Governor nominated, RI Senate confirms 2 members to the state’s Arts Council

Governor Dan McKee announced that Mary-Kim Arnold, a Pawtucket-based poet, writer and artist, and Mohamad Farzan, Newport, a founding principal of NewPort Architecture, have been confirmed by the RI Senate to RI Arts Council’s 13-member board. Artist Gretchen Dow Simpson and Dr. Joseph Dowling will be stepping down from their role on the Council.

“On behalf of Rhode Island, I thank Gretchen and Joe for their tenure on the Council and longtime commitment to this important economic sector for Rhode Island. I welcome Mary-Kim and Mohamad, and I am looking forward to their service to the people of our state,” Governor McKee said. “Our Arts Council will be integral in getting the arts and cultural community back to full capacity. The commitment of these individuals on our volunteer Arts Council is even more important today than ever as Rhode Island comes back from the pandemic stronger and better.”

“We are pleased to welcome Mary-Kim and Mohamad to the RISCA board. Their leadership will help us support and serve an arts and culture community that contributes significantly to life in the Ocean State,” said RISCA’s Executive Director Randall Rosenbaum. “Both Mary-Kim and Mohamad have been valued members of the RI cultural community, and their involvement on the RISCA board will help us work broadly and inclusively with artists, arts educators and arts organizations as we emerge from this difficult period.”

Libby Slader, RISCA Chair, said: “The Council is grateful to the Governor for these nominations and to the RI Senate for confirming them. I want to reiterate my thanks to Joe and Gretchen for their service to the state’s Arts Council,” said Libby Slader, RISCA’s Chairperson. “The new Council members have a wealth of expertise and creativity, which allows us to continue our commitment to supporting and encouraging the expansion of the state’s cultural resources, as well as promoting and protecting freedom of artistic expression.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Arnold-MK-2021-769x1024.jpgMary-Kim Arnold is a poet, writer, and artist. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Fish & The Dove (Noemi Press, 2020) and Litany for the Long Moment, an experimental memoir about her failed search for her Korean birth mother.  (Essay Press, 2018). She has been honored by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, and her work has been featured in NPR’s Code Switch. Other writings have appeared in Hyperallergic, Conjunctions, The Denver Quarterly, The Georgia Review, Tupelo Quarterly, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Ms. Arnold graduated with Honors from Brown University with a B.A. in English and American Literature. She went on to earn an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown in fiction. After more than a decade working in nonprofit administration, notably as the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and later, Director of Evaluation and Learning at the Rhode Island Foundation, she attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts and graduated with an MFA in Poetry. She now teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown and in The Newport MFA, a low-residency graduate program at Salve Regina University.

She is the recipient of a 2020 Howard Foundation Fellowship, the 2018 MacColl Johnson Fellowship, and the 2017 Fellowship in Fiction from RISCA. She serves as Senior Editor for Collaborative & Cross-Disciplinary Texts at Tupelo Quarterly.

Adopted from Korea and raised in New York, Ms. Arnold lives in Pawtucket with her husband and children.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is M-Farzan-headshot.jpgMohamad Farzan, one of NewPort Architecture’s founding principals, has been practicing architecture in Rhode Island for over 25 years. Some of his major projects are: The Opera House/ Newport Performing Arts Center (2004- ongoing), The Newport Congregational Church (2010-ongoing), the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport (2013), published in the Spring 2016 book by RISD Adaptive Reuse Studio, The Newport Art Museum (2011), the Newport Historical Society (2015), the Hope Club, Providence (2004), Carnegie Abbey Golf House, Portsmouth (2000), Vanderbilt Hall hotel and spa, Newport (1998 and 2007), and Salve Regina University’s Fairholme carriage house dormitory, Newport (2000), along with many residential projects throughout New England.

Mr. Farzan received his architectural training at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and also holds an MArch from Tehran University. After practicing in London for several years, he moved to the United States, where he worked for Cubelis & Associates, William Starck Architects and Newport Collaborative Architects before helping to found NewPort Architecture. He has been honored with several awards, including the Providence Business News’s Business Excellence Award, Newport Historical Society Preservation Award, and two People’s Choice Awards. In addition, Mr. Farzan has been a visiting critic at the architecture schools at the Rhode Island School of Design and Roger Williams University.

