Vermont Studio Center Announces “35 in 35 Campaign” to Celebrate 2019 Anniversary

VSC's Red Mill seen from the bank of the Gihon River

Vermont Studio Center is excited to announce the kickoff of its 35th anniversary year in 2019 with the 35 in 35 Campaign—a community-wide fundraising initiative to create 35 new fellowships to support artists and writers of exceptional merit. Additionally, in 2019, VSC will break ground on a major renovation of its Pearl House residence building. Together, these initiatives will substantially advance VSC’s goals of increasing access and equity for all artists and writers who are invited to attend its studio residency program.

As part of the 35th anniversary milestone, VSC has been engaged in an intensive strategic planning process involving all members of the board and staff. The process has strengthened the shared vision that will guide and inspire VSC moving forward, and in early 2019, the Strategic Plan will be finalized and shared with the VSC community at large.

“While we are proud to offer over 200 fellowships every year, it isn’t enough,” said Gary Clark, President of Vermont Studio Center. “As the home of 55 artists and writers every month from across the country and around the world, VSC has an opportunity, and responsibility, to lead by always expanding the ways we support, welcome, and nurture artists and creativity."

With 2019’s 35 in 35 Campaign, VSC will raise dedicated funds to support 35 new fellowships to be offered across its 2019-2020 fellowship deadlines. As part of this ambitious effort, VSC is developing new fellowship opportunities focused on social justice, equity and inclusion, and hybrid practices at the intersection of art, literature, science, and the humanities.

VSC’s 35th anniversary year will also include a celebration of 35 years of Vermont Artists Week, a community gathering in June of friends and supporters, and a number of smaller events and opportunities for reconnection for alums, staff, and friends that will be announced over the coming month.

The Vermont Studio Center wishes to thank all of our alumni, staff, friends, trustees, supporters, and neighbors who have been a part of getting VSC to this remarkable milestone, and to lighting up the VSC studios, dining room, and Johnson, Vermont campus for 35 years. We are truly grateful!

A Decade of Support for Women Writers at VSC

  Pictured (clockwise from top left): Beth McCabe of The Rona Jaffe Foundation, Visiting Writer Ross Gay, VSC Rona Jaffe Fellow Chekwube Danladi, 2017-8 Writing Program Coordinator Andrea Martin, Writing Program Manager Jody Gladding, and VSC President Gary Clark

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Beth McCabe of The Rona Jaffe Foundation, Visiting Writer Ross Gay, VSC Rona Jaffe Fellow Chekwube Danladi, 2017-8 Writing Program Coordinator Andrea Martin, Writing Program Manager Jody Gladding, and VSC President Gary Clark

This summer marks the 10th anniversary of The Rona Jaffe Foundation’s transformational support of women writers at the Vermont Studio Center.

The collaboration began in 2008 with the Foundation’s gift to establish The Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship, a fully-funded one-month residency at VSC (including a generous stipend to offset costs such as travel, lost wages, child support) to be awarded annually to a promising emerging woman writer and to underwrite the finishing touches on the construction of the Maverick Writers Studios building. This support was vital to the successful expansion of VSC’s Writing Program at a crucial moment of growth and transition.  

Over the past 10 years, the depth and breadth of The Rona Jaffe Foundation’s support for women writers at VSC has continued to increase. In addition to their annual fellowship, they now underwrite 12 to 14 women Visiting Writers each year, who serve as mentors to our resident writers during their stay. The Foundation also provides general support to help offset the merit-based financial aid awards VSC offers to deserving women writers year-round.

This 10-year collaboration has impacted more than 100 hundred women writers directly, as well as hundreds of other resident writers and visual artists who share in and benefit from the essential cross-disciplinary exchange that takes place at VSC every month.

In addition to the astonishing impact the Foundation’s support has had on so many individual women writers, their long-term support has also provided continuity and stability to the VSC Writing Program overall. Over the past decade, The Rona Jaffe Foundation has provided an important platform for securing additional funding opportunities for writers with other partner organizations, international translation programs, fellowships in honor of distinguished writers, and more. The Writing Program is a central component of VSC's mission to nurture creative expression, and would not be as vibrant as it is today without the generous, timely, and continued support of The Rona Jaffe Foundation.

