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Current Creation Grantees

Our highly competitive Creation Grants support the creation of new work by Vermont artists. Reviewed by independent panels of practicing artists and arts professionals, the top critera for applications is artistic excellence.

This year's Creation Grant recipients span visual arts, literary arts, dance, music, circus arts, and multidisciplinary fields.

William Alexander | Sarah Audsley | Misoo Bang | Big Teeth Performance Collective | Frances Cannon | Kate Donnelly | Mary Lacy | Toby MacNutt | Brian McCarthy | Rachel Moore | Otto Muller | Estefania Puerta | Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees | Stefania Urist | Dana Walrath

Author William Alexander headshotWilliam Alexander

William Alexander writes fantasy, science fiction, and other unrealisms for young readers. Honors include the National Book Award, the Eleanor Cameron Award, two Junior Library Guild Selections, a Mythopoetic Award finalist, an International Latino Book Award finalist, a Cybils Award finalist, and the Earphones Award for audiobook narration. Will is Cuban-American. He studied theater and folklore at Oberlin College, English at the University of Vermont, and creative writing at Clarion. He currently serves as the faculty chair of the VCFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is represented by Marietta B. Zacker of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

William's grant will support the creation of a young adult fantasy novel inspired by the artist's Cuban-American heritage.

Sarah Audsley headshotSarah Audsley

Sarah Audsley is an adoptee born in South Korea and raised in rural Vermont. She has received support for her work from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and the Banff Centre’s Writing Studio. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and served as the Staff Artist and Writing Program Coordinator at the Vermont Studio Center from 2019 – 2020.

Sarah's grant will support the creation of a poetry collection which traces and weaves experiences of growing up as a Korean American transracial adoptee in rural Vermont.

Read our interview with Sarah.

Misoo Bang self-portraitMisoo Bang

Misoo Bang was born in the Bronx, NY then moved to Korea when she was a year old and was raised there until she was eighteen. When she returned to the United States, she started painting as a way to communicate her feelings. Her work consists of her emotional self portraits, a side she doesn’t often share with the public or her peers. Each work of art contains her soul, which she says reflects the vulnerable innocence she felt from her dark and creepy past that scare her. Currently her work reflects the feelings and fear toward her daughter. Misoo graduated from Florida Atlantic University receiving an MFA in Painting in 2014. She lives in South Burlington, VT and continues to show her work, give artist talks, and attend artist residencies around the world.

Misoo's grant will support the creation of a series of paintings entitled the Giantess Project that serve as a cultural response to patriarchy and male dominance by reversing the male-female power dynamic.

Dancers in Big Teeth Collective performing together.Big Teeth Performance Collective

Big Teeth Performance Collective is a five-women ensemble based in southern Vermont. Emerging from the field of “new circus,” Big Teeth works at the intersections of acrobatics, physical theater, and dance. Their first full-length show, “Ordinary Creatures,” toured the East coast from 2018-2020, bringing to the stage an evening of monstrosity. The collective is currently developing new work concerning cotton mills and land reparations in the local ecologies of southern Vermont.

Big Teeth's grant will support the creation of a theatrical show involving acrobatics, dance, physical theater, and aerial arts that engages audiences around the realities of mass extinction, climate catastrophe, and processing loss.

Author and artist Frances Cannon headshotFrances Cannon

Frances Cannon is a writer and artist of hybrid mediums, currently teaching creative writing, fiction workshops, and literature courses at Champlain College and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, as well as visual arts and writing courses at the Vermont Commons School. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Iowa, and a BA in poetry and printmaking from the University of Vermont. She has recently been published by MIT Press, her book of experimental literary translation, Walter Benjamin Reimagined. Several of her books in various mediums have been published: her graphic memoir, The Highs and Lows of Shapeshift Ma and Big-Little Frank, with Gold Wake Press; a book of poems and paintings, Tropicalia, with Vagabond Press; and a collection of poems, Uranian Fruit, with Honeybee Press. She has a poetry chapbook forthcoming with Ethel Zine and a book of hybrid text and image with Prompt Press. Frances was born in Utah and has since lived in Oregon, Vermont, California, Maine, Iowa, Italy, Guatemala, France, and Mexico making art and writing books. She has also worked as an editorial intern and contributor at McSweeney’s Quarterly, The Believer, The Lucky Peach, and The Iowa Review.

Frances' grant will support the creation of a graphic novel entitled Vernal Thaw that centers on women's bodies, bodies of water, trauma, and tenderness.

Read our interview with Frances.

