Friday, December 11, 2009

So Good now accepting submissions

So Good is now accepting submissions for the So Good volume 3. We accept all forms of art (writing, photography, drawings, paintings etc.). For questions and/or concerns please email us at


  • Your Name
  • Your Major
  • Your Class Year
  • Title(s) of the work(s)


Please limit yourself to one (1) submission per genre. You are allowed up to 8,000 words of prose and up to five poems. Email your submission as .doc or .rtf files to Please put your name and the type of submission in the subject line. For example: Jenn Monroe SO Good Poetry Submission or watch for our editors in the cafe at lunch on Fridays.


Please limit yourself to one (1) submission per medium. You are allowed up to five pieces per medium. Email is NOT the best way to submit images of your work to us. Please put high resolution images (300 dpi or higher, JPG only please) on a CD or thumb drive (labeled with your name and mailbox number if you want it back) and get it to Prof. Jenn Monroe, Dept. of Writing & Literature via campus mail. Please let us know that it is a SO Good submission. You also can watch for our editors in the cafe at lunch on Fridays.

Attention All Artists

Compass Rose is looking for artwork to become the cover of Compass Rose volume 10. We accept photographs, drawings, paintings etc. Please send jpegs or links to or leave a cd in Jenn Monroe's campus mailbox.

Christina Pitsch to be Artist- in -Residence

Chester College of New England Professor of fine arts Christina Pitsch will be spending 5 weeks during winter break as an artist-in-residence at the Guanlan Original Printmaking Base in Guanlan, China. She will be working on a new series of large scale prints.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Student Art Sale

On Friday, December 4 from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm Chester College of New England Students will be displaying and selling art in the Wadleigh Library Gallery. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

Primary Studios Gallery Show

Between December 3, 2009 and December 15, 2009 Chester College of New England's Primary Studios Students will be showing their work in the Wadleigh Library Gallery. The gallery will be free and open to the public.

"The Berlin Dictionary" is now available

Can you press that, er um, piton? Let me get that mousse off of your sweater. If you know what the words piton and mousse mean and if you have no idea what the words piton and mousse mean, the Berlin Dictionary is for you.

The Berlin Dictionary edited and illustrated by Chester College of New England's Photography and Media Arts instructor Rachelle Beaudoin is now available.

The Berlin Dictionary is a participatory dictionary written by over seventy contributors who submitted their favorite and most memorable “Berlin Words.” With definitions ranging from the Arena to the Yoko and everything in between, The Berlin Dictionary is a must-have for current and former Berlin residents. Featuring over thirty illustrations.

According to Beaudoin, “Considering the changes and challenges facing the city in recent years, the dictionary seemed like a fun way for citizens to take pride in or poke fun at aspects of the community while recognizing and enjoying its uniqueness.” The book is part historical document, part reference and part humor.

With contributions from:

Ken Adair, Justin Aube, Jerry and Jill Aube, Lucille Barr, Beatrice Beaudoin, Claude Beaudoin, Frank Bellefeuille, Dave Bergeron, Rene Bergeron, Rachel Berube, Dan and Darlene Blais, David Blais, Muriel Blais, Susan Boucher, Tim Brannen, Rita Breton, Dan Campagna, Cecile Chabot Wester, Janie Chartrand, Lousie Connelly, Roberta Conway, Eric Cote, Jesse Croteau and Keith Blanchette, Romeo Danais, Clark Danderson, Lisa Dodge, Sister Theresa Dube, Michael Dumont, Jim Duncan, Bill Dyer, Don Fournier, Dr. Barry Gendron, Jeanne Ivory, Shirley Jackson, Rebecca L’Heureux, Louise Lachance, Carla LaPierre, Lucille Lavoie, Tracy Lefebvre, Dan Mackin, Shawn Marquis, Chris Martel, Jasmine Montminy, Rachel Montminy, Theresa Morgan Perry, Roberta Morin Migetz, Lorraine Morin Pasciak, Benita Morin St. Pierre, Sister Cecile Morrisette, Jackie Nadeau, Rev. Gerald Oleson, Linda Paquet, Melanie Payeur, Dick Poulin, Linda Poulin, Dave Ramsey, Kris Richards, Jennie Roberge, Larry Roberge, Susan Roberge, Kelly Ross, Ben Roy, Darlene Roy, Guy Sanchargin, George Stanley, Celia Nicotra Sullivan, Jan Szumierz, Lisa Thompson, Angela Vaillancourt and Becky Roberge, Carolyn Vasquez, Claire Villeneuve Rennison and Amy Welch.

Rachelle Beaudoin is an interdisciplinary artist and professor of art at Chester College of New England and Saint Anselm College. She was born and raised in Berlin NH and is currently living in Peterborough NH. She is interested in video, performance and socially engaged art. This is her first book.

The Berlin Dictionary is available at the Wonderland Bookstore, 10 Exchange Street in Gorham NH, Savoir Flare at 52 Main Street in Berlin NH, at the Berlin Historical Society Moffet House, 119 High St, Berlin NH and online at It will be available on in 6-8 weeks. The ISBN is 978-0-557-19739-2.

The book is available via the link:

A book signing will be held on December 19th from 11am-2pm at the Wonderland Bookstore, 10 Exchange Street, Gorham NH.

Eric Pinder Interviews and Book Signing

Chester College of New England's instructor of writing and literature Eric Pinder will be interviewed on Book Swap Café, for Concord TV Channel 22, in a program to be recorded on December 15. He also will be interviewed live on the Arkansas-based internet radio program WeatherBrains on March 29 at 8:30 pm Central Daylight Time (9:30 Eastern).

Eric will discuss his children’s book Cat in the Clouds, his most recent book, Life at the Top, and his experiences working and living as a weather observer on top of Mount Washington. Book Swap Café, now in its fifth season, has been described as “Concord’s literary Siskel and Roeper.” An article about the program recently appeared in The Concord Insider.

On December 19, Eric will sign books at Fox Tale Books in Alton, New Hampshire, from 11-1 pm. That same afternoon at 4 pm, he will present a lecture about Mount Washington's wild weather at the Conway Library.

Eric Crapo Published

Chester College of New England's Library Director and instructor of writing and literature Eric Crapo will have his poem "At the Swimming Hole" published in the fall issue of Organs of Vision and Speech Magazine. The poem will also be anthologized next summer. This poem is an ekphrasis on Thomas Eakins' painting "The Swimming Hole."

Cathe Janke to Exhibit in NYC

Chester College of New England's instructor of interdisciplinary & fine arts Cathe Janke will have work in the Generations 7 Holiday Benefit Exhibition, at A.I.R. Gallery in New York City. The Exhibit will run December 2nd, 2009 through January 3rd, 2010. There will be a receception on Thursday, December 3rd from 6 8 pm and a Holiday Party & Action viewing on Friday, December 4th from 6:00 to 8:30 pm.
Stop by and see some exciting art at affordable prices! 40% of sales support the A.I.R. Fellowship Program for Emerging and Undererepresented Artists and other A.I.R. exhibitions and programs that serve our mission to advance the status of women in the arts. Works purchased for holiday gifts may be picked up from December 19 to 23rd, from 11 am to 6 pm.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Making Things Happen: An Interview with Lana Z. Caplan

Lana Z. Caplan, a Boston-based film/videomaker, photographer and installation artist, visited Chester College of New England this week as part of the Visiting Artist's Symposium Lecture Series. Caplan works with super8, found footage, video, interactive projections, and alterative processes photography in her pieces, which explore relationships, mortality and social issues.