The Vermont Studio Center thanks The Rona Jaffe Foundation for their ongoing support, and celebrates the lasting impact this enduring relationship has had on the entire VSC community.

 

Applications are now open for our 2018 VSC Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship!

 

 

 

The Creative Access Residency Program Application is NOW OPEN!

This year’s 12 Creative Access Fellows will attend residencies at PLAYA, the Ragdale Foundation, the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI), and the Vermont Studio Center (VSC).

The Creative Access Residencies Programfunded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation’s Creating Opportunity & Independence Project Grant, provides opportunities for artists and writers with spinal cord injury (SCI). This exciting residency fellowship program helps to further the creative careers of artists with SCI while championing accessibility and inclusiveness within the larger sector of artist communities/residencies.

Each Creative Access Fellowship includes a fully subsidized studio residency at one of four partner sites across the continental U.S.: PLAYA (Oregon), Ragdale (Illinois), SFAI (New Mexico), or VSC (Vermont); generous stipend support for each artist; and room, board, and travel stipend for a personal care assistant (PCA) if necessary. 

Applicants will need to submit a CV/resume, work samples, and a short description of their SCI and the impact it has had on their art process. All submissions will be juried by the consortium members. Application and selection for the Creative Access Residencies Program are managed by the Alliance of Artists Communities.

The deadline to submit an application is Monday, August 20, 2018 at 11:59PM.

VSC/VCFA Alumnx Exhibition Announcement

We are thrilled to announce the artists included in the 2018 Vermont Studio Center & Vermont College of Fine Arts Alumnx* Exhibition! 

  Naima Lowe , video still from  Trouble , 2018

Naima Lowe, video still from Trouble, 2018

it went like this: the skyline was beautiful on fire
May 9th - June 1st, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 12th from 5PM - 7PM
45 College St. Montpelier, VT 05602
 

Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
Caroline Burton
Renee Couture
Melissa Dadourian
Patricia Denys
Samantha M. Eckert
Austin Furtak-Cole
Rosa Naday Garmendia
Loc Huynh
Gracelee Lawrence
Judith G. Levy

 

*Alumnx is a gender-neutral term that embraces the full spectrum of gender identities within our community. 

The exhibition will be in the Alumni Hall Gallery on the Vermont College of Fine Arts campus, 45 College St. Montpelier, VT 05602. 

Gallery hours are Monday - Wednesday by appointment only, Thursday and Friday 10am - 4pm. The gallery will be closed Friday, May 25th and Monday, May 28th. If you would like to make an appointment to view the show outside of gallery hours, please contact Brittany M. Powell: brittany.powell@vcfa.edu and/or Thatiana Oliveira: Thatiana.Oliveira@vcfa.edu. The exhibition title is text compiled from lyrics and a screen play written by Efrim Manuel Menuck.


The Vermont Studio Center and Vermont College of Fine Arts are united in their belief that the arts are central to the human experience and have the ability not only to reflect reality but to also create it. For this show, alums of both institutions were invited to submit artwork that was created in response to our current contemporary political upheaval as an expression of the potential of creativity to shift  consciousness, because all progress and change has been achieved through a radical reimagining of what is and what could be. This show seeks to present a vision of a future that has yet to be determined, understood, or adopted by any position of power or control. The works presented were chosen by juror Meg Onli, Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, who has this to say about her selection process:

Jurying is an imperfect process. It relies on gut reactions and quick decisions. Despite the complications that this structure may have, jurying often allows one to get an overview of a number of artistic practices in a rather brief period of time. I would like to extend my gratitude to all the artists that allowed me to “peek” inside their practice for a few moments. To aid in the selection you see before you, I regularly returned to a prompt provided to both the submitting artists and myself. I was particularly drawn to the following sentences: “All progress and change has been achieved through a radical reimagining of what is and what could be. We are seeking a vision of a future that has yet to be determined, understood, or adopted by any position of power or control.” The notion of “radical reimagining” is something I return to often within my work as a curator. I believe that art and the artists that make it can help guide us in imagining not just the future but also the possibility of multiple futures. Through artistic production, these futures are simultaneously projected forward while also looking to the past for models of alternative (re)imaginings. The works within this exhibition exist within this temporal nexus, a space that is capable of recouping the visions of the past for the possibility of radically alternative realities of our future.  
 
