, won the 2018 Independent Press Award for New Adult fiction. Collette Fournier VA Fournier’s work was included with the work of her fellow members of Kamoinge Collective (kamoinge.org) in the 39th annual Photography Show by The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) at Pier 94 in New York City in April 2019. The AIPAD show is the longest-running exhibition dedicated to photography. Linda Stillman VA Stillman’s work was included in “Madness in Vegetables: Hudson Valley Artists 2019” at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York New Paltz. This group exhibition features works that address the political and civic implications of choosing a rural life; the enticing beauty and repellent brutality of nature; our ever-changing climate; the wild character of plants, gardens, forests, and fauna; the relevance, power, and forms of anthropomorphic myth making; and poetic and fantastical interpretations of the woodlands. Three of Stillman’s works on paper inspired by and documenting gardens are included.

Patty Crane W Patty Crane’s book-length poem, something flown, winner of the 2017 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award, was published in October 2018. Her full-length collection, Bell I Wake To, won the 2018 Zone 3 Press First Book Award in Poetry and will be released in the fall of 2019. New translations by Crane are forthcoming in The Arkansas International. Kathryn Kay W Kay’s writing retreats have been listed among the 37 “best to attend” in 2019 by The Write Life. In May 2019, Kay held a women’s writing retreat in Tuscany. Learn more at awriterwithin.com. (Kay offers discounts for VCFA students and alumnx!)

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Pete Driessen VA Driessen is a 2019 recipient of Forecast Public Art Mid-Career Project Grant and a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant for his forthcoming Roundhouse Turntable project. Driessen will use the funding to cover design, material, and production costs to create an abstract, participatory Roundhouse sculpture echoing the former 1875 rail architecture at the historic Northern Pacific Rail Yard site, in Brainerd, MN. The grant allows for public artists to create a new, publicly accessible, temporary or permanent artwork anywhere in the state of Minnesota. The MSAB Artist Initiative grant program is designed to support and assist professional Minnesota artists at various stages in their careers by encouraging artistic development, nurturing artistic creativity, and recognizing the contributions of individual artists to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota.

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2005

Paige Ackerson-Kiely W Ackerson-Kiely’s third book of poems, Dolefully, a Rampart Stands, was published by Penguin Books in February 2019.

Sarah Sullivan WCYA Sullivan’s picture book, A Day for Skating, with illustrations by Madeline Valentine, will be released in November 2019 from Penguin Random House. Told in rhyming couplets, the book follows a child as she bundles up to join figure skaters, hockey players, new skaters, and old pros on the frozen pond. Back at home, warm bedtime rituals make for the end of a perfect day. But when darkness falls, who will come out to skate? Learn more at sarahsullivanbooks.com.

2006

Frances Badgett W Frances Badgett’s story, “Half Hitch,” published in 2018 in Salamander, was selected for the 2019 Best of the Small Fictions by Sonder Press.

Janet Filomeno VA Walter Wickiser Gallery represented Janet Filomeno in a solo exhibition titled “As The Sea Rises” from November 28– December 27, 2018, and at the Seattle Art Fair, held August 1-4, 2019. For any inquiries, please contact the gallery at walterwickisergallery.com.

Barbara Krasner WCYA Krasner’s middle grade novel in verse, 37 Days, will be published in 2021. The book is based on the doomed voyage of the MS St. Louis. In May-June 1939, nearly 1,000 German-Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany found themselves stranded on a ship for 37 days. Krasner works as a literary agent at Olswanger Literary LLC, representing children’s books and adult nonfiction with a special interest in Jewish themes and history, including the Holocaust.

2007

Kelly Bennett & Cindy Faughnan WCYA As a result of a 1148-day-long and counting Poem-aDay challenge between fellow grads Kelly Bennett and Cindy Faughnan (inspired by Mary Quattlebaum), their 7-Minute Poetry Challenge for Kids is now a monthly feature in ROAR Kids Magazine which launched July 1, 2019.

Marcus Smith W A bilingual version of Smith’s pamphlet, “New York à Go-go,” was published on Recours au poème (Paris) in May 2019. Learn more at recoursaupoeme.fr. Judith Stitzel W Stitzel’s essay, “The Refrigerator Talmud,” was published in North Dakota Quarterly in spring/summer 2019. The piece was occasioned by finding her 90-year-old mother’s heavily annotated GE refrigerator instruction booklet. Stitzel also was the 2019 commencement speaker for the MA and PhD candidates in the College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University, where she is an emerita professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and was the founding director of that program.

Lauren Tivey W Lauren Tivey was awarded The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize 2019 for her manuscript, Moroccan Holiday. The contest was judged by Tricia Knoll. Publication is expected winter 2019/2020.

Christopher Maselli WCYA Maselli taught several classes at this year’s WriterCon in Oklahoma City, including a master class on Author Social Media Marketing. Maggie Nowinski VA Maggie Nowinski received a Massachusetts Cultural Council LCC Grant from the Easthampton Cultural Council in support of “Public wHoles,” the expansion of a public art mural project in the Mill District of Easthampton, MA. The project was to be completed by August 1, 2019. Nowinski’s work was also included in the group show “Close Encounters,” an evolving installation in response to architectural space and featuring the work of three other artists February–April 2019 at the William Blizard Gallery at Springfield College.

2009

Debbie Gonzales WCYA Gonzales’ picture book, Girls with Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records, was released from Charlesbridge in May 2019, with illustrations by Rebecca Gibbon. Described as “a celebration of the strength, endurance, and athleticism of women and girls throughout the ages, Girls with Guts keeps score with examples of women athletes from the late 1800s up through the 1970s, sharing how women refused to take no for an answer, and how finally they pushed for a law to protect their right to play, compete, and be athletes.”

2008

Ann Cardinal W Ann Dávila Cardinal’s young adult supernatural thriller, Five Midnights, was released from Tor Teen in June 2019. Cardinal held the book release celebration at VCFA on June 15.

Lisa Doan WCYA Doan’s sixth middle grade novel, The Pennypackers Go on Vacation, a romp through the Caribbean with mysterious men in pursuit, was published by MacMillan/Roaring Brook Press in June 2019. Damali Abrams VA Abrams was a recipient of the 2019 Queens Council on the Arts New Works Grant and is also a current Culture Push Fellow for Utopian Practice. Learn more at damaliabramsart.com. Vanessa Blakeslee W Vanessa Blakeslee’s third book, Perfect Conditions: Stories, has won the 2019 Independent Publisher’s (IPPY) Award for Short Story Fiction. The book also won the 2019 Indie Excellence Book Award (IEBA) for Short Story Fiction, was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal (Eric Hoffer Award Committee), as well as the Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Short Story Collections. In 2018, Blakeslee was awarded fellowships and residencies from Newnan ArtRez, the Soaring Gardens/the Ora Lerman Trust, and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. She will be the Fairhope Writer-inResidence in December 2019.

Diedra Krieger VA Krieger’s work, “Plastic Fantastic” was exhibited at the Tiny Room for Elephants Festival at Cherry Street Pier in Philadelphia in April 2019. The work came about thanks to bottle collections at the Alternative Middle Years program at James Martin School and Kensington High School, both in Philadelphia. Krieger and the students worked with engineers from the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing & Perception (GRASP) Laboratory to figure out new ways to work with the bottles using kirigami, a variation of origami that includes cutting.

Don Decker VA Decker’s work was featured in “Subarctic Surfaces: 100 Drawings,” an exhibition of his mixed media work completed over the preceding 15 months, shown at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, AK, in April 2019. Madelyn Roehrig VA Madelyn Roehrig’s piece, “Figments: Conversations with Andy,” was included in “Let’s Supper, Mr. Iolas/ Resurrection Re” at the Alexander Iolas Villa in Athens, Greece, in July 2019. The exhibition included 12 artists, referring to the 12 apostles from Andy Warhol’s (and of course Da Vinci’s) “Last Supper,” and was a collaborative on-site installation in the garden of the Alexander Iolas Villa. Due to the existence of the Warhol room in the Villa, Warhol’s frequent visits in the Villa, and the very close relationship between Iolas and Warhol, the curators contacted The Andy Warhol Museum with the request to present the“Figments” project as part of the show (on a laptop screen). “Figments” is her ongoing art project that began at VCFA 10 years ago.

2010

Stephanie Friedman W Friedman’s flash fiction piece, “Traveling: A Love Story,” will appear in The Minnesota Review, issue 93, in fall 2019.

