Visual Arts Fellows
Ellen Akimoto’s work predominantly takes the form of figurative painting in which skewed perspective, stylistic mixing and a tension between the convincing and the disruptive are elements of a search for possible ways of depicting complexity and ambiguity in our surroundings and social selves. She was born in Westlake Village, California and earned her BFA from the California State University Chico, during which she spent a year studying at the Mainz Academy of Arts in Germany. She went on to complete a post-graduate Meisterschüler degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, funded by a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD. She has received grants from the Cultural Foundation of Saxony and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation and her work has been acquired by the Dresden Public Art Collection. She has exhibited widely in Germany and has had solo shows in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Saint Rémy de Provence in France. She lives and works in Leipzig, Germany.
Austin Ballard creates sculptures both surreal and therapeutic. Exploring the limits between body and architecture, anxiety and intimacy, Ballard works through lo-fi pattern-making and ceramic coil-building. Born in Charlotte, NC, Ballard received an MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, where he also served as an Assistant Professor in Textiles. Ballard has received numerous awards including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Sculpture Scholarship, a Windgate Foundation Fellowship, a Kenneth Stubbs Endowed Fellowship, a Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant, a Dan Bown Project Award, and the Rhode Island School of Design Graduate Studies Grant. He has been awarded full fellowships to the Museum of Arts and Design, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Ox-Bow School of Art, the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Vermont Studio Center, Wassaic Project, and the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Ballard has been featured in Make Magazine, Art Maze Magazine, Wall Street International and Wide Walls. Ballard has held solo exhibitions at Smack Mellon, NY, Wave Hill, NY, Napoleon, PA, Real Art Ways, CT, and Ithaca College among others. Ballard currently lives and works in Ridgewood, NY.
Kevin Brisco Jr.
Kevin Brisco Jr. was raised in Memphis, TN. His work is concerned with issues of place and representation, more specifically how the two inform one another – the slippage between background and figure in painting, pop culture, and daily life; as well as the dubious nature of “home” for African Americans living in the Southern U.S. His work takes the form of painting, sculpture, and performance. He earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his M.F.A. from Yale University in 2020. He has exhibited across the U.S., and was an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center.
Widline Cadet is a Haitian-born artist. Her practice draws from personal history and examines race, memory, erasure, migration, immigration, and Haitian cultural identity from within the United States. She uses photography, video, and installations to construct a visual language that explores notions of visibility and hyper visibility, black feminine interiority, and selfhood. Cadet is a recipient of a 2013 Mortimer-Hays Brandeis Traveling Fellowship, a 2018 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture artist in resident, a 2019 Lighthouse Works fellow, a 2019 Syracuse University VPA Turner artist in resident, a 2020 Lit List finalist, the 2020 Museum of Contemporary Photography’s Snider Prize winner, a recipient of a 2020 NYFA / JGS Fellowship in photography, and a 2020-21 artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally and has appeared in The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, Wallpaper*, Foam Magazine, among others. She earned her B.A. in studio art from The City College of New York and MFA from Syracuse University.
Nick Fagan’s artwork is a material reaction to his experiences with mental health, disability, religion, and labor. With his personal history in mind, the artist’s practice spans topics including the spirituality of banal objects, ritual and transformation, the abstraction of language, and the humor and duality of masculinity. Language exists in Fagan’s work along a spectrum of somewhat readable text to a tangle of unrecognizable forms resulting in abstract, illegible groupings. This abstraction stems from the artist’s experience with dyslexia and seeing language as a confusion of symbols. The artist’s transformation of text-like forms into abstract shapes embeds them with cultural signifiers related to cartoons and animation, Gilded Age architecture, and male anatomy. By creating playful curves, flaccid forms, and soft colors within a larger-than-life scale, Fagan references manhood according to the duality found between strength and humility.
Elizabeth Flood is an artist currently living and working in upstate New York. Her paintings survey the complex layers of extraction, violence, and expression within the American landscape. Through her experiential practice of working on location, she forecasts future impact and keeps watch over a country and land in crisis. Flood earned her MFA in Painting from Boston University (2019); her BA from the University of Virginia (2014), where she studied Studio Art, History, and Religious Studies; and attended the Mount Gretna School of Art (2014, 2015). In 2019, she was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and was an artist-in-residence at the Studios at MASS MoCA.She has received several grants and awards including the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship, and the John Walker Alumni Award at Boston University. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions, most recently at Greene House Gallery in Brooklyn and Anna Zorina Gallery in Chelsea. Elizabeth is originally from Virginia and currently lives in Hamilton, NY where she is a Visiting Lecturer in Painting at Colgate University.
Lavaughan Jenkins is a painter, printmaker, and sculptor. He was raised in Pensacola, Florida and currently lives and works in Boston, MA. Since earning his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2005, Jenkins has received the 2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize, awarded annually by the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Jenkins is also the recipient of the 2015 Blanche E. Colman Award. He has exhibited his work most recently at venues such as Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), Abigail Ogilvy Gallery (Boston), The Painting Center (NY), and the Fitchburg Art Museum (MA). Tired of viewing art history through a lens devoted to Western European Art, Lavaughan Jenkins decided to contribute his vision, a vision where Black people were not subordinate to a European construct, but instead were featured, by a Black Artist. His sculptural paintings tell a story, a story that reflects the ordinary, the non-heroic, the quiet countenance of a single Black individual, a “Watcher,” a witness to their experience.