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About the Juror: Meg Onli is the Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent exhibition Speech/Acts explores experimental black poetry and how the social and cultural constructs of language have shaped black American experiences. Prior to joining Institute of Contemporary Art she was the Program Coordinator at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. While at the Graham Foundation she worked on the exhibitions Architecture of Independence: African Modernism and Barbara Kasten: Stages. In 2010 she created the website Black Visual Archive for which she was awarded a 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. In 2014 she was the recipient of a research grant from the Graham Foundation for the collaborative project Remaking the Black Metropolis: Contemporary Art, Urbanity, and Blackness in America with curator Jamilee Polson Lacy. Onli holds a Master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her writing has appeared in Art21, Daily Serving, and Art Papers.

OPEN CALL: Vermont Studio Center & Vermont College of Fine Arts Alumnx* Exhibition

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We are thrilled to invite all alums from the Vermont Studio Center and Vermont College of Fine Arts to an exhibition open call!  The VSC/VCFA Alum Open Call is an exciting exhibition opportunity to submit work for inclusion in a group show juried by Meg Onli, the Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. The exhibition will run May 7th, 2018 - June 1st, 2018 in the Alumnx Hall at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT.  

Theme: The Vermont Studio Center and Vermont College of Fine Arts are united in their belief that the arts are central to the human experience and have the ability not only to reflect reality but to also create it. This call invites alums of both organizations to submit artwork in any media that was created in response to our current contemporary political upheaval. This may be articulated both literally or metaphorically as an expression of the potential of creativity to shift  consciousness. All progress and change has been achieved through a radical reimagining of what is and what could be. We are seeking a vision of a future that has yet to be determined, understood, or adopted by any position of power or control. 

The deadline to submit was Friday, March 23, 2018 at 11:59pm Eastern.
We look forward to reviewing your work! 


Eligibility: ALL alumnx* of the Vermont Studio Center and ALL graduates from Vermont College of Fine Arts are welcomed to submit work for consideration. *Alumnx is a gender-neutral term that embraces the full spectrum of gender identities within our community. 

Submission Requirements: Applications must be submitted online via SlideRoom: https://vcfa.slideroom.com/#/permalink/program/41591.  There is a $10 application fee which goes directly to the cost of the SlideRoom application. All media will be accepted and applicants can submit up to five work samples, a current CV and artist statement. Work must be completed within the last three (3) years. 

Exhibition Dates: May 7th, 2018 - June 1st, 2018. Opening Reception Saturday, May 12, 2018. 

Shipping and Insurance:  Accepted work must be shipped to VCFA with an arrival date no later than May 3, 2018. Artists are responsible for shipping work to and from the gallery as well as liability insurance, if your require it. VSC and VCFA will take the utmost care in the handling of your work, but will not be responsible for damages. Drop off arrangements can also be made. VSC/VCFA will take a 20% commission on any work that sells during the exhibition. VSC/VCFA reserves the right to decline work that does not reflect the digital submission.