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Myron Brubaker WCYA Brubaker’s middle grade novel, Rhino the Bully, was released from Richter Publishing. When Andy Reinhart (aka Sprout) befriends a bully he gets in so much trouble that only the bully can save him. But by befriending Rhino, Andy helps him transform and change from fighting for himself to fighting for his community. Luke Roadcap, Virginia’s 2017 history teacher of the year, said of Rhino, “Myron Brubaker does an incredible job of illustrating a different approach to dealing with bullies: befriend them. In this work of fiction, the reader becomes aware that not all bullies are as mean-spirited and cold-hearted as they often appear to be. In addition to raising awareness Ayaz Pirani W Pirani’s book that not all bullies are adolescents, of poetry, Kabir’s Jacket Has a Thousand Pockets, was released by this is a great book for a variety Mawenzi House in April 2019. From the of audiences—students, parents, teachers, etc.—to reflect on the power back cover: “Aglow with post-colonial of kindness and friendship.” loss, wryly defiant of what they are admitting, the poems in Kabir’s Jacket Has a Thousand Pockets describe a warm estrangement and salty gratitude for being on Earth. It’s not war-reporting and Ayaz doesn’t solve crimes. He doesn’t have his head in the lion’s mouth. He draws from Kabir’s Bijak, Ghalib, and the oral granth and ginan tradition to plot a lifelong and generational immigration.”


class news

Adi Rule WCYA Rule’s middle grade novel, Hearts of Ice, comes out in September 2019 from Scholastic. Learn more at adirule.com. Suzanne Smith W Smith’s experimental memoir titled The Memory Sessions was published by Bucknell University Press in August 2019. In The Memory Sessions, Smith tries to excavate lost childhood memory and attempts to create memory from research, archives, imagination, and the memories of others. Much of the book was written or revised during her time at VCFA. She is grateful to Sascha Feinstein and Sue William Silverman for helping her get the book to its final shape. In August, Smith appeared at the 2019 HippoCamp CNF conference’s A Night of Nonfiction event, which included readings, a Q&A, and book signings by Smith and five other debut authors of nonfiction.

David French VA David French’s exhibition of 56 paintings, “Chromatic Payoff,” was on view at the Noyes Museum at Stockton University from October 2018 through January 2019. Using a limited palette with pure color on canvas, French creates an immediate visual experience for the viewer. Learn more at davidfrenchfineart.com.

2011

Caroline Carlson WCYA Carlson’s middle grade fantasy novel, The Door at the End of the World, was released from HarperCollins in April 2019. Melanie Crowder WCYA Crowder’s middle-grade novel, The Lighthouse Between the Worlds, was published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in November 2018. In this second installment of the Lighthouse Keepers series, Griffin must traverse dangerous new worlds if he hopes to save his father from a peril that threatens all of humanity. Meredith Davis WCYA Davis’ book, Her Own Two Feet, will be published by Scholastic in October 2019. The book is based on the true story of co-author Rebeka Uwitonze, who came to the US for surgery at age nine. After 31 casts and 58 hospital visits, she returned to her family in Rwanda walking on her own two feet, a different girl inside and out.

Sion Dayson W Dayson’s debut novel, As a River, was published in September 2019 by Jaded Ibis Press. Set in 1977 in a small town where family secrets are rooted in the traumatic history of the segregated South, As a River is a spare and lyrical exploration of our struggles to understand each other, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Bestselling author Rene Denfeld lauds the “verve, bravery, and poetry” found in its pages. Sion worked on the novel while at VCFA.

Lindsey Stoddard WCYA Stoddard’s second middle grade novel, Right as Rain, was published by HarperCollins in February 2019. It’s the story of 11-year-old Rain, whose brother has died and whose parents are grieving in very different ways. When her mom lands a new job in NYC, they move from their small town in Vermont to a bustling street in Washington Heights, a largely Dominican but quickly changing neighborhood in Manhattan. There, she struggles to find if and where she belongs, all while holding on to a big secret—a secret about that night, the night her brother died.

Nora Shalaway Carpenter WCYA Kaylan Adair at Candlewick Press has acquired World English Rights to the mixed genre anthology Rural Voices: YA Stories About Growing Up in Remote Communities, edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter. The collection, due to publish in fall 2020, challenges the stereotype of a monolithic rural America and explores the complexity, beauty, and nuances of growing up in small communities. Contributors— diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and gender identity—include David Bowles, Joseph Bruchac, Veeda Bybee (’18 WCYA), Shae Carys, S.A. Cosby, Rob Costello (’12 WCYA), Randy DuBurke, David Macinnis Gill, Nasugraq Rainey Hopson, Estelle Laure, Yamile Mendez (’17 WCYA), Ashley Hope Perez, Tirzah Price (’15 WCYA), and Monica Roe (’15 WCYA). Victoria Wells Arms (’19 WCYA) at Wells Arms Literary LLC/Hannigan Salky Getzler negotiated the deal.

2012

Liz Blood W Blood received the 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellowship, which was awarded to 27 writers and artists. The year-long fellowship includes a $20,000 unrestricted stipend, housing, and a studio. The Tulsa Artist Fellowship and the George Kaiser Family Foundation received more than 700 applicants for 2019.

Emily Arnason Casey W Casey’s collection, Made Holy: Essays, was published by The University of Georgia Press Crux Series in Literary Nonfiction in August 2019. Elizabeth Coleman W HERE: Poems for the Planet (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), Elizabeth J. Coleman, editor, was released on Earth Day 2019. HERE is an international contemporary eco poetry anthology with a foreword from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a guide to activism from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The book includes poems by Rigoberto González, Richard Jackson, Jamaal May, Mary Ruefle, Natasha Sajé, and Betsy Sholl, among others. Coleman is donating her royalties to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Pamela Livingston WCYA Livingston purchased the award-winning publishing house Goosebottom Books LLC and is now “Mama Goose,” publishing histories of underrepresented voices for children and young adults. Learn more at goosebottombooks.com.

Laurie Morrison WCYA Morrison’s second middle grade novel and solo debut, Up for Air, was published by Amulet Books in May 2019. The book has received two starred reviews and is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Like her debut, Every Shiny Thing, which she co-wrote with VCFA classmate Cordelia Jensen (’12 WCYA), this book is also edited by fellow VCFA alum Maggie Lehrman (’12 WCYA). Up for Air is about a 13-yearold girl named Annabelle, who was a secondary character in Rebound, the YA manuscript Morrison worked on with Mary Quattlebaum and Shelley Tanaka during her time at VCFA. Back in 2013, she signed with an agent who loved Rebound as much as she did, but they ultimately shelved that novel when it didn’t sell. However, Morrison couldn’t let go of the characters and setting and ended up using her favorite aspects of that book when she wrote Up for Air. Cynthia Newberry Martin W Cynthia Newberry Martin’s novel, Tidal Flats, was published by Bonhomie Press in September 2019. The book is the story of a marriage. A young couple must navigate the fine line between the things they want for themselves and the life they want together, and it appears that each will have to make a choice—the person they love or the life they want.

Sandra Nickel WCYA In a deal that involved two VCFA grads and one current student, Maggie Lehrman (’12 WCYA) at Abrams acquired world rights to Sandra Nickel’s picture book, The Stuff Between the Stars, a poetic look at Vera Rubin, a trailblazing scientist whose discoveries about dark matter revolutionized what we know about space. Victoria Wells Arms (’19 WCYA) at Wells Arms Literary/HSG Agency brokered the deal. The book is scheduled for fall 2020 publication. Nicole Valentine WCYA Valentine’s book, A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity, will be released from Carolrhoda Books in October 2019. Twelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. Finn clings to the concrete facts in his physics books and to his best friend, Gabi, to ward off his sadness. But then his grandmother tells him a secret: all the women in his family are Travelers, able to move back and forth in time. Finn’s mom is trapped somewhere in the timeline, and she’s left Finn a portal to find her. But to succeed, he’ll have to put his trust in something bigger than logic. Benjamin Woodard W Woodard’s story, “Half Tank,” was included in the anthology Best Microfiction 2019, edited by Meg Pokrass, Gary Fincke, and Dan Chaon.

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Emily Lanctot VA Lanctot was invited along with VCFA alum Linda Ferguson (’12 VA) to exhibit work in “Salon!,” an exhibition at Michigan Tech University February through April 2019. The exhibition is being held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the gallery. “Salon!” features artwork by more than 20 artists in a mix of historic and contemporary styles.