Caplan grew up in a world of photography. When given her first Polaroid at the age of four, it was just a natural progression for a family that took regular snapshots. Although she never considered a career in art growing up, she attended numerous workshops and camps. It wasn’t until her undergraduate work in art history that she learned anyone can be an artist, if you work hard and make art.

When preparing for a new piece, Caplan said she starts with a concept and focuses on finding what the best ways to communicate that, be it through sketches or details within the environment or what works best with the site. Through her heavy use of Polaroids she can see what’s happening, and make decisions as she goes. Armed with research, her camera, and a willingness to experiment, she starts with an idea and keeps kicking it around until figuring out how to approach it.

Caplan’s varied portfolio includes pieces that are experienced, not just viewed. From her videos Love in the Afternoon, and The Waltz to her series on Sites of Public Execution, Caplan’s pieces cover a wide range of compositional interest. "I hope that my audience will give [the work] the time to try to understand, and to see the multiple layers and pieces that make it, as well as the collective meaning of the pieces put in the installation," she said.

Between exhibiting, studio time, researching and more, Caplan still finds time to visit many colleges as a traveling artist/lecturer. She said her biggest piece of advice is to work hard. "Nothing comes easy, so keep working at it," she said. "Take a good look at what came before you and the context of what you are doing, what you might be referencing and what others might be seeing when they view your work."

Caplan encourages young artists to look for inspiration everywhere. She has found it in the work of Pipilotti Rist and Andy Warhols' films. "We can all be inspired by something," she said. "Look at other artists and see what works or what doesn’t work for you and what you can take away from it to incorporate into your own work."

Even with inspiration, Caplan joked that a typical day in the studio consists of "cappuccino and email." On a more serious note, she did have one suggestion to beat procrastination. "On those days you are not in the studio, keep a running list of the things to do next time in the studio and options for those times you just don’t feel like 'it,'" she said.

When work is ready to be shown, Caplan suggested thinking broadly about exhibiting. "Create your own opportunities," she said. "Collaborate with other types artists and make your own events. Hire bands, invite friends, create your own scenes, work out the kinks. Don’t rely on the existing infrastructure --be prepared to show the establishment. By bringing people together things happen."

~Rhiannon Lombard

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Fantasticum" Features Chester College Student Work

"Fantasticum," a group show of Chester College of New England students, is on display now in the Whitherill Gallery at The Coffee Factory in Derry, NH. Works by Jamie Vitas, Maggie Alerding, Timothy Lee, Rachel Deccico, Tahlia Groupil, Peter Isherwood and Fairlee Anderson,--all students in the fine arts professional practices class and the gallery practicum--are part of the show.

Megan McNaught, assistant professor of interdisciplinary and fine arts at Chester College, said the exhibit is "the culmination of an excellent semester and hard work by all involved." It features a range of media from encaustic paintings to printmaking and was planned, managed and installed by the students involved. "It is a fine example of the work produced by students at Chester College of New England."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unconventional Inspiration: An Interview with George Saunders

On Tuesday, November 16, nationally acclaimed author George Saunders visited Chester College of New England as part of the Visiting Writers Series. Saunders, who has been hailed by The New Yorker as one of the best writers under forty and as one of the top 100 most creative people in entertainment by Entertainment Weekly, gave a question and answer period for students during the day and a reading, that was open to the public, the same evening.

In a time when many writers lament that the art of the short story has passed by, Saunders has published three collections of short stories and two novellas. His stories and essays also are routinely published in magazines such as The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers. "Do I think short stories are dead? No," he said. "I think people get this idea from bad agents. A bad agent will ask you if you have a novel finished. A good agent wants to know what you write. I've been lucky. One of the things we don't tell young writers, that we should, is that you can't pick what kind of writer you are."

Saunders said he spent his youth reading "less than literary" books and does not count other writers among his top inspirations. When just beginning his career as a writer he studied albums, in particular how musicians ordered the songs on an album, to learn how to put together books of short stories. Other influences? Comedians of course. Saunders said he counts Steve Martin and Monty Python as strong influences on his writing.

Saunders is known for his genre-defying short stories and has a writing process that is in many ways as unconventional as his work. Often spending as many as seven years writing and revising a story, he said that by the end of the process he has only kept about 40 percent of the words he started off with. "Many young writers write a story, revise it, and three weeks later feel it's finished," he said. "I write magazine stories. I need to let a story sit long enough so that when I come back to revise it I'm looking at it just like the reader who flips through a magazine and comes across it for the first time."

Each fall Saunders teaches an advanced fiction writing class in the MFA program at Syracuse University, but workshops are definitely not part of his own revision process. He explained that workshops are good tools for students but not for the seasoned writer. "The problem with workshops is that you get, say, five suggestions. Four of them, you feel, have nothing to do with your story. The fifth one does maybe, but only if it is something you were already thinking of yourself.

"Ultimately you send a story out with your name on it," he continued. "It should be your work. Then if it succeeds you deserve all the credit for it. And if it fails you don't have the feeling that you've been misled."

~Renee Mallett

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chester College Student published in Collective Fallout

Chester College Student Kelsey McCarthy's short story "Coyote Smile" has been selected as a finalist for Collective Fallout's Delfino Prize for Queer Genre Fiction. Her story will be published in the January 2010 issue of the magazine.

Chester College of New England's 2nd Annual Blood Drive

Chester College of New England will be holding their 2nd Annual Blood Drive on Thursday December 3. It will be held between 1 and 6 pm in the Chester Town Multi-Purpose Room. It is free and open to the public.

First 10 students to sign up with Stephanie Ramirez and donate blood will receive a special thank-you prize. All donors affiliated with Chester College will be entered in a raffle for a gift card to Applebee's. All donors will also be entered in a raffle to win a pair of lift tickets to Loon Mt.

Student Art Sale

On Friday, December 4 from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm Chester College of New England Students will be displaying and selling art in the Wadleigh Library Gallery. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

They are still looking for interested students to sell work. If you are interested please contact Kara Schulse, or sign up at the circulation desk.

Primary Studios Show

Between December 3, 2009 and December 15, 2009 Chester College of New England's Primary Studios Students will be showing their work in the Wadleigh Library Gallery. The gallery will be free and open to the public.

An Unfiltered Experience : An Interview with Asley John Pigford

Artist and musician Ashley John Pigford visited Chester College of New England this week as part of the Visiting Artist Symposium Lecture Series. So Good staffer Jen Bailey had a chance to speak to him about his work.

Jen Bailey:
How did you come into this unusual sort of work?

Ashley John Pigford:
I am a designer by practice and an artist by product. I have a lot of experience in graphic design, and making money for other people. A while ago I decided to stop doing this and apply my creative process to something I cared about. So, in addition to teaching I explore my personal fascination with electronics, programming, and interaction design.

Why do you choose to work with old electronics?

Because they are cheap and ubiquitous. Plus, they embody a message of reuse and rethinking everyday experiences. They are instantly engaging because people know them--they already have a relationship. This provides an entryway into the work.

JB: About how long does it take to complete a piece?

Hard to say, sometimes a year, sometimes 30 minutes. All pieces are projects that continue to evolve in materials and my own knowledge of the technology.

Why do you believe interactivity is so important in art?

Because engagement is what we all seek. Multi-sensory experiences are how we perceive reality and work that provides this is engaging in ways that are greater than the sum of its sensory parts.

JB: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

AJP: Being a father.

What artists do you admire?

AJP: Tim Hawkinson, Conrad Shawcross, Troika, Greyworld; these come to mind right now.

JB: How has being a professor influenced your work?

AJP: It's more like my work influences my teaching, however teaching and creative process are deeply intertwined as an intrinsic human activity.