Installation:  Work must arrive ready to be installed. For display purposes, VCFA can provide pedestals, basic digital equipment (TV, laptop, headphones), however, artists wishing to project their work will need to provide their own projection equipment. For more information and/or questions please contact:  Nicole Czapinski: nicole@vermontstudiocenter.org  or Brittany  M. Powell: brittany.powell@vcfa.edu


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About the Juror: Meg Onli is the Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent exhibition Speech/Acts explores experimental black poetry and how the social and cultural constructs of language have shaped black American experiences. Prior to joining Institute of Contemporary Art she was the Program Coordinator at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. While at the Graham Foundation she worked on the exhibitions Architecture of Independence: African Modernism and Barbara Kasten: Stages. In 2010 she created the website Black Visual Archive for which she was awarded a 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. In 2014 she was the recipient of a research grant from the Graham Foundation for the collaborative project Remaking the Black Metropolis: Contemporary Art, Urbanity, and Blackness in America with curator Jamilee Polson Lacy. Onli holds a Master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her writing has appeared in Art21, Daily Serving, and Art Papers.

New School Arts Fellowships

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VSC's School Arts Program supports weekly hands-on arts instruction to over 200 low-income rural Johnson Elementary School students. Program Coordinator Arista Alanis ensures that JES students are exposed to VSC’s diverse creative community by inviting residents into the classroom to present their work and to offer hands-on instruction. JES students gain access to an international community of working artists from a wide range of backgrounds, traditions, and disciplines, and come to understand and appreciate art as both a viable vocation and an integral aspect of the human experience.

At our 2/15/18 deadline we're thrilled to offer FOUR  new eight-week  School Arts Fellowship awards. This opportunity is for socially-engaged teaching artists to  work with local K-6 students (approximately 10 hours/week) in coordination with VSC’s school arts program. Each fellowship includes a $1,000 stipend to assist with project planning and materials. Applicants must include a brief (250 words or less) project plan/concept and demonstrate experience in community arts and/or arts education.
 

 
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The opportunity to...teach talented students resulted in a two-month course in digital photography, encompassing photography assignments that encouraged students to think deeply about identity and community. I learned as much from them as they learned from me, as they taught me about the local Vermont community through their eyes, their photographs, and their stories. 
—Marilyn Montufar, 2017 School Artist Fellow

 

[The School Arts Fellowship] allowed me to work on my own craft and have studio time and networking opportunities at the same time allowing me to teach over 200 children the joy that I get from doing my art.
—Sok Song, February 2016

 
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New Harpo Foundation Fellowships for Native American Artists

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The VSC/Harpo Foundation Fellowship was established in 2011 to support the development of Native American visual artists and foster intercultural dialogue. Each year, the Harpo Foundation supports two fellows and has so far funded fourteen month-long VSC residencies. 

At our 2/15 deadline, we're excited to continue this partnership through 2018 by offering an additional TWO  VSC/Harpo Foundation Fellowships for Native American Artists. Each award includes a $500 travel stipend. These awards are for American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian visual artists (see complete eligibility requirements here).


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As an American Indian artist, I am constantly thinking about the link between my culture and my artwork. My work reflects on objects that relate to traditional and contemporary Mohawk culture and I often struggle with representation of an object—in particular, how much abstraction should be brought to the work. My time at the Vermont Studio Center has helped me explore that line and in turn, pushed my work conceptually. –Margaret Jacobs, '15 Harpo Foundation Fellow

 

I really enjoyed the intimacy of working alongside other artists and being exposed to how people different people work. Living and working alongside other artists is such an intimate experience in that you aren’t just seeing finished products on exhibition- you are witnessing how people work and thrive and struggle. 
–Janelle Iglesias, '10 Harpo Foundation Fellow

 
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My one-on-one talks with the visiting artists were helpful and enlightening.  Since I live in an isolated community, I know the opportunity to have nationally and internationally known artists come into my studio to speak with me personally about my work would not have occurred if not for the Harpo Foundation and VSC. –Gerald Clarke, '17 Harpo Foundation Fellow

New Windgate Fellowships for 3D Artists

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Since 2015,  the Windgate Charitable Foundation has funded sixteen month-long residency fellowships to exceptional visual artists working in traditional craft media. Over the past few years, we have been delighted to welcome these artists into our community and watch their work develop.