Renee Couture VA Renee Couture won a Career Opportunity Grant through the Oregon Arts Commission. This award provides support to individual artists who seek to take advantage of important opportunities to advance their careers. Couture will use her $1500 grant to support travel and professional documentation of work exhibited at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, CA. She also was granted a month-long residency at the prestigious Ucross Foundation in northeastern Wyoming; she received a Ford Family Foundation Fellowship to support her travel and material costs. While at Ucross, Couture spent her time experimenting and planning new work for upcoming exhibitions in Oregon and California.


class news 2014

2013

Cathy Barber W Barber’s chapbook of 26-word abecedarian poems, Aardvarks, Bloodhounds, Catfish, Dingoes, was published in July 2018 by Dancing Girl Press of Chicago, an independent press publishing “innovative writing by women authors.” Barber also had three poems included in an October 2018 anthology, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, from Scarlet Tanager Books. The collection also includes such notables as Gary Snyder, Robert Hass, Camille Dungy, Dana Gioia, Ellen Bass, and Jane Hirshfield.

Lisa Beerle VA Beerle created “Living in a MadLib,” a unique theater experience where participants painted, performed, and were entertained by quotes from students she’s had over her six-year teaching career. Upon arrival, each participant embodied an elementary aged student and was immersed in a comedic experience, and they walked away with their own painted canvas as well as lots of laughs. The piece was performed in July 2019 at the Albany Barn in Albany, NY.

Emily Vizzo W Vizzo’s novel, Giantess, was published by YesYes Books in November 2018. She had a joint launch celebration and reading event with Laure-Anne Bosselaar (These Many Rooms) and Marsha de la O (Every Ravening Thing: Poems) on June 1, 2019. Vizzo’s libretto, No Streamline that You Can Hitch onto, is being entered into the archives of Pacifica Graduate Institute. No Streamline was first performed at Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theater in October 2018 and was made possible through an OPUS Archives grant. Learn more at emilyvizzo.com.

Heather Demetrios WCYA Demetrios’ novel, Bad Romance, made the YALSA 2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Demetrios’ work was also included in Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love, released from Henry Holt & Co. in December 2018. The collection features other VCFA faculty and alumnx, including A.S. King, Kekla Magoon (’05 WCYA), Varian Johnson (’09 WCYA), and Ibi Zoboi (’14 WCYA). YA authors answer real letters from teens all over the world about the dark side of love: dating violence, break-ups, cheating, betrayals, and loneliness. This book contains a no-holds-barred, raw outpouring of the wisdom these authors have culled from mining their own hearts for the fiction they write. Their responses are autobiographical, unflinching, and filled with love and hope for the anonymous teen letter writers. Julia Dixon VA Julia Dixon was selected from among a pool of applicants as the creative consultant to the Bennington Area Arts Council in their creation of the Bennington County Cultural Plan, a comprehensive report detailing the results of a year’s worth of work by creative stakeholders in Bennington County, Vermont. Dixon engaged over 600 individuals from April 2018 to May 2019 in order to create an actionable plan that strengthens arts and culture in the region. Learn more at benningtonareaartscouncil.org/ regional-cultural-plan.

Ann Huang W Huang’s poetry collection, A Shaft of Light, was published by Finishing Line Press in August 2019.

Rachel Groves W Groves’ story collection, When We Were Someone Else, was published by BkMk Press at the University of Missouri–Kansas City in November 2018. These 11 linked stories introduce several New Jersey teenagers and return to them as young adults. In youth and young adulthood, they confront challenges as varied as addiction, suicide, abuse, and the search for love and a sure sense of self.

Miranda Jane Houng WCYA Houng’s middle grade novel, Hong Kong History Girl, was published by Hong Kong Commercial Press in December 2018. School’s out for summer but Jasmine has a history project to complete. Hong Kong Ferris wheel spins her and Gong Gong Gramps to 18 historical places in Hong Kong where they find clues to sites and a mystery letter.

Jinny Koh WP Koh’s novel, The Gods Will Hear Us Eventually, was published by Ethos Books in November 2018. When seven-year-old Anna told a lie to get out of trouble, she didn’t expect her older sister to go missing. Faced with her mother’s wrath and riddled with guilt, Anna tries to make amends as she grapples with the aftermath of her actions. The novel is a story of familial love and expectation, hope and redemption. [Jinny graduated from the USC Masters in Professional Writing program, which moved to VCFA and became the MFA in Writing & Publishing program.]

Michael Minchin W Minchin’s short story “The Sound of Corn” was published in the fall 2018 issue of The Maine Review.

Rebecca Ring W Ring’s story “Water Witch” is included in the anthology American Gothic Short Stories alongside other new short fiction and the work of classic authors, among them Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Edith Wharton. The collection was released from Flame Tree Publishing in May 2019.

Sophfronia Scott W Scott’s essay, “A Taste of Grace,” was included in the anthology Common Prayer: Reflections on Episcopal Worship. The book features clergy, poets, theologians, musicians, and novelists writing on encountering God in common prayer. Another essay, “The Legs on Which I Move,” was published in the summer 2019 issue of the North American Review. In April 2019 Scott was a featured writer at the North American Review Writing Conference, marking the North American Review’s 50th year at the University of Northern Iowa. She delivered a craft talk and a reading and spoke on a panel with the author Terry Tempest Williams. In June 2019 Scott was a featured keynote speaker at the Publishing in Color Conference, an event for underrepresented spiritual writers, and she led a retreat workshop and taught breakout sessions at the Writing for Your Life Conference, also for spiritual writers, held on the campus of Drew Theological Seminary.

Elizabeth Schmuhl W Schmuhl’s poetry collection, Premonitions, was published by Wayne State University Press in September 2018. Schmuhl was a 2018 finalist for the Foreword Indie Prize in Poetry from Foreword Reviews. The prize is awarded to books that present work that uses language for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or instead of, its apparent communication value. Bob McCann VA Rob’t McCann published Poets and Other Storyteller Donuts, a book of photographs, all shot on B&W film, looking at the instructions we are given through signage and the visual environment we inhabit. The book was released from sepiareverb in November 2018. Joe McGee WCYA McGee has four books for young readers coming out in 2019: The Secret of Shadow Lake (Andrews McMeel, September 2019), Crash! Bang! Boo! (Simon & Schuster, September 2019), The Monster Squad (Simon & Schuster, September 2019), and Peanut Butter & Santa Claus (Abrams Books, October 2019).

Cynthia Surrisi WCYA Surrisi’s third mystery, A Side of Sabotage, was nominated for a 2018 Agatha Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. The awards program is held by Malice Domestic, an annual fan convention in Washington, DC, that celebrates traditional mystery writing.

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Andrea Rothman W Rothman’s debut novel, The DNA of You and Me, was published by William Morrow in March 2019. The book is a finalist for the 2019 International Latino Book Award given by Latino Literacy Now.

Gretchen Frances Bennett VA Bennett was featured in a solo exhibition, “Gretchen Frances Bennett: Air, the free or unconfined space above the surface of the earth,” at the Frye Museum in Seattle from February–June 2019. Working primarily in drawing, Bennett explores visual perception at the intersection of personal and historical memory. Her exhibition at the Frye describes, in Bennett’s words, “a shifting self,” bringing together key pieces from the last 10 years with new works that reflect the artist’s ongoing search for freedom, authenticity, and interconnection.

Jeffrey Leong W Leong’s poetry collection, Writ, was published by Eastwind Books of Berkeley in February 2019. In this follow-up to his translation book, Wild Geese Sorrow: The Chinese Wall Inscriptions at Angel Island, Leong provides details of Angel Island detainee life and the experiences of his ancestors as imagined in poetry. Through the original poems of Writ, Leong asks, “Why did these detainees inscribe poems into the barrack walls?” and “How did this expression of anger and loneliness help them to survive their ordeal?” This book incorporates actual detainee stories gleaned from interviews and archives, such as that of two young men with matching identities purchased from a greedy seller that led to their deportation. And of Soto Shee, a pregnant mother who lost her infant son to sickness at Angel Island, attempted suicide, but was rescued by officials. The book provides a second-generation ChineseAmerican poet’s perspective on his ancestral legacy.


class news 2015

Andrea Blancas Beltran W Beltran’s poetry chapbook, Re-, was published by Red Bird Chapbooks in June 2018. Re- addresses the complex experience of caring for a beloved grandmother as her memory fails her. Through a collection of observations and childhood recollections, Beltran documents this process of forgetting with both tenderness and grief. Using prose, verse, images, and erasures, Beltran explores the nature of memory and the role it plays in shaping our identity and our relationships. Tziporah Cohen WCYA Cohen’s manuscript, Sweet Success: The Story of Milton Hershey, was the winner in the Picture Book/ Early Reader category for the 2018 Writing for Children Competition held by CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society for Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers. Anna Craig WCYA Craig’s story, “When Everything Was Whiskey Creek,” won the Hunger Mountain 2019 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing in the Middle Grade category. The story was judged by Monica Brown. Gilbert Ford WCYA Ford illustrated Rotten! Vultures, Beetles, and Nature’s Other Decomposers, a picture book written by Anita Sanchez, which was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in January 2019. The book is a funny and fact-filled look at decomposition in all of its slimy glory. Vultures, fungi, dung beetles, and more aid in this fascinating and sometimes smelly aspect of the life cycle that’s right under our noses.