Tom Pappas is a painter working in an intuitive, material-based tradition. Born in Miami, Florida, Pappas received an MFA in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 1989. He was awarded a 1990-1991 fellowship at the Fine Arts Work center in 1990-91, as well as residencies at Yaddo, Dorland, VCCA, and Bemis Foundation. From 1995-1999, Pappas was Tenzo (head chef) at the Zen Mountain Center, San Jacinto, CA and authored The Three Bowl Cookbook; Secrets of Enlightened Cooking, published by Carroll & Brown. Pappas was awarded an Elizabeth Foundation grant in 1999., and from 2011-2013, he lived and worked at Meadow Road, Provincetown—FAWC’s long-term residency. Pappas has traveled extensively and currently lives and works in Ridgewood, NY.
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Emsaki is an artist whose practice is conceptually engaged with the influence and impact of natural resources on people and the environment. She navigates geopolitics through familial histories. Emsaki is the recipient of the 2020 Helen Winternitz award, a fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre in 2019, and the Eisner prize in 2016. She earned a BA in Studio Practice from UC Berkeley in 2016 and an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2020.
Georden West is an art house filmmaker and installation artist whose work reflects the subculture, history and daily lives of queer people. They apprenticed within the fashion industry internationally, assisting on shoots for clients including British Vogue, Dior, V Magazine, and AnOther Magazine while at Nick Knight’s London-based SHOWstudio. They were nominated for Best Director and Best Cinematographer at the International Fashion Film Awards in 2018 for their film “The Visitation.” Their Oscar-qualified work, “Patron Saint” screened at Outfest, the London Fashion Film Festival, the International Fashion Film Awards, and won gold at the 2019 Student Academy Awards. They are an upcoming special guest at the Florence Biennale and their feature length debut with Artless Media is currently in post-production.
Shastri Akella earned his MFA in Creative Writing and PhD. in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He previously worked for a street theater troupe and for Google. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica,The Master’s Review, Electric Literature, World Literature Today, Rumpus, PANK, and The Common, among other places. He’s currently finishing up his novel, a queer love story between a gender fluid street performer and a Jewish migrant set in 1990s India. He teaches English at Deerfield Academy and is the fiction editor at Cosmonaut’s Avenue.
Molly Anders grew up in Kentucky. Her stories have appeared in Cimarron Review, North American Review, The Stinging Fly, The Adroit Journal, Hobart and Tin House. She holds an MFA in fiction from Syracuse University, where she won the Joyce Carol Oates Short Story Prize. She has received fellowships from the Norman Mailer Center, the James Merrill House, the Jentel Foundation and the J. William Fulbright Commission. Molly is currently working on a short story collection.
Laura Cresté is the author of the forthcoming chapbook You Should Feel Bad, which was selected for a 2019 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. She holds an MFA in Poetry from New York University and a BA from Bennington College. The winner of Breakwater Review’s 2016 Peseroff Prize, her poems have appeared in journals including No Tokens, Tinderbox, and Bodega, and she has received support from the Community of Writers.
Tracy Fuad is a poet and artist from Minnesota. Her debut collection of poetry, about:blank, was chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2020 Donald Hall Prize. She is also the author of the chapbook PITH (Newfound, 2020) and the art book DADDADDADDADDADDADDAD (TxtBooks, 2019). She is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program and she is currently working on a novel. She has lived in New York, Kurdistan, and Berlin.
Sterling HolyWhiteMountain grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation. He holds a BA in English creative writing from the University of Montana and an MFA in fiction from the University of Iowa. He was also a James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin and more recently a Stegner fellow at Stanford University. His work has appeared in volumes 1 and 2 of Off the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century American Indian and Indigenous Writers, Montana Quarterly, ESPN.com., The Yellow Medicine Review and The Atlantic. He is an unrecognized citizen of the Blackfeet Nation.
Vedran Husić was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and raised in Germany and the United States. His collection of stories, Basements and Other Museums, was published in 2018. He has work published in The Gettysburg Review, Mississippi Review, Ecotone, Blackbird, Image, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a fiction fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.(Second Year)
Eduardo Martinez-Leyva was born to Mexican immigrants and grew up in the U.S. Mexico border. He has received fellowships from CantoMundo, The Frost Place, and Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA.
Zeynep Özakat was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. Her writing has appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, where she won the Fiction Open Contest, in Black Warrior Review, and in Gulf Coast Online. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, where she received The Shirley Jackson Prize in Fiction, The Leonard Brown Prize in Poetry, and a Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work. She is working on a collection of stories and a novel.
Samyak Shertok‘s poems appear or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Cincinnati Review, Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Shenandoah, Waxwing, and elsewhere. A 2020 National Poetry Series finalist and a recipient of fellowships from Aspen Words, the Virginia G. Piper Center, and the Vermont Studio Center, he received the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Poetry and an AWP Intro Journals Project Award in 2020.
H.R. Webster has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work has appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Black Warrior Review, Ninth Letter, Fairy Tale Review, Sugar House Review, 32Poems, Seattle Review and Ecotone. She currently serves as Managing Editor at the Michigan Quarterly Review.