From now through 2/15/19, we'll be offering four Windgate Fellowship awards at each of our fellowship deadlines to support artists working in clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood. To help offset the cost of attending a residency, each Windgate Fellowship includes a  generous stipend of $1,050. 


 

The [Windgate] fellowship allowed me the opportunity to rigorously engage in creative research and production without the distractions of everyday life and financial concern. Through the immersive experience, I was able to pursue new ideas and ways of making that I would not likely pursue in my home studio. 
Kimberly Winkle, '17 Windgate Fellow

While it may take some time to process everything I’ve created and started during my residency, it was a chance for me to take some risks in my practice and experiment more. I’m confident that my time in Vermont will be reflected in future works or possible collaborations with artists I’ve met here. 
Timothy Gonchoroff,  '17 Windgate Fellow

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Meet the New VSC Writing Program Team!

 Left to right: Writing Program Coordinator Staff-Artist Andrea Martin and Writing Program Manager Jody Gladding

Left to right: Writing Program Coordinator Staff-Artist Andrea Martin and Writing Program Manager Jody Gladding

We're thrilled to introduce our new Writing Program Manager, Jody Gladding, along with Writing Program Coordinator Staff-Artist Andrea Martin. 

Here's a brief introduction from each of them, in their own words:

Jody
I'm very happy to be returning to the Studio Center as head of the Writing Program.  I've been a Visiting Writer many times and bring to the VSC community my long experience as a poet and translator with four books of poems and thirty French translations, as well as fifteen years of teaching in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program.  My special interests include translation, visual poetry, and environmental writing, and I'm excited about the possibilities VSC offers for them.  I live in East Calais, VT, along with a surprising number of other writers, barred owls, and moose.  

Andrea
I was a resident in October 2016 and felt like a month wasn't quite enough, so I'm delighted to be back for a full year as a staff-artist. I'm originally from Richmond, VA and spent several years working in children's book publishing before getting my MFA in Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. I'm a poet and am especially interested in work that blends disciplines and makes no distinction between the critical and the creative. Besides the amazing community here, what gives me a ridiculous amount of joy at VSC is the bread...especially the lunch bread, which is warm, slightly toasty, and wholly perfect. 

We're incredibly grateful to have these talented women on the VSC team!

2017 VSC ALSCW Fellow: Sonya Larson  

Congratulations to Sonya Larson, winner of the 2017 VSC ALSCW Fellowship! Sonya will spend 4 weeks at VSC later this fall. 

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Sonya's short fiction and nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Short Stories 2017American Short FictionThe American Literary ReviewPoets & Writers MagazineThe Writer's Chronicle, Audible.comWest Branch, Salamander, Memorious, Del Sol ReviewThe Red Mountain Review, and The Hub. She has received awards and honors from Best American Short Stories 2017 and 2015Glimmer TrainMeridianSalamander, the American Literary Review, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is at work on a novel about a Chinese community living in rural Mississippi in the 1930s, which earned her an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. This is Sonya’s second fellowship to attend VSC; in 2016, she was awarded the Grace Paley Fiction Fellowship.

Sonya received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she served as editor of The Madison Review, and her MFA from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

VSC is delighted to continue our partnership with the ALSCW, whose mission is to "promote excellence in literary criticism and scholarship," and to "ensure that literature thrives in both scholarly and creative environments." The next VSC ALSCW fellowship will be offered at VSC's February 15, 2018 Fellowship Deadline.

The Creative Access Residency Program expands opportunities for artists and writers with spinal cord injury

This year’s 13 Creative Access Fellows will attend residencies at PLAYA, the Ragdale Foundation, the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI), and the Vermont Studio Center (VSC).

 VSC 2015 Creative Access Fellow Melissa Allensworth

VSC 2015 Creative Access Fellow Melissa Allensworth

The Creative Access Residencies Program, funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation’s Creating Opportunity & Independence Project Grant, is expanding opportunities for artists and writers with spinal cord injury (SCI). This exciting residency fellowship program helps to further the creative careers of artists with SCI while championing accessibility and inclusiveness within the larger sector of artist communities/residencies.