Emily Huffman WCYA Emily and Jarrod Huffman, along with big brother Ambrose, welcomed their daughter Theodora into the world on December 21, 2018.

Elizabeth Magee VA Magee was awarded a fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program from the Ford Foundation. The fellowship includes a one-month residency on a 583-acre ranch in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains and is awarded to national and international artists in the disciplines of choreography, literature, music composition, visual arts, media arts, and science. The Djerassi Program is designed as a retreat experience to pursue personal creative work and share collegial interaction within a small community of artists. Magee attended the residency from March 27–April 24, 2019.

Kali Lightfoot W Star 82 Review published Lightfoot’s poem, “Flip it on the Solstice and Rotate on the Equinox,” in their September 2018 issue. This is her third poem with the journal. Learn more at kali-lightfoot. com. Zara Lisbon W Lisbon’s debut novel, Fake Plastic Girl, was published by Holt MacMillan in March 2019. Justine Childs is your average teenage girl, until the day ex-child-star Eva Kate Kelly moves in across the way. Eva Kate is gorgeous, seductive, and eager to invite Justine into her glittery world. Their relationship intensifies quickly, but there is a lot they aren’t telling each other, and in the midst of the whirlwind, a girl lies dead. Who killed Eva Kate? Justine swears she is innocent, and she’d like you to hear her side of the story.

Rebecca Olander W Olander’s first chapbook, Dressing the Wounds, was accepted for publication by dancing girl press in December 2018 as part of their annual series of chapbooks by women. The book is forthcoming this fall, likely in October. An interview with Olander about the collection will run in Literary Mama in November. Learn more at rebeccahartolander.com. Martha Snell W Snell’s poem, “They Don’t Count,” was published in Tuck Magazine in March 2019. It’s a poem about the separation of immigrant children from their families by our government. Learn more at tuckmagazine.com.

2016

Jason Alejandro GD In fall 2019, Alejandro joined the faculty of the College of New Jersey as Assistant Professor of Graphic Design.

Lenore Appelhans WCYA Appelhans’ YA novel, The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project, a meta-fiction romantic comedy about redefining labels on your own terms, was published by Lerner Book in March 2019. Riley and his fellow Manic Pixies are in danger of being retired from TropeTown. Can they find a way to both embrace their type and develop beyond the confines of it? The book was Appelhans’ VCFA creative thesis with advisor Will Alexander.

Laura Atkins WCYA Atkins discussed her new release from Heyday Books, Biddy Mason Speaks Up, co-written with Arisa White, at the California African American Museum in April 2019. The book explores Mason’s life and gives readers tools for speaking up in their own communities. The discussion was presented in conjunction with the exhibition “California Bound: Slavery on the New Frontier, 1848–1865.” Kelly Beard W The Georgia Writers Association honored Kelly J. Beard with the Georgia Author of the Year Award in the category of memoir for her first full-length memoir, An Imperfect Rapture, judged by Jessica Handler. An Imperfect Rapture was also a finalist for the Firecracker Award from the Community of Literary Magazines and Publications. In June, Kristina Marie Darling interviewed Kelly for the Kenyon Review, and that interview is live on the review’s blog.

Patrick DeGuira VA Featuring 11 artists working in various mediums, the exhibition “Land Derived Sentiments: Poems and Responses” was organized by Zeitgeist artist Patrick DeGuira and reflects his interest in the exploratory, oftentimes poetic nature of the curatorial process. The show’s title and works included are visual responses to DeGuira’s first book of poems and observational writings, which aims to foster ideas and metaphors pertaining to natural phenomena, states of renewal, and nature-human struggles. The exhibition was held in March and April 2019 at Zeitgeist in Nashville, TN, and included the work of VCFA alum Kristi Hargrove (’04 VA). Learn more at zeitgeist-art.com.

Cristina DeSouza W DeSouza’s poetry chapbook, The Grammar of Senses, will be published by Main Street Rag in December 2019. The book contains 45 poems mostly written during her time at VCFA.

Jaqui Lipton WCYA Lipton has joined the Storm Literary Agency as an Associate Agent and is now representing authors in middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Her submission guidelines are listed at stormliteraryagency.com/ submissionguidelines.

Anuradha (Anu) Kumar W Anu Kumar has several books out in 2019, including books for younger readers, a work of historical fiction, and another forthcoming work of literary fiction. Wonder Kids, released in April from Hachette India, is about 100 children across the world who grew up to be champions of change. Kings and Queens of India, was released in July, also from Hachette India. Emperor Vikramaditya is a work of historical fiction for older readers, written under a pseudonym, Adity Kay. The Language of Longing is a forthcoming novel from Speaking Tiger Books. Kumar also writes regularly for Scroll.in and Economic and Political Weekly. David Kutz VA Kutz held a solo exhibition, “Cultural Landscapes,” in the SohoPhoto Gallery in New York in January 2019. The exhibition included panoramic landscape photographs informed by the study of the causal iterative relationships between people and place. Kutz’s piece, “Near Eden (WT),” was jury-selected for the “Beyond the Selfie” exhibition at The Art Center Highland Park (IL) in March 2019.

Cate Berry WCYA Berry’s book, Chicken Break, an Ocean’s 11-style barnyard breakout counting picture book told in rhyme, will be published by Feiwel & Friends/MacMillan in October 2019. Berry worked on this book during her time at VCFA and notes her gratitude to An Na, Mary Quattlebaum, Liz Garton Scanlon, Jane Kurtz, and Martine Leavitt for their invaluable input. Karen Kane WCYA Kane’s second middle grade novel, The Boney Hand, was published by Disney-Hyperion in June 2019. The book is the sequel to Charlie & Frog: A Mystery, which was a finalist for an Edgar Mystery Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Learn more at karenkanebooks.com.

Ann Malaspina WCYA Malaspina’s picture book, A Scarf for Kelko, illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard, was released from Kar-Ben Publishing in February 2019. It’s 1942 in Los Angeles, where Jewish and Japanese American families live side by side. Sam’s class is knitting socks for the soldiers like his own brother Mike. Sam hates knitting and almost pokes his eye out. When his neighbor Keiko offers to help, he refuses. The US is at war with Japan. Isn’t she the enemy? A Scarf for Keiko is about loyalty and friendship during a time of intolerance and discrimination. Judy Padow W Padow’s flash nonfiction essay was included in the July/August issue of Hippocampus Magazine. In May 2019, she was the writer-in-residence for one week at Write-On Door County in Wisconsin.

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Leslie Blackman Poulin W Blackman Poulin’s poem (and her first-ever publication!), “An Afternoon in April,” was published in Vol. 35, No. 1 of The MacGuffin, Schoolcraft College’s literary magazine, in January 2019.

Daniel Godsil MC Daniel Godsil was the recipient of the 2019 UC Davis Orchestral Composition Award. His winning work for orchestra, “Cathedral Grove,” premiered on June 1, 2019, under the direction of conductor Christian Baldini.


class news J Wren Supak VA Supak was featured in a solo exhibition at the University of Minnesota’s Mill City Clinic gallery from May–June 2019.

Jennifer Mann WCYA Mann’s novel, What Every Girl Should Know: Margaret Sanger’s Journey, a biographical historical fiction of Margaret Sanger’s childhood, was published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in February 2019 (as J. Albert Mann). Learn more at jalbertmann.com.

Janine Pibal WCYA Pibal’s picture book, Cleo and Cornelius: A Tale of Two Cities and Two Kitties, co-authored with Elizabeth Nicholson and Nick Geller and illustrated by Michelle Thies, was released from Getty Publications in August 2018. Her book tells the story of courageous Cleo and couch potato Cornelius, who live in ancient Egypt but end up journeying to faraway Rome. A spin on Aesop’s classic fable “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse,” Cleo and Cornelius is teeming with hungry hippos, toga-clad dogs, and dancing cat mummies, bringing a new twist to a timeless tale. Megan Vered W Vered was invited by The Grief Dialogues, an organization that is working to change the conversation about grief, death, and dying, to write a blog about grief and the holidays. Vered’s piece, published on November 26, 2018, is available at griefdialogues.com/fromabsence-to-presence.

