Monday, March 31, 2008

Fellow Receives Fulbright

Amy Cheng writes to tell us that she has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Lecture/Research award to be a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Painting Program of São Paulo University in Brazil. She will also be traveling the country researching Brazilian folk and decorative art. She will be in Brazil from July to mid-December 2008.

"I will forever associate the VCCA with my Fulbright application process and I thank you once more for your support of my work," she says. "I spent an intensive weekend at the Sweet Briar College computing center last June while in residence at the VCCA putting my Fulbright Project Proposal together. I also received a lot of support and advice from VCCA Fellows, people who read and gave me feedback on my draft proposal, people who had been Fulbright Fellows who gave me tips on my proposal application, and even Portuguese and Latin knowledgeable- people who help me prepare for my Portuguese language proficiency test."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

VCCA Sponsors VA Book Panel, March 28

On the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the VCCA and Second Street Gallery present three practitioners and an astute observer of art and conflict to reflect on how artists address the most pressing social and political issues.

"Depravity, Upheaval and the Good War," features VCCA Fellows David Griffith and Judith Shatin and artist Sandow Birk, and is led in discussion by author and activist William Cleveland. Please join us Friday, March 28, 2008, at Second Street Gallery, 115 Second St., S.E., Charlottesville. Panel begins at 6 p.m. with a reception preceding at 5 p.m.

Sandow Birk is a west coast visual artist who, according to the Los Angeles Times "is pursuing one of the most fascinating, unpredictable careers in Los Angeles art." Birk's "Depravities of War" is currently at Second Street Gallery. The 15 large-scale woodcut prints follow the course of the Iraq war. His awards include the NEA, Guggenheim, Getty and Fulbright.

William Cleveland is an activist, teacher, lecturer, and director of the Center for the Study of Art & Community in Washington state. The author of Art in Other Places, his current book projects are Between Grace and Fear: The role of the Arts in a Time of Change and Art and Upheaval: Artists at Work on the World's Frontlines published in February 2008.

VCCA Fellow David Griffith is the author of A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in the Utne Reader, Image and Killing the Buddha, and other publications. He is professor of creative writing at Sweet Briar College.

VCCA Fellow Judith Shatin is an award-winning composer. Her composition "Songs of War and Peace" is based on the work of Israeli poets. Honored with four NEA fellowships, Shatin is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor at the University of Virginia and the Director of the Virginia Center for Computer Music. Her work has been performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Tel Aviv Opera, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Sous Chef Zane Burchett and the Dynamic Kitchen Love

As Chef Rhonda settles the VCCA into a new culinary rhythm, she has hired sous chef Zane Burchett to work full time, making breakfast, lunches and dinners. He'll greet you four mornings a week at breakfast, and be there at the end of the day when you sit down to dinner.

Originally from Richmond, Zane grew up in the kitchen, working side by side with his mother. Currently living in nearby Schuyler with his wife Marcie Martinez, Zane brings varied talents to the VCCA. He is a vegetarian who grinds his own ingredients, including sugar, wheat berries for flour, and even his own seasonings. And, after five years at the humongously popular Dr. Ho's Humble Pie near Charlottesville, Zane possesses practically unparalleled gourmet pizza making skills.

"Zane is fabulous and there are many ideas and perspectives we share, and enough things are different that I think we compliment each other," says Chef Rhonda. "He's totally 'green' and understands what leaving a footprint is all about. He's incredibly kind and generous and together I think we can create some dynamic kitchen love for VCCA!"

Zane echos Chef Rhonda's food philosophy. "I want to know where my food comes from and I prefer organic and home grown," he says.

He cooks with a lot of garlic and onions and is interested in helping bring many unique and flavorful vegetarian entrees to Fellows, including curries and stir fries.

Pizza has already appeared at dinner with toppings that range from artichoke hearts to feta cheese to seafood. He spins 20 pounds of dough to make 8 pizzas. And while he won't share the secret to the raved-about pizzas, he does admit to one essential ingredient:

"I make all my food with love," he says. And, instantly, we know that he means it.