Each Creative Access Fellowship includes a fully subsidized studio residency at one of four partner sites across the continental U.S.: PLAYA (Oregon), Ragdale (Illinois), SFAI (New Mexico), or VSC (Vermont); generous stipend support for each artist; and room, board, and travel stipend for a personal care assistant (PCA) if necessary. Application and selection for the Creative Access Residencies Program are managed by the Alliance of Artists Communities.

2017 is the first year of a three-year partnership that will make the personal creative development, career advancement, artistic exchange, and life-changing experience of a 2- to 8-week studio residency available to as many as 36 talented artists and writers living with spinal cord injury. In this round, the opportunity was promoted over the winter through a broad range of artist and disability networks. From that open call, thirteen artists were selected by a panel of residency directors and esteemed judges for 2- to 8-week residencies to be completed during 2017 across the four program sites.

“The Alliance of Artists Communities is proud to be leading the research and administration of this grant with funding from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to support artists with spinal cord injury,” said Lisa Hoffman, Executive Director of Alliance of Artists Communities. “We are dedicated to identifying and expanding opportunities for artists with disabilities, and aim to develop tools for residency programs and to advocate for greater resources to assist residency programs in serving artists with disabilities.”  

The collaborative nature of the project and inclusion of the Alliance of Artists Communities as a partner presents a strong catalyst for far-reaching and sustained changes to improve standards of accessibility and promote a broader level of program inclusivity throughout the artist residency sector. In the words of 2015 VSC Creative Access Fellow Melissa Allensworth,

“I have been able to accomplish more here at VSC during my residency than I would have ever thought about doing back home. Having my own personal studio space has been something I’ve never had before… I was able to start working on larger pieces… and I will continue this in the future. The exposure I’ve had to other residents and VSC visiting artists and writers has been fantastic. I had the opportunity to discuss my work… [and] I received great advice and suggestions that have helped me to delve deeper into my work… My time here at VSC was an amazing experience and has made a major impact on my future painting career.”

The 2017 Creative Access Fellows are:

Playa

Erin Oliver, visual artist, Durham, NC
Javier Flores, visual artist and university professor
Ocean, writer, Olympia, WA

Ragdale

Molly Aubry, visual artist, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Anthony Tusler, visual artist/photographer and disability consultant, Pennegrove, CA
Susan Odgers, writer and disability columnist, Traverse City, MI

SFAI

Moira Williams, multimedia installation artist, Bushwick, NY
Tony Boatright, writer and ADA expert, Republic of Panama
Reveca Torres, photographer and filmmaker, Chicago, IL

Vermont Studio Center

Mark  Braunstein, writer and artist, CT
John Greiner, artist and illustrator, Cleveland, OH
Catherine Peterson, sculptor and chef, Bellaire, MI
Elizabeth A Sachs, journalist, book reviewer, editor, and author, Tuckahoe, NY

In 2018, the Creative Access Residencies Program will offer 12 more fully-funded studio residency fellowships to artists and writers living with SCI. The application portal opens September 1, 2017. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2017. The unified application is free.

Applicants will need to submit a CV/resume, work samples, and a short description of their SCI and the impact it has had on their art process. All submissions will be juried by the consortium members.

FUNDING

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation has been tireless in supporting both programs and scientific research to improve the quality of life for those affected by and living with spinal cord injury.  Following the vision and values of Craig Neilsen, the Foundation focuses the majority of its grantmaking on furthering the promising advances in the field of spinal cord injury research. It supports research in areas of investigation relevant to improving recovery and works to coordinate its efforts with those of other federal and private funders.

The Foundation’s research funding is directed across a broad spectrum, including mechanistic, translational, clinical, and psychosocial research, with a goal of opening innovative areas of inquiry and emphasizing progress across the entire translational spectrum. Another main funding priority is the Creating Opportunity & Independence Portfolio that assists individuals affected by spinal cord injury today and builds stronger community and rehabilitative support.