2017

Kathy Bruner F Bruner’s feature documentary, LAST YEAR AT THE CROSSING, was named “Best in Competition” at the World Journalism Education Conference in Paris in July 2019. The film also received an Award of Excellence in the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts in the faculty documentary category.

Megan Baxter W Baxter’s debut essay collection, The Coolest Monsters, was published by Texas Review Press in October 2018. Sue William Silverman described the collection as “constructing a new Romanticism for a fallen world.” One essay from that collection, “A Deliberate Thing I Said Once to My Skin,” will appear in the 2020 edition of the Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series. The essay, nominated by The Threepenny Review, can be read online at threepennyreview.com in their fall 2018 issue.

in 2019, where he completed a new print with Lake Effect Editions which is now part of the permanent collection of Syracuse University. Additionally, the projection DelMarcelle made on the front of Purdue Pharma’s headquarters in Stamford, CT, was featured in a January 2019 article from Hyperallergic, “After Sacklers Named in Opioid Lawsuit, Met Museum Says It Will Review Its Donation Policy.” Art in Print featured a review of “Epidemic” in its May/June 2019 issue.

Dominic Bucca W Bucca’s memoir, Faculty Brat, which he produced during his time at VCFA, has been selected for the 2019 Iowa Prize in Literary Nonfiction. The book will be published in February 2020 by the University of Iowa Press.

Heather Snyder-Quinn GD Snyder-Quinn’s experimental publication, Lost in Translation, won an STA100 (The Society of Typographic Arts) award. She started the work during an arts residency at Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium in summer 2017 and finished it as part of her MFA in Graphic Design work. The project uses the Google Translate augmented reality feature to document five weeks in Europe. LeeLee Goodson W Goodson’s piece, “Night Song”—a short, personal essay about the presence of coyotes in Vermont—was published in the March/April 2019 issue of Yankee Magazine. Goodson also had a critical essay, “Has the Happy Ending in Fiction Fallen Out of Style?,” included in the May 2019 issue of AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle.

Kristin Burcham W Kristin Burcham’s story, “Royal Ave., West of Sinaloa,” appears in the May 2019 edition of Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose. She was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Dogwood Literary Prize in Fiction.

Laurie Wallmark WCYA Wallmark’s third picture book biography of women in STEM, Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life, was published by Sterling Children’s Books in February 2019.

Andrew Boscardin MC Boscardin’s piece for string quartet, “Shedding Light,” was performed by ETHEL at the Tutti Festival at Denison University in March 2019. In May, he was awarded a grant from 4Culture to compose and premiere a new extended work for large ensemble in late 2019.

2018

Dannell MacIlwraith GD Dannell Designs won two design awards in 2019: the silver International Design Award (IDA) and the silver Addy Award at the Greater Lehigh Valley American Advertising Awards in the Website/Interactive category. The IDA design competition provides worldwide exposure for architects and interior designers, product designers, graphic designers, and fashion designers. MacIlwraith is currently an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University.

Jay Whistler WCYA Among the workshops Whistler led in 2019 was “Making Light: Humor’s Serious Place in Children’s/Young Adult Literature,” presented at the SCBWI Europolitan Conference in Zurich, Switzerland, in May. In it, Whistler dispels two myths: that humor is insignificant because it is lighthearted, and that you’ve either got it or you don’t. She talked about how humor lies at the intersection of truth and pain, and how it gives effective means to speak to pain and injustice.

Adam DelMarcelle GD DelMarcelle was a keynote speaker at the 2019 UCDA Design Education Summit, Collaborate, at East Tennessee State University. His presentation examined his collaborative work with Dr. Eric Avery as they travel the country asking the singular question: Can art and design save lives? With a focus on the exploding opioid crisis, their collaboration began with the two artists defining one word. “Epidemic,” their joint exhibition which debuted at York College of Pennsylvania from October–December 2018, has allowed Avery and DelMarcelle to engage communities through the power of design to consider the role of intergenerational transmission of both trauma and resilience in an effort to understand how an epidemic has the opportunity grow and how we possess the ability to cut away this trauma by activating our responsibility to one another. DelMarcelle also was an artist-in-residence and guest speaker at Syracuse University as part of their Visiting Artist Lecture Series

Kate Donnelly VA Donnelly’s work was included in an exhibition, “Im(perfection),” at Brooklyn’s NURTURE art in June 2019. Transcending the binary of perfection and imperfection, the artists in “(Im) perfection” see incompleteness, instability, and transformation as opportunities to find out what we choose to keep and cherish, how we cope with uncertainties to feel whole, and the negotiations we make each day to heal and build a place where we can be at ease within our surroundings and selves.

Anne Krawitz W Krawitz’s piece, “Instructions,” was included in the February 2019 issue of COG, the arts and literary journal of Cogswell College. Learn more at cogzine.com. Geno Luketic VA Geno Luketic, along with his VCFA artist-mentor and University of Dayton colleague Jerome Yorke, produced the performative exhibition “The Clay and Its Double,” a collective spectacle drawing upon clay, photography, materiality, and the human spirit in motion. Curated by Pete Driessen (’98 VA) at TuckUnder Pavilion @ Casket Arts, Minneapolis, MN, the exhibit coincided with the annual 2019 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference. Luketic also has completed his first year as Associate Professor of Ceramics at the University of Dayton.

Tom Howard W Howard’s book, Fierce Pretty Things, winner of the Blue Light Books Prize, was published in March 2019 by Indiana University Press.

Zachary Stephens VA Stephens’ project, “Are We There Yet?,” was on view in the Grubbs Gallery at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, MA, from November 2, 2018–January 2, 2019. The online magazine Fatherly ran a feature on the project in its November 2018 issue.

Liza Nash Taylor W Taylor gave a presentation called “‘…ADD MORE LIPSTICK AND ATTACK’: Evolution and Revolution in Women’s Fashion From 1850-1970” at the 2019 Historical Novel Society Conference in Washington, DC. The lecture focused on the conference’s theme of revolution and offered a visual history of fashion evolution and revolution in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Judith Walgren VA Walgren was hired as a full-time Professor of Practice for Photojournalism and New Media in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University. Walgren notes that her MFA from VCFA was a critical component to her being hired.

Lizzy Fox W Fox’s poem, “Hungry Ghost,” appeared in the spring 2019 issue of The Greensboro Review. She also has two poems published in the 2019 edition of Hunger Mountain, VCFA’s journal for the arts, and she has two poems presented on the Hunger Mountain website as spoken word videos. Learn more at greensbororeview.org & hungermtn.org.


class news 2019

Andrew Hahn W Hahn’s chapbook, God’s Boy, will be published with Sibling Rivalry Press in March 2020. In a light version of conversion therapy, a pastor said, “If you fall in love with a man. . . you will kill yourself. You are God’s boy.” God’s Boy is a small collection of poems about queer masculinity and concepts of toxic fatherhood within the American church. Sarah Leamy W Leamy’s travel memoir, Van Life, was a finalist for the 2018 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. She also was invited to read her flash fiction/prose poems at the University of South Dakota’s writing conference in October 2018. Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna GD Manjula Balakrishna’s “Price of Values” was selected from 10,000 entries as a winner of GDUSA’s 2018 American Graphic Design Awards. She also gave numerous presentations on her research work and papers on “Price of Values” and another project, “I’m Not Kidding!: Childfree by Choice— Research and Reflections,” including at the Design Incubation Colloquium 5.3 at Merrimack College, the CDM Research Colloquium at DePaul University, and the 13th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Anne McGrath W McGrath had three pieces published in 2019: “Like Breath, Like Doors” (flash fiction) in River Teeth in May, “Of Milk and Stars” (essay) in River Teeth in June, and “Night Piece” (essay) in Ruminate in August. Learn more at annemcgrathwriter.com.

Sue Schmitt WCYA Schmitt’s picture book manuscript, Feather by Feather, won first place in the Writer’s Day Manuscript Contest from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). From SCBWI: “Told with kid-friendly humor and heart, this is a unique story about being yourself and figuring out where you belong.”

