Vermont Arts Council

FY2023 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 criteria for applications is artistic excellence.

Julian Barnett | Naomi Bindman | Boomslang (Johnny Morris & Dustin Byerly) | Thomas Dunn | Leslie Fry | Jonathan Gitelson | Ariel Goodman | Renee Greenlee | Dylan Hausthor | Sarah King | Rebecca Mack | Kekla Magoon | Jennifer McCandless | Mett Neckers | Mina Nishimura | Barbara Paulson | Aly Perry | Hanna Regier | José Rivera | Maria Robinson | Lissa Schneckenberger | Gina Stevensen | Leath Tonino | Kota Yamazaki | Yanyi

View Creation Grantees from FY2022 and earlier here.


Works include his evening length pieces “Blue Marble”, commissioned by Kampnagel in Germany and CDC Val-de-Marne in France, which explored the phenomena of the overview affect and space travel, and “Sound Memory” commissioned by Danspace Project in NY, which was selected as “Best Dances of 2009” by Time Out New York Magazine. He has created work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ormao Dance Company, The Juilliard School, and presented by Movement Research at Judson Church, The Joyce Theater, Gibney Center (NY), Performática (Mexico), Tangente (Montreal), Dansehallerne (Copenhagen), Dansateliers (Rotterdam), Body Arts Lab (Tokyo), and the i-Dance Festival (Hong Kong), amongst others. Julian has been a Resident Artist at Springboard Danse Montreal, K3 Tanzplan Hamburg, The Joyce Theater Foundation in New York, and the Bates Dance Festival in Maine. He received a New York Dance and Performance ‘Bessie’ Award Nomination for Performance, a danceWEB scholarship through the Impulstanz Festival in Austria, and a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, where he studied Butoh in Japan. Julian lives in Burlington and is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Theater at The University of Vermont.

Julian’s grant will support the creation of a new dance work exploring the feelings of precipice and instability within our climate crisis.

Photo: Alan Kimara Dixon



Their follow-up album, Attack the Vampire, was released in 2017. Shortly after Attack the Vampire was released, Johnny Morris became ill and was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Although Johnny fought with great courage and grace for more than three years, he died at home on September 3, 2021, just three days after his 42nd birthday.

Boomslang’s grant will support the creation of their final album, honor Johnny Morris’ creative legacy, and allow them to share his vision and craft with their local community and beyond.

Listen to our Vermont Made podcast episode with guest Dustin Byerly.

Photo: Amy Köenigbauer


Thomas received a Kevin Kline Award for Outstanding Lighting Design and a Bessie Design Award for Outstanding Visual Design. He was educated locally at Mount Anthony Union High School, where Teru Simon inspired Thomas to pursue a career in the arts, and Bennington College before attending Yale School of Drama.

Thomas’ grant will support the continued development of the content creation and visual design for Epochal Songs,  a performance installation collaboration with Muna Tseng and (posthumously) Keith Haring.


Fry’s B.A. is from the University of Vermont, her M.F.A. is from Bard College, and she attended the Central School of Art in London. She is a third generation Vermonter and lives in Winooski.

Leslie’s grant will support the creation of two outdoor sculptures.

Read our interview with Leslie Fry.


Jonathan’s grant will support the creation of a new series of interactive installations for the “Sonic Blanket” project.


She has her masters degree in Documentary and Spanish language journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY. Ariel creates and teaches media as a tool for community members to understand themselves and each other, and a basis for collectively imagining, creating, and fighting for the world they want to live in.

Ariel’s grant will support the creation of a collaborative documentary project exploring food and resistance with immigrant dairy farm workers.

Renee’s grant will support the creation of cyanotypes of water for an immersive exhibition that invites the community to engage with Lake Champlain and its watershed.



King’s live show crackles with energy and devil-may-care attitude, earning her support slots for Blues Traveler in 2022, The Steel Woods in 2021, an official showcase at Folk Alliance International in 2022, performances at the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Philadelphia Folk Festival, a night at legendary Caffe Lena in 2022, and a main stage slot at Black Bear Americana Fest 2021.

Sarah’s grant will support the creation and recording of a solo full-length album.

Read our interview with Sarah King.

Rebecca’s grant will support the composition of a song cycle on themes of the life and death of the landscape and biodiversity.

