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CAMD’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program is presenting a series of panels this spring on sustaining an independent creative practice. The goals of the series are to highlight various models for being an artist; demonstrate practical skills, attitudes, and habits; and introduce role models for students who may be taking less conventional career paths.

“In the arts, it is important to collaborate, build connections, and then work to inspire and lift up other artists in the community,” said Sarah Kanouse, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the MFA Program in Interdisciplinary Arts. “This speaker series will help educate the students about this process, while also allowing them to expand their own personal networks.”

The series is intended for Kanouse’s students who are in their Capstone / Thesis classes, but it is also open to the public. More information about each session, and its featured speakers, is below.

Do it Yourself (February 8): A panel discussion on career pathways for the independent artist or media maker. Each panelist will give a short, practical presentation on the nuts and bolts of career building and the economics of sustaining a creative life in their chosen fields.

  • Esther Baker-Tarpaga, performance artist: Esther Baker-Tarpaga is a performance artist and choreographer. She co-directs Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, a transnational performance company based in Burkina Faso and Philadelphia. Her dance films have screened internationally and she is a published scholar.
  • Juan Obando, new media artist: Juan Obando’s work focuses on the critical intervention of social circuits through the orchestration of temporary situations and the manipulation of vestiges found in contemporary digital culture. These experiments are often directed towards the production of video-performances, installations and experimental publications – using social phenomena as raw material and humor as a catalyst in highlighting systemic ironies and contradictions..
  • Jessica Scranton, freelance photographer. Jessica Scranton is a photographer who works for magazines, designers, ad companies, non-profits and philanthropists who share her love of meaningful work and want to showcase their accomplishments. She captures authentic positive moments instead of negative ones and as a result, clients receive images that illustrate their mission, tell a compelling story, help garner support and improve their visual brand.
  • Tracy Strain, independent filmmaker and faculty member for CAMD’s Communication Studies Department: Tracy Heather Strain is an award-winning film/video director, producer, writer and researcher of documentaries and nonfiction media. She is interested in using emerging media technologies to present a range of connected, immersive stories on a variety of platforms which also may allow opportunities for audiences to share their own experiences. Strain is co-founder of The Film Posse, a Boston-based production company and serves as project director of the Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project, LLC. Her most recent work is Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, the first feature documentary about Lorraine Hansberry. Read more.

Do it with Others (February 15): A professional practices panel on the role of collaboration and cooperation in building a sustainable career in the creative arts. Each panelist will give a short presentation on their involvement in collective creative endeavors, emphasizing how collaborative enterprises can provide both an artistic community and an income stream for artists.

  • Maggie Cavallo, Alter Project and #CASTLEDRONE: Maggie Cavallo is a curator and educator based in Boston, dedicated to providing dynamic learning experiences with, through and for the arts. Cavallo is also the co-founder of Alter Projects, a social-hybrid company that provides arts programming and consultation to corporate clients, non-profit organizations and artists themselves.
  • Lori Lobenstine, Design Studio for Social Intervention: Lori grew up in a family of community and union organizers, and decided early on that working with youth was her passion and her route to creating change. Throughout these experiences, she has struggled with the challenges of creating new designs with youth, in fields that are often top-heavy and funding-driven. As a life-long activist, she is inspired by the vision that new design tools and a greater design awareness will bring new energy and power to our work.
  • David Tamés, Filmmakers Collaborative and CAMD faculty member: David Tamés is a documentary media maker working in both linear and interactive forms. He is currently completing a micro-documentary on the bookartbookshop in London and is also co-directing Farm and Red Moon,a character-driven documentary investigating humane animal slaughter. He was a co-founder of MIT TechTV, a video sharing site. He serves on the board of Filmmakers Collaborative, and teaches in CAMD’s Department of Art and Design.

Do it with Galleries (February 22): A panel discussion to help the emerging artist successfully work with a gallery to mount a small group exhibition. Presentations will emphasis preparing for the thesis exhibition, but the tips and tools extend to working with college galleries and independent spaces, as well.

  • Kara Braciale, Proof Gallery and CAMD faculty member: Braciale is a visual artist and curator whose work plays with language and modes of translation to triangulate the location of meaning in a work of art. She is also the co-founder and co-Director of Proof Gallery, a 501(c)3 exhibition space located in South Boston. Since 2007, Proof Gallery has been a venue for emerging and established artists to propose and mount group exhibitions and solo shows with an emphasis on Boston area artists. Braciale also teaches in CAMD’s Department of Art and Design.
  • Bruce Ployer, Northeastern University Campus Curator: Ployer is the curator for all galleries on Northeastern’s campus. He in invested in using his artistic knowledge to bring meaningful and fascinating work to the University for the students to experience.
  • Karen Tran, Gallery 360 Co-op Student: Tran runs social media and assists in marketing for Gallery 360 at Northeastern. She is currently a junior at Northeastern University majoring in Marketing and minoring in Graphic Design. She is incredibly interested in the psychological aspect of marketing as well as the creativity that’s involved with graphic design.

Do it Big (March 29)

  • Bree Edwards, Director of the Northeastern Center for the Arts: Her career in the curation, production and administration of contemporary art has included positions at the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston in Texas. She has been a Curatorial fellow at DeAppel Centre for Contemporary Art, in Amsterdam and a Susan Vogt Fellow with the Boston Consortium.
  • Ruth Erickson, Institute for Contemporary Art: Erickson is Mannion Family Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. She opened “Mark Dion: Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist” in October 2017, and “Wangechi Mutu: A Promise to Communicate” in January 2018. She has a forthcoming exhibition and book project with Kevin Beasley in May 2018. With Helen Molesworth, she organized a major exhibition on the subject of Black Mountain College entitled “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957.”
  • Abigail Satinsky, SMFA at Tufts: Satinsky is an organizer, curator, and writer. She is currently the art curator at the SMFA @ Tufts. From 2010 – 2015, she worked at Threewalls, where she edited PHONEBOOK (a national directory of artist-run spaces and projects), co-founded the Hand-in-Glove conference and co-initiated Common Field, amongst other exhibitions and programs. She was a co-founder of the artist group InCUBATE, which started the international micro-granting network Sunday Soup, and editor of the book, Support Networks, which chronicles socially-engaged art in Chicago over the last 100 years.