JB: How has music influenced your work?

AJP: Heavily. My process of making art is very equivalent to making music. Both involve phenomenon, composition, tone, and non-visual experiences. Music is an unfiltered experience, it sinks deep fast.

JB: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

AJP: Use your work to discover something you are fascinated with, then use the work to share this with other people.

Lana Z. Caplan visits Chester College of New England

Lana Z. Caplan will be Chester College of New England's final visiting artist in the fall semester's Visiting Artist Symposium. Lana's lecture will be held on December 1st at 2:30 pm in the Wadleigh Library Conference Room. The lecture will be free and open to the public.

Lana Z. Caplan is a Boston-based film/videomaker, photographer and installation artist. She works with super8, found footage, video, interactive projections, and alterative processes photography in her pieces that explore relationships, mortality and social issues.

Recent screenings and exhibitions include: MadCat Women’s International Film Festival (San Francisco, CA); "FICCO"(Festival Internacional de Cine Contemporáneo), Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, (Mexico City); Festival Cap Sembrat 3, (Barcelona, Spain); Danforth Museum of Art, (MA); National Gallery of Art, (San Juan, Puerto Rico); Gallery NAGA, (Boston, MA); John Stevenson Gallery, (NY, NY); Photographic Resource Center, (Boston, MA); William Benton Museum of Art, (Storrs, CT).

Recent grants and awards include: Puffin Foundation, Individual Artist Grant; Wexner Center for the Arts, Residency Support; Massachusetts Cultural Council, Professional Development Grant; Vermont Studio Center, Artist-in-Residence, Artist Grant; Contemporary Artist Center, North Adams, MA; Polaroid Corporation, Materials Grant. She earned a B.A. from Boston University and an M.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art. Caplan also teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chester College Students nominated for Acting Award

Cynthia Hollis and Rebecca MacDonald have been nominated for the Irene Ryan Excellence in College Acting award through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Rockie Hunter was named as an alternate. Cynthia and Rebecca have been invited to compete for the award at the upcoming regional festival, taking place January 26-31 at UNH in Durham, where theater students from Maine to New York will come together to compete, network, perform, and take workshops with industry professionals. In the event that either Cynthia or Rebecca cannot attend, Rockie would go in their place. The nominations were made by Jim Murphy, the region one co-chair for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Mr. Murphy also chose to recognize the work of Matthew Williams, whose work on Chester's production of "Night of the Living Dead" is being entered into the dramaturgy (theatrical scholarship) category at the festival.

Final Week of Senior Shows

Between November 15 and November 23, the final four of Chester College of New England’s graduating seniors will be show their work from the past two semesters. The opening reception will be held at 7 p.m., November 18, 2009 in the Wadleigh Library Gallery. The show is free and open to the public.

The event will feature gallery a combination of fantasy, erotica, role playing, video documentaries, TV show and other forms of propaganda from the 1940s, and life before, during and after World War I.

The visual artists are Kelsey McCarthy with “Children of Asgard,” Amanda Kovs with “A Surreal Twilight,” Brittany Barnes with “Silent Majority” and Brittany Tumelaire with “Perception.”. As part of the opening three senior writers will read portions of their work. Rachel Lieberman will read from her work of fiction “Coming and Going,” Lisa Pike will read poems from her collection “Stripped” and Kelsey McCarthy will read from her fiction piece “Children of Asgard.”

George Saunders visits Chester College

Nationally acclaimed author George Saunders will visit Chester College on Monday November 16, as part of the Visiting Writers Series. He will participate in a question and answer session for students from 1-2:30 p.m. and will give a reading from 6-8 p.m, that the public is invited to attend. Both events will be held in Room 29 of the Powers Building.

Saunders, a creative writing professor at Syracuse University, has work appearing regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Best American Short Story, Best Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing. Saunders also is the author of two non-fiction books and five books of fiction.

Saunders has been a recipient of the National Magazine Award four times and has won second prize in the O. Henry Awards. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, his first collection of short stories, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. In 2006 Saunders Received a MacArthur Fellowship.

Ashley John Pigford comes to Chester College

Ashley John Pigford will be coming to Chester College of New England on Tuesday November 17, 2009. She will be giving a lecture at 2:30 pm in the Wadleigh Library Conference Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ashley John Pigford is an artist, designer, musician and educator who works across a wide range of art and design media including video, sound, installation, performance, sculpture, micro-electronics and letterpress. His current employment as Assistant Professor of Visual Communications in the Department of Art at the University of Delaware is paired with an active art/design studio practice. Ashley received his MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006 after a successful career as a proprietor of graphic design in Los Angeles, CA.

Eric Pinder Published

Chester College of New England’s instructor of writing and literature Eric Pinder’s essay “Snow Days” will appear in the January/February 2010 issue of New Hampshire Home magazine. The essay describes the joys and perils of living in a cold climate.

Eric Crapo Published

“Snippets from Acadia National Park,” a poem by Chester College of New England’s Library Director and instructor of writing and literature Eric Crapo, will appear in the first issue of Moonshot magazine.

Byron Petrakis Published

“The Arrows of Apollo,” a short story by Chester College of New England’s Dean of Students and professor of writing and literature Byron Petrakis, is scheduled to appear in Issue 360 (November 9) of “Bewildering Stories,” an on-line publication of speculative writing in all genres.

Rachelle Beaudoin featured on

Chester College of New England's instructor of photography and media arts Rachelle Beaudoin has recently seen some of her video work featured on

ArtFem.TV is online television programming presenting Art and Feminism. The aim of ArtFem.TV is to foster women in the arts, their art works and projects, to create an online international television screen for the creativity, images and voices of women. ArtFem.TV is a non-profit, artist run ITV and media portal about Art and Feminism. Artists featured on the site include: Pipilotti Rist, Martha Rosler, Marina Abramovic, and Valie Export.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Second Week of Senior Shows in Wadleigh Gallery

Work by Chester College of New England Zach Huntress, Emily McCoomb, Emma Haskins and Alexa Patrick is featured in the Wadleigh Gallery this week. An opening reception for the shows will be held at 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 11.

Huntress’s show is a collection of photographs called “Mental Scars and Boxcars,” McCo
omb’s a collection of drawings, Haskins’s a collection of drawings, paintings, and collages called “Ancestors” and Patrick’s a collection of oil paintings called “Snapshots.”

“Mental Scars and Boxcars” is Huntress’s interpretation of the History of Railroads and Hobo culture, two things he said he is passionate about learning. Haskins’s work is based on antique photographs that belonged to her mother--her attempt to make past relatives and
friends remembered in a new light. Patrick said her work captures the emotion and stories of certain events with each piece representing a different family memory.

The shows continue through Saturday, November 14.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Illustrator Fred Lynch Bends the Rules

For more than twenty years, Fred Lynch has been an educator freelance illustrator, creating magazine covers, book jackets and website designs with his distinctive and humorous style, blending realism with imagination. But hearing him describe what he does, you wouldn't think it was work. Lynch recently spoke about his work and experience in the field at Chester College of New England.

According to Lynch, the illustrator's job isn't to simply draw but rather to communicate an idea. This has two requirements: creating an image that represents the idea and making it coherent and understandable. It's not enough to meet the goal of the commissioned image; if the audience doesn't understand the message, the illustration doesn't serve a purpose. In this sense it would seem that these commissioned pieces are impersonal to the artist, and in some cases he would agree. However, a keen-eye can detect a clue of Lynch's own charm and humor, whether that be a stray floating nose in a bed of flowers or the oddly-curled toes of a fallen elf. He cites the old adage that you have to love your work, even if it isn't necessarily yours. Though layout guidelines and strict time constraints may limit what can be done, Lynch says that if you love what you do, you'll be driven to find ways around it.

