in residence // 2016 VCFA Alumni magazine

Page 1



Local Connections

Life After MFA

Creative Process

Class News





Bechdel & Greene reading

ON JULY 2, ALUMNI HALL PLAYED HOST TO ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF THE YEAR WITH READINGS BY VISITING WRITER ALISON BECHDEL AND VCFA PRESIDENT TOM GREENE. Bechdel, a Vermont resident and graphic novelist whose works include Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, and the countercultural comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, read from her latest work with the aid of her graphic art. Bechdel, whose Fun Home was adapted into a Broadway musical and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2015, is also the recipient of a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation. She was joined by Greene, who read from his fifth novel, If I Forget You, which came out in June 2016.

:: SUMMER 2016

vermont college of fine arts IN RESIDENCE 2016

6 Program Anniversaries 9 Artists Development Fund

At Vermont College of Fine Arts I know the work we all do, as part of this vast and diverse community of artists, is more important than ever. Our students and alumni that I’ve spoken with have made it clear they’re concerned about what’s next, not just for the United States, but the arts community as a whole. But I truly believe 2017 will be a positive year for VCFA and our global artist community. I’m proud to know the collaborations between students across our programs will continue to grow. It’s incredible to see the art our student partnerships create, whether it’s collaborations between writers and graphic designers or musicians and filmmakers. Our alumni and students are creating amazing work, as you’ll see in the following pages.

3 President’s letter 4 Local Connections

dear friends,

We’re also growing our pledge to emerging artists by inspiring them to transform their work and their career. We recently launched the Artists Development Fund that will help raise money in support of scholarships in all eight of our programs. Money should never be a barrier for an artist to come here and grow and learn and bring the power of their voice into the world. Artists can only work and thrive if we continue providing them with avenues to expand their practice and widen their experience.


Louise Crowley Center for Faculty & Alumni

At VCFA, our ambitions have never been higher.

10 Great Gilly Hopkins premiere 11 Young Writers Network

The Artists Development Fund is vital to the success of not only VCFA, but to all artists regardless of background. It strengthens our deep commitment to diversity and building a community reflective of our country.


Vermont Book Award and Gala editor

Tim Simard Publications Manager copy editor




Life After the MFA

Q&A Creative Process


Cathy Donohue design

Sian Foulkes Foulkes Design contributing writers

Sky Barsch Tierney Ray

12 A Community of Artists 14 Faculty news 24 Class news 48 Juxtaposition

contributing photographers

Marti de Alva Jay Ericson Dawn Feller Stefan Hard Hawley Hussey Anthony Pagani

In Residence

Volume 4, Number 1 © 2 0 17

VER MONT COLLEG E OF FI NE ARTS 36 College Street Montpelier, VT 05602

We’re also embarking on another vital initiative that will carry VCFA forward into the next five years. In late 2016, VCFA faculty members, trustees, staff, alumni, current students, and friends of the College began creating a five-year strategic plan. We implemented the last strategic plan in 2012, which resulted in VCFA adding five new academic programs. It was certainly an ambitious strategic plan and the one we’re developing now will be no less aspiring. We’re currently looking at the many ways we can grow VCFA in the next five years and considering what steps we can take to maintain our excellence while growing our status as a preeminent center for the arts and higher education both locally and nationally. Judging by the discussions and ideas I’ve heard surrounding the strategic plan, I am greatly encouraged by VCFA’s future. Once the Board of Trustees gives its approval in July 2017, the plan will lay the groundwork, guiding VCFA through 2022. At VCFA, our ambitions have never been higher. As we all focus our efforts on what lies ahead, I believe we have an obligation to create, and to help shape the culture through our words, our images, our music, our thinking.

With all good wishes— Thomas Christopher Greene President

Local Connections 4


Art & Design Education community projects Once again during the MFA in Film residency, the program offered free public screenings in April and October that included Q&As with faculty members or visiting filmmakers. Faculty screenings included MALIK VITTHAL’S IMPERIAL DREAMS, MYRA COHN’S THE GIRL IN THE BOOK, JAKE MAHAFFY’S FREE IN DEED, and JOSEPHINE DECKER’S collaborative feature COLLECTIVE: UNCONSCIOUS. In October, MFA Writing & Publishing faculty member TIM KIRKMAN, who teaches screenwriting with the program, screened his most recent film, LAZY EYE. This was the only Vermont screening for his award-winning film!

Throughout the summer, Art & Design Education graduate students participated in Montpelier art projects and on-campus studio intensives for local children, helping cement VCFA as a cultural arts center for Central Vermont. The on-campus art programs, which ran for four weeks, focused on digital and design arts, as well as traditional visual arts. Art & Design Education students also worked one-on-one with campers from the North Branch Nature Center’s Naturally Artists and Insect Investigators and the New School Studio Intensive programs. All of this amazing work culminated in an exhibition in Alumni Hall in early August. On Langdon Street in downtown Montpelier, Art & Design Education students worked on a mural called Within Reach as part of a collaborative community project This lively outdoor gallery was part of a group effort called Langdon Street Alive, which VCFA helped sponsor. Within Reach was designed around community involvement and encouraged all-age participation. The simplicity or complexity of each piece was up to the artist—each artist’s contribution was collaged together and installed as a collaborative mural on the façade of Langdon Street’s businesses.

In Café Anna, the program held readings by faculty members JENSEN BEACH, ELIZABETH POWELL, MATTHEW DICKMAN, RIGOBERTO GONZALEZ, and MARY RUEFLE. Guest writers MICHAEL BURKHARD and SAMANTHA HUNT also held public readings at different times in 2016. All of these events were well attended by students and community members; oftentimes it was standing room only! Public readings sponsored by the MFA in Writing & Publishing program also branched out beyond campus. ALLISON ADELLE HEDGE COKE and TRINIE DALTON held an event at Bear Pond Books and Trinie joined POROCHISTA KHAKPOUR for a reading at ArtsRiot in Burlington.

Galleries, exhibitions, and concerts The on-campus residencies draw the public to the campus to see and hear amazing student work. The MFA in Visual Art and MFA in Graphic Design student and graduate exhibitions filled Alumni Hall and College Hall this year, while the MFA in Music Composition residencies drew audiences for performances of student work by professional musicians from around the country.

vermont college of fine arts

The MFA in Writing & Publishing Program hosted a number of readings both on and off-campus throughout the year. These readings have made VCFA a place for year-round creativity in between weeks of our low-residency programs.

Café Anna opened as a year-round breakfast and lunch space in College Hall in September. Managed by the always amazing Jana Markow, the café quickly began attracting a neighborhood clientele to the bright, sunlit space that fills during residencies! The café offers wonderful baked goods, light breakfast and lunch fare, specialty coffee drinks, and now has a full liquor license. Follow Café Anna: Facebook ( Instagram @cafeannavcfa.


MFA in Writing & Publishing readings

Thanks to our annual residencies and the addition of the MFA in Writing & Publishing residential program, VCFA is becoming an integral part of Montpelier’s arts community. We support local causes, host on-campus community events, and welcome the public to free on-campus VCFA programs in Montpelier and beyond.

Savoy Theater screenings

Café Anna opens year-round


local connections

Every year, the connection between Vermont College of Fine Arts and the City of Montpelier continues to grow.

Program anniversaries

the Denver, Colorado art exhibition Stopped in Time.





vermont college of fine arts

program anniversaries

This year was a year of celebration. Our legacy programs—the MFA in Writing, MFA in Visual Art, and MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults—all reached significant milestones.

Julie Parma (’08 VA) at

MFA in Writing 35 years What started out as a small, first-of-its-kind low-residency program has grown to become one of the best and most recognized graduate programs in the country. Only a small number of students attended the first residency in 1981 when the program was part of Vermont College of Norwich University; today, the program has graduated 1,700 writers! This year, we celebrated 35 years of our MFA in Writing program. We held celebrations during the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference and on campus during the MFA in Writing summer residency. Since the program started, LOUISE CROWLEY has been a constant presence, but this summer marked her last residency as program director. In honor of her dedication to VCFA, not only was the alumni center named for her (see page 8), but President Tom Greene also surprised her during graduation with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree—the fifth honorary degree VCFA has bestowed and the third doctorate. While Louise retired from her program director role in December, we’re thrilled she will still be working with VCFA, now as the new assistant academic dean. MELISSA HAMMERLE, who has worked with writing programs at New York University and Middlebury College, is our new MFA in Writing program director.

MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults 20 years It’s been almost 20 years since the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program hosted its first residency. The program celebrated its anniversary during the Winter 2017 residency in January. Our alumni continue to publish books at the rate of more than 50 a year, with many taking home top literary prizes for youth literature.

MFA in Visual Art 25 years In 1991, based on the success of the MFA in Writing program’s low-residency model, Vermont College of Norwich University created the MFA in Visual Art program. Founder G. ROY LEVIN believed a lowresidency visual art graduate program would help students pursue their MFA degrees while remaining within the context of their home communities in which they live, work, and make art. This idea has endured for 25 years, and the program’s alumni have spread across the globe. To celebrate, MFA in Visual Art alumni groups held a series of anniversary exhibitions called Visual Art Pop. These events took place in Newfields, New Hampshire; Hanover, Maryland; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; San Diego, California; Arabi, Louisiana; and Chicago, Illinois. WRITING FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG ADULTS

Alumni Mini-Res 10 years Also celebrating an anniversary in 2017 is our Writing for Children & Young Adults Alumni Mini-Residency. The Alumni Mini-Res, or AMR for short, began 10 years ago as a way for our Writing for Children & Young Adults alumni to reconnect for workshops and professional development. Writers, editors, agents, and publicists are featured guests during this annual event. The 2017 AMR will take place June 15-18.

Beth Bradfish (’15 MC) at her Sound Cart at the Chicago exhibition.

MFA in Visual Art founder G. Roy Levin in the 1990s.

In 2016, we completed construction on the Louise Harwood Crowley Center for Faculty and Alumni—just in time for the MFA in Graphic Design faculty to move in for the April residency. The Crowley Center represents the first new building constructed on campus in more than 30 years. We also renovated the neighboring houses—#29 and #31—to match the décor of the new Crowley Center. Generous donations from VCFA alumni and friends of the college helped make the center a reality, as well as assistance from Vermont Rural Ventures, which allocated federal New Markets Tax Credits to help finance the Crowley Center and other renovation projects on campus.

GRAND OPENING We held an official ribbon cutting ceremony on June 27, 2016 during the start of the MFA in Writing summer residency. Not only was this a chance for us to recognize our new building, but we also honored the Center’s namesake, Louise Crowley. During the ceremony, President Tom Greene presented Louise with a hardbound book filled with memories and essays from countless Writing program alumni she’s worked with for 35 years.

During residencies, the Crowley Center is used for faculty housing. The Center is also available for alumni during specific times when not in use by our low-residency programs or other college events. We are offering two distinct alumni retreat opportunities: Alumni Retreat Weeks, reserved for quiet, individual work; and Alumni Retreat Weekends, intended for social gatherings for groups of alumni. We hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity for professional development and the chance to meet alumni from other programs while you are in retreat. Contact Alumni Affairs for more information.

We all know that the arts community at VCFA is a special place and our network of artists, writers, designers, musicians, teachers, and filmmakers are an energetic and burgeoning force in the global art world. The Artists Development Fund helps to financially support artists from diverse backgrounds by providing them access to the highest level of graduate arts education to further their creativity.

Emerging Filmmakers & New Composers

Douglas Glover Fund for Writers, Authors, & Publishers Diversity & Inclusion Art & Design

Contemporary Educators The Artists Development Fund is an important and necessary next step in building a successful arts college and alumni community. VCFA will continue its work of supporting all artists and reaffirm its mission and belief that art matters, that it is essential, and that it makes the world more humane. Contact Alissa Auerbach, Director of Development at for more information about the Artists Development Fund and learn different ways to give.

In many ways, the Fund will be the most significant instrument in growing VCFA.

artists development fund

Louise Harwood Crowley

Center for Faculty & Alumni

The Artists Development Fund provides support for students who attend VCFA through five different outlets:



Louise Harwood Crowley

In 2016, we launched the Artists Development Fund as a continuous way to support established and emerging artists who look to attend VCFA to follow their muse and develop their passion. Our goal is to raise millions in support of the scholarships that benefit students in all eight of our graduatelevel programs. In many ways, the Fund will be the most significant instrument in growing the College.



Artists Development Fund

VCFA debuts



We held the premiere in Stowe, Vermont at the Cinema 3Plex and yes, we did have a genuine red carpet in true Hollywood style! We held two screenings—a matinee for families and an evening event, which included a panel moderated by M.T. Anderson and featuring Katherine and her sons, THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS screenwriter and producer David L. Paterson, and producer John Paterson. All proceeds from the screenings benefited Tatum’s Totes, a Vermont organization partnering with Green Mountain United Way to support foster children in transition. The film, about a girl who gets shuffled from foster family to foster family, opened nationally on October 7 and also premiered on On-Demand. It stars Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Julia Stiles, and newcomer Sophie Nélisse as Gilly Hopkins.