He currently serves on the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. Mr. Farzan contributes much of his time to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), having recently completed a term as Regional Director for New England, and was honored as a Richard Upjohn Fellow in 2013. In 2007, he published the AIA Guide to Newport. When time permits, he enjoys sailing, and can be found racing J-22’s on Narragansett Bay.

Artist’s Resource Trust Fund opens grant applications for mid-career visual artists

Nonprofit organizations wishing to show, commission or purchase work may also apply
Deadline is Aug. 15

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The Artist’s Resource Trust (A.R.T.) Fund, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, provides grants to support the creative work of mid-career visual artists. Grants are available in painting, sculpture, printmaking or mixed media to artists with financial need in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island as well as Columbia and northeast Dutchess counties in New York.

Nonprofit organizations wishing to show, commission or purchase work by mature artists living in New England may also apply. Grants range up to $10,000. Applications are due Aug. 15. To apply and read more, click here.  

New exhibition of Rhode Island artists opens at T.F. Green Airport

A new art exhibition is now on display at TF Green Airport’s GREEN SPACE Gallery, a partnership between RISCA and the RI Airport Corporation (RIAC). The gallery now features works by Rhode Island artists Pascale Lord, Barrington, Sarina Mitchel, Providence, and Jill Stauffer, Wakefield, and will be on display through Sept. 19.

“By highlighting RI artists, this gallery offers travelers coming and going to our state a vision of our incredible creativity. It’s a treat for first time visitors and residents to discover RI’s thriving and diverse arts community, a key economic driver.”

Randall Rosenbaum, RISCA’s Executive Director
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Pascale Lord

Pascale Lord, a French native, began her art career at Strasbourg University graduating with a CAPES in Arts Plastiques. She completed her master’s by working with the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Following graduation, she continued her art through teaching and had the opportunity to organize exhibitions with regional museums. In 2005, she relocated to the United States with her family; first to Seattle where she was an active member of Gallery 110 and had several exhibitions on the West Coast, then to Rhode Island in 2011 where she is an active artist member at IMAGO Gallery in Warren. Her work is focused on individual and collective experiences morphing into memory, which in her words, “fades, degrades, erases, resurfaces, tears, and stretches, like the canvas of my paintings.” Read the artist’s statement.

Sarina Mitchel

Sarina Mitchel is an artist based in Providence. Fascinated by the intersection of science and art, her current focus is on paintings inspired by cells and biology. The paintings on display are based on microscope images of epithelial cells in human lungs, which form an essential barrier, separating one organ from another, outside from inside, our bodies from the world. Her works turn the complexity of groups of airway epithelial cells into something beautiful that will intrigue viewers. She uses iridescent inks to create a sense of depth and motion and adds a dimensional element to her paintings by etching patterns into the surfaces. Her artistic process involves hand-tracing the cell boundaries, then programming a CNC router to etch that image onto the painting surface. Mitchel says, “When airway epithelial cells cannot perform their function as a barrier, a person can become sick with respiratory diseases like emphysema or COPD. Little did I know when I started working on this series, before the pandemic upended our lives, these are the same cells COVID-19 first attacks when it reaches our lungs.” Read more about the artist.

Mitchel’s work has been shown throughout Rhode Island, and in cities such as New York, Boston, Kansas City and Golden, Colorado. She has donated artwork to benefit organizations such as AS220, the CSPH, the Attleboro Arts Museum, Visual AIDS, Operation Breakthrough and Planned Parenthood.

Jill Stauffer

Jill Stauffer is an interdisciplinary artist based in Wakefield. Her interactive installations are inspired by the coastal ecosystems and sacred spaces of the places she’s lived. The pieces serve as interactive spaces for self-reflection and the exploration of themes related to ephemerality, grief, spirituality, transformation, and the beauty and fragility of the natural world. Stauffer’s work is born out of a ritual of labor, installations which are the whole of many components, each crafted delicately in a ritual of contemplation. Her hand is visible in each piece, explicit labors of sewing, cut paper, and the application and sanding down of paint layers. Stauffer holds a BA from Middlebury College in Vermont, with majors in Studio Art and Architectural Studies. She recently completed an Artist Intern Fellowship with NE Sculpture and looks forward to an internship with Josephine Sculpture Park this summer. In addition to her art practice, Stauffer has worked in arts administration with community art and design nonprofits in Providence, Baltimore and Minneapolis. Read more about the artist.

Exhibitors for GREEN SPACE were chosen by panelists Kathy Hodge, Viera Levitt and Frank Poor.