Lynch's commercial work and personal work are often at ends with one another. He openly admits that he bends rules of perspective and realism in his illustrations but when observing his Coffee Cup series of paintings it becomes obvious that, not only are these paintings are overtly abstract, but that abstraction is the point. Coffee Cup presents a passion for reinventing, changing the mundane by twisting and pulling at the physical constraints, sometimes to the point where any resemblance is gone. Lynch cites imagination as a driving force behind illustration, in both the need to express it and capture it in the viewer.

~Ben Dennison

Friday, November 6, 2009

“De-concealing:” An Interview with Barbara Bernstein

Drawing and installation artist, Barbara Bernstein will visit Chester College of New England Tuesday, November 10 as part of the visiting artist symposium. She will lecture in the Wadleigh Library Conference Room from 2:30-4 p.m. Bernstein has studied at the Rhode Island School of Design Bachelor’s in the Arts program, The University of New Mexico MA and MFA programs and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is the artist-in-residence at the Virginia center for creative arts. Recently, her installation show, Things are not what they seem, nor are they otherwise, exhibited at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA.
SO Good staff member Eric Notaro, had the opportunity to speak with her about her artistic process.

Eric Nota
ro: Utilizing both traditional and nontraditional techniques and influences, how do you decide when a piece needs more of a traditional touch versus one that is more experimental?
Barbara Bernstein: Ideally, it’s the work that decides, not me. My job is to get out of the way, listen to the work and respond.

EN: Line, shape and perspective are elements you cite as being both “sustained and challenged by.” What is it about these elements that interest you?
BB: These principals are basic, traditional tenants of western art. As such I was steeped in them in my visual art studies. However, Mark Twain said, “Don’t let your education get in the way of your learning.” I like that sentiment.

EN: You note illusion, suspension of disbelief and other obscuring qualities as a major inspiration. What is it that draws you to the unknown and mysterious as a theme in your work?
BB: The German philosopher [Martin] Heidegger addresses issues of revealing and what he calls “de-concealing.” I like the duality and interdependency of that— like a teacup and the inside of the teacup.

EN: Among your influences, you note “Science, philosophy and religion via contemporary aesthetic perception […]” Are these influences based on simply the idea of empirical discovery or are there specific philosophies, scientific findings and viewpoints you have in mind?
BB: Western and Eastern philosophies, poets and religions have interested me since high school. I have collaborated with philosophers in writing about art and have collaborated in teaching with philosophers as well. I also collaborated with a computer musician for a few projects and hope to continue that in the future if we can get funding.

EN: Having traveled and exhibited throughout the country and abroad, what advice could you offer artists trying to establish themselves?
BB: I am certainly no authority— I don’t even have a website yet! I can only speak from my own experience. I consistently tell my students and friends and colleagues, focus on the work.

An Animated Evening

If you fancy a laugh on Friday, November 13, then stop by Powers 29, the fireplace room, at 7 p.m. as Ben Dennison, Joseph Arentz, and a cast of students will perform a live script reading of their animated cartoon, Strays. Freshman Steve Wicks will open the evening.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

First Senior Show Opening Tonight

For the past eight to nine months, Chester College of New England seniors Ashley Hin and Dustin Potter have been thinking of ideas, concepts, and creating images for their huge gallery show right before they graduate this semester. Their hard work will be presented free to the public in Wadleigh Library Galley at an opening reception tonight at 7 p.m. Hin a graphic design major, has titled her show “Fresh & Blue: a study on renewable energy” while Potter, a photography major, has titled his show “In Reverentia.” Two other seniors, Gayle Lee and Tyler Moran, also are showing work this week.

Hin’s goal for her show was to educate her audience. To achieve this, Hin created small handouts and brochures in hopes that her viewers would be able to interact with her work. She also created large postcards showing renewable energy sources across New England.

Potter’s goal for “In Reverentia” was to give the audience the feeling of misplaced pride. “The series attempts to expose the misplaced pride of the human species in relation to their surroundings by inverting the scale of viewer and environment,” he said. “Each image takes common natural features of an environment (trees, rocks, grass, moss, etc) and transforms them into vast parts of a micro-landscape. The project acts as a marriage of art and science, promoting a wider understanding of the natural world through the photographic medium.”

Both of these artists were inspired by technology and science. According to Hin, her project idea came from her experiences three years ago at a local renewable energy company. The work of Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins helped Potter with his conceptual groundwork, while photographers Michael McCarthy and Edward Burtynsky influenced his style.

The shows will continue through Saturday, November 7.

~Heather Doherty

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dr. O'Brien Takes Student Idea to Conference

Monica O'Brien, chair of Chester College's Department of Writing and Literature, is chairing a Film Studies panel at the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association Annual Conference in Boston this weekend. She also is presenting a paper entitled, “Outside of here is death”: the functioning of hermetic fantasies in Beckett’s Endgame and Lynch’s Eraserhead.” This paper is inspired by Ben Dennison, a Chester College student, who came up with the idea of comparing Beckett's play to Lynch's film, in O'Brien's Fragments of Rationality: Modern and Postmodern Literature and Theory course last spring.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chester College Student Featured in Ghost Story Video

Chester College of New England student Renee Mallett is featured in this video from Please note, content may not be appropriate for young viewers. To watch the video click here: Streets of Fear - Widow Susan Road

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jenn Monroe Published

“Ceasefire” and “Chocolate Sampler,” two poems by Chester College professor of writing and literature Jenn Monroe, will appear in the fall issue of Off the Coast magazine. The food-themed issue will be available in November. A third poem, “For a Moment,” will appear in the inaugural issue of Organs of Vision and Speech Magazine in December, and be included in a special printed issue of OVS slated for Summer 2010.

Fred Lynch Comes to Chester College

Illustrator Fred Lynch will be visiting Chester College on November 3rd as part of the Visiting Artist Symposium, giving a lecture in the Wadleigh Confrence Room from 2:30 to 4:00.

Having grown up in Cumberland, Rhode Island, Lynch graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1986. Since that time he has been creating illustrations for numerous clients and earned recognition from The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration Magazine, Communication Arts Magazine and Print Magazine. His work looks to combine the ordinary with the extraordinary, sketching from imagination and painting from reality.

Senior Shows Start Sunday

Starting this Sunday November 1 Chester College graduating Seniors will be showing their Senior Shows. Each of the students presenting have been working on these projects since January of this year. Their Gallery reception starts on Wednesday November 4th at 7 pm in the Wadleigh Library. The students who are presenting their work are Ashley Hin with “Fresh & Blue: a study of renewable energy”, Dustin Potter with “In Reverentia”, Gayle Lee and Tyler Moran with “Sideshow”.

Rachelle Beaudoin Featured in GirlDrive

Chester College media arts instructor Rachelle Beaudoin is featured in the book GirlDrive by Nona Willis Aronowitz and Emma Bee Bernstein. It is out in stores and available online now.

What do young women care about? What are their hopes, worries, and ambitions? Have they heard of feminism, and do they relate to it?

These are just a few of the questions journalist Nona Willis Aronowitz and photographer Emma Bee Bernstein set out to answer in Girldrive. In October 2007, Aronowitz and Bernstein took a cross-country road trip to meet with the 127 women profiled in this book, ranging from well-known feminists like Kathleen Hanna, Laura Kipnis, Erica Jong, and Michele Wallace, to women who don’t relate to feminism at all. The result of these interviews, Girldrive is a regional chronicle of the struggles, concerns, successes, and insights of young women who are grappling—just as hard as their mothers and grandmothers did—to find, define, and fight for gender equity.