CURRENT STUDENTS Pernille Aegidius Dake W 2021 Aegidius Dake’s story, “Preservation,” will be published in the fall 2019 issue of Glassworks, the literary publication of Rowan University’s MA in Writing. In the spirit of selfpreservation, a taxidermist struggles to make a life for herself. The story is part of a series titled I See, which deals with how we view ourselves, or not. Sarah McCraw Crow W 2020 Crow’s novel (working title Year of the Woman) sold to MIRA Books, an imprint at HarperCollins, for publication in fall 2020. Crow notes that feedback from VCFA workshops and advisors (Abby Frucht, David Jauss, Ellen Lesser, Clint McCown) during the past two residencies and semesters was invaluable.

Melanie Fishbane WCYA 2020 Fishbane’s YA novel, Maud, was shortlisted for the Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature, given by Koffler Arts. The winner will be announced on October 11, 2019. Learn more at kofflerarts.org. Sidura Ludwig WCYA 2021 House of Anansi Press acquired world rights to Ludwig’s adult short story collection, You Are Not What We Expected, with a planned May 2020 publication date. The stories take place in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill and focus on the Jewish community, both religious and secular, and the tensions that exist there. Learn more at siduraludwig.com.

Natalia Perchemlides W 2020 Perchemlides’ memoir essay, “Continuum,” was published in Under the Gum Tree in April 2019 (as Tali Perch). The essay explores the need that new mothers have for supportive “village” communities even in—especially in—contemporary society. Perchemlides notes that Ira Sukrungruang was instrumental in helping her edit this piece and encouraging her to send it out, and that Jericho Parms was also a reader and source of encouragement. Erin Summerill WCYA 2020 Summerill’s YA fantasy, Once a King, a standalone novel set in the Clash of Kingdoms World, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in December 2018. Summerill first introduced readers to this world in Ever the Hunted, her debut fantasy novel, which was followed by Ever the Brave. Once a King has been called “a satisfying mixture of political machination, mystery, magic, and romance” by School Library Journal.

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Sarah Curtis Graziano W Curtis Graziano’s essay, “The Last Waylon Party,” was featured in Creative Nonfiction’s “Intoxication” issue (January 2019). Her essay “Daughter of a Gun,” published in River Teeth’s fall 2017 issue, was noted in 2018 Best American Essays, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and will be included in an upcoming anthology featuring the best of the first 20 years of River Teeth journal, to be published by the University of New Mexico Press.

Rev. TJ McGlinchey MC Reverend TJ McGlinchey’s new album, Still in Love, came out on GrindEthos Records in May 2019. The album harkens back to the golden age of recording and served as part of his MFA in Music Composition thesis project at VCFA. The Reverend is a well known veteran of the East Coast Folk scene, a perennial performer of the Philadelphia Folk Festival (the longest, continuously running folk festival in North America), and a local favorite of the nationally popular 88.5 WXPN FM in Philadelphia.

Got News? Want it to be featured in a future issue of in residence? The VCFA community wants to hear about you! Tell us about your latest piece of work, professional accomplishment, or anything else you’re proud of. Just visit vcfa.edu/share-your-news and fill out the form.

IN MEMORIAM

Diane Lawson Martinez (’07 W) passed away on February 12, 2019. A psychiatrist in private practice in San Antonio, TX, for several decades, Diane published one novel and had just submitted a second at the time of her death. In addition to a deep dedication to her work, she loved travel, literature, film, and her family. She was 68.

We know that VCFA alumnx are doing exciting things every day, and we can’t wait to hear all about it!


TO VCFA

WELCOME

There are lots of ways you can give back to VCFA. When you join us at an event, recommend us to your friends, or volunteer to talk to a prospective student, you help ensure the VCFA experience will be available to new generations of students. Making a gift—of any size—is another way to stay connected and invest in the future of our College.

A gift to the VCFA Fund helps bridge the gap between tuition and other income and the College’s actual costs. The donors who give to the VCFA Fund support things like alumnx initiatives, faculty development, and the visiting writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers who make our residencies so meaningful.This Fund also gives VCFA the flexibility to address emerging issues and live up to our mission of continuously redefining what it means to be an arts college. You can also direct your generosity to support the heart and soul of VCFA—our students. The Artists Development Fund provides financial support for students from diverse backgrounds to join the VCFA community. Every dollar donated to the Artists Development Fund goes directly to scholarships for students and gives more artists the opportunity to grow and learn at VCFA.

Making a gift is easy! You can make a one-time or monthly gift in a variety of ways: • • •

Use the envelope enclosed in this magazine Make a donation online: www.vcfa.edu/giving Get in touch with our Director of Development, Libby Johnson at: 802.828.8555 or libby.johnson@vcfa.edu to discuss more options

Introducing Libby Johnson, Director of Development In April of this year, VCFA hired a new Director of Development. Libby Johnson comes to us mostly recently from the National Wildlife Federation, where she was Associate Director of the Northeast Regional Center, serving New York, New Jersey, and all of New England. Prior to that, she worked in healthcare and nonprofit administration and ran a scholarship program at a community foundation.

“But my original plan was to be an artist,” says Libby. “Some of my earliest memories are of the concourse at the Empire State Plaza in my hometown of Albany, NY, which features an incredible public art collection that Governor Rockefeller had installed. My walk to school every day took me past these giant, brightly colored abstract expressionist paintings and sculptures, and I think it really affected me. I originally enrolled in a BFA program for college, though I ended up broadening my studies and my career took me in other directions. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back among a community of artists.” As all of us in the VCFA community well know, the arts have a unique power to transform our world for the better. That’s why so many of us truly love this place and these programs, from staff and faculty to students and alumnx. Libby has already begun to feel that VCFA love herself: “I started here right after the spring residencies ended, so it was about two months working in a relatively quiet building before the ‘real’ VCFA emerged when the summer residencies started. All of a sudden there were people everywhere, lots of noise in the building, new art on the walls. The energy of residency is really palpable just as an observer; I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a student!”

After only four months, Libby is already an integral part of our team and has been hard at work on exciting new initiatives to help this magical place thrive for years to come. “For me,” says Libby, “philanthropy is about connecting passion with purpose. I know there are countless people across the world whose lives are better because of VCFA, and it’s my job to harness that goodwill to have a real impact on this great institution.”

Welcome, Libby! We’re so glad you’ve joined us!

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Show your #VCFALove Give to VCFA


“ The ability to solve problems and create processes is essential to the scope of the work. The world is finally catching on that creatives can do those things, too.”

Toby Gonzalez (’12 VA)

Gives Back to “The Happiest Place on Earth”

Navigates Art & Business, One Coffee at a Time

While the Cinderella castle in Orlando might officially be called “the happiest place on Earth,” Jill Santopolo would kindly argue that Disney World has nothing on Vermont College of Fine Arts and its Writing for Children & Young Adults program.

Toby Gonzalez buys a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee every day except on Wednesdays. The money he saves by drinking coffee at work once a week, he donates each month to VCFA and his local NPR station. He’s created a system of giving that works for him and his budget, he says, “I’ve always believed you can’t depend on anyone but yourself to support the institutions you care about.”

And what a career she has had so far! Jill is the author of 16 books for adults and children. Her middle grade and young adult titles, like the Alec Flint mysteries, the Sparkle Spa series, and the Follow Your Heart books, explore the adventures, friendships, and first kisses of adolescence, while her adult novels, More Than Words and the New York Times bestseller The Light We Lost, tackle more mature instances of love and loss. She’s currently working on a new novel for adults, Everything After, which tells the story of a woman living in New York City and how a decision she made when she was in college threatens to shatter her marriage and the life she’s built 20 years later. What is Jill’s secret to success? “I think someone at VCFA once said to me that being a published author is 20 percent talent and 80 percent discipline,” Jill says. “I think that’s totally true. My advice is to give yourself a goal, and then make sure you sit in that chair (or on that couch or on that bed), put your fingers on your keys, and write.” In addition to writing, Jill is the associate publisher of Philomel Books (Penguin Random House), where every day she serves as an advocate for bold children’s stories. “What I love so much about children’s books today is how the authors and artists have taken things that they found problematic in the world and converted them into something empowering,” Jill says, citing books such as She Persisted, I Really Do Care,

Children’s writing has always been an interest of Jill’s. “I flirted with journalism for a bit, but then I started interning for Philomel Books when I was 19, and I loved the idea of making books for children and the way in which I got to work both with text and art,” she says. “Books meant a lot to me as a kid and shaped so much of who I am as an adult. I wanted to be able to pay that forward.” Jill recently “paid it forward” to the next generation of MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adult students with her generous donation to VCFA. She says about her choice to give back: “I truly do credit the success that I’ve had both as a writer and as a publisher to my education at VCFA. The school gave me so much, and I wanted to make a donation as a thank you—and so that the school could continue to make an impact on other people’s lives.”

donor profile

“There was something so magical about finding a whole group of people who love the world of children’s books and are so supportive and so excited for their friends’ successes.” Jill’s work with mentors and workshop leaders, such as Sharon Darrow, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Tim Wynne-Jones, and Kathi Appelt, were particularly impactful to her growth as a writer. She says, “Attending VCFA was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, my writing, and my career.”

and Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You as leading examples. “These books send a message to young readers: that girls can be powerful, that we all should care about one another, that we all have differences that make us who we are and make us strong.” In the future, she says, she’d love to see more titles that empower young readers and help teach them to be “kind, good, respectful, caring people,” as well as more “own voices” stories across all genres and age ranges. “I really do believe that in the children’s book world we’re helping to shape the next generation,” Jill says, “and I want to do all I can, as an associate publisher, to make sure that the books we publish are empowering and inclusive and diverse.”