John, David, and Katherine Paterson take part in a Q&A with M.T. Anderson after the film premiere.

continues to grow The new—and quickly growing—VCFA Young Writers Network is off to an energetic start this school year, with youth-writing workshops underway in Boston, New York City, northern New Hampshire, and Vermont. The program was founded last year by a group of alumni from the MFA in Writing for Children &Young Adults program and has been received with great enthusiasm within VCFA and the broader children’s writing community. VCFA officially launched the network in July and it garnered national attention in Publishers Weekly. VCFA authors offer workshops for underserved and underrepresented children in communities where clusters of alumni live, in partnership with local nonprofits. Last year, alumni offered a dozen workshops in Boston and Brooklyn. This year, programming is expanding through new partnerships with Behind the Book (NYC), the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, and the Children’s Literacy Foundation (VT) as well as a continued partnership with 826 Boston and Wondermore (Boston).

What’s on the horizon for VCFA Young Writers? In addition to a full roster of author-led workshops, the program is co-hosting a publishing careers event with the Children’s Book Council Diversity Committee and Hyde Square Task Force in Boston, where diverse teens will get a chance to learn about all of the roles that go into making books—from author to editor to designer to marketer. The program director (KATIE BAYERL, WYCA ’10) and a team of regional liaisons are also exploring grant opportunities and nonprofit partnerships that can bring engaging writing opportunities to more high-need communities. To learn more or get updates on programming, please join the mailing list at:

young writers network

The Great Gilly Hopkins

In October, VCFA hosted a red carpet premiere for the film THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS, based on the beloved 1979 National Book Award-winning novel by board member and longtime friend of VCFA, Katherine Paterson.

Young Writers Network





The Great Gilly Hopkins

A Community of Artists vermont college of fine arts

In January, acclaimed author and Newberry Honor Book winner KIRBY LARSON visited the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults winter residency as the program’s Writer-in-Residence. The program also welcomed Visiting Author SHADRA STRICKLAND.


:: A Community of Artists


Winter/spring At the end of December 2015, the MFA in Writing program welcomed three visiting writers: Visiting Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Writer JOY CASTRO, a noted essayist, memoirist, and author of The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse Among Jehovah’s Witnesses; Vermont poet and Visiting Poet MAJOR JACKSON who has written five collections of poetry, including Roll Deep, which won the 2016 Vermont Book Award; and Visiting Creative Nonfiction Writer and alumni MOJIE CRIGLER who has written many essays and recently published Get Me Through Tomorrow: A Sister’s Memoir of Brain Injury and Revival.



From award-winning authors and artists, to groundbreaking filmmakers, educators, and musicians—we had an incredible bevy of guest lecturers and talent on campus throughout the year. Here are some of the highlights. One of the highlights of the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults winter residency was the interview with M.T. ANDERSON by faculty member TIM WYNNE-JONES. In a fascinating and entertaining discussion, Anderson talked about the research and writing process for his nonfiction book Symphony for the City of the Dead, which traces the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich through the Russian Revolution and World War Two. Later in January, the MFA in Visual Art program hosted Artist-in-Residence ALLYSON MITCHELL, a maximalist artist who participated in crits and spoke with students about her recent projects. Those include “KillJoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House” and FAG Feminist Art Gallery. The MFA in Music Composition program presented three visiting ensembles in February, with musicians from past residencies returning to play student music: A brass quintet, a piano trio, and the ELECTROGLOBAL SEXTET. Along with the annual Film Music Festival, the Electronic Music Showcase, and the Songwriting Showcase, there was music played every night during the first week of February. As winter turned to spring, we kicked off our MFA in Graphic Design residency in mid-April. This residency’s Guest Designer KENNETH FITZGERALD is an educator, writer, designer, artist, and author of Volume: Writings on Graphic Design, Music, Art, and Culture. Later in April, the MFA in Film program welcomed several guest filmmakers who gave public lectures and also screened films at Montpelier’s Savoy Theater. LYNNE SACHS gave a talk entitled Taking a Documentary Detour about the associative, nonliteral approach to images in the context of her new enthusiasm for mixing fiction and nonfiction modes of production. She also screened YOUR DAY IS MY NIGHT and a couple selected shorts.

At the beginning of July, the MFA in Writing program hosted one of the most anticipated public readings of the year—Visiting Creative Nonfiction Writer and Vermont resident ALISON BECHDEL, an awardwinning author and graphic novelist, read from her latest works at Alumni Hall. Bechdel’s works include Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, as well as the countercultural comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. Fun Home was adapted for a Broadway musical and took home five Tony Awards in 2015, including Best Musical. VCFA President Tom Greene also gave a reading that evening. Greene’s fifth novel, If I Forget You, was released in June. The MFA in Writing residency also saw the return of visiting poets TARFIAH FAIZULLAH and JAMAAL MAY. Faizullah and May co-direct the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook and Video Series and both have published poetry collections in recent years. Visiting Fiction Writer JAMES HANNAHAM also visited campus. Hannaham is a writer and visual artist who wrote the novel Delicious Foods, which was selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. New York Times #1 bestselling author MAGGIE STIEFVATER visited in July as part of the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults summer residency. She is the author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and Sinner; her novel The Scorpio Races was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association. Award-winning author and VCFA alumna APRIL PULLEY SAYRE (’00), who has published more than 60 books, met with students and gave a talk called Wild Words: Playing With Nonfiction Voice. In the middle of July at the beginning of the monthlong Graduate Studies in Art Design Education residency, DR. LOIS HETLAND, a leader in art education, ran a workshop and gave a lecture called Exploring Assessment in the Visual Arts.

Later in July, the MFA in Visual Art program welcomed Artist-in-Residence NICOLAS LAMPERT, who gave a talk about climate justice art. Lampert, a Milwaukee-based artist and author, discussed how visual artists and designers are addressing climate change issues and why culture is so critical in this struggle. In August, the campus hummed with an orchestra of sound during the MFA in Music Composition summer residency. Four visiting ensembles performed student music on campus this summer: a string quartet; THE CROSSOVER QUINTET; a vocal quartet; and CHATHAM BAROQUE, a trio that plays music from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments. In October, the fall residency of the MFA in Graphic Design program welcomed two leading guest designers—AARIS SHERIN and JON SUEDA. Sherin gave a talk called Publishing Confidential and Sueda gave one titled Wide Open Spaces. Later in October, the MFA in Film program once again held a number of screenings at the Savoy Theater with guest filmmakers: TOM BROWN showed his film PUSHING DEAD, JOHN ESKA screened his movie THE RETRIEVAL, and LOU PEPE showed THE BAD KIDS. As always, these screenings were free and open to the public.

faculty news Art & Design Education

TILL SCHAUDER was awarded a NYSCA Individual Artist Grant for his feature-length documentary WHEN GOD SLEEPS, the story of Iranian musician Shahin Najafi who is forced into hiding after hardline clerics issue a fatwa for his death.

NATALIA ILYIN’s essay “What Design Activism is and is Not: A Primer for Students” was published in the new book Developing Citizen Designers, edited by Elizabeth Resnick. The aim of this book is to enable students, educators, and designers in the early stages of their careers to learn and practice design in a socially responsible manner. It responds to the rise of academic debate and teaching in the areas of social design, sustainable design, ethical design, and design futures. Husband and wife team NIKKI JUEN and MFA in Film alum and VCFA Trustee RAFAEL ATTIAS (’15) launched a new website in 2016 for their design studio Happymatter ( Happymatter specializes in identity systems, web design, museum books, retail catalogs, product and packaging design, UX design animation, and sound design. The site highlights some of their most recent work, which includes a new website design for RISD’s Interior Architecture department.

DR. KIMBERLY SHERIDAN gave a keynote speech at the Make it Now! Conference at the University of Turku in Finland, which took place Sept. 28-30 in Rauma, Finland. This year’s theme was “Learning, Exploring, Understanding.”

Film New faculty: JOSEPHINE DECKER is an independent filmmaker who directed the feature film THOU WAS MILD AND LOVELY, the documentary BI THE WAY, and a section of the experimental film COLLECTIVE: UNCONSCIOUS. MICHEL NEGROPONTE is an award-winning filmmaker who has been making feature length documentaries for more than 35 years, including SPACE COAST, JUPITER’S WIFE, I’M DANGEROUS IN LOVE, and AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MICHELLE MAREN, to name a few. Filmmaker MALIK VITTHAL released his feature directorial debut IMPERIAL DREAMS, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won an Audience Award.

Graphic Design New faculty: SEREINA ROTHENBERGER and DAVID SCHATZ of the Switzerland-based design studio HAMMER joined the faculty in 2016. Sereina and David visited VCFA in 2015 as guest designers and critics and absolutely took our breaths away with their positivity, intellect, and incredible work! They’ve been nominated for the Swiss Design Awards. They’ve been in gallery shows in Berlin, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, and all over the world. They won the Most Beautiful Swiss Books Award. In short, they just don’t stop!

IAN LYNAM is curating The Study Room, the educational component of the 27th Brno Biennial in the Czech Republic, the oldest graphic design exhibition in the world. Alongside Japan’s Idea Magazine Chief Editor Kiyonori Muroga, Lynam has curated a dizzyingly diverse range of publications that question notions of East, West, local, and global. Contributors to The Brno Biennial Study Room include world famous designers Kenya Hara, Gurafiku’s Ryan Hageman, Kohei Sugiura, and dozens more.

Music Composition New faculty: CARLA KIHLSTEDT joined the faculty in 2016. Carla is a songwriter, composer, singer, and violinist. She’s a founding member of the bands Tin Hat, Rabbit Rabbit, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Book of Knots, Causing a Tiger, Minamo, Fred Frith’s Cosa Brava, and 2 Foot Yard. Carla is an incredible songwriter and we’re so pleased to have her join our faculty! New faculty chair: JONATHAN BAILEY HOLLAND has had a busy year. His musical piece called “Forged Sanctuaries: String Quartet No. 2” was commissioned by the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and the Curtis Institute of Music. Seeking inspiration from the Cape Cod National Seashore, this commission celebrates 50 years of the National Endowment for the Arts and 100 years of the National Park Service. It was performed by Curtis on Tour in July. Jonathan’s piece called “Synchrony” appeared on “Fresh Paint,” the debut recording of Radius Ensemble. In early November 2016, another new work, “Calibrating,” premiered at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Marimba superstar Nancy Zeltsman and violinist Dillon Robb performed the piece as part of the Boston Conservatory Chamber Series. The Boston Opera Collaborative also premiered Jonathan’s “Always,” based on a short play by John Jory. This short opera looks at both the beginning and end of one couple’s relationship. It was part of a November concert that featured eight- to ten-minute operas, including six world premieres. RAVI KRISHNASWAMI’s music and sound company, COPILOT, earned an Association of Music Producers (AMP) award for its work on a recent Jell-O commercial. This was the fourth consecutive AMP award for COPILOT. The award was for the Best Execution of a Sonic ID or Logo. Ravi, who is COPILOT’s co-partner and creative director, accepted the award with partner and Executive Producer Jason Menkes. JOHN FITZ ROGERS’s work, “Sehnen,” received its New York premiere performance at the American Modern Ensemble Awards Night on April 29, 2016. His composition was one of 15 selected for performance from more than 180 entries in the AME national competition.

vermont college of fine arts

faculty news

FRANK JUAREZ presented his “365 Artists 365 Days Project” at the 2016 Wisconsin Art Education Association Fall Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin on October 20, 2016. He also discussed his Midwest Artist Studios Project. He will be making the same presentation at the upcoming 2017 National Art Education Association (NAEA) Convention in New York, March 2-4, 2017.

MICHEL NEGROPONTE’S new film, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MICHELLE MAREN, was screened at the 4th International Congress on Borderline Personality Disorder in Vienna, Austria. He’s currently working on a new film about an outsider artist who lives in upstate New York.

GEOFF HALBER’S design studio Everything Type Company recently redesigned the iconic music magazine The Fader in honor of the 100th issue of the publication.

Silas also contributed a button design to “The 45 Pin Project,” campaign buttons that tell the story of a campaign and a candidate. To help tell Hillary Clinton’s story, the campaign invited 45 artists and graphic designers to create button designs that embody why they support Hillary.



ANDRES HERNANDEZ and design partner Amanda Williams—both Chicago-based artists—recently won a PXSTL commission to help turn a dilapidated part of Grand Center, St. Louis, Missouri into an arts facility.

TERENCE NANCE’S short film UNIVITELLIN received a glowing review in The New Yorker’s Oct. 11 issue, which featured an article about the New York Film Festival. Writer Richard Brody attended Terence’s screening and said that there was “more imagination and invention, wonder and menace, and firsthand observation in the fifteen minutes” of UNIVITELLIN than most of the films screened during the festival.



KELLY GROSS and her husband, Steve Gross, recently started the Rubber Band Project, which promotes inquiry-based educational experiences for K-12 students. The Project runs a biweekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). club in a local Midwest elementary school, as well as administering STEAM workshops at other community organizations and a museum. Kelly and Steve have also run art professional development sessions for entire districts, art staff, and more recently at the Illinois Art Education conference. In November, they published an article in Art Education journal and led an online webinar for an estimated 300 art teachers.

SILAS MUNRO and DAVE PEACOCK presented as part of the TypeCon’s Type & Design Education Forum in August 2016. Their talk, Hands On-Again, Off-Again: A Paradigm of Typographic Pedagogy in Hybrid Learning, focused on teaching typography within a student-centered, low-residency learning environment. They offered insight into VCFA’s unique pedagogical approach and highlighted student work through a series of case studies.