Co-author Nona Willis Aronowitz was interviewed by ELLE about the book. Aronowitz will also be on NHPR’s Word of Mouth Wednesday (10/28) at noon. Beaudoin will join her to share her own experience participating with the project.

Chester Faculty Gallery Opening

Chester College faculty members Megan McNaught and Christina Pitsch will be showing their work at Fort Point Art Community starting November 6th, with the opening reception taking place on November 13th at 5:30. This event is free and open to the public.

The show, Patterned Tactic(s), brings together the work of Megan McNaught, abstract painter, and Christina Pitsch, sculptor. Both artists are linked by their use of pattern and repetition both in the process of making and in the finished imagery of the work. The show consists of free hanging life size clear deer sculptures surrounded by large-scale geometric net drawings. Both bodies of work are striking in their combination of inherent complexity with results that are quiet and deceivingly minimal in nature.

Pitsch’s technique of ‘mapping’ objects through the use of sewing patterns allows for the recreation of multiples in alternate materials and scales. The process of fabricating the sculptures begins with the actual drafting of sewing patterns from life size deer models. Through this process of breaking an object down and translating from 3 dimensional form to 2 dimensional parts there is a relationship that begins between object and artist. It is not only the method by which they are made but a meditation in repetition. Through a process of repetitively recreating each deer, piece-by-piece, the maker becomes intimate with the subject further developing the relationship between artist and iconography. By creating these animals in clear vinyl, cast plastic and acrylic sheet Pitsch speaks not only to what is there but what is not there. It is the skin, the shell, that is recreated, they do not, nor are they meant to stand solid as the original buck did. Instead they draw attention to that which is absent. In some ways these objects are both there and not there, speaking of absence and presence in one breath.

McNaught‘s work is focused on a process of accumulation, formal issues of image making, and the development of complexity through repetition of mark and shape. This work demonstrates a dynamic optical activity and illusion and explores the possibilities that exist by trying variations of single or limited elements and forms. The drawings are rigorous and measured with specific strategies of variation and planned patterning that often employ a division of the picture plane to set up field for a game. Slight differences within the drawings can snare the eye into a compare and contrast situation. In the Net paintings and drawings, the geometry takes on a life of it’s own, expanding and contracting across the surface using a simple solid geometric shape. The variation in the pattern that occurs is a result of a loose control of the artist’s hand.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Below the Surface :An Interview with Elizabeth Graver

Elizabeth Graver will visit Chester College of New England on Wednesday, October 28. SO Good/Compass Rose staffer Alan Ferland had the opportunity to speak to her.

Alan Ferland: At what point in your life did you want to become a writer?

Elizabeth Graver: I grew up in a house full of books, and no television, so I was an avid reader from an early age, and also a kid with a very intense and elaborate fantasy life. As a girl, I played imaginary games, wrote, and drew pictures in nearly equal measure. I expressed a desire to be a writer from a very young age, around six, I think. I began writing more seriously when I became a teenager and playing with dolls was a terrible embarrassment; the life of my imagination shifted more intensely into writing then. After that, it was a slow, gradual process that involved many steps--writing for the self, writing in school, eventually writing toward publication. The context kept (and keeps) shifting. But the act itself--the writing, the making up of stories--has been part of how I make sense of the world for as long as I can remember.

AF: What do you consider to be inspiration for your writing?

EG: My inspiration comes, for individual pieces, from many different places: photographs, newspaper clippings, dreams, a voice, an image, sometimes (though not often) an event in real life. In a wider way, writing is most centrally about two things for me: words, which I adore--their sounds, their poetry, the way they can be braided into narrative; and emotion and psychology, getting below the surface. The act of writing itself is, I suppose, what generates the inspiration, the words as things I love to put together, and that lead me to new places.

AF: I read your short story, "The Mourning Door" in my Speculative Fiction class and was very much interested in the story's content. Have you always been a fiction writer, or do you stick more so with non-fiction?

I mostly write fiction, and I mostly write fairly realistic, psychological fiction, but that story is one of my stranger ones, playing as it does with the surreal. I could not have written that story as an essay, even though many of the things it engages with--infertility, modern medicine, science, biology, loss--are things an essay could take up. But I wanted a world whose strangeness could be signaled by, saying, the central character finding a little baby ear under the swing-set. I wanted to show the strangeness of reproduction and reproductive technology. Fiction that played with the borders of realism felt like the best way to do that.

AF: Is it ever possible for a story to be considered "done" on the first draft? Do you let your students workshop your own work?

EG: A story for me is never done on the first draft, though some of my stories come out closer to being finished than others. Sometimes it's a question of tweaking, editing, tightening. Other times, it's a question of knocking the house down to rebuilt it again. I often free-write with my students and share some work with them, but I've never had them workshop my own work; we are much too busy trying to fit in their work, and they

AF: In your short story collection, Have You Seen Me?, a few of your stories have maternal undertones. Did you draw from experience to create these pieces?

EG: Not in any direct, autobiographical way. I am a parent now, but my first daughter was born in 2000, my second in 2002, and Have You Seen Me? was written many years before that, in my early to mid-twenties. I love children; I baby-sat a lot; I have a mother; I am a daughter. So I guess that's experience in a way, but mostly, for me, writing is not about recording my own experience--it's about imagining, crossing thresholds into the experiences of my characters. I have to be interested in an urgent way, but I do not have to have, for example, been pregnant in order to write a story about a pregnant woman. If I need to know more, I do research. I make a lot of things up. I feel quite strongly that writers should not limit themselves to the autobiographical. Whose life is interesting enough? Not mine!

AF: What challenges do you face in both teaching and writing? How do you balance such a lifestyle?

EG: My life pulls me in many different directions, with writing, teaching, and parenting young kids all at the center. I love all those things. Sometimes they energize each other. Sometimes I need to put one aside to pay more attention to the other. I need to be patient, let the work develop slowly. Nothing is ever quite in balance, so for me it is more about learning to live with the disequilibrium and know that each thing will return, and that I need to do things to make that happen. A few examples: I left my family twice last year to go to Artists' Retreats for five days and do nothing but write; I left my writing this summer to spend seven weeks with my kids in Switzerland and do nothing but be with them and my husband, as a family, in a foreign place. When I was off writing, I missed my family, and when I was off with my family, I missed my writing, but the purity of not being divided in both those situations made it entirely worth it, and when I came back from my writing retreats, the kids were fine, and when I came back from Switzerland, my novel had not up and run away.

AF: Can you tell me a little more about your current project "Plants and their Children?"

EG: It's a strange sort of hybrid--a series of linked novellas or stories, I suppose, all set on the same small spit of land in Buzzards Bay, but spanning half a century and told from multiple points of view: that of a Scottish nanny caring for a child whose family spends summers on this Point; that of a wealthy young mother in the 50s; of her troubled son in 1970. It's about land, and ownership, and social class, and family as made up of bloodlines and caretakers and in-laws. It's probably the hardest book I've ever written in that what I am trying to capture is quite complicated, as is the relationship of the parts to the whole. It's taking me a long time, but I'm not in a rush and just hoping to get it right.

AF: What advice do you have for up and coming writers?

EG: Read, read, read.`12 Identify what conditions you need in order for your work to flourish (solitude or a cafe, a writers group, an MFA program, a cabin in the woods), and do what you can to create them. Be patient. Go out into the world and have adventures and crossings-over in which you enlarge your sense of the world and yourself.
Don't feel limited to just writing what you know (learn more, know more, imagine). Allow yourself to play--and then allow yourself to go back and revise, revise. E.L. Doctorow once wrote that "writing is like driving at night. You can only see as far as the headlights shine, but you can make the whole trip that way."