The Foundation provides educational grant programs including postdoctoral research fellowships, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine Fellowships, and Neilsen Foundation Scholarships for students with spinal cord injury at selected colleges and universities. In addition, selected Special Projects related to spinal cord injury and Vision and Values Projects grants support other programs that reflect Craig Neilsen’s philanthropic interests.

PARTNERS

The Alliance of Artists Communities (AAC) is a national and international association of artists’ communities and residencies—a diverse field with thousands of programs worldwide that support artists of any discipline in the development of new creative work. The Alliance gives a collective voice on behalf of its members, small and large, that leverages support for the field as a whole; promotes successful practices in the field; and advocates for creative environments that support the work of today's artists. Their role will be to coordinate outreach, to host a unified (and free) application for artists, and shepherd sustainable impacts of this program by publishing a report at the conclusion with case studies and best practices. (www.artistcommunities.org)

PLAYA is is a nonprofit organization supporting innovative thinking through work in the arts, literature, natural sciences and other fields of creative inquiry. Located in the Oregon Outback, Playa’s 75–acre property includes six fully-equipped and spacious cabins, two fully-equipped live/work studios, three studio/research spaces (including one shared living quarters), a large open shed, and outdoor field-research areas. Access to most facilities is barrier-free, and PLAYA has hosted programs specifically for performing artists and dancers who use wheelchairs.  Residencies offer the gift of time and space to eligible applicants, and span two multi-month sessions each year. The intention of all of PLAYA’s programming is to support creative individuals who are committed and passionate about their work, and who will benefit from time spent in its inspirational remote location. (www.playasummerlake.org)

The Ragdale Foundation is a non-profit artists’ community located on architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s country estate in Lake Forest, IL, 30 miles north of Chicago. Begun in 1976, Ragdale annually hosts more than 150 artists, writers, choreographers, and composers at all stages of their careers for 18-25 day residencies. Ragdale offers a retreat setting where at any given time, a dozen creative individuals experience uninterrupted time for dedicated work, a supportive environment, dynamic artist exchanges, 50 acres of idyllic prairie, and a family-style dinner each evening. Ragdale has a universally accessible studio in the Barnhouse. The Chandler studio, a live/work space with a wheelchair-accessible private bath, accommodates visual artists or writers. The space is adjacent to the kitchen and dining facilities. Ragdale welcomes artists at all stages of their careers and seeks to create a mix of various experience levels in each group of residents. (www.ragdale.org)

The Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) is a cultural organization that cultivates creative practices, engage with diverse communities, and address the most pressing social issues of our time.  Approximately 10 artists per month receive private living quarters with a private bath and working space, which is centrally located within Santa Fe’s vibrant and diverse cultural community. The SFAI facility, a nearly 17,000 square foot complex designed by Ricardo Legoretta, includes gallery and exhibition spaces, sky-lit studios, a growing contemporary art library, courtyards, laundry facilities, communal kitchen, and dining and living room areas. Visual artists are provided with a semi-private studio space as well as access to a large communal work space. Writers are welcome to use the library for writing and reading, as well as their own private rooms equipped with desks. SFAI’s facility meets all ADA requirements with complete accessibility for wheelchairs to studio and living spaces. Two resident rooms are equipped with bathroom facilities for wheelchair access, and since SFAI’s complex is one level, there are no stairs or barriers. A Residency Assistant is always available for residents on site. (www.sfai.org)

Vermont Studio Center (VSC) is the largest international artist and writers residency center in the U.S., hosting 55 artists and writers per month, year-round, in the northern Green Mountains of Vermont. VSC’s 15,000 alumni come from every state in the nation and 140 countries. Art and writing residents are  provided with private studios with wireless internet, private rooms, all meals, access to shops (sculpture, ceramic, traditional and digital photo), critique consultation/mentorship with 6 Visiting Artists and Writers per month, gallery openings, art and literary libraries, Open Studios, readings and lectures, and opportunities for meditation and yoga. In May of 2017, VSC will be opening a new wing to our largest residency housing, with six additional private ADA and universally designed rooms open every month of the year. VSC welcomes creatives at all stages of their careers, and has offered Creative Access fellowships to artists and writers with mobility and sensory issues since 2002. (www.vermontstudiocenter.org)

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Meet the Newest Members of the VSC Development Team!