JOSEPHINE DECKER was recently invited to be a fellow in DevLab 2016—a joint effort of Kaleidoscope VR and Oculus—to fund new innovative virtual reality (VR) projects. Her VR project was also incubated with the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Lab. She is also in post-production on a feature film she directed this summer starring Miranda July and Molly Parker, and is currently in residency at Princeton University to incubate a dance-film project with butoh artist Vangeline and students.

faculty news Visual Art

FAITH WILDING’s retrospective touring exhibition, Fearful Symmetries, continued this year at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in September. The exhibition highlights a range of works on paper— drawings, watercolors, collage and paintings—and covers works from Wilding’s studio practice spanning the past 40 years. In March, Faith took part in the National Academy’s “Remember Womanhouse,” a panel featuring original Womanhouse artists Faith and Mira Schor, along with curator, writer, and gallerist Kat Griefen, in a conversation moderated by Catherine J. Morris, Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

ABBY FRUCHT announced the release of A Well-Made Bed, her new novel written with Laurie Alberts. Frucht completed a nationwide tour for the book as well. Toronto’s Theatre Passe premiered a play based on Elle, a novel by DOUGLAS GLOVER, in January 2016. Elle won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 2003. Playwright Severn Thompson adapted the novel, and Douglas took part in an onstage interview during the play’s limited run. CYNTHIA HUNTINGTON was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. Her book, Heavenly Bodies, was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award in Poetry. BARBARA HURD announced the publication of a collection of essays, Listening to Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies. T. GERONIMO JOHNSON received the 2015 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for his book Welcome to Braggsville, which was also on the 2015 National Book Award longlist. Now in its ninth year, the Gaines Award is a nationally acclaimed $10,000 prize created by donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. The award recognizes outstanding work from rising African-American fiction writers, while honoring Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world.

In November 2016, MARTINE LEAVITT won one of Canada’s most prestigious honors, the Governor General’s Award, for her book Calvin. TIM WYNNE-JONES was also a finalist for the award.

KEKLA MAGOON won the NAACP Image Award for Youth Literature for the book X: A Novel, written with Ilyasah Shabazz. Kekla attended the awards presentation, which took place in California in February. Kekla’s book was also one of the 2016 Author Honor Books for the Coretta Scott King Award. NOVA REN SUMA’S latest YA novel, The Walls Around Us, became a New York Times #1 bestseller in March.

vermont college of fine arts

faculty news

CAULEEN SMITH was awarded the first ever Ellsworth Kelly Award. The $40,000 Ellsworth Kelly Award, given through the Foundation of Contemporary Art, supports emerging, mid-career, and underrecognized artists by funding a solo exhibition of the winner’s work at a regional museum or university art gallery. As part of the award, an exhibition of Cauleen’s film, video, and sculpture work, curated by Anthony Elms, will be presented at the University of Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art in 2018. Cauleen was also one of five winners of the 22nd annual Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Cauleen won the award in the film/video category and took home a $75,000 prize as part of the honor.

New faculty: HARRISON CANDELARIA FLETCHER is a noted creative nonfiction writer who has written numerous books, including his most recent novel Presentimiento: A Life In Dreams. ANN HOOD is the bestselling author of Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine and many other books. She’s also an essayist whose work has appeared in several anthologies. T. GERONIMO JOHNSON is an author and poet whose book Welcome to Braggsville won numerous awards last year and was long-listed for the National Book Award.



SOWON KWON announces the publication of her essay, “S as in Samsam,” in Triple Canopy. You can read her essay here: s-as-in-samsam/#title-page.


New faculty: The MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults welcomed three new visiting faculty members in 2016. DANIEL JOSÉ OLDER is The New York Times bestselling author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin’s Roc Books and the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015), which was nominated for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature, the Norton Award, and the Locus Award. LIZ GARTON SCANLON is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, including the highly-acclaimed, Caldecotthonored picture book All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, and her debut novel for middle-grade readers, The Great Good Summer, as well as The Good-Pie Party; Happy Birthday, Bunny!; Noodle & Lou; and several others. LINDA URBAN writes picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade novels. Her works include A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Hound Dog True, The Center of Everything, Milo Speck Accidental Agent, Mouse Was Mad, Little Red Henry, and most recently, Weekends with Max and His Dad.



CYNTHIA ATWOOD exhibited An Alphabet of Weapons at No Six Depot Gallery in West Stockbridge, MA. This sculptural representation of weapons that we use against ourselves and others includes “C is for Charm,” “W is for Worry,” and “M is for Money.”

Writing for Children & Young Adults

Writing & Publishing New faculty: JENSEN BEACH is the author of two collections of short stories, For Out of the Heart Proceed and Swallowed by the Cold. He is also a translator and teaches in the BFA program at Johnson State College. JESSICA HENDRY NELSON is a new visiting faculty member. She is the author of If Only You People Could Follow Directions Counterpoint Press, February 2014, which was selected for a number of “best book” lists. SEAN PRENTISS, author of the memoir Finding Abbey: a Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave and co-editor of The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, is a new visiting faculty member. RIGOBERTO GONZALEZ conducted an interview with author Jacqueline Woodson in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. ALLISON ADELLE HEDGE COKE (W ’95) was appointed Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California at Riverside. Allison’s poetry collection Streaming won the 2015 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry, and she was awarded the Wordcrafter of the Year award by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Allison was also named the 2016 Witter Bynner Fellow as selected by the 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, Juan Felipe Herrera. This honor was celebrated on March 9, 2016 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. She received a $10,000 fellowship.

LAWRENCE SUTIN announced the release of The Seeming Unreality of Entomology, an erasure book published by See Double Press. The book is a dream of spacious interspecies unity that also warns against the dire threat of knowing too much and finding it too little.

TIM KIRKMAN’S latest film, LAZY EYE, debuted in festivals across the country in 2016. He also screened it at Montpelier’s Savoy Cinema in October.

ROBERT VIVIAN announced the publication of two new books: his first book of prose poems, Mystery My Country, and Traversings, a collection of poems written with fellow faculty member RICHARD JACKSON.

M.G. LORD (W ’16) was voted onto the USC faculty as a full-time Assistant Professor of the Practice of English. He also wrote the introduction to The Madame Realism Complex, a new collection of short stories by Lynne Tillman, forthcoming, and was named to the Advisory Board of PEN Center USA.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke reads her poetry at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Life after the MFA


Kentucky-based progressive-indie rock band Dream the Electric Sleep—fronted by VCFA alum Matt Page— recently released its third album, “Beneath the Dark Wide Sky.” The album cover features a collage by fellow alum, New York-based artist Nils Karsten. It’s a cool collaboration of two talented artists living in different parts of the country who met on campus in Montpelier. “We’ve gotten such great reviews,” Page says. “Every critic I talk to, they always bring up the artwork and how powerful it is.” Page (Visual Art, ’06) and Karsten (Visual Art, ’03) met in 2008 when they were at VCFA as alumni assistants. They connected over similar tastes in music and art. In 2014, they were both back on campus when Karsten was sharing some of his work with a group that included Page, at a time when Page and his band were putting together songs for the album.

vermont college of fine arts

life after the MFA

Collaborating for an Album and Its Artwork: Matt Page & Nils Karsten



VCFA not only provides the logistical network alumni can tap into, but students and graduates having the shared experience of VCFA’s creative philosophy. A mutual connection to VCFA can jump start that connection, and has proven to be fruitful for these alumni.

“Beneath the Dark Wide Sky,” inspired by Dorothea Lange’s photographs of the Dust Bowl, is a rich, deliberate reflection on how an artist shed light on one of America’s most difficult periods. Karsten makes thought-provoking, edgy collages with watercolor and graphite, in which one can find a connection with Lange’s somber, black-and-white photographs. Page and Karsten connected over art and became friends, bonding over their appreciation for each other’s work.



Rarely is a creative project a solo endeavor. The VCFA network, then, is one of the most powerful aspects of the MFA experience, and through it artists can find others to enhance their productions. A screen writer might need an experienced director; a director might be in search of a musician to score their film; a musician might seek an artist to design album artwork.

“When I saw his images, the aesthetics of them really resonated with me,” Page says. “I asked him if he was willing to take his aesthetic and apply it to the content of the album.”

“I think part of it is that we went to the same graduate program,” Page says. “Our creative practices were open enough and critically engaged enough and that put us in a similar mindset. After, we became friends.” Page has a bachelor’s degree in visual art, and Karsten has worked as a musician, so both were familiar with the other’s medium. Page shared early cuts of the album’s songs so Karsten could get to work designing the album artwork. “He gave me some early demos of his music, which I thought was pretty generous,” Karsten says. “It’s hard to share music that’s not fully mixed yet. He kind of said, ‘Do your own thing,’ but we talked a long time about what the album’s about, what music inspired him. It was all pretty familiar to me because we have the same interest in music. In the end, I listened to what he told me but of course it had my own take as well.” Karsten took in the early material, and began drawing and painting. First, he created the individual components of the collages. He used fragments found in Playboy magazines from the 1970s, National Geographic, and vintage travel magazines. “Then it’s a little bit like playing around,” Karsten says. “I have all these images on my table, I’m moving them around until it clicks. In a way, the collage has to find itself, I can’t force it too hard. If I have too many good ideas I have to start over again.” He created several different collages and sent them to Page. One in particular struck him. “As soon as I saw it, I shared it with the band,” Page says. Dream the Electric Sleep includes Matt Page on vocals, guitar, and keys; Joey Waters on drums and vocals; and Chris Tackett on bass. Influences include Pink Floyd, Genesis, Radiohead, and U2, and the band has a big following in Germany, which is Karsten’s home country. The band writes all the music together, though Page writes all the lyrics and does a good portion of the conceptual framing of the music. Dream the Electric Sleep ended up using Karsten’s work throughout the album art, not only on the cover. A collage, Page points out, is an ideal medium for an album cover, as it marries individual parts into something of a whole—not unlike VCFA students marrying their individual artistic mediums to create a richer artistic endeavor. As Page says, “One of the great things about VCFA is that it really promotes a collaborative process.” To hear Dream the Electric Sleep’s music, visit Nils Karsten’s work can be viewed at

VCFA alumna Renee Lauzon (Visual Art, ’12) also contributed to the filming and post-production work. Lauzon worked as the film’s sound designer, which she had done on Castaneda’s previous short film, BOX.

A film and music partnership: Martin Castaneda & Bradley Turner Martin Castaneda (Film, ’16) has worked in many areas of communication, including directing commercials, post-production, copywriting, and marketing. So when he set out to choose someone to score his thesis film JOAN IN OWL LAND, finding someone who also had experience working on commercial projects was a “huge plus.” He knew that meant they could take direction and get the job done on deadline. Castaneda tapped into the VCFA network and put a call out for someone to score the piece, hearing back from about eight alums and current students. One resume stood out—that of Bradley Turner (Music Composition, ’17) of Mobile, Alabama. Turner had worked in commercials, piquing Castaneda’s interest. “I had a very clear idea of what I wanted,” Castaneda says. “Sometimes you get artists involved and they are head strong, like I am. But knowing that this guy used to work in commercials, I was going to be able to say, ‘I like it but maybe we can make this change and this change.’ ” “Bradley and I chatted about the work, and also about the method of working, and we were on the same page, which led to a great work relationship.” Castaneda adds. “We worked together a lot back-and-forth.” JOAN IN OWL LAND is a nine-minute, magicalrealism film about a young girl who wants to bring her father back from death with the help of an imagined—or not—creature, Owl Thing. It’s based on Castaneda’s mother’s memories from when she was 5, from the time when her father died, and it was shot around the Montpelier area in Vermont. Castaneda’s partner and

Turner, who is in his third semester in the MFA in Music Composition program, is a double bassist who plays jazz and classical music. He remembers when he received Castaneda’s email forwarded from program director Carol Beatty. “It was just the kind of film I was interested in scoring,” Turner says. “I’m really into more of the indie film realm, things that are a little quirkier, and the kind of music that I do has more of a background in folk and not so much traditional film scoring.” He watched a rough cut of the film and imagined the sound of acoustic instruments. “The first time I watched it I knew this was my thing.” A few months before starting at VCFA, Turner had been hired to write lyrics for a song in a promotional video for Suzuki, the Japanese car company. “I enjoyed the experience and that led to spending my first two semesters at VCFA studying with Ravi Krishnaswami who is an expert in that field. He would assign me commercials he had scored in the past, but would treat them like a mock job situation. This gave me some experience trying to interpret project briefs written by marketing firms, dealing with strict deadlines, and successfully surviving rounds of notes and revisions.” To score Castaneda’s film, Turner took the approach he learned with Krishnaswami. He showed Castaneda some of the demo work he had done, for instance scoring one commercial three different ways to show his versatility. He also took that approach when it came to scoring JOAN IN OWL LAND. He recorded a handful of theme possibilities and presented them to Castaneda. “We went back and forth a few times picking out the right theme because that was going to be the basis of everything,” Turner says. The two would likely not have met if not for their VCFA connection, and this opportunity was just what Turner was looking for. “I had wanted to do film stuff for a long time, but because of where I live there are not a lot of filmmakers here, especially doing films I’m interested in,” he says. “And this has led to more stuff; I just finished a documentary with another VCFA student. When that person was looking I was able to say, ‘Here’s what I’ve done with this person you know.’”

“Bradley and I chatted about the work, and also about the method of working, and we were on the same page, which led to a great work relationship.”



internationally renowned artist-teacher, professor, and contemporary artist. Among her many accomplishments since graduating from VCFA, Hawley was a co-founding member of the Bronx Envision Academy, an arts integrated public high school. She also served as director of Contemporary Art Education at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York, where she developed the vision and direction for a vibrant and highly collaborative arts education community and helped open the organization’s permanent home in Downtown Brooklyn’s Cultural District.