Artist Kate Donnelly headshot.Kate Donnelly

Kate Donnelly is an artist, curator and educator working at the intersection of feminism and care. Synthesizing documentary, conceptual, and surreal forms, she explores notions of fragmentation, constructs of happiness, and feminist consciousness through performance, installation, sound, and video. With a focus on the reproduction and position of women in the role of caregiver, Donnelly uses humor as a central device to disrupt sentimental notions of the labor of love. She received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Recent exhibitions include Paadmaan Video Event in Tehran, Iran, and AIR's 10th Biennial in Brooklyn, NY. Donnelly has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, Vermont Arts Council, the NEA and the Vermont Community Foundation and a full fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. She was the 2013 recipient of the Barbara Smail award and was artist in residence at Burlington City Arts and Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Her current endeavors include the co-founding of the artist run space Snake House in Burlington, Vermont and Single Channel, a quarterly event highlighting the history, practitioners, and genres of the moving image and time based media through collaborative viewings and discussions.

Kate's grant will support the creation of a body of work that explores the concept of caregiving resulting in a live video performance.

Mary Lacy smiles to the camera from the bucket of a paint-smattered cherry picker.Mary Lacy

Mary Lacy, an artist living in Burlington, VT, paints large scale murals and uses it as a means for community building. When she was 24, she bought a bucket truck and drove it across the country on a year-long mural tour sponsored by Benjamin Moore, partnering with folks in each city or town to garner engagement and participation from the surrounding community. Some of her partner’s include the Rebuild Foundation, the Audubon Society, Bethel Revitalization Initiative, MJ Freed and the Artist Warehouse, and ArtPlace Mississippi. Over the years, she’s become more interested in the relationships that are built during a mural’s creation, which then the final piece serves to memorialize. Recently, she’s branched out into mosaics, teaching, and other smaller works. After some struggles with her health, she’s been exploring the body as her subject matter, making mosaics from dishes.

Mary's grant will to support the creation of geometric-style figurative and portrait mosaics.

Dancer and poet Toby MacNutt headshot.Toby MacNutt

Toby MacNutt is a queer, nonbinary trans, disabled choreographer, dancer, poet, and teacher. Their work often explores questions of embodiment and selfhood. Toby's independent works include One, Two, an evening-length work on an integrated ensemble, 2014; Enter the Void, an immersive deep-space sci-fi dance and poetry installation, 2018; and the upcoming A Singular They, their first solo work. They have also danced with Murmurations Dance, Lida Winfield, Tiffany Rhynard, and Heidi Latsky's GIMP, and in 2018, Toby participated in the first ever AXIS Choreo-Lab, as one of seven disabled choreographers, returning to work with the company in 2019. Find their work at or on social media, Twitter @tobywm, Instagram @tobymacnutt.

Toby's grant will support the creation of a solo dance show for ground, aerial fabric, and mobility apparatus entitled A Singular They.

Saxophonist Brian McCarthy headshot.Brian McCarthy

Saxophonist, composer and arranger Brian McCarthy draws inspiration from the history of jazz, while maintaining a modern awareness. His debut nonet project, The Better Angels of Our Nature, began with a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council in 2014. Earning 4 ½ Stars from Downbeat Magazine, Brian Zimmerman called the work “a jazz album that makes a cavernous impression for its arresting beauty and conceptual brilliance.” Renowned author and journalist Bob Blumenthal says the project “is both timeless (as is all great music) and could not be more timely. Brian McCarthy has assembled an ensemble of brilliant players and given them music of deep roots and resonant meaning.” Brian is endorsed by Selmer-Paris saxophones and D’Addario Woodwinds, and has additionally released two albums of small group material. All About Jazz says McCarthy “touches those roads Joshua Redman travels on with a fresh footing. This band excels at building anticipation.” His latest quartet album Codex (2017), was awarded grants from the Vermont Community Foundation Arts Endowment Fund in 2015 and 2018 for a new nonet project “AFTER|LIFE,” and continues to perform in NYC, Connecticut and Vermont. Brian is also the Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at the University of Vermont and the Adjunct Director of Bands at St. Michael’s College.

Brian's grant will support the creation of a full-length jazz ensemble album entitled AFTER|LIFE inspired by a Carl Sagan quote.

Artist Rachel Moore headshotRachel Moore

Rachel Moore received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she concentrated on sculpture, design, and collaborative work with a focus on socially and environmentally responsible projects, and her BFA from Alfred University. Whether through larger community or environmental projects, or through sculpture, photography, drawings, and video, Moore explores the complexity of relationships within cultures and subcultures, and within the environment, both built and natural, as affected by human activity. She is a co-founder of Spoke, an exhibition and event space in Chicago (2008-2011), and was a Fulbright Fellow in Greece (2009-2010). Moore has presented internationally on the topics of art as a catalyst for change, public art, curatorial practice, and on her own artistic practice. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries nationally and internationally including Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, TinT Gallery, and DYNAMO (Thessaloniki, Greece); Figge Art Museum (Iowa, USA); Muskegon Museum (Michigan, USA); Pamil Fine Art Gallery (San Juan, Puerto Rico); The Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, IL; BCA (Vermont, USA); Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan; Bellevue Arts Museum, Washington; among others. She has received grants from Seattle Art Museum (PONCHO Award), Artist Trust in Seattle, Vermont Arts Council; and has been an artist-in-residence twice at both Vermont Studio Center and Pilchuck Glass School. She was featured on Art21’s “Inside the Artist’s Studio." 