Toby graduated from VCFA’s MFA in Visual Art program in 2012, but his life has not always pointed down an artistic career path. Originally he planned to study law at Moravian College and work as a corporate lawyer and then eventually as a real estate lawyer. “My father always told me I needed to do something that was salaried and had distinction. He is a machinist and has worked at Pratt & Whitney (in East Hartford, Connecticut) for almost as long as I have been alive. Growing up in Puerto Rico, my father understood what it meant to not have money and has done everything he can to be supportive. When I was a kid, we were not well off, but my father had a clear purpose in mind for money. That being said, my focus was to be a law student. Makes sense, right?” But everything changed when Toby had to take an art class as a graduating requirement. He chose Digital Photography and was instantly hooked. In fact, he stuck around for another year, graduating with a BA in Criminal Justice and Photographic Design. Then came the financial crisis, and Toby found himself making $19,000 a year and working on the manufacturing line at a company that created medical kits. Going back to school was a “no-brainer,” he says. “I knew the economy would bounce back, so going for an MFA was logical.” With the encouragement of VCFA faculty Dont Rhine and Humberto Ramirez, Toby began to investigate, through his art, the issues that had always fascinated him. His bilingual thesis (Spanish and English) was titled OGRE, after a childhood nickname, and critically discussed and examined everything from labor to masculinity. More so, OGRE was a memoir in portraiture. Toby says that his thesis was “centered around understanding that I’ve had an interesting life and that I’ve had the privilege that some people can’t fathom. I’ve always wanted my work to be a vehicle for my viewers so that

I can share that privilege. I’d like to think it was structured enough that people could see themselves in my work and not feel alone.” Earlier this year, Toby completed his Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Hartford, and currently works as an account specialist. While photography is not his current career focus, he maintains that the creativity he cultivated at VCFA will always be a skill he brings to the table. He says of his fellow employees at the corporation he works for, “They are all hammers that hammer at nails, but they never consider whether they need the nail at all.” In Toby’s eyes, there are many careers out there, beyond teaching and arts administration, that could benefit from an artist’s unique perspective. “The ability to solve problems and create processes is essential to the scope of the work. The world is finally catching on that creatives can do those things, too.” Nevertheless, Toby says the sky’s the limit in terms of what type of mark he wants to make in the art community. That passion partly stems from Toby’s experience in the Visual Art program, where he was asked to reflect on his identity, his ideas, and his intent as an artist. “My time at VCFA changed me greatly. I’ve always seen my multicultural background as something to manipulate in order to avoid bullies on the local baseball field or to try to fit the mold of what I thought was desirable. Carlos Motta was my artist-mentor during my second semester, and he forced me to reckon with my identity and made me dig into how it affected my life. I created my ‘Body’ series during that time, and it has influenced all of my work since then.”

donor profile

Jill Santopolo (’08 WCYA)

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“Books meant a lot to me as a kid and shaped so much of who I am as an adult. I wanted to be able to pay that forward.”


Annual REPORT OF GIFTS We are pleased to acknowledge the following donors—alumnx, students, faculty, staff, and other friends—for their generosity and support of VCFA. The list below represents donors who made gifts to VCFA during Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019). We have made every effort to be sure our list is comprehensive and accurate. Please accept our apologies for any inaccuracies or omissions, and contact development@vcfa.edu to make any corrections. We once again extend our deepest gratitude to our community of donors and supporters!

Abigail Aguirre ’11 Pamela Ahlen ’07 Anupama Amaran ’12 Amazon Smile M.T. Anderson Muriel Angelil ’00 Kathi Appelt ’82 Mary-Kim Arnold ’16 Rafael Attias ’15 Alissa Auerbach Jon Auerbach Richard Auerbach Pamela Ayres ’19 Tricia Baar ’06 Mary Bailey ’99 Rita Banerjee Lynda Barber ’09 Jennifer Barnes ’14 Robin Barron Deanne Battle ’19 Marion Bauer Cynthia Bayerl Katherine Bayerl ’10 Carol Beatty ’90 Elizabeth Bedell ’19 Ramona Bell ’17 Ben & Jerry’s Foundation

Bridgid Bender ’19 Deanna Benjamin ’08 Kelly Bennett ’07 Jeffrey Bernstein Sarah Cassell ’14 Barbara Bishop ’10 Mercer Declercq ’18 Elizabeth Bluemle ’04 Lucy Bourgeault Bethany Breitland ’19 Martha Brockenbrough Beth Brody ’17 Nickole Brown ’03 Lindsey Brown ’21 Patti Brown ’08 Tami Lewis Brown ’06 Eliza Browning Rae Bruce ’04 Frederick Bubbers ’19 Ellizabeth Buchanan ’98 Patricia Buddenhagen ’03 Catherine Buni ’13 Charles Bunting Laura Burkhart ’00 Capitol Plaza Corporation Malcolm Campbell ’08 Ann Cardinal ’07

Patricia Carey ’16 Barbara Carlson ’90 Caroline Carlson ’11 Anne Carter ’21 Catherine Carvelli Meaghan Castle ’19 Maureen Charles ’19 Peter Christie Chroma Technology Corp Janna Clar Daniel Clark ’93 Edward Clark Bonnie Clause Joan Cohen ’04 S. Cohen ’15 PearlCo Literary Agency Elizabeth Coleman ’12 Hal Colston Winifred Conkling ’11 Steve Connor Elizabeth Cook ’10 Susan Cooper Cronyn Hope Coppinger ’03 Joan Cousins ’03 Patricia Crane ’04 Barb Crawford ’18 Carla Criscuolo ’14

Danielle Dahline ’01 John Daly Jess Dewes Kathleen Diehl ’84 Jessica Dils ’10 Dinse Meagan Downey Eugenie Doyle ’95 Pete Driessen ’98 Holly Dunlap ’19 Debbie Dunn ’06 Rachel Ekstrom Gregory Ellis ’94 Alexandra Enders ’00 Nora Ericson ’10 Jill Ewald ’95 Jessie Ewing ’20 Laurie Morrison Fabius ’12 Cynthia Faughnan ’07 Nanette Feldman ’93 Lucy Ferrada Karen Fisher ’02 Melissa Fisher ’14 Nancy Flood ’07 Judith Ford ’16 Foundation M Jason Fowler ’19 Janet Fox ’10 Matt Fried ’12 Abby Frucht Pamela Galvani ’14 Jennifer Gennari ’06 Paula Gillam ’99 Anne Gimm ’19 Debra Gingerich ’02 Dean Gloster ’17 Joan Goldfeder ’95 Michael Goldstein Daniel Gonzalez ’12 Hesterly Goodson ’18 Rima Grad ’17 Sondra Graff ’15 Chris Graff Holter Graham ’99 Kate Gray ’15 Warren Green ’15 Green Mountain United Way Thomas Christopher Greene ’96 Joan Grubin ’03 Katie Gustafson

Audrey Hackett ’19 Meredith Hadaway ’03 Benjamin Hahn ’15 Margaret Hanshaw ’05 Nancy Hanson ’97 Erica Hare Marilyn Hart Robert Hart ’16 Alastair Hayes Rachel Hayes ’17 Helen Hemphill ’04 Julie Herman ’21 Ellen Hersh ’94 Kali Hilke Dwight Hilson ’15 Jeannette Hogan Michael Hogan Mary Hood M. Denise Hoover ’15 Andrew Hordes ’18 Katherine Hosford ’11 Michelle Houghton ’18 Roswitha Houghton ’06 Nicholas Howard ’20 Debra Hutchison ’03 Karin Huxman ’01 Annie Hwang Karen Jaquish ’96 Cordelia Jensen ’12 Aileen Johnson ’20 Ginger Johnson ’09 Katherine Johnson ’14 Lance Johnson Libby Johnson Patrick Johnson ’08 Sarah Johnson ’10 Julie Jones ’19 Leah Jones Daphne Kalmar ’10 Helen Kampion ’07 Maggie Kast ’01 Leslie Kaufman ’95 John Kern ’96 Sarah Ketchersid Heidi Kim ’14 Edna King Rebecca Kirshenbaum ’18 Patricia Kirtley ’08 Ann Kittredge ’01 Jeff Kleinman