In 2015, Hawley returned to VCFA as a workshop faculty member for the Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education program, where she presents a workshop called Studio Activation. “It opens the program residency, and brings students from all over the country, who have never met before, together in an exciting, creative way. The studio space gets activated, students learn about each other in a meaningful way, and the space becomes theirs for the summer,” said Art & Design Education Program Director Marni Leikin.

[I create] art actions that incite feelings of confidence, innovation, inspiration, and shared success.

Q&A Creative Process an interview with

Hawley Hussey ’99 VA

about creativity, process, and the artistic unknown.

Since you continued your relationship with VCFA by becoming a professor, did you take any lessons from the classes or professors you worked with during your graduate program and apply them to your own teaching style? What is your teaching style? My time at VCFA clarified and emboldened my identity as a contemporary artist, activist, and educator. The most important experience at VCFA was the devotion and respect of all stakeholders toward all of us students, along with an intensity and clarity of purpose for each residency experience. The site-specific course of study, from readings to studio actions, was planned out with me in careful detail with help from faculty and passionate input from fellow students, visiting artists, and ArtistTeachers. I felt, for the first time in my life, as though I belonged to something that gave me access to education utilizing my unique style of engagement with life and learning. I had the privilege of attending VCFA during the final years of G. Roy Levin [founder of the MFA in Visual Art program]. He instilled in us a guiding sense of humor and irony and he encouraged total social engagement as artists. I felt a passionate fire light in me. As a result, my identity and style as a contemporary artist and educator is based in individual and community building/engagement and the creation of art actions that incite feelings of confidence, innovation, inspiration, and shared success. What do you remember most about the courses or projects you completed while attending VCFA? I had a very unique thing happen during my first residency and semester. My mother, a self taught artist and creative (b. 1914), passed away. For my Visual Culture paper I wrote a love letter to her inspired by Nabokov’s Pale Fire, a book that had been suggested to me by my Artist-Teacher. The love letter had footnotes that created alternate landscapes, characters, and goings-on. It was a method of writing that allowed me to process very complicated feelings and emotions with an approach that I hoped would be considered scholarly. The fact is, it had been 17 years since I had been in school and I was not sure how to approach writing a paper based on current readings without processing this epic loss that took up what seemed like all of me. At first, my Visual Culture professor was reticent to see where I was going with this. We were both encouraged by faculty to complete the process and to wait and present the paper at my Visual Culture meeting before making a judgment about the end result.. It was exactly this patience and trust that ultimately revealed a hidden super power I really never saw in myself. I was deemed a writer and a storyteller of the highest form and was asked for that story from staff and students alike. I was asked to read it in

public multiple times (to both individuals and groups) and it appeared once more during my graduation residency to a large crowd in Wood Gallery, which included faculty, students, families, security guards and physical plant staff. I received a postcard shortly after the residency from G.Roy. He said I had somehow managed to tell a deeply personal story without being nostalgic. I still cherish this postcard. It is this kind of generosity and patience that I now hold steady for each and every one of my students. I am always open and excited for the unexpected outcome. You are a professor and an amazing artist. How do you balance all the different aspects of your life? One of my biggest struggles has always been my absolute free spirit in relation to the work place. It does not mold well in full time day-to-day structures. I get bored at meetings if they aren’t inspired. What I love to do is think up ideas and actions and then do them! Right away! Not chip away the heart of the idea bit by bit in group consensus. I don’t think I fully bloomed as an artist and educator until I went rogue and began my own start up: HH:ArtLab in 2014. I have this positive energy for organizing and getting people excited to contribute time, talent, and money. A friend once told me that if I had two of the three going at any given time I would be ok. Instead of organizing for a company I do it for my various educational communities. In this way I can focus on project-based actions and create more time for making art and just living well. It’s my personal slow revolution. I live in a sharing economy in the Hudson River Valley with my partner Bill Brovold. Bill is a composer, painter, builder, and educator. We made a conscious decision to quit our day jobs and focus on art, music, and education. We support each other to make sure we both live well and have plenty of time to pursue our passions. Are there any current or upcoming projects you are particularly excited about? Bill and I have both have gorgeous publications in VOLT, a magazine of literature and art put out by Sonoma State University. The University invited us in early December to present a visual art and language workshop, and we also exhibited our work in the Bay Area, including the Alley Cat Bookstore and Gallery in the heart of the Mission District. Spring 2017 finds my new company The HH:ArtLab fully funded with phenomenal projects and exhibits coming up. We are thrilled to be focusing our art actions with mostly English Language Learners and Special Needs students. Last, I have to mention an incredible collaborative project that I am a part of with VCFA alumna Sherri J. Lisota (VA ’03), “Lexicon Imaginibus: A Working Artists’ Sketchbook Exchange.” This is just one more of the countless, vital, and enduring threads to my VCFA community.

Hawley Hussey working with students and young campers during this summer’s oncampus intensives.



vermont college of fine arts

vermont book award & gala

ALONG WITH MAJOR JACKSON, THE FINALISTS INCLUDE: Castle Freeman, Devil in the Valley; David Huddle, Dream Sender; Jo Knowles, Read Between the Lines; Jeffrey Lent, Slant of Light; Jennifer McMahon, The Night Sister; Sean Prentiss, Finding Abbey; Julia Shipley, Academy of Hay; Tamara Ellis Smith (WCYA ’07), Another Kind of Hurricane.



Vermont Book Award & Gala

THIS YEAR’S JUDGES INCLUDED poets Elizabeth Powell and Ryan Walsh; editor Carolyn Kuebler; memoirist Jessica Hendry Nelson; VPR host Mitch Wertlieb; and award-winning children’s writers Kekla Magoon and An Na.

IN WHAT’S BECOMING ONE OF THE BEST LITERARY TRADITIONS IN THE STATE, VCFA hosted the second annual Vermont Book Award Gala in Alumni Hall on September 24, with MAJOR JACKSON taking home the coveted honor. Jackson, a poet and University of Vermont professor, won the Vermont Book Award for his poetry collection titled Roll Deep. Congratulations to Major and the eight finalists!

WE HAD MORE THAN 170 GUESTS in attendance for dinner, cocktails, and dancing. Thanks to everyone who helped put this wonderful evening together. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Gala!

dear alumni/ae,

I hope to see you at an alumni event soon! Sabrina Fadial

Claire Emery ’15 VA is an artist-in-residence with the Missoula Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, using art to engage the public in farmland preservation issues.

Director of Alumni Relations ’01 VA

vermont college of fine arts

class news

The establishment of regional alumni groups has opened the door to alumni self-organizing across the country. We have groups in New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Northern and Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, and most recently Alaska, Canada, and Europe! This resource has spurred the success of the Visual Art Alumni Project (VAAP!). Group exhibitions have popped up from New Hampshire to San Diego and numerous points in between. Details can be found here: This year we saw the opening of the Louise Harwood Crowley Center for Faculty and Alumni. We are offering two distinct alumni retreat opportunities: Alumni Retreat Weeks, reserved for quiet, individual work; and Alumni Retreat Weekends, intended for social gatherings for groups of alumni. If you are interested, visit here to reserve a space: We will be out and about this year hosting alumni gatherings across the country. For more information about event dates, regional groups, alumni benefits, and post graduate opportunities, visit



VCFA has created a unique community of creatives around the globe.



Thank you for sharing your news! The collective accomplishments of our VCFA community clearly demonstrate that alumni, faculty, staff, and students are furthering the mission of the college to create a more humane world through the arts. The news compiled in the following pages represents the amazing accomplishments shared with us between September 2015 and September 2016. As we celebrate the anniversaries of three programs (Writing—35 years, Visual Art—25 years, Writing for Children & Young Adults—20 years), collaboration has surfaced as an overarching theme. This issue of In Residence highlights some of these collaborations. We would not be the institution we are without the efforts of our alumni, faculty, staff, and students. VCFA has created a unique community of creatives around the globe.

class news 1993

Wendy Mnookin W announces the publication of her fifth book of poetry, Dinner with Emerson, and Garrison Keillor read a poem from that book, entitled “Favorite Uncle,” on The Writer’s Almanac.

Dale Boyer W announces the publication of his first novel, The Dandelion Cloud. An examination of friendship and love—and the difference between the two, the story is set at a small Midwestern school in 1979. Dale is also a book review contributor to The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review.

1983 Dale Kushner W After the publication of her first novel, The Conditions of Love, Dale was invited to blog for Psychology Today. Her blog is called “Transcending the Past” and she invites feedback: transcending-the-past. Alison Hawthorne Deming W received a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship, and two of her books were published in 2016: Death Valley: Painted Light, a collaboration with photographer/astronomer Stephen Strom, and Stairway to Heaven, a new collection of poems. Valerie Wohlfeld W Her poems are forthcoming in The Yale Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Gargoyle, Commonweal, and The Healing Muse.


Maryann Calendrille W published a short essay, “Walking Napeague Dunes,” in the anthology, On Montauk: A Literary Celebration. Maryann “is still at the front desk of Canio’s Books, an independent literary bookshop in Sag Harbor, NY, now in its 36th year.” Markham Johnson W won first prize in the Nimrod Literary Awards 2016: The Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry for his poem “Greenwood Burning, 1921,” and he has new poems coming out in Nimrod, International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Nine Mile.

1985 Lynn Martin W published her third collection of poems, Birds of a Feather, and a film QUIET REBEL— LYNN MARTIN’S STORY (Brattleboro, VT) was made about her life.

1986 Harry Burrus W His script, Immortal Quest, was one of the 2016 winners of the Capital Fund Screenplay Competition. His latest poetry collection is Layers: New & Selected Poems, and his latest novel is Time Passes Like Rain. He wrote and directed the featured film MARRAKECH, and his articles on the Beats in Mexico were published in two UK publications. Rustin Larson W announces the publication of his new collection of poems, The Philosopher Savant (Glass Lyre Press).



1987 Helen M. Stummer VA announces the forthcoming publication of Risking Life and Lens: A Photographic Memoir, which offers a comprehensive overview of her personal and professional development over the course of her 40-year career as a socially concerned photographer documenting life in the face of poverty, racism, and oppression. Helen has an MA in Visual Sociology from Vermont College.

1988 Walter Christie W announces the publication of Rising Above the Wave: Surviving Tsunami and Stroke in Japan 2011 (Maine Authors Publishing, 2015).

1989 Ted Deppe W His sixth book, Liminal Blue, comprised of twelve shorter poems, a lyric essay, and a book-length poem, has been published by Arlen House.

Beverleigh Anne Benjamin W published her memoir Hope Deferred: A Memoir of Waiting (Tate Publishing, 2015). Richard Lutman W announces the publication of his first novel, Patch of Dirt, a “Big Sky romance novel” (Hawkins Publishing Group). He has also published nine short stories since 2015. Tim Seibles W was named Virginia’s 2016 Poet Laureate.

Susan Aizenberg W Her newest collection of poetry, Quiet City, was published by BkMk, and a poem from the collection, “Mornings,” appeared in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column in March/April 2016. New poems and a brief essay are forthcoming in North American Review and Numero Cinq, and several poems will appear in upcoming anthologies. Jan Groft W announces the publication of her new book, Artichokes & City Chicken: Reflections on Faith, Grief and My Mother’s Italian Cooking. Patricia Jones W Her fourth poetry collection, A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems, was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, as well as a finalist for the 2016 Paterson Poetry Prize. She received a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund award for her memoir in progress.

1992 Laurie Kuntz W announces she has retired from more than 30 years of teaching creative writing, poetry, and literature in Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand. She has produced two short films with her filmmaker son, and is producing a new documentary. Along with poetry, Laurie is writing and publishing haiga (haiku plus imagery).

Susan Konig W published her third motherhood humor book, Teenagers & Toddlers Are Trying to Kill Me! Susan was selected as Humor Writer of the Month by the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer’s Workshop at the University of Dayton. She also launched a new publishing company, Willow Street Press.

vermont college of fine arts

class news


Phyllis Barber W received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters from the Smith-Pettit Foundation, and was a winner of the 2014 O. Marvin Lewis Essay Award for Best Essay in Weber—the Contemporary West for “Great Basin DNA.” Phyllis is also a retired Vermont College and VCFA faculty member.




Richard Michelson W was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship for new work and poems included in his collection More Money Than God.




class news 1995

Linda Legters W Her debut novel, Connected Underneath, was published by Lethe Press, and her second novel, The Vanishing Point, will be released in May 2017.



Eugenie Doyle W announces the publication of her first picture book, Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter (Chronicle Books).

October 2015

Angela Patten W received an Arts Endowment Grant for a new poetry collection from the Vermont Community Foundation, and she was a visiting writer in the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast in Ireland program in Dingle, County Kerry. Angela teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Vermont.

1998 Bonnie Baxter VA exhibited La mort tragique et premature de Jane (The Tragic and Premature Death of Jane) in a solo show at Galerie Division Montreal.

1997 Michele Leavitt W announces the publication of Walk Away: a memoir (Kindle Single), a story about how she lived through the violence of her adolescence and rose out of it to a place of possibility. Karla Van Vliet W announces the publication of From the Book of Remembrance, a collection of love poems.