Photo: Sage Horsey


Kekla received the 2021 Margaret A. Edwards Award, a body-of-work recognition for a significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. She holds a BA in history from Northwestern University and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Kekla teaches writing, speaks at book festivals and writing conferences, and conducts school and library visits around the country and internationally. She lives in Vermont with two energetic orange cats. Find her online at and on Instagram or Twitter @keklamagoon.

Kekla’s grant will support the creation of a memoir celebrating the non-romantic relationships that sustain a single adult.


Jennifer is represented by A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and Soapbox Arts in Burlington, Vt. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at A.I.R. October/November, 2023.

Jennifer’s grant will support the creation of a series of sculptures that will explore themes of feminism, environmental issues, oppression, our relationship to ourselves as animals as well as issues around social justice.

In 2020, The Bennington Museum installed his work Ascension on the facade of the museum. Matt’s work has been featured by Hyperallergic, Art New England, and Vermont Public Radio. Take Magazine named him a “2017 Artist to Watch”. Seven Days called Matt’s solo show, at the Vermont Studio Center, one of the best shows of 2021. Matt has received numerous honors and awards. Matt was Vermont’s 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. (This national honor is given to one educator from each state) and a Juried Teaching Artist by the Vermont Arts Council. He was given a Distinguished Arts Education Leader Award by The Vermont Alliance for Arts Education (Affiliated with the Kennedy Center Alliance for Art Education). Matt also received a yearlong Learning in Arts and Culture Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center.

Matt studied painting at Evergreen State College, and received his M.Ed. Arts in Education from St. Michael’s College. Matt has taught for a variety of schools including St. Michael’s and Green Mountain Tech. Matt lives in Northern Vermont with his family.

Matt’s grant will support the creation of a large scale, moveable, magnetic, and participatory mural.


Mina’s grant will support the creation of a new dance work entitled “Mapping a Forest while Searching for an Opposite Term of Exorcist.”


She encourages students to fearlessly examine the cycle of creation and revision as they make meaningful connections to original and inspired work.

Barbara’s grant will support a marionette production featuring original music by Paul Perley called The Dryad’s Saddle, a story that plumbs notions of liberty through unique viewpoints.




José’s projects have been presented across the web, internationally, and at places such as Wave Farm; Bennington College; the Blackstar Film Festival; National Arts Centre (NAC) Green Rooms; Studios @ MASS MoCA; DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; Goethe-Institut Boston; ICA Boston (Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957); MIT’s MediaLab, List Visual Art Center, & Green Building; Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and Sensory Ethnography Lab; and The Center for Visual and Performing Arts at UMass Dartmouth, among others.

He studied art and sound at MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology program (MSc 2017), and received a BS in Architecture & Environmental Design from Kent State University (2011). José currently lives in southwest Vermont. Learn more at

José’s grant will support the creation of a multimedia science fiction work involving diaspora studies and the political and cultural history of Puerto Rico.


She has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop and has held residencies at the Robert M. MacNamara Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center, where she spent a further year in residence as a member of the staff-artist program.

Maria’s grant will support the creation of a novel that investigates the scaffolding of the self.

Photo: Jane Frissell



Gina Stevensen seen from the waist upGina Stevensen

Gina Stevensen is a playwright, performer, dramaturg, and writing instructor. Her writing process is research-driven and collaborative, focusing on character-based explorations of socially relevant subjects. She was the 2021 winner of the Kernodle New Play Award, the 2020 winner of the New Works Initiative at Good Luck Macbeth, and a 2019 winner of the Columbia@Roundabout New Play Reading Series. Gina’s plays have been developed in NYC, London, and across the country with Roundabout Theatre Company, American Stage, Urban Stages, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hartford Stage, Barter Theatre, and more. She has been a finalist for Theatre503’s International Playwriting Award, the Jewish Playwriting Contest, and the Austin Film Festival Pitch Competition, and a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award (twice), the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (three times), the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (twice), Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, and more.

As a dramaturg she has supported both classics and new works with LaMama E.T.C, Vermont Shakespeare Festival, and Middlebury Acting Company, where she is also the Director of the American Dreaming New Play Festival and current president of the Board of Directors. She has been a guest lecturer at Hunter College, NYU, and the University of Arkansas. MFA Playwriting: Columbia University. BFA Drama: NYU Tisch.

Gina’s grant will support the creation of a play set in a Vermont self-defense center that explores healthy expressions of anger, the lifelong growth that arises through developing physical confidence, and the unique bond that forms when people of different generations, backgrounds, and professions all gather to learn how to defend themselves.

Read a story about Gina’s play in The Times Argus



admin-place September 11, 2020