Kimberly Klement ’03 Susan Korchak ’15 Anne Krawitz ’18 Uma Krishnaswami Tiffany Krupa ’15 Madeleine Kunin Sharon Kurtzman ’19 Dale Kushner ’83 Lindsay Lackey Wally Lamb ’84 Bonnie LaMon ’12 Lindsey Lane ’10 Lynda Lantz ’98 Rustin Larson ’86 Sydney Lea Adriana Leavitt ’14 Colene Lee ’19 Jessica Lee ’18 Maggie Lehrman ’12 Jeffrey Leong ’14 Ellen Lesser ’85 Suzanne Levine ’83 Corrinne Lewis ’07 Meredith Lewis ’12 Patricia Lewis ’99 Benjamin Lieberman ’19 Theresa Liess-Hassinger ’99 Catherine Linka ’06 Jacqueline Lipton ’16

Thank you, donors


Jennifer Pun ’19 Carol Purcell ’03 Helen Pyne ’11 Joyce Ray ’01 McKenzie Reeves ’19 Michele Regenold ’08 Shirley Reid ’47 Reiner Charitable Fund Nancy Reynolds ’08 Sharon Reynolds ’98 Carmen Richardson ’04 Cynthia Riggs ’00 Sally Riley ’03 Karen Ristuben ’11 Susan Z. Ritz Ann Robinson ’97 Laura Romain ’19 Michael Rosenfeld Carl Rosenstock ’82 Beth Rusnock Susan Ryan-Nelson ’69 Constance Saddlemire Natasha Saje Jourden Sander ’19 Wendy Sanford ’03 John Santoro ’09 Shelley Saposnik ’14 Richard Saudek SCBWI Bill Schubart Shelagh Shapiro ’03 Laura Sibson ’12 Sue Silverman ’88 Ingrid Silverstein ’08 Cynthia Leitich Smith Jackie Smith-Nielsen Meghan Smith ’19 Peter Smith Tamara Smith ’07 Teresa Smith ’07 Susan Spaulding Rob Spillman Erin Stalcup Steinway Inc. Sally Stiles ’01 Judith Stitzel ’07 Maura Stokes ’03 Shari Swanson ’12 Pamela Taylor ’12 Diane Telgen ’17 John Thelin ’95 Fredrika Thompson ’06 Seth Thompson ’97 Three Penny Taproom Megan Thygeson ’17

Peter Timpone Paul Tonnes ’13 Heidi Tringe Imogen Ulrich ’19 Nicole Valentine ’12 Emily van Beek Nance Van Winckel Sharon Van Zandt ’12 Gail Vannelli ’19 Peeranut Visetsuth Tina Vivian ’17 Ashley Walker ’18 Elsa Waller ’94 Dana Walrath ’10 Charlotte Warren ’95 Earl Wendel ’01 Jan Wesley ’01 Carol Westberg ’96 Robert Westphal Anne Westrick ’11 Dianne White ’08 Jonathan White ’13 Margaret White ’16 Tom Whitford Matthew Whitney ’12 Jeff Wiggins ’09 Faith Wilding Rita Williams-Garcia Kathleen Wilson ’11 Nat Winthrop Gretchen Woelfle ’00 Susannah Wood ’12 Joshua Worman ’12 Whitney You ’18 Anne Ziebarth ’16 Elisa Zied ’20 Joelle Ziemian ’04 Rosamond Zimmermann ’16 Kenneth Zink ’19 Stanley Zumbiel ’08 and anonymous donors

In honor of Mary Atkinson Sarah Lamstein ’03 In honor of Marion Dane Bauer Bruce Black ’99 In honor of Mercer Black ’18 Kathi Appelt In honor of Louise Crowley Martha Christina ’84 Robbie Dunlap ’10 In honor of Javan Erfanian Eshrat Erfanian

In honor of Graham Salisbury ’90, Jack Gantos, and Marion Dane Bauer Karen Scourby D’Arc ’99 In honor of Ashley Walker Kathi Appelt In honor of Dianne White ’08 Joan Sidney ’08 In memory of Christy Bailey ’11 Sarah Efird ’12 Anne Penfield ’11

In honor of Sascha Feinstein Suzanne Smith ’10

In memory of W.E. Butts ’95 S Stephanie ’97 William Kemmett ’86

In honor of Connie May Fowler Eliza Nash Taylor ’18

In memory of Bonnie Christensen Gigi Weisman

In honor of Thomas Greene ’96 Katherine Paterson

In memory of Frances Lee Hall ’08 Kelly Bennett ’07 Ann Kordahl ’07 Corrinne Lewis ’07 Cynthia Leitich Smith

In honor of Don & Mildred Houts Tavia Gilbert ’13 In honor of Richard Jackson Kathleen Tibbetts ’14 In honor of Fredrica Levinson ’18 Elaine Driker In honor of Clint McCown Eliza Nash Taylor ’18

In memory of Janet Kaplan Mildred Kennedy-Stirling ’12 In memory of Norma Fox Mazer Bruce Black ’99 In memory of Alice Podber Stephen Geller ’18 In memory of Virginia Reiser ’06 Janet Mendelsohn ’06 In memory of Beatta Uecker Tiffany Krupa ’15 In memory of Roger Walls ’97 Vincent Zandri ’97 In memory of Suzanne Wurzberger ’58 Al Wurzberger

In memory of Dick Hathaway Robin Ann Barron ’19 In memory of Con Hogan Anonymous Bill Schubart Peter Smith

Become a Sustaining Donor Do you miss the regular connection to VCFA you had when you were a student and your packet was due each month? Becoming a sustaining donor is a much easier way to stay in touch! It’s easy to set up a recurring monthly gift that fits your budget. Use our online donation form or the enclosed envelope to choose an amount you’d like to give and provide us payment information, and we will automatically charge your credit card each month. You can also sign up—or change the amount or stop payments— any time by contacting development@vcfa.edu. And one more request—help us think of a better name for our monthly givers! While “sustaining donor” is entirely accurate, we think our community of creatives can come up with something a bit more exciting. Email libby.johnson@vcfa.edu with your ideas, and keep an eye on our social media to see the best submissions!

Above: Jeremy Yontz (’19 GD), thesis exhibition (detail)

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44 :: report of gifts

Lory Lockwood ’00 Jennifer Loescher ’18 Virginia Lofft ’10 Janice Lower ’14 Melissa Lowrie ’19 Mark Lupinetti ’10 Rebecca Lyman ’18 Kerry Macdonald Thomas MacLeay Sarah Madru Alex Malaspina Casper Martin ’12 Martin Foundation Diane Martinez ’07 Christopher Maselli ’07 Jody Maunsell Elizabeth Mayorca ’19 Clint McCown Anne McGrath ’19 Linden McNeilly ’10 Shawn McSweeney ’20 Katherine Mead ’99 Denise Merat ’19 David Meyer ’98 Middlecott Foundation Craig Milewski ’13 Callie Miller ’14 Michael Minchin ’14 Wendy Mnookin ’91 Matthew Monk Montpelier Community Fund MVP Healthcare Alex Myers ’11 Anne Myles ’21 Susan Newbold ’00 Robert O’Connor ’06 Rebecca Olander ’15 Kelley Owens Judith Padow ’16 Stephanie Painter ’02 Pamela Painter Angela Paladino ’21 Beverly Parayno ’09 Jericho Parms ’12 Katherine Paterson Paterson Family Foundation Samantha Pause Carol Peacock Dorothy Pensky ’99 Abigail Pettit ’18 Rosemary Porto Wendy Powell ’15 Linda Pratt Donna Pressman ’88 Johnny Price ’19


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in residence // 2019 Alumnx Magazine  

Vermont College of Fine Arts celebrates highlights, news, and more from our alumnx, faculty, and students in the 2019 issue of In Residence.

in residence // 2019 Alumnx Magazine  

Vermont College of Fine Arts celebrates highlights, news, and more from our alumnx, faculty, and students in the 2019 issue of In Residence.

Profile for vcfa