Welcome, Zane! we're glad you're here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fellows Selected for 2008 International Exchanges

The jurying work has been completed for the 2008 international exchange residencies and the VCCA artists, writers and composers selected to travel to artist communities abroad are:

Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland:
One poet: Henri Cole, Boston, MA
One composer: Silvia Fomina, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Salzburg Künstlerhaus, Austria:
One visual artist: Brian Bishop, Tuscaloosa, AL

Schloss Plüschow, Germany:
One visual artist: Laura Sharp Wilson, Olympia, WA

St James Centre for Creativity, Malta:
One visual artist: Olive Ayhens, Brooklyn, NY
One writer: Cathryn Hankla, Roanoke, VA

Fellows selected for Moulin à Nef residencies will be announced at the end of the month.

Monday, March 10, 2008

First Robert Johnson Fellow in Residence

Heidi Kumao, a multi-disciplinary artist who works with electronics, digital media and kinetic sculpture, has been selected as the first recipient of the Robert Johnson Endowed Fellowship. Initiated in honor of long-time and beloved VCCA staff member Robert Johnson, who died in 2006, this fellowship will fund a two-week residency for a highly qualified applicant each year.

For three decades, Robert was the faithful face of the VCCA, serving up a unique blend of wit and charm in the kitchen, and transporting Fellows at all hours of the day and night, always cheerfully and always on time.

In addition to the fellowship, initiated by the VCCA Fellows Council, the VCCA placed a bench with a plaque sheltered by a flowering tree, on the VCCA grounds.

Currently in residence, Heidi is working on a series of sculptural portraits, contained in bell jars or other containers, brought to life through video projection and kinetics.

She creates video and machine art to explore ordinary social interactions and their psychological undercurrents. Emerging from the intersection of sculpture, theater and engineering, her “performative technologies” generate artistic spectacle in order to visualize the unseen: psychological states, emotions, compulsions, thinking patterns, and dreams. These works are designed to re-enact an event, perform a task for the viewer, or mediate her roles as a woman. Through the creation of kinetic and electronic sculpture, interactive installations and digital animations, she seeks to heighten awareness of our everyday experiences such as childhood play, family dynamics, television news, and even the wearing of clothes.

She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions including one-person exhibitions at the Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, and Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco. Group exhibitions include “ZeroOne San Jose and ISEA 2006: A global Festival of Art on the Edge” in San Jose, California, “Brides of Frankenstein” at the San Jose Museum of Art, and shows at the National Academy Museum (NYC), Galeria Vermelho (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Exit Art (NYC), and the International Center for Photography (NYC).

She is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she teaches animation, video, experimental television production, and electronic and conceptual art. For 2007-08, she has been awarded a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fellow Spotlight: Stephen G. Bloom

Following a four-year odyssey that took him across five continents in pursuit of a story, University of Iowa Journalism Professor Stephen Bloom arrived at the VCCA to put the experiences to paper during a five-week residency.

HIs project, Tears of the Mermaid, is world-wide detective story whose central character is pearls, and will be published by St. Martin's Press. Tears traces an arc—from the moment a woman in New York wraps a strand of pearls around her neck, fastening its clasp, back to the instant a diver off the coast of Australia scoops up from the ocean floor an oyster. It uses pearls as a metaphor to explore the interconnections of global politics, world finance and haute couture.

In 1993, Steve left the world of newspapers to become a professor at the University of Iowa. Seven years later, he wrote Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, which explores what happens when 150 Lubavitcher Jews move to a northeast Iowa town, buy the local slaughterhouse, and become the town's power brokers.

Steve just completed The Oxford Project, to be published by Welcome Books next fall. The collaborative project probes the lives of 100 residents in a single American town. The project has been selected by ExhibitsUSA for a national museum tour, and is scheduled for two exhibitions in the Veneto Region of Italy in mid-2009.

His writing has appeared in Smithsonian, and The International Herald Tribune, and on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." A collection of Bloom's nonfiction writing, Inside the Writer's Mind, was published in 2002.