Author Elizabeth Graver Visits Chester College

The next writer in Chester College of New England's Visiting Writers Series is Elizabeth Graver. She will be holding a question and answer session with students from 2- 3 p.m. in Powers 29 on October 28. Later that evening, she will give a reading at 6 p.m., also in Powers 29. Chester College's own Tim Horvath, a member of the Writing and Literature faculty, will open. The reading is free and open to the public.

Graver was born in Los Angeles, California in 1964. She has written three novels, as well as a short story collection, titled Have You Seen Me?, which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize in 1991. Much of her work has been seen in several anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Best American Essays. One of her stories, “The Mourning Door,” won her the Cohen Prize from the Ploughshare Magazine. She currently is at Boston College, teaching Creative Writing.

Christine Choy Visits Chester College

With initial training as an architect, Christine Choy understands the unique framework of film making. Her documentary-style works have captivated audiences on a global-scale as well as garnering her multiple citations from the Sundance community. Her 1987 film "Who Killed Vincent Chin?", a chronicling of the real-life tragedy that took Japan by storm, swept critics and viewers, ultimately earning her an Academy Award nomination. She presents at Chester College of New England on October 27th at 2:30pm in the Wadleigh Conference Room as part of the Visiting Artist Symposium. She will share from her experiences as an artist. Admission is free and open to the public.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finding Inspiration in Location: An Interview with Ben Anderson

Born in Lewisburg, PA, Ben Anderson has spent much of his life living and working all over the country. After frequent moves, he finished high school in Santa Monica, CA. In 1980 he attended Bucknell University where his father was a painting professor.

While on a semester abroad in London he visited the house of Henry Moore in Leeds, England. After returning to the US he transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design and studied sculpture with Jay Coogan and painter Stuart Diamond.

After graduating with a BFA in 1984, he established a studio in the Foundry building in Providence, RI where he supported his art career by making molds for other artists and architects.

Anderson received his MFA in 1992 from the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA where he worked with Newton Harrison, Kim Mac Connell and Ernest Silva. After retuning to Rhode Island in 1994 he taught part time at area colleges and universities, including RISD, Brown University, Bryant University and the University of Rhode Island, where he was hired full time in 2005 as an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History.

Anderson continues to visit colleges and universities both as a resident artist and visiting lecturer. Recently, he came to Chester College of New England as part of its Visiting Artist Symposium Lecture Series.

What was your impression of Chester, and what did you take away from your experience here?

I immediately felt the closeness of the students, the small campus provides an intimacy that can be seen and felt. The students seemed to have a good sense of what their art is about.

How does Chester compare to other schools you have visited, or the schools you attended?

Larger schools tend to have their art education divided into multiple departments, so close knit groups develop within the departments, not usually as cross departmental as Chester.

You have traveled and lived in many places through out your life/career. How do you think this has influenced your work? Is this something you would recommend? Where were some of you more inspiring locations?

My local surroundings largely influence my work. When I was out west, it was very dry, and I longed for the moistness of the East. When you experience the absence of one thing in an area it increases your awareness to the attributes of other areas.

Your website denotes sculptures in ceramic, wood and metal. Can you briefly describe the sensations/feelings you feel when working with the different media? Which is most rewarding? What about your composition/goal for a piece dictates the media in which you choose to create it?

What best suits your idea is what you want to work with; thinking about something and then thinking about what the best materials would be. The more work you do with a variety of materials, the more you increase crossover comfort. Sometimes the pace in which you can work with the medium is a factor: wood takes a long time, it’s methodical; whereas, steel is fast, but still structural like wood.

In your early days of wood sculpting, you mention that you never thought of clay as a serious sculptural material. I am curious as to what your thoughts were on clay as a medium.

During my education and studying different art forms, clay was relegated to an area of pottery or utilitarian/decorative objects, never a serious artistic place. Clay used to be considered more of a craft than a serious material.

Your ceramic plates are heavily influenced by nature. Was there something about the tactile aspects you mention of working with clay that lend itself as a preferred medium?

Definitely. Clay is very plastic, easy to manipulate. I work with lots of molds and I can switch back and forth from molds to live sculpting.

Your bio mentions that your received your BFA in Sculpture, yet the painting/glazing of your sculptures is so detailed, did you study painting as well? What other media did you explore as a student?

No, I had no formal training. I have taken classes here and there over the years, and my skill has developed over time. I have done lots of drawing, and those worlds are interconnected. People should go over the boundaries; a good education crosses these boundaries. One should feel comfortable with all media.

What were some of your other major influences today? Artists? Medium? Subject matter?

I am interested in a natural world; I focus on that area and the different aspects of it. I look at it and find new things to talk about, the world of landscape, nature in a natural world, and I investigate different ways to deal with landscape, nature in new representations, abstract in work, but representational. I am always looking at other artists and how they choose to make work; I talk and interact with different artists all the time.

What advice would you give to expected grads now facing decisions of trying to establish themselves as artists versus continuing their education?

Always a tough decision, it depends on what you want to do. There are different commercial aspects in the design world. In my experience, after my Undergrad, I worked for different artists and found if they had ability to hire or I would work in galleries. If you are interested in teaching, the requirement is to earn a masters. I personally investigated grad school to relocate. You need to make a living regardless, and try to make your work at the same time. It takes time.

Anderson’s work continues to draw upon the natural world. He collects and mediates sampled objects through tools, molds and die casting, expressing his ideas of form and narration. His work is included in numerous private collections, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. He has received a number of awards for his work in ceramics; the 1999 Byers’ Choice Award of Philadelphia, PA; a National Award in Ceramics, the 2005 Directors Choice, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the 2003 Rhode Island State Council of the Arts, Individual Artist Grant. In spring 2009 Anderson served as Artist in Residence at the Gordon School, East Providence, RI.

Through sculpture, Anderson has contributed more than a dozen exhibitions fusing both nautical composition and environmental works throughout the East Coast. Holding an MFA, his landmark creations have proven crucial to the artistic community.

--Rhiannon Lombard

Night of the Living Dead, Chester College of New England Style

Night of the Living Dead, the classic screenplay by George A. Romero has been revamped by the 2 Bit Players of Chester College of New England as a hour-long show, which strongly focuses in on the socio-political commentary of the original movie. The play covers one terrifying night in 1968, when seven strangers find themselves trapped together in a farmhouse and having to battle their prejudices inside while waging war against the hordes of the undead just outside the door. The cast includes many talented newcomers as well as seasoned actors, including Maurice Seay as Ben, Cynthia Hollis as Barbara, Rockie Hunter as Harry, Maura Keaney as Helen, Austin Luther as Tom, and Rebecca MacDonald as Judy. Supporting cast includes Alan Ferland as Chief McClellan, William Mercier as Len, and Charles Boucher, Lisa Pike and Derek Laurendeau as zombies. Directed by Professor John Sefel, the play will be performed seven times on the following dates: October 30 at 7:30pm and 10pm, October 31 at 10pm, November 6 at 7:30pm and 10pm, and November 7 at 7:30pm and 10pm. Seating is limited so please make sure to be there a half hour before the show to get tickets. It's an incredible show that you won't want to miss! Also on October 18 from 5-10pm the video portion of the play will be shot on the hill outside of Preston Dorm. We still need rednecks and zombies for extras in the film and there are no lines to be learned, just come and have fun hunting zombies.