Les Edgerton W announces the publication of Bomb!, his 18th published book. He has two new books forthcoming from Down & Out Books, and The Death of Tarpons will be rereleased from Endeavour Books (UK) as an e-book and in paperback from Betimes Book (UK). The Rapist is also forthcoming from Pulpmaster (Germany). Elaine Lorenz VA Her work Spontaneous Generation, a five-part sculptural installation, is on exhibit at the Wildflower Sculpture Park in the South Mountain Reservation in Maplewood, NJ through May 2017. Made from fiberglass and copper wire, the pieces hang from wild grape vines or emerge from the ground. Elaine will also be showing her ceramic sculpture series, Seed Pods, in a two-person exhibition at the Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea, NY in 2017. She has been on the board of the Sculptors Guild in New York for the past six years, serving as Exhibition Chair and now as President.

vermont college of fine arts

class news




La mort tragique et prématurée de Jane

Pamela Post-Ferrante W announces the publication of her essay, “Windows,” in 25 Women Who Survived Cancer: Notable Women Share Inspiring Stories of Hope (Mark Chimsky, editor).



Brad Davis W teaches 11th grade English and Writing Poetry at The Stony Brook School on Long Island, and is looking for fellow poets along the mid-island, Port Jeff-Patchogue corridor:

Carol Westberg W Her second book, Terra Infirma, was a finalist for the 2014 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, and “We Pass Like Thieves,” a poem within that collection, was nominated for the Best of the Net Awards 2015.

Ann Angel WCYA published Things I’ll Never Say, Stories About our Secret Selves, a short story anthology which explores the way secrets shape us. Past and current VCFA faculty with stories in the collection include Cynthia Leitich Smith, Louise Hawes, Kekla Magoon (’05), Chris Lynch, and Ron Koertge, and alums represented include Varian Johnson (’09), Ann Angel(’99), and Mary Ann Rodman (’00). Such A Pretty Face, Short Stories About Beauty was also rereleased as an e-book.

Emily Bilman W won a Gold Medal for her poem, “The Tear-Catcher,” in the Depth Poetry Category given by The NY Literary Magazine. Her new book of poetry, Resilience, was published by Matador (UK); Matador also republished A Woman By A Well: A Self-Portrait. Emily was invited to give a reading at the Union of Writers of St. Peterburg (Russia).

1996 Susan Spencer Crowe VA exhibited Cuts & Folds: Susan Spencer Crowe, a solo exhibition at The Painters Gallery in Fleischmanns, NY. Susan also took part in a group show, “Archipelago,” at the Theo Ganz Gallery in Beacon, NY, and exhibited, Birthing the Ethereal: Watercolors and Sculptures from the 1990s, a solo show of the daily watercolors she did while at Vermont College studying with feminist art critic Arlene Raven in 1994-1995, and some of the steel and fabric sculptures that resulted. She also took part in Staying Power, an exhibition of eleven artists who made art their life’s work, at the Albany (NY) International Airport.

Arlan Hess W has assumed ownership of City Books, Pittsburgh’s oldest used bookstore. She welcomes event inquiries from VCFA alums at

1998 Deb Hall VA exhibited a new body of work entitled Iconographia: The Impact of Technology on Nature at both The Schick Art Gallery at Skidmore College and the Saratoga Arts Council.

class news 1999

VCFA faculty members represented:

Barbara Hurd Patrick Madden Clint McCown Robert Vivian Alumni represented:

Laura Michele Diener (’16) Thomas E. Kennedy (’85) Melissa Matthewson (’15) Emry McAlear (’15) Alison Townsend (’92)

Jane Camens W Her short story, “After Midnight,” won first prize in the Script Road Literary Festival competition in Macau, and was subsequently published in English, Portuguese, and Chinese. Asia Pacific Writers & Translators, the organization Jane founded, held its 9th annual conference hosted by Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Cynthia Riggs W announces the publication of two books this year: Bloodroot, the 12th in the Martha’s Vineyard Mystery series, and Howard and Cynthia: A Love Story.

April Sayre WCYA announces two of her 2015 books were ALA Notables: Woodpecker Wham, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, and her NCTE Orbis Pictus-honored picture book, Raindrops Roll, which she photoillustrated. Four new books were also published in 2016: Best In Snow, a photo-illustrated book; The Slowest Book Ever, a middle-grade nonfiction book; Go, Go, Grapes board book; and Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. April was also a winner of the 2016 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award— Genre Excellence Award, Children’s Picture Books.

Janna Wong W announces the publication of her short story, “The Opened Door,” in Vol. 2 of Centum Press’ One Hundred Voices book. Her short story, “Black Tie Blues,” was published by Write Out Publishing. Janna is a graduate of USC’s Master of Professional Writing program, which is now VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing program.

Brian Michels W announces the publication of his novel, The Last Bar in NYC.


Spencer Smith W won the 2016 Northern Colorado Writers Annual Fiction Prize for her unpublished novel, She Wept for the Lobsters of the World, the Adventures and Opinions of Esther Joan Clemons. Spencer’s poem, “June Heat,” was published in the 2016 edition of The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop.

Kevin McLellan W published “[box],” a poem printed on seven transparencies, “fragments that contribute to a more comprehensive narrative, yet as these transparent pages turn, the poem becomes the erasure, thus enacting the very nature of the text.” His poem “Anonymity” won the 15th Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award.

Harry Groome W announces the publication of his new novel, The Best of Families (The Connelly Press). Lory Lockwood VA The featured artist at the 10th Anniversary of the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, Lory was also commissioned to paint a portrait of Ralph Marano’s 1940 Packard Darrin which was featured on the program cover. She also exhibited at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

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class news This annual collection, published by Houghton Mifflin and released in October 2016, collects the previous year’s best essays printed through an American publisher. Franzen chose the essays from more than 100 submissions.

Bobi Martin WCYA announces the publication of five titles, three for readers from 3rd through 6th grade: Organisms That Glow; What Are Gems?; and What Are Elections? (all with Britannica); and two for middle school to high school readers: Theme Parks, and Working as an Electrician in Your Community (both with Rosen).


Don Swartzentruber VA received an Individual Studio Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. The application involved the submission of 50 pages of original sequential illustration, and each panel is a fully rendered ink brush, watercolor, and gouache narrative. This collection of one- to three-page short stories explores ethics, wrestling with personal and communal behavior.



MFA in Writing well represented in The Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen.

Josh Wilker W His new book, Benchwarmer: A SportsObsessed Memoir of Fatherhood, was published by Public Affairs.

Sawnie Morris W Her collection, Her, Infinite, was the winner of the 2015 New Issues Poetry Award and was published by New Issues Press (March 2016). She was also the winner of the 2016 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize sponsored by Hunger Mountain, and has work forthcoming in the online edition of the 2016 Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press).



Lynn Imperatore VA Lynn was awarded a PhD from the University of West England for her practice-led research: “Out of the Corner of the Eye (the ‘I’): Drawing as Disposition and of Perception.” Lynn presented at the Seventh International Conference on The Image: Face Value—Personification and Identity in a Post-digital Age. The title of her talk/reading was: “See for Yourself: Drawing’s Disposition of Perception,” a practice-led analysis of drawing’s capacity to encompass unexpected aspects of the visual field. She published “See for yourself: Drawing (out) the interiors of vision,” in Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, Volume 1, Number 1. Lynn also gave a paper presentation at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxfordshire, UK, entitled, “Drawing Out (of) the Image,” addressing the conversations between imagination engaged when drawing from other works of art (i.e., sketching in museums).

Barbara Sullivan VA received a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and will be among approximately 25 fellows focusing on their own creative projects at this working retreat for visual artists, writers, and composers.

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Jen Grow W Her collection of short stories, My Life As A Mermaid, won the 2012 Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Competition. One of the stories in the collection, “I Get There Late,” was originally published in Hunger Mountain.

2000 Craig Stockwell VA announces he has been named a 2016 deCordova New England Biennial Artist, and will participate in an exhibition of sixteen New Englandbased artists “who are making significant contributions to art in the region” at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA.

Patricia Buddenhagen W announces the publication of her story, “Beach Plum Jam,” in the Ploughshares Solo Series. It first appeared as an e-book and was then included in the print edition of the 2015-16 Solo Series.

Sarah Maclay W was awarded one of twelve City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowships for 2016, and was one of three LA literary artists to debut 20 minutes of new work at the Grand Performances stage at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG). Sarah’s full-length collection, framed covers, and a taped reading were also exhibited at LAMAG. Her collaboration with Holaday Mason, The “She” Series: A Venice Correspondence, a braided collection of new poems, was published this year.

Kim Aubrey Klement W Her essay, “Words Fail Us,” appeared in the summer 2016 issue of upstreet. Kim’s poems made the long list of the CBC Poetry Competition, and an essay was shortlisted in The Malahat Review’s CNF Contest. Kim leads a writers’ retreat in Bermuda each spring. Alexis Lathem W announces the publication of her new poetry collection, Alphabet of Bones.

2003 Amy Breau W won a 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, a $15,000 award made possible through Cuyahoga (OH) Arts & Culture. Nickole Brown W won a 2015 Weatherford Award for her collection of poems, Fanny Says. The Weatherford Awards honor books that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities and unique qualities of the Appalachian South,” and are granted by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association.

Meredith Davies Hadaway W Her third collection of poetry, At The Narrows, won the 2015 Delmarva Book Prize for Creative Writing. Meredith edits poetry for The Summerset Review and is the poetry coordinator for the annual Bay to Ocean Writers Conference in Wye Mills, MD. Collette Fournier VA took part in Timeless, a group photography exhibition and book signing, as part of Kamoinge Works at the Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba, NY.

Kelly Lenox W published new poems in the summer issue of Soundings Review, and her poem “Before Whose Feet” won second place in Kakalak 15.

Micaela Myers W announces she is the editor of UWyo Magazine at the University of Wyoming, and Micaela and her husband became the proud parents of a daughter and son in March 2016. Linda Stillman VA took part in Chroma Botanica: Ellie Irons & Linda Stillman, which showcased the work of two artists using natural plant pigments to explore wild and cultivated environments and the complex relationships between people and plants. She also worked with VCFA alums Cynthia Atwood (’99) VA and Joan Grubin (’03) VA on “then Red, “ a collective drawing that was included in the Exquisite group show of collaborative art at LABspace Gallery in Hillsdale, NY.

2004 Dave Barnette W His essay, “Hooked,” was featured on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine. Sundee Frazier WCYA announces the publication of Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic). Susan McCarty W is assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Oakland University (MI). Ayaz Pirani W announces the publication of his debut book of poetry, Happy You Are Here (The Word Works).

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class news Donna Beasley WCYA announces the publication of her first interactive children’s book, Zig Zag Zoo, Opening Day. In her role as digital children’s book publisher at Kazoom Publishing, Donna is launching a digital interactive library to bring greater diversity to children’s literature, particularly stories that feature African-American and Latino children. Kazoom Publishing books feature sight, sound, animation, and readalong audio, and writers and digital illustrators are invited to contact her with ideas or to join the team:

Sabrina Fadial VA took part in Adept Pursuits Accomplished Work, The 4th Corner Foundation Gallery Group Show, along with Riki Moss (’94) VA. She also took part in the group exhibition, Akin, at the Main Street Gallery (Montpelier, VT).




Nils Karsten VA exhibited “Here Are The Keys” at Ozasahayaski in Kyoto, Japan. The exhibit juxtaposes Karsten’s newest woodblock paintings with work from his ongoing practice of collage-thinking. He also exhibited “Cutting Room” at the Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong.

Jim McGarrah W announces the publication of Off Track: or How I Dropped Out of College to be a Horse Trainer in the 1970s While all My Friends were Still Doing Drugs (Blue Heron Book Works), and his fourth book of poems, The Truth About Mangoes (Lamar University Press).



Maggie Kast W announces the publication of her novel, A Free, Unsullied Land (Fomite Press). Her essay, “Mind the Gap: Narrative Distance in J.M. Coetzee’s Slow Man,” was published in Fiction Writers Review. Her story, “Song of Cities,” published on in its series of Complex Fairy Tales, was nominated for a Pushcart. Maggie convened and chaired a panel on Indie Press Publishing at AWP in Los Angeles, and joined the editorial board of Upper Hand Press.

class news

VCFA co-sponsors LoonSong retreat



Patty Crane W Her translation of Tomas Tranströmer’s poem “Air Mail” appeared in the July 31, 2015 issue of The New York Times Magazine. Bright Scythe: Selected Poems of Tomas Tranströmer, a bilingual collection of Crane’s translations, was published by Sarabande Press.

Constance Van Hoven WCYA received the 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers, Loft Award in Children’s Literature/Children Younger Than Eight. The Children’s Literature entries were judged by editor and artist Andrea Davis Pinkney. Constance also announces that her book, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota (Sterling, 2009), has been published in a new board book edition.

Mary Fillmore W announces the publication of An Address in Amsterdam (She Writes Press). This historical novel, about a young Jewish woman who risks her life in the underground but ultimately must go into hiding, has led Mary to speak about the complex dilemmas of collusion, collaboration, and resistance which still face us, and is actively looking for appropriate venues.

Pamela Eicher WCYA announces the publication of Thank You, Lord, for Everything, a board book for young children. Pamela also has four other titles with Zonderkidz: Little Lion’s Fuzzy Bible, Little Lamb’s Fuzzy Bible, Little Chick’s Fuzzy Bible, and Little Bunny’s Fuzzy Bible.

Kenny Williams W announces his book manuscript Blood Hyphen was awarded the 2015 FIELD Poetry Prize by the editors of Oberlin College Press and was published in 2016.