 Left to right: Development Assistant Staff-Artist Kieran Riley Abbott, Development Director Sarah Judd, and Grants Coordinator Alice Dodge

Left to right: Development Assistant Staff-Artist Kieran Riley Abbott, Development Director Sarah Judd, and Grants Coordinator Alice Dodge

2017 began with three new additions to our Development office: Development Assistant Staff-Artist Kieran Riley Abbott, Grants Coordinator Alice Dodge, and Development Director Sarah Judd.

Here's a brief introduction from each of them, in their own words:

Kieran
During my residency this past December I fell in love with VSC and am thrilled to now be here for a year as a staff-artist. I was born and raised in Minneapolis and received my degree in printmaking from the U of Minnesota in 2014. Since then I've worked for several nonprofits including Women's Studio Workshop in upstate New York and Castle Hill on Cape Cod. You can usually find me in the studio, listening to comedy podcasts and drinking La Croix.

Alice
I started at VSC in Mid-March. I'm a visual artist who recently moved back to Vermont after a decade in Minnesota, where I went to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and worked as an art librarian at Midway Contemporary Art. I live in Montpelier, where my husband teaches writing for kids at VCFA. I like to build things, and I'm very excited to get my first chainsaw.

Sarah
I started at VSC in February. Before joining the staff here, I worked as a criminal law and civil rights lawyer, a consultant for international landmine and water organizations, and a fundraiser for schools, environmental nonprofits, and museums. I can tell you a lot about landmines, and the over 300 historical shipwrecks at the bottom of Lake Champlain. I am most inspired by Jane Austin and temporary art. I live in Burlington, VT with my husband, dog Trinket, and 3-legged cat Tipsy. 

We're thrilled to welcome these incredibly talented women to the VSC team!

Church Studios Fire: Reconstruction Update

 Left: Church Studios exterior (2014); Right: interior after the fire (2016)

Left: Church Studios exterior (2014); Right: interior after the fire (2016)

Two months ago, an accidental fire significantly damaged the Church Studios building and derailed the practices of the 12 artists whose studios were located inside. We reached out for help, and the VSC community responded with a tremendous outpouring of generosity and love.

In total, the VSC community contributed $17,961 dollars in donations to support the affected artists and begin the process of reconstructing Church. We also received several generous gifts of art supplies and materials that were distributed directly to those affected.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, we were able to resituate the artists-in-residence whose studios were lost and supply them with the tools to keep their practices up and running, and we have been able to provide our displaced staff members with interim studio spaces in the time since. However, we have had to make the difficult choice to reduce the capacity of our residency for the next several months while we navigating the lengthy process of assessing the damage and returning Church to habitability.

We are so immensely grateful to all of our alumni, donors, and friends who pulled together to support us through this loss, and continue to feel so fortunate that no one was physically injured and that the building's structure is intact. Your gifts provided a necessary bridge of support for the community while the insurance process is underway to get the artists quickly back on their feet. A modest portion of these funds was also used to make a donation to the Johnson Fire Department on behalf of the entire VSC community. The Johnson FD is volunteer-run and relies on donations to support their training and equipment needs; their swiftness, professionalism, and dedication saved a landmark Vermont building from total destruction, and the care they took to preserve as many of the artworks, tools, and personal items as possible was both heroic and moving. Once the insurance process is complete, VSC will distribute the remaining Church fire donations between the artists affected and the building project itself.

There will be many challenges ahead, but generosity of the VSC community has provided us with the resources we needed to kickstart the process of restoration and recovery. Our hope is that Church Studios will be reopened by Spring 2017, but there are still many variables at play at this point. We will keep the community periodically informed as reconstruction proceeds.