~Lisa Pike

Professional Practices and Gallery Practicum group holds Framing and Matting Seminar

On Friday October 23, 2009 Gallery Practicum Group and Professional Practices will be holding a Framing and Mating seminar. The seminar will be held at 1pm at the First floor in Nutting. The seminar is free and open to the public so feel free to stop by and learn how to mat and frame your artwork.

Chester College Celebrates its 3rd Annual Family Weekend

On Friday October 23 and Saturday October 24 Chester College will be celebrating its 3rd Annual Family Weekend. The schedule of events is listed below.

Friday, October 23, 2009

8:30pm – 4:00pm Family Weekend Check-In, Lane
9:00am – 4:00pm Attend Classes with Students
9:00am – 11:50am Interactive Design with Luke Buffenmyer
9:00am – 11:50am Professional Practices with Beverly Joyce
9:00am – 11:50am Historical Photo with Ed Stapel
9:00am – 11:50am Composition & Literature with Byron Petrakis
9:00am – 11:50am Madness & Movies with Steve Soreff
11:00am – 11:50am Galleries Practicum with Megan McNaught
12:30am – 3:30pm Professional Practices with Megan McNaught
1:00pm – 3:50pm Composition & Rhetoric with Chris Volpe
1:00pm – 3:50pm Historical Photo with Ed Stapel
4:00pm – 6:30pm Campus Tours
6:30pm Annual Harvest Dinner, Library
8:30pm – 10:00pm Evening Activities:
Apples to Apples, Adams Hall TV Room with Maggie Alerding
Door Decorating Contest, Preston Hall Meeting Room with Nicole Buskey
Silent Football, Preston Hall TV Room with Alan Ferland
Ultimate Frisbee, Library Field with Emmet Griffin
9:30pm Bonfire, Preston Hall

Saturday, October 24, 2009

7:30am – 9:00am Breakfast, Dining Commons
9:00am Family Weekend Welcome, Library
10:00am & 11:00am Rotating Staff-Led Workshops:
Adjusting to College & Parent Participation
Helping Students Finance Their Education
How to Stay in School (as a Grad Student) Forever
Student Health and Safety
11:30am – 1:00pm Lunch, Dining Commones
1:00pm & 2:00pm Rotating Student-Led Workshops
Art History, Julia Maranto
Black Box Theater, Derek Laurendeau & Ben Dennison
Design, Shawn Mahoney & Brittany Barnes
Fiction, Daniel Keating & Chelsea Paige
Painting, Alexa Patrick
Photography, Heather Doherty
Print-Making, Timothy Lee & Maggie Alerding
Sculpture, Wyatt Lynch
Surrealism, Rachel Lieberman, Vanessa Laboy, and Nick Kimball
2:00pm – 4:30pm In the Margins, Nutting Hall
3:00pm – 4:00pm Annual Family Olympics
4:30pm Fall Honors Convocation
5:30pm – 7:00pm Dinner, Dining Commons
7:00pm Evening Entertainment

Paola Ferrario visits Chester College of New England

On October 20th Photographer Paola Ferrario will continue Chester College of New England's Visiting Artist Symposium. Her lecture will start at 2:30pm in the Wadleigh Library. Following the lecture there will be a question and answer session. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Paola Ferrario was born in Rho (Milan) Italy in 1963. She received an MFA from Yale University in 1988. Since then, she has completed narrative and documentary photographic projects in Italy, Guatemala, and the United States. Among her awards and fellowships are the Friends of Photography/Calumet Emerging Photographer award (2000), the Paul Taylor/Dorothea Lange Prize from Duke University (2001), a Puffin Foundation Grant(2003) and a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography (2004). Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Harnish Visiting Fellow at Smith College in Nothampton, Mass., where she teaches classes in photography and digital media.

Homeland influences curator: An Interview with Viera Levitt

Curator Viera Levitt visited Chester College of New England on October 13 as part of the Visiting Artists Symposium Lecture Series. So Good staff member Daniel Partridge had the opportunity to speak with her about her work.

Daniel Partridge: With your degree of experience, how has curating better fueled your interest in art?

Viera Levitt: As a curator, I have been very lucky to be able to watch artists at work and to discuss their art with them. This has given me more appreciation for the thoughtfulness and craft that goes into the making of a piece of art.

DP: Do you feel that being the youngest director of public art museum in the history of the Slovak Republic has allowed you more or less freedom in the contemporary art community?

VL: I certainly had suddenly more friends after becoming a director!

I had the freedom to organize ambitious projects and to work with great artists. I also was able to create joint projects involving well-respected contemporary art institutions throughout Europe. But, while fortunately I never was forced to compromise my expectations for a high level of quality in my shows, I was nonetheless pressured as the director of a regional museum, to include the works of so called ‘local artists’. Being a director also involved a set of social expectations, most of which, but not all, I enjoyed.

DP: Having traveled so widely, what drove you to finally settle in the U.S.?

VL: I had an Artslink residency at Graduate Studies at RISD in 2002. It was my first experience in the US, its museums, galleries and non-for profit organizations such as AS220 in Providence, and I met great people, particularly one, that I ended up marrying.

DP: Is there a certain presentation or event throughout your career that you feel defines you best? If so, please elaborate.

VL: I usually get into whatever show or project I’m working on at the time. The ones that define my curatorial preferences are those that tend to be interactive or those that create temporary communities appreciating art in unexpected venues. Two projects in that vein are; “Training” that involved renting an entire car in a regular train in Slovakia and having artists and curators working in tandem to install mediate art to a public of travelers ( And the second, a recent project that shared the similar element of travel bringing art to the public instead of public to the art – Mobile Art Project that I curated in collaboration with the Hera Gallery in Rhode Island (

DP: Do you have any advice that you believe is crucial to those considering a career in museum curating?

VL: It is the one I got from Czech curator living in Italy, that brought an exceptional show of Bruno Munari to the art museum in Slovakia where I just started to work as I pursued my Masters of Art degree. She said that I would be a good curator because I have the most important quality needed for the job–curiosity. I believe it is true. Looking around, seeing artwork, trying to understand them, asking, discussing, even asking again. So yes, that’s also my advice–be curious!

Be a Zombie or a Redneck

On Sunday October 18 the 2 Bit Players will be filming a video for their production of Night of the Living Dead. In order to make this film they need people to play zombies and rednecks. All the makeup will be provided and no experience is necessary. Filming will be between 5-10pm but it shouldn't go until 10pm.

In order to be a zombie all you would have to do is wander around and act like you are looking for brains. Rednecks on the other hand will be standing around "drinking".

If you are interested in appearing in the video please email us at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Great Power of Words In Art: An Interview with Susan E. Evans

On Tuesday, October 6, Susan E. Evans gave a lecture to Chester College students in the Wadleigh Library Conference Room as part of the college's Visiting Artist Symposium.

Evans, a conceptual artist who works in photography, video and new media, uses her work to explore concepts of identity, landscapes, and the categorization of information. "I am fascinated how identity, like language and photography, is based on context as well as what is connoted and denoted,” she said. “Who we ‘are’ versus who we want people to think we are. I enjoy playing with the overlaps and disparity of this, which affects the way we identify value, categorize, and define…all of which are based on cultural and or socioeconomic biases."

Seeing an evolution from Egyptian Hieroglyphics, to modern advertising and marketing, Evans utilizes text in much of her current work. "I think words have great power and I use them in a variety of contexts,” she said, “but usually to similar ends—to explore how the human brain processes and catalogues information, point out the parallels between the notions of language and grammar and what is called visual language and as a means to make the work subjective to each viewer.