Tod Olson WCYA announces the forthcoming publication of LOST in the Pacific, 1942, the first book in a series of narrative nonfiction for upper middle-grade YA. Alicia Potter WCYA Her book, Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, illustrated by Birgitta Sif, was named one of 10 Highly Commendable titles by the 2016 Charlotte Zolotow Award committee, which recognizes outstanding writing in picture books.

Tony Van Witsen W announces his short story, “The Serial Achiever,” was published as a Story of the Week in the August 13, 2016 edition of The Missing Slate.

Lisha Adela García W shared the stage with VCFA faculty Tomás Q. Morin at Texas State University during National Poetry Month, with each reading from their respective books.

2006 Sarah Aronson WCYA announces her first picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg, was purchased by Beach Lane Books, and a new chapter book series, The Worst Fairy Godmother Ever, was purchased by Scholastic.

Nancy Richardson W announces the publication of her second chapbook, The Fire’s Edge (Finishing Line Press).

Julie Barton W Her book, Dog Medicine, How My Dog Saved Me From Myself (Penguin Random House) has become a New York Times Bestseller and will be published in the UK, Holland, Italy, Germany, France, and Korea.

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class news


Mary Ting VA created COMPASSION: For the Animals Great & Small, an art exhibition and series of public programs to create awareness of wildlife trafficking and promote change. The project opened on World Elephant Day 2015 at the Chinese American Arts Council’s Gallery 456 in NYC; Mary’s drawings were included in the exhibition.

Annie Lighthart W Three of her poems were read by Garrison Keillor on National Public Radio’s The Writer’s Almanac—“On This Date,” “The Hundred Names of Love,” and “The Second Music.” They are all from her book Iron String (2013).



Brad Birchett VA His work Partisan Fera was chosen as part of the New Waves exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, VA. Partisan Fera is the outcome of a series of installations and interventions that took place across northern Italy in 2014. Brad’s exhibited work involved multiple photo images from the interventions and a compilation of collected sounds taken during the experience.

Mark your calendars for next year’s retreat, September 7-11, 2017. Gabriella Klein W Her book of poetry, Land Sparing (Nightboat Books), was a finalist for the 2016 California Book Award.

Kitty Forbes W received a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers Conference at The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. 35

Elena Harap W Her essay, “So Tactlessly Thwarted,” about segregation in Nashville, TN in the 1950s and written during her time at VCFA, appears in What Does It Mean to be White in America?, a new anthology from 2Leaf Press exploring racism.

Bridget Birdsall WCYA Her YA novel Double Exposure, about an intersex/trans teen who overcomes bullying and learns to stand in her personal power, has won numerous local and national awards including IPPY Gold Medal Winner-Independent Book of the Year Award, and Golden Crown Literary Society’s “GOLDIE,” the First Place Award in YA Fiction. Double Exposure was also listed as a top anti-bully book by Publisher’s Weekly and was featured in Teaching Tolerance as a recommended resource for educators.

The inaugural LoonSong retreat for children’s book writers took place in Minnesota from September 8-12, 2016. Co-sponsored by VCFA, the event was organized by WCYA alumnae Debby Dahl Edwardson (’05) and Jane Buchanan (’05) along with former faculty member Marion Dane Bauer. Presenters included current WCYA faculty Will Alexander and Kekla Magoon (’05), and VCFA trustee Katherine Paterson gave the keynote address. Offering lectures, workshops, marketing consultations, and plenty of time to write in a remote, distraction-free environment, LoonSong was a huge success.

class news 2007

Vicki Wittenstein WCYA Her book, Reproductive Rights: Who Decides? (Twenty-first Century Books), “explores the historical context for reproductive freedom and the Brave New World of reproductive and genetic technologies in society.”

Sherry Shahan WCYA teaches a writing course for UCLA Extension and is a YA Mentor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her YA novel, Skin and Bones, was part of a nationwide Barnes and Noble 650-store promotion.

2007 Kelly Bennett WCYA announces that her “fishy little picture book” Not Norman, A Goldfish Story, illustrated by Noah J. Zones, was Jumpstart’s Read For The Record book for 2015, and 2.2 million children and adults from around the world read it on October 22, 2015! Since 2006, Read for The Record has mobilized more than 17 million people, with one children’s book selected each year as the catalyst to try to break the Guinness Book of World Records (again) for the world’s largest one-day shared reading experience.

Lois Grunwald W Her first chapbook of poems, Capacious Earth, was published by Finishing Line Press. Ann Jacobus WCYA announces the publication of her YA thriller, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light.

Martin Balgach W announces the publication of four poems: “Broken Clouds” appeared in burntdistrict, and “Terrace,” “On a Bench,” and “The Invisible Language of Wishing” appeared in Iodine Poetry Journal. Martin was a featured author at the High Plains Library District’s 2015 ReaderCon in Firestone, CO.

Renée Rossi W announces the publication of her new collection of poetry, Triage. Renee’s poem, “Consent for a Laryngectomy,” was published in the Best of Hospital Drive anthology, and her poem, “Theta,” was the 1st Prize Winner Poetry at the Sixth Annual Literature + Medicine Conference given by Texas Health Presbyterian.

2008 Mary Atkinson WCYA published, Owl Girl, a novel for children in grades one through five. Krisanne Baker VA Her traveling exhibition, “Earth SOS,” opened at the Flomenhaft Gallery in Chelsea, MA, and her paintings are on exhibit at the Elizabeth Moss Gallery. Krisanne’s slumped glass installation is at the “Art Meets Science” exhibition at Mount Desert Island Biological Labs, and her underwater ocean paintings are on exhibit at 25 Oak Street in Rockland, ME. She will be the artist-in-residence at Husson University (Bangor, ME) from January through March 2017, exhibiting ecological works that combine art and science, and engaging Husson students in a site-specific water project.

Darren Deth W His short story, “Man Do It,” was published in the Summer 2015 issue of Pentimento. Darren wrote this short story during his first semester at VCFA

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class news Janet Mendelsohn W won the 2015 Gold Award for History Writing presented by the International Regional Magazine Association for her feature “Rock Rest: A Pre-Civil Rights Vacation Destination” in Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine.

Patty (Martha) Oliver-Smith W read from her memoir Martha’s Mandala in a New Books Reading & Reception in NYC sponsored by Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, and read and presented slides from her memoir at an event at the CG Jung Center in NY.

Christina Cook W announces the publication of A Strange Insomnia, her new collection of poems.

Marcus Smith W announces the publication of his new book, SEZ/ Everything Speaks (Live Canon, London), and he gave a poetry reading at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University.

Jewel Beth Davis W Her essay, “It’s Free,” was published in Lime Hawk, and she is listed as a Recommended Author on Jewel’s speculative fiction, “Junie’s Folly,” was published in Del Sol Review, and her short story, “The Way Life Is,” was published in On the Veranda. Her play, Shadow Dancing, which explores gender, disability, and sexual abuse, was part of Athena Theatre’s Play Festival and was read at the Dramatists Guild in NYC.


:: A.W. Marshall W announces the publication of a collection of short stories, Simple Pleasures (ELJ Publications), and his play Pan (Mead/Hill).

Kerry Muir W Her essay, “Martin,” was awarded first prize in the nonfiction category of Carve Magazine’s 2015 inaugural Premium Edition Contest, and was published in Carve’s spring 2016 Premium Edition in print. Kerry’s flash nonfiction, “Clinic,” was awarded runner-up in Quarter After Eight’s Spring 2016 Robert J. Demott Short Prose Contest, and her longform essay, “It Takes a Global Village,” appears in the Winter 2016 online issue of Wraparound South. Her lyric essay, “Passiontide,” appeared in the Spring/Summer 2016 online issue of The Write Place at the Write Time, and “Blur” appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of River Teeth.

Lynn Pedersen W announces the publication of her poetry collection, The Nomenclature of Small Things. Lynn also read from her chapbook, Tiktaalik, Adieu, at the Decatur Public Library, GA.

Vanessa Blakeslee W announces the publication of her debut novel, Juventud (Curbside Splendor).

Tamara Ellis Smith WCYA announces the publication of Another Kind of Hurricane, a middle-grade novel that was the Summer 2015 Kids Indies Next List Pick, a Vermont Book Award Finalist 2016, and One of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2016 Edition.



Rocco Scary VA exhibited work at “Ink, Press, Repeat: National Juried Printmaking and Book Art Exhibition,” a presentation of a selection of contemporary prints and artists’ books. Rocco also had two solo shows: “2016 Fade to Blue” at the Second Story Gallery in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and “The Memory Pages (part 2)” at Rutgers University, Newark, NJ.

Elizabeth McHale W announces that MidGard’n Press, which Elizabeth founded in 1998, just released the artist book Little Acorn by Sean Brendan Peters and illustrated by Valerie Varrigan. It was published, produced, and letterpress-printed by MidGard’n Press, and Elizabeth welcomes submissions. Contact her at

class news Deb Fleischman W Her essay, “L’Cheeyim,” about her late dog and father, was published in Green Mountains Review Spring 2016 issue.

Kasty Thomas France W was appointed the Faculty Department Chair, Literature, Creative Writing, and Developmental Reading and Writing at Tulsa Community College (OK), where she is also Assistant Professor of English. Kasty attended the 2016 Summer Kellogg Institute for Developmental Education at Appalachian State University. Kasty is a graduate of USC’s Master of Professional Writing program, which is now VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing program.

2009 Steven Axelrod W His third Henry Kennis Mystery, Nantucket Grand, was published with Poisoned Pen Press, and he’s hard at work on the fourth book in the series. He’s also running stories on Nikki Finke’s Hollywood Dementia website, including portions of his noir thriller, Heat of the Moment, published by Gutter Books.

Lisa Doan WCYA announces the forthcoming publication of The Alarming Career of Sir Richard Blackstone (Sky Pony Press), the humorous tale of a Victorian-era orphan and the unorthodox scientist who hires him as his assistant. Margaret Nevinski WCYA Her middle-grade short story, “Birches,” appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Soundings Review from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.

Bamboo SecretS

Bamboo SecretS one woman’s quest through the shadows of japan

Patricia Dove Miller

Patricia Dove Miller


Patricia Miller W announces the publication of her memoir, Bamboo Secrets: One Woman’s Quest through the Shadows of Japan.

Jill Santopolo WCYA announces the publication of books seven and eight in the Sparkle Spa series: Sparkle Spa: Bling It On! and Sparkle Spa: Wedding Bell Blues. Christine Starr Davis W Her poetry chapbook, Skin, Bone, Feather, won the 2016 Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her poem, “Fewer Bees Now,” was published in the Tupelo Press Anthology, Thirty Days: The Best of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project’s First Year. She was also a finalist for the 2015 Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize and her poem, “Chess and Computers” was published in the Winter 2015 Spoon River Poetry Review. Rebecca Van Slyke WCYA announces the publication of two books: Where Do Pants Go?, a silly getting-dressed book for toddlers, and Lexie, The Word Wrangler, about a cowgirl who wrangles words, not cows.

Ginny Lowe Connors W initiated the Poetry in the Parks project in West Hartford, CT, where she served as the town’s poet laureate. The project was realized in July 2015 when ten poetry posts were installed in two local parks, each presenting a poem by a local poet combined with the artistic expression of an area artist. Toward the Hanging Tree: Poems of Salem Village, Ginny’s collection of poems written in the voices of those who experienced the Salem Witch Hunt of 1692, was published by Antrim House.

Ben Westlie W announces the publication of Under Your Influence, a new chapbook of poems published by Finishing Line Press.

Carolyn Dille W is the founding editor of Leaping Clear, a new online magazine of art, literature, and contemplation. It features artists whose work is informed by contemplative practice, and invites VCFA artists in all media to submit and subscribe.

Amber Braden W announces the publication of her poem, “Le Paysage de Baucis, 1966,” in the literary magazine Loud Zoo.

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class news

Angela Small W attended the Aspen Summer Words conference as the 2016 YA fellow.

2010 Katie Bayerl WCYA Her YA novel, A Psalm for Lost Girls, is forthcoming from GP Putnam Books for Young Readers.



Joy Wiley-Simone W announces the publication of the second edition of her book, The Wedding Plan: A Collection of Short Stories. Joy is currently a web optimization analyst in Washington, DC, and has launched a digital communication services business, Fellow alums may remember her as Amaela Wiley.



Trent Reedy WCYA announces the publication of The Last Full Measure, the final book in his Divided We Fall trilogy, and his new middlegrade novel, Gamer Army, will be published by Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books.

2010 David French VA exhibited a large body of atmospheric paintings that address his struggle with cancer and chemotherapy as part of the Healing Arts Program at The Overlook Medical Center (Summit, NJ).

Anne Bustard WCYA Her middle-grade novel, Anywhere But Paradise, was a finalist for the 2016 WILLA Award for Children/YA and a finalist for the 2016 Texas Institute for Letters Best Children’s Book. Anne worked on this novel at VCFA. Renee Couture VA took part in Juxtaposed, a four-person exhibit of contemporary women artists with strong ties to Oregon. Renee’s work, It All Turns On Affection, focuses on ideas surrounding manmade land divisions, land ownership, and how the literal and conceptual values imbued onto surrounding landscapes shift and change over time. David Elzey WCYA published “Bolt” in One Teen Story (November 18, 2015). Nora Ericson WCYA announces the publication of Dill & Bizzy: An Odd Duck and a Strange Bird, illustrated by her sister, Lisa Ericson.