Rachel's grant will support the creation of a mixed media installation addressing the effects of climate change that encourages civic engagement and activism with the viewers.

Otto Muller teaching at Goddard CollegeOtto Muller

Otto Muller is a composer, educator, and sound artist, whose work explores the dynamics of complicity, memory, and loss through installation, participatory performance, hybrid poetics, and chamber music. Muller has collaborated closely with the devised theatre company Theatre Témoin, choreographers Hanna Satterlee and Maura Gahan, and new media artist Sean Clute, with whom he started the Rural Noise Ensemble. His music has been performed internationally by Duo Stump-Linshalm, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Formosa Quartet, the Slee Sinfonietta, and other ensembles at festivals including Tzlil Meudcan (Israel), Zvuk i Vryska (Bulgaria), June in Buffalo (USA), and Klangraum (Germany). Muller received his PhD at the University at Buffalo, and has studied with David Felder, Amnon Wolman, Amy Williams, Chaya Czernowin, and Steve Takasugi. He teaches at Northern Vermont University and Goddard College, where he co-founded the BFA program in Socially Engaged Art. His research includes publications on noise aesthetics, rural sound practices, and critical arts pedagogy.

Otto's grant will support the creation of a musical piece for mixed quartet and electronics that explores the concept of boundary resulting in an outdoor site-specific performance, studio recording, and hybrid text.

Read our feature story on Otto.

A portrait in collage of artist Estefania Puerta.Estefania Puerta

Estefania Puerta's work is made up of a wide range of materials to form new poetics of transformation and translation. Her practice is rooted in world making, border crossing, societies that do not fit into bodies, and creating an emotional language to these excessive shapeshifting experiences. Re-contextualizing mythologies, pulling apart the subversive nature of the decorative, and beautifying the grotesque are themes that often appear in her work.  Puerta works in various mediums such as sculpture, painting, writing, and performance and is deeply invested in the web created through working in multiple forms that does not have a fixed center or hierarchy. Estefania received her MFA from Yale School of Art. She was born in Colombia and currently lives and works in Vermont. 

Estefania's grant will support the creation of sculptural works that create "new empathic worlds that have no defined borders and embrace excess and multiplicity through the exploration of self-sustaining bodies."

Artist Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees headshotKaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees

Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees is an artist/catalyst/guide who works across mediums, connections and social constructions focused on creating sacred space for deep remembering and reciprocal communication/relationship with Nature and the unseen world. Her work (performance, installation, sculpture, video, artist books) focuses on creative ways to evoke/invoke/provoke a regeneration of an essential relationship with Nature as a means of connection with the Sacred. She is a past recipient of the Lila Wallace International Artist Award and her work has been exhibited and in collections is US, Europe and New Zealand. She is currently Artist in Residence in the Masters of Leadership for Sustainability Program at the University of Vermont.

Kaylynn's grant will support the creation of an immersive installation of video, paintings, and "vocables" entitled Falling into Language - A Travelogue.

Stefania Urist stands by one of her sculptures mounted on a wallStefania Urist

Stefania earned her BFA in 2013 from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Glass Department. Since graduating, Stefania has been working as a conceptual sculptor, addressing ideas about gender, growth, architecture, and the environment. Form, construction, and craft are key elements of Stefania’s practice; inherent in her work is a deep admiration for materiality, process, and transformation. Stefania has attended and created new stimulating sculptures at many vibrant artist residencies, including receiving a grant to attend the Vermont Studio Center. Most recently she completed a Maker Creator Research Fellowship at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware where she researched the best practices for conserving outdoor sculpture. Stefania has shown her work in solo and group shows across the United States, including New York, Boston, New England and Colorado. In 2020 Stefania exhibited a solo show called Man-Made Mother Earth at Helmholz Fine Art in Manchester, VT and in 2019 she was the featured female artist of Sculpture Fest, a sculpture garden in Woodstock, VT. Stefania currently lives and creates new work in Londonderry, VT.

Stefania's grant will support the creation of a sculptural installation that explores the past, present, and future of our forests and climate.

Writer and anthropologist Dana Walrath headshotDana Walrath

A writer, artist and anthropologist, Dana Walrath likes to cross borders and disciplines with her work. After years of using stories to teach medical students at University of Vermont’s College of Medicine, she turned to writing her own. Her award winning verse novel, Like Water on Stone, was completed during the year she spent as a Fulbright Scholar in Armenia. Her graphic memoir series, Aliceheimer’s has brought her throughout North America and Eurasia to speak about the role of comics in healing including talks at TEDx Battenkill and TEDx Yerevan. Her recent essays have appeared in Slate and Foreign Policy.

Dana's grant will support the creation of a full libretto based on a graphic memoir about the artist’s mother's dementia journey entitled Aliceheimer.

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