"Generally speaking I am interested in a postmodern deconstructivism and the semiotic application of text,” she continued. “I am also interested in experiential text as well as subverted imagery."

Evans spent the previous summer living in a tee pee and learning wet plate photography, a 19th century photographic process, with a Fellowship from Oakland University. In March of 2010 she will be lecturing on her project titled "The Color of Skin" at the 47th National Society of Photographic Education.

--Renee Mallett

Friday, October 9, 2009

Viera Levitt visits Chester College of New England

On Tuesday, October 13, Viera Levitt will visit Chester College of New England as the next artist in the Visiting Artist Symposium. She will not only speak of her diverse portfolio and experience, but also to shed some light on the contemporary arts scene and her past time curating exhibitions all across the globe. Originally from Slovakia, Levitt was the youngest public arts director in the history of the Slovak Republic and her dedication to the creative world is unwavering. Her presentation will be held in the Wadleigh Library conference room from 2:30-4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Ireland Study Abroad is now exhibiting in the Wadleigh Gallery

Starting this week, students who participated in Chester College's Ireland Summer Abroad 2009 will exhibit their work in the Wadleigh Library Gallery. The show includes work from Chester College students Julia Maranto, Wyatt Lynch, Ken Belsito, Alicia Roussin and Susan Roes. The work is a collection of books, photography, sculpture, and paintings, which were influenced by Irish life, historical sites, geography, and the culture and nature of Ballyvaughn, Ireland. The students studied in Ballyvaughn at Burren College.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chester College Alum Shows Photographs on Campus

Traveling Asia, a collection of color photographs by Chester College of New England alum Scott Baker, will be on display in the Wadleigh Gallery on the Chester College campus through October 22. SO Good staffer Heather Doherty spoke to him before the opening on October 2.

Heather Doherty: How long have you been working on this series?

Scott Baker: I have been working on this series for three years. I mainly worked in Korea. After the first six months of shooting I started contacting galleries. At this point I have seven shows lined up until August 2010. Most of the galleries I contacted had a one to two year waiting period.

HD: What do you want people to take away from your show?

SB: I have been trying to photograph Korea and my other travels in hopes to express how different cultures are. I wanted to show how they live. I wanted to show different things from across the world that most people wouldn’t have a chance to see.

HD: Where did you get the idea for the title of the show?

SB: The past three years I just saved and traveled. I didn’t go to too many places in Southeast Asia so I just named it Asia. I am not one to title my work. I am pretty straight forward.

HD: Where did you do the majority of your shooting?

SB: I did all my shooting in Asia: South Korea, Beijing, China, Thailand, Siem Reap, Cambodia and Angkor, Cambodia.

HD: Why did you choose the format of your prints you chose?

SB: Honestly it is what I can afford at this point. I look at my work as both art and business. I didn’t want to get a credit card and rack up a huge bill. I just saved up and did what I could do.

HD: What made you go into photojournalism?

SB: In high school we watched a documentary on W. Eugene Smith and after that I knew what I wanted to do.

HD: Were there any classes at Chester that pushed you in this direction of work?

My photojournalism and documentary photography classes I took my senior year. Those were the two classes I left with, and what got me into travel and sports.

HD: Who or what influences your work?

SB: The different people I have met over the years. Jaylee, a farmer I met in Korea; he really showed me a lot about farming, and introduced me to Korean culture. What I learned at Chester prepared me for situations and how to be artist/photographer.

HD: What medium do you prefer to work in?

SB: The past six months I have been working with a Mamma Mia 645, medium format and film camera. I like it because it is the type of camera you have to look down to get the natural setting.

Digital is good because it is quick and easy to look at in the field. Film on the other hand you have to develop. At this point I have tons of rolls that still need to be developed from the past six months.

I like going back and forth between digital and black and white film.

HD: How do you pick your subjects of work?

SB: I try to find interesting stories. Jaylee’s (my farmer friend) neighbor was a sweet potato farmer. I was able to learn a lot about the subject, which is what I want my photography to show. I get my ideas from the internet and television. For instance, I was watching a show on Discovery about villages in Thailand. From that show I decided I would do anything necessary to get there and meet those people. I also get ideas from the people I meet.

HD: How do you pick the pictures to print?

SB: Whenever I take a picture I instantly know which one I am going to print. It is like an adrenaline rush when I take those pictures.

HD: Is there anything in particular you like to photograph?

I photograph sports on the weekend for fun and for the money. I’m not into studio stuff. I think you should learn studio work but it’s not what I want to do.

HD: What are you working on right now?

SB: I am currently working on advertising my work. I want to make a name for myself. I am also looking into grad school focusing on art management/gallery management.

HD: Do you have any advice for upcoming artists?

SB: Do not limit yourself on projects you want to do. Try to think of a crazy story and how to do it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Susan E. Evans visits Chester College of New England

Photographer and Videographer Susan E. Evans will be the next artist in Chester College of New England’s Visiting Artist Symposium Lecture Series. Her lecture will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 6 in the Wadleigh Library conference room. It is free and open to the public.

Evans works with Photography, Video, sculpture, installation, and hybrid media. She is currently working with contemporary content in large format wet-plate photographs (Ambrotypes) and actively researching different language theories, anthropology and memory systems. She is fascinated by the disparity of a unified understanding or comprehension of common symbols and imagery though standardized structures and utilizes these to explore ideas about language, identity, context, structure, information processing, categorization, co-modification and meaning.

Evans started her photography exploration at the age of 8. She received her BFA in both Photography and Holography from Goddard College and a MFA from Cornell University in Photography.

She has work shown in the George Eastman House, Los Angles Contemporary Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Centro De La Imagen; Mexico City, Mexico; Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; Akron Museum of Art, Akron Ohio; The Henry Museum, Portland Oregon; Center for Photography Woodstock, NY; Center for Creative Photography; Tuscon AZ; Collection Dancing Bear; and the George Meredith Collection.

Christopher Janke visits Chester College

Chester College of New England’s Visiting Writers Series will welcome poet Christopher Janke at 6 p.m., Wednesday, October 7 in Powers 29. Chester College student Joseph Arentz will open the event, and a question and answer session with the writers will follow. The reading is free and open to the public.

Janke owns Suzee’s Third St. Laundry in TFMA. He is Senior Editor of Slope Editions, and his poems have appeared in Harper’s, The American Poetry Review and other journals. He also has written the book Structure of the Embryonic Rat Brain.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chester College holds an Open House

On October 3rd Chester College will host its first open house of the year from 10 AM to 2 PM. It is a great opportunity to explore the campus, see student work, learn about the degree programs offered, meet the faculty, and talk about financial aid opportunities. RSVP by going to and clicking the banner at the top of the page. Walk-ins are welcome but we do suggest that you RSVP.

Constructed Photographs: Darrell Matsumoto Exhibit

This October the Community College of Rhode Island will be hosting Constructed Photographs (1989 - 2009), an exhibition by Chester College faculty member Darrell Matsumoto. Matsumoto is both an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography, Media Arts and Design.

Matsumoto describes his work: “I attempt to make work that can engage and seduce, to report, to explicate. I am interested in making metaphors. I admire the elegance of haiku, however I am drawn to opera. If it were possible the synthesis of haiku and opera is the work I aspire to make.” This exhibition shows both elements, simplicity and color extravaganza through carefully constructed photographs.

Constructed Photographs opens on Thursday, October 1st, from 5 to 7 PM in the campus Art Gallery, with an artist talk to take place at 6 PM. The exhibition will be running through October 29th. For more information contact Viera Levitt,

Chester Fair Pictures

On September 12th members of the Chester College community helped the town of Chester celebrate their annual fair.