Janet Fox WCYA announces the publication of The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, a middle-grade historical fantasy set in Scotland in 1940. The novel has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf Awareness, and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Linda Oatman High WCYA announces the forthcoming publication of her middle-grade novel One Amazing Elephant, the story of an unlikely friendship between a girl and an elephant.

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Lindsey Lane WCYA announces the forthcoming release of a paperback version of Evidence of Things Not Seen (December 2016). Robin MacArthur W received a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council to work on her novel in progress to be published by Ecco (Harper Collins).

Caroline Carlson WCYA announces the birth of her daughter, Nora, who is already filling her shelves with books by VCFA alums! She also announces the publication of The Buccaneer’s Code, the third book in Caroline’s Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy.

Mallory Johnson VA exhibited Rituals for Remembering at 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia. Through this series of works on paper created with hand-made plant-based pigment, the project takes inspiration from slow movement philosophy and considers the personal, ecological, and cultural impacts of material choices within the design process.

Winifred Conkling WCYA announces the publication of Radioactive! How Irène Curie & Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World (Algonquin Young Readers), which profiles two 20th-century scientists whose contributions facilitated the creation of the atomic bomb.

Anna Jordan WCYA has been promoted to the Production Editor and Special Projects position at Islandport Press in Yarmouth, ME.

Terry Pierce WCYA announces the forthcoming publication of her rhyming picture book, My Busy Green Garden, a lyrical tribute to the bugs, bees, and birds that make the garden such a busy place. David Kann WP His chapbook, The Language of the Farm, won the 2015 “Our Wish for Blue” Chapbook Contest and was published by Five Oaks Press. Gary Lawrence W won first and second places in Fiction at the 2016 Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration writing contest in Sierra Vista, AZ. His winning story, “BJ,” will be published in the 2016 edition of Mirage Literary and Arts Magazine.

Amy Emm WCYA won first place in the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing awarded by Hunger Mountain, The VCFA Journal for the Arts, for her YA short story, “Oprah, Maslow, and Me.”

2010 Leigh Anne Chambers VA received the 2016/2017 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship.

Jodi Paloni W announces the publication of her debut collection of linked short fiction, They Could Live With Themselves (Press 53), which was a runner-up for the 2015 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. Jodi won the 2015 Short Story America Prize for her story “Deep End,” which was published in the Short Story America Volume IV Anthology.

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class news Michelle Knudsen WCYA announces the publication of her novel, The Mage of Trelian, the third book in her MG fantasy trilogy. Her debut YA novel Evil Librarian was awarded the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, and the sequel, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, will be published in 2017.

2011 Kelly Barson WCYA announces the publication of her second YA book, Charlotte Cuts It Out, by Viking Children’s Books (Penguin).

Molly Heron VA took part in Synthetic Synthesis, a four-artist exhibition at Sculpture Space New York. Incorporating varied approaches to plastics, the artists repurposed plastic bags, petri dishes and frames, or used plastic as a raw material, to create minimalist objects.



Lynn Miller-Lachmann WCYA announces the publication of Surviving Santiago, the companion YA novel to her award-winning 2009 YA novel Gringolandia.

Tereza Swanda VA Her work, Capital Cleanse, was included in Art for Everyone, a new textbook for Art Appreciation courses published by Chemeketa Press at Chemeketa Community College, OR, as part of an effort to make textbooks affordable.



Linden McNeilly WCYA announces the publication of four books for the library and school market: What’s Your Potential? The Energy of Motion, an 8th grade science book; Insects as a Food Source and Insects as Healers for 4th-6th grade; and War Torn, a middle-grade historical fiction novel set in the Vietnam War.

Eric Pinder WCYA His book, How to Share with a Bear, originally published in hardcover by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2015, now has a Japanese translation from Iwasaki Publishing, and a paperback school market edition was published by Scholastic. A picture book sequel, How to Build a Snow Bear, was also published by Farrar Straus Giroux.

Jon McAuliffe VA and Craig Stockwell (’11) VA exhibited a collaborative painting series entitled Recovering The Body at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (VT). Jon and Craig “joined their disparate artistic styles and techniques to explore themes of agency and artistic impulse in a world disrupted by forces larger than the individual.”

VCFA’s MFA in Graphic Design sweeps the STA 100 Our MFA in Graphic Design program proved itself to be one of the best graduate programs of its kind this year when we all but swept the competition at the Society of Typographic Arts’ STA 100. Graphic Design Faculty Co-Chair Ian Lynam, alumni Jason Alejandro (’15) and Laura Rossi Garcia (’16), and current students Chad Miller and Luke Dorman were all selected by judges Neville Brody, Denise Gonzales Crisp and Martin Venezky as having created some of the top 100 graphic design projects of 2016. All selected works become a part of the STA 100 catalog and online exhibit.

2011 Melanie Crowder WCYA won the first annual Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices for her novel-in-verse, Audacity, which tells the story of turn-of-the-century activist Clara Lemlich’s dramatic fight for labor rights. Audacity was also a 2015 National Jewish Book Award Finalist, won the Virginia Library Association’s 2016 Jefferson Cup for Young Adult Readers, was awarded a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, was named to the Amelia Bloomer list and the YALSA Books For Young Readers List as a Top Ten title, and was designated a Best Book of the Year by the New York Public Library.

Lindsey Stoddard WCYA announces that her debut middlegrade novel, Just Like Jackie, has been acquired by HarperCollins, publication forthcoming in 2018. Meg Wiviott WCYA received a Christopher Award in the Books for Young People category for Paper Hearts. Christopher Award winners encourage audiences to see the better side of human nature, and motivate artists and the general public to use their best instincts on behalf of others.

2012 Ian Bodkin W announces the publication of The Savage Lyrics (Sink/Swim Press), a poet/graphic narrative set in the post apocalyptic future. He also announces the publication of Fingertip Scripture, a poetry collaboration written by Ian Bodkin and Lee Busby (’11) (ELJ Publications).

class news Rebecca Maizel WCYA announces the publication of A Season For Fireflies, a novel about first love, second chances, and the power of memory.

Wendy Roberts W Along with her partner, Matt, Wendy welcomed her son Milo into the world on March 3, 2016.

Susannah Lawrence Wood W announces the publication of Just Above the Bone (Antrim House Books), her new full-length book of poems.

Tavia Gilbert W announces, along with co-founder Cathy Plourde, the launch of Animal Mineral Press, a full-scale publishing company with a carefully created list of publishing imprints that cover aspects of sex and sexuality, identity, and relationships for youth, new adults, and adults. Jericho Parms W announces the publication of Lost Wax: Essays, a collection of eighteen essays centered on art and memory that “offer an investigation into form and content and the language of innocence, experience, and loss.” Jericho is the assistant director of the MFA Writing program at VCFA and teaches at Champlain College.


Pamela Taylor W is now the Assistant Provost for Institutional Planning & Assessment/Director of Institutional Research at Wellesley College, MA. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and published her first chapbook of poetry, My Mother’s Child (Hyacinth Press).

Carol Wylie VA took part in the Kingston Portrait Prize Finalists Exhibition, a national Canadian portrait competition held every two years. The finalists’ work was exhibited at three venues—one gallery each in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick—over a six-month period.

Skila Brown WCYA announces the publication of two books. Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks is a vibrantly illustrated (by Bob Kolar) poetic picture book about fourteen shark species, from the terrifying to the surprisingly docile. To Stay Alive (released in 2016 from Candlewick Press) is a young adult novel told in verse from the viewpoint of one of the survivors of the ill-fated Donner Party of 1846.

Elizabeth Coleman W A collection of her poems, The Fifth Generation, was published by Spuyten Duyvil Press. Pamela Cooper W Her photography and poems are featured in the Spring/Summer 2016 Kindred issue titled “Mason-Dixon.” Pamela’s photography is the cover art, and five of her poems and photos that accompany these poems also appear in this issue. Pamela also has a book of illustrated poetry forthcoming in 2017.

Mahtem Shiferraw W announces the publication of Fuchsia, the winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.

2012 Kathryn Eddy VA Her sound art installation, The Problematic Nature of Flatness, was discussed in an essay by scholar Mandy Suzanne Wong entitled, “History, Archaeology, and Deanthropocentrism in Sound Art,” published in The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art.

Kali VanBaale W announces the publication of her second novel, The Good Divide, and her essay, “Farm Crisis Kid,” was a finalist in the Nowhere Magazine 2016 Spring Travel Writing Contest. Kali has also been named as a faculty member of the Lindenwood University MFA in Writing Program (St. Charles, MO), teaching fiction and nonfiction workshops.

Leah Kaminsky W Her debut novel, The Waiting Room, won the Voss Prize and was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition. Leah completed it as part of her MFA in Writing, under “the brilliant wings” of Clint McCown and Abby Frucht. Jason Malli MC His composition consubstantial for fixed media was included in the 2016 Biennial Symposium for Arts and Technology hosted by The Ammerman Center at Connecticut College, and Jason was also awarded inclusion in the Emerging Artist Fellowship Program.

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class news

Elizabeth Kuelbs WCYA Her poem, “Gifts,” appeared in the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of The Timberline Review.



Sarah Seltzer W welcomed her son Michael (Mikey) Sylvan in April 2016, and works as deputy editor at, covering books and the intersection of politics and culture. She invites alums to send in galleys and ARCs.

2013 Melissa Cronin W announces the publication of two essays: “Right Foot Left Foot,” in Under the Gum Tree (October, 2015), and “Reaching for the Keys,” in issue eleven of the Saranac Review (October, 2015). She was also awarded a grant from the Vermont Studio Center toward a two-week writing residency in January 2016, where she worked on revisions of her memoir, The Peach.



Anna Maria Johnson W was accepted as a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar scholar for the seminar titled, “The Commonplace Book and Its American Descendants.”

2013 Timothy Miller MC announces the e-release of his CD project, A Day in the Park, which features eight of his small jazz combo pieces and was recorded at Ovation Sound Studios in Winston-Salem, NC, with Bill Stevens (’13) MC, owner and operator of Ovation Sound, as recording and mix engineer. He also announces the release of Abrazo: The Havana Sessions (Ansonica Records). Recorded in Havana, Cuba, the album presents works for big band, small jazz combo, choir, and chamber ensembles by eight composers, one of which includes current MC student Bunny Beck. Timothy was also interviewed by Marvin Rosen on Classical Discoveries on WPRB 103.3 FM (Princeton, NJ).

Jenny Mason WCYA announces the publication of her short story, “Body of Knowledge,” in the February 2016 issue of MUSE Magazine for Kids. Mary Rickert W won the Locus Award, First Novel for her novel The Memory Garden. Jim Rivera VA announces he is an Assistant Professor in the Studio Arts Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM. Sheryl Scarborough WCYA announces the forthcoming publication of To Catch A Killer.

Emily Vizzo W announces her poem, “It was a miracle route everyone had been searching for and the story caused a sensation,” was published in the Best New Poets 2015 anthology, guest edited by Tracy K. Smith.

2014 Frankie Bolt WCYA announces her YA short story debut, “The Driver,” was published in the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) literary journal. Jessica Collado MC has been appointed to Assistant Professor of Music at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She will be teaching courses in commercial music, directing the studio ensemble, and managing the campus record label.

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Heather Demetrios WCYA The second installment of Heather’s Dark Caravan Cycle, Blood Passage, has been published. Ruth Dudley-Carr VA shared new work along with Douglas Brull (’14) VA at the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park in Crystal Lake, IL.

Stephen Maine VA announces that he is teaching at Parsons School of Design in fall 2016 and at SUNY Purchase in spring 2017. Stephen continues to teach writing in the graduate fine arts program at The School of Visual Arts in NYC. Michael Minchin W His story, “In The Bodies of Beautiful Fish, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Mud Season Review, and his essay, “Writing is Not Hard Work,” was published on Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog. Michael’s essay, “Horns Pond,” was published in the Autumn 2015 issue of Northern Woodlands magazine, and his story “Vanish,” received Honorable Mention in The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest for 2015.

2014 Naomi Elena Ramirez VA taught “The Photographic Series as Performance,” a six-week course at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Her video “I Love You” was part of the Have you ever heard of happiness springing from a deep well of sorrow? exhibition, a tribute to Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader, at Mountain Gallery, Bushwick, NY, and she curated Beaver the Exhibition at The Center for Performance Research, a group exhibition, performance, and panel discussion on female sexuality in which she also exhibited, performed, and served on the panel. Naomi was a panelist on “The Slutist Panel: Defining Sexuality on Our Terms” at the Women CLAP BACK in Music and the Arts Symposium at The New School, and took part in Codes for Conduct group exhibition at Nurture Art, BK.

Cynthia M. Surrisi WCYA announces the publication of The Maypop Kidnapping, a middle-grade mystery set in Maine. Andrea Taylor VA exhibited new experimental video and print works in Analogy to a Blue Flame at Malaspina, an artist-run center in Vancouver. Her works focus on light, form, sensation, and temporality to explore our collective memory of images. Amy Wallen W announces the first chapter of her memoir (her creative thesis for VCFA) was published in The Gettsburg Review Spring 2016 issue. The story is titled, “When We Were Ghouls.” Her memoir has since been accepted by the University of Nebraska Press, publication forthcoming. Amy was also promoted to the position of Associate Director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute in Saratoga Springs, NY. Aaron Winters GD curated and presented a selection of silkscreen poster art at the first “Flomm! 423” event at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. His essay “Long Walks for Short Hills” was published in Slanted magazine #24, and his poster work was included in the Paste Modernism 4 group show at aMBUSH Gallery, Sydney, Australia. Aaron was part of the team awarded a Silver Medallion in the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations for their redesign of the Sacramento City College website, and his event branding work for a wedding was featured in Real Weddings magazine. He teaches at the Art Institute of California—Sacramento.

2015 Joeann Argue VA has been named the Executive Director for the Electric City Culture Council in Peterborough, Ontario. This new council will advocate for and support the arts, culture, and heritage organizations in the region. Evan Beigel MC talked with Warren Huart on, a website about the audio industry and gave Warren a look at his home studio set up. Evan is the former owner of Seasound Studios.

Gilbert Ford WCYA announces that his picture book, The Marvelous Thing That Came From A Spring, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Robby Gilbert VA His show, Compositions in Time, was featured at the three-day Vermont Animation Festival 2016, where Robby also gave an artist talk. Robby is a professor at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, VT. Erin Gleason VA took part in The Institute on the Environment’s Sustainable Acts: Mother Earth’s Embrace exhibition, which was shown at three locations in Minnesota.

Sondra Graff GD exhibited her VCFA thesis installation, “traversingwithonions I or in pursuit of the butter chair…” in New Views 2016, an FIT Art and Design Faculty Exhibition. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at FIT. Marjorie Halloran MC released her debut album, Ready For Anything. This album was part of her thesis project at VCFA and she wrote all of the songs during her time in the program. Faculty Don DiNicola assisted with mentorship, playing, mixing/ mastering. Thomas Avery (’16) MC provided guitar, bass, drums, and piano parts, and co-writer Michael Garrett Steele (’16) MC contributed vocals. Brian Higgins GD kicked off the Design for Social Change (Phoenix, AZ) workshop with a presentation about the history of designing for social engagement, examples from past and current designers who practice “Design for Good,” and tips for how to get involved. Brian is also Adjunct Professor of Graphic Design at Benedictine University, Mesa, AZ. Kali Lightfoot W Her poetry book reviews have been published on the web journal and on the Green Mountains Review website. Rebecca Olander W is the new editor/director of Perugia Press, a small nonprofit feminist press that publishes one book of poetry a year by a woman at the beginning of her publishing career. David Pinkston F announces that his film thesis project, NUT CRACKER, is currently in film festivals. The narrative won a silver award for editing from the LA shorts awards, and the film received Official Selection laurels from the Miami Independent Film Festival, the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival, the September 2016 Best Shorts Awards, and the Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival Online 2016.

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class news Carla Criscuolo W announces her first poetry chapbook, Pedestrian Traffic, was published by Finishing Line Press.

K. T. Landon W Her poem, “The Dead Go Bowling,” received Honorable Mention in the 2015 Elinor Benedict Prize for Poetry.

Sophfronia Scott W announces the forthcoming publication of her novel The Light Lives Here (William Morrow/HarperCollins). Her essay, “Why I Didn’t Go to the Firehouse,” appeared in the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of The Timberline Review.



Jeffrey Jennings VA announces his short film, FOR YOU, I WILL (2015), starring Lisa Beerle (’13) VA and Jeffrey, won Best Film during the January 2016 monthly film festival at Direct Short Online Film Festival.

Robin Kirk WCYA announces the publication of Peculiar Motion, a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line Press).



Miranda Jane Houng WCYA announces the publication of Cat Soup, Twinkle Toes, and Mooncake Magic, a collection of three illustrated chapter books set in Hong Kong.

2015 Beth Magee VA received a four-week residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT through the VSC/VCFA partnership that awarded one 2015 VA graduate a fellowship.

Katia Raina WCYA teaches high school English and Creative Writing in Camden, NJ.

Chip Rutan VA is a 2016 recipient of an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Ian Rand F His pilot, HOMO $HIT SHOW, written with Josh Powell (’16) F, was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2016 SeriesFest Storytellers Initiative, an annual program in partnership with Parallel Entertainment and YayBig launched to discover and support emerging comedy writers.

Charles Taylor W announces the forthcoming publication of his book, Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ‘70s (Bloomsbury Books, spring 2017). This book formed the majority of Charles’ creative thesis.

Frank Richardson W is a regular contributor to Numéro Cinq, an international online literary and arts magazine.

2016 Laura Atkins WCYA announces the publication of her picture book debut, Sled Dog Dachshund (Minted Prose). The book was launched at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Conference. Beth Bacon WCYA signed with Literary Agent Emily Keyes at Fuse Literary. Steven Ford MC Director Steven Ford and the Steven Ford Singers performed with the full slate of artists to close the September 25, 2016 National Symphony Orchestra concert at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

class news

Laurie Wallmark WCYA announces her picture book biography, Ada Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, received a starred review from Kirkus.

Paige Garwood MC announces he is launching a website called Emerging Composer (, and will be publishing a monthly newsletter as well as blogging about various aspects of composing. Paige welcomes VCFA students/alums to write for the newsletter! Lu Heintz VA was an Artist in Residence with the MASS MoCA Assets for Artists program in spring/ summer 2016. Kela Parker MC announces the release of new music, all of which she wrote during her time at VCFA, and is excited to share it with the community. New releases can be found at

Simon Phillips W took part in a VCFA alumni mixed-genre reading with Ben Hahn (’15) W, Gio Morduckhovich (’12) W, and Isobel O’Hare (’15) W at the Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative in the Mission, San Francisco, CA.

Cate Berry WCYA announces her humorous debut picture book, This is Not a Bedtime Book, to be illustrated by Charles Santoso, will be released in spring 2018 as part of a two-book deal with HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray. Ramona Bell MC Her composition for string quartet, “Coal River Mountain—An Aerial View,” was the musical accompaniment to the Coal River Mountain Flyover video (, and was written as “an expression of the loss of habitat as it affects the bird population from mountaintop coal removal in my home state of West Virginia.”

Dr. Bruce Wasserman W announces two of his poems—“The Wet on Milan Street” and “Breathing In, Breathing Out”—are featured in Kindred’s Mason-Dixon issue.

In Memorium Carole Borges 86 W passed away in August 2016. Carole was a writer, former Wellspring teacher, college professor, social worker, taxicab driver, poet, and reporter, among other work. She was the proud author of the book Dreamseeker’s Daughter. She was 74.

Kay Henry W A version of her critical thesis appeared in the Writer’s Chronicle as a craft essay entitled, “Go Deep, Go Thick: Craft Lessons from an Ethnographer.” Kim Purcell WCYA announces that her new YA novel, This is Not a Love Letter, has been acquired by Hyperian in a two-book deal. Suma Subramaniam WCYA was a 2015 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators WorkIn-Progress Grant Winner in the Multicultural Fiction or Nonfiction category for her manuscript, Walking on a Tightrope.

James E. “Jed” Allen, III 91 W passed away in April 2016. Author of The Fear of Algebra, Jed taught at Phoenix College where he served as director of the Creative Writing department until his retirement in 2013. Jed was also an accomplished musician. He was 73. Lisa Lenard-Cook 93 W passed away in May 2016. Lisa was a noted author, editor, teacher, and writers’ mentor. Lisa was the author of two award-winning books, Dissonance and Coyote Morning, her third novel, Her Secret Life, is due out in Fall 2017. She was 63.

Karen Jahn 13 W passed away in September 2016. Karen’s teaching career spanned 30 years, and teaching, mentoring, and music, particularly the blues later in life, were passions. She earned her VCFA MFA in Writing nine years after her retirement.

This summer, VCFA welcomed three new members to its Board of Trustees. Burlington, VT resident Catherine Carvelli’s passion lies in numbers, data, and metrics. Catherine loves telling stories through data, which has led to insightful, understandable business summaries, and data driven business decisions for many national brands and organizations, such as MyWebGrocer, Starbucks, and Nestle Waters. She has a long history of volunteering time, especially with youth education. When she’s not solving problems with data, she enjoys exploring the world (and her own backyard) with her partner and his sons. She also co-owns the Burlington nightspot ½ Lounge.

Michael Hogan of Beach Haven, NJ, has been a judge in the New Jersey Superior Court since 2000. Prior to his appointment, Hogan was Counsel to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. He also served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Executive Commission on Ethical Standards. Hogan practiced law in Burlington, NJ, for more than 20 years, concentrating on environmental issues and representing governmental entities. For nine years he served as a Commissioner on the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, an independent state entity charged with the management and preservation of the nearly one-million-acre Pinelands National Reserve. Hogan is also an adjunct professor of law at the Vermont Law School.

Washington DC-based Michael Rosenfeld is an award-winning filmmaker and writer with extensive leadership experience in documentary production and digital media. In a career spanning network, cable, and public television, he has won or led teams that won hundreds of awards, including the Peabody and almost 40 News & Documentary Emmys. In two decades at National Geographic, Rosenfeld was the executive producer of National Geographic Explorer and the National Geographic Specials. From 2006 to 2011, he served as President of National Geographic Television, and from 2011 to 2015 Rosenfeld was Head of Television and Film for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He currently heads Amber Road Media, a new production company, and chairs the board of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

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class news


Dean Gloster WCYA announces the publication of his debut YA novel, Dessert First. Dean received word that the book had an interested publisher during a VCFA residency!

Frances Lee Hall 08 WCYA passed away in November 2016. In addition to her middle-grade writing, Frances received three Emmy Awards for television features on online filmmakers, Internet art and the ceramist Shuji Ikeda. Former advisor Rita Williams-Garcia writes: “Frances was never without hope. … I need to see Frances Lee Hall in libraries and bookstores and in hearts of young readers. She is why our voices matter. #WNDB. Rest in peace, my colleague, my friend.”



CURRENT Megan Baxter W Her poem “Harvest” received a commendation in this year’s international Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, her essay, “Lessons,” was published in the online journal Carte Blanche, and her essay “Inhale, Exhale,” was published in Skirt! Magazine. Megan’s flash essay, “The Wilderness,” was published by The Open Bar, the online blog at Tin House. Her book-length collection of personal essays, The Coolest Monsters, was selected as a finalist in Autumn House Press’ publication contest.

Virginia Reiser 06 W passed away in August 2016. Ginny was an accomplished writer and was working on a novel at the time of her death. She edited a book of poetry and had a short story published, “Pasta Della Nonna,” which was made into a play. She was also an accomplished chef and studied cuisine in Tuscany in the 1980s. She was 69.

Donna Janell Bowman Bratton WCYA was awarded a 2015 Work-In-Progress Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for her picture book biography, Tomboy: The Daring Life of Blanche Stuart Scott. Donna was also awarded the Book Launch Award for Step Right Up (Lee and Low), and is thrilled to have sold another picture book, King of the Tightrope (Peachtree, 2017).



J. Wren Supak VA Presented the research paper, “Aesthetic Decisions Concerning (non) Representation of Trauma,” at the Third International Conference of the Local Action in Response to Migration Network, hosted by the Human Rights Studies Department of the University of Minnesota. She is a full-time Teaching Artist at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, an Invited Exhibitor at the AZ Gallery in St. Paul, MN, and a Participant Artist in Public Art St. Paul, Utopian Podium.


MFA in Visual Art The inaugural class for MFA in Visual Art visited campus in August 1991. Here they are in front of Harris Hall (on the corner of East State and College street) with faculty members, including program founder G. Roy Levin. This July’s students and graduates, along with faculty members, gathered in front of Alumni Hall.





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With three major anniversaries occurring in 2016 and the beginning of 2017, it’s been fun to look back through the years and see the hundreds of Writing, Visual Art, and Writing for Children & Young Adults students that have passed through College Hall. We took a walk through so many VCFA memories in recent months, and got a lot of smiles from the hair and fashion changes through the years, too! Here we share photos of the first and most recent graduating classes of our three legacy programs.

MFA in Writing: The MFA in Writing program began in 1981 and graduated its first class of poets and writers in 1983, pictured in front of The Gary Library. Today, the program continues to grow. This photograph of the Winter 2016 graduating class (pictured below) was taken with faculty members in the Chapel in College Hall.

MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults In January 1999, the first class of MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults students graduated; the program hosted its first students two years prior in 1997. Here they are on the east step of College Hall. In our 2016 photo, students assembled at the M.T. Anderson interview in the Chapel.


36 College Street Montpelier, v t 05602

Thank you to the many alumni, faculty, students, staff, and friends who supported Vermont College of Fine Arts with a gift this year. YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT ENSURES VCFA CAN CONTINUE TO BE A DYNAMIC AND THRIVING CENTER FOR THE GRADUATE ARTS AND A HOME TO OUR INCREDIBLE COMMUNITY OF DIVERSE ARTISTS. TO SEE A COMPLETE LIST OF DONORS, PLEASE VISIT VCFA.EDU/SUPPORT-VCFA. 2016 was another landmark year for the college with the opening of the Louise Harwood Crowley Center for Faculty and Alumni, the presentation and celebration of the second annual Vermont Book Award, the launch of the Artists Development Fund, and so much more. We saw an increase in alumni giving both in funds raised and in participation. None of these milestones would have been possible without our community of support. We hope as the new year begins, you will stay connected to the VCFA community, share your successes and achievements, attend VCFA events around the country, and let us know ways we can improve upon the alumni experience. From all of us here at the college, we offer our deepest thanks for the many, many ways you support VCFA and its important mission of advancing the arts to create a more humane world.