Lunder Institute Resident Fellows: Creating Community through Art

Lunder Institute residential fellowships provide artists with spacious studios as well as opportunities for collaboration with Colby College faculty, students, staff, the Waterville community, and the region. The program involves artists at different stages of their careers and working in a range of artistic disciplines and mediums.

Adriane Herman, who serves as a professor and chair of printmaking at Maine College of Art, was the first to begin her fellowship last spring, shortly after the unofficial opening of the Greene Block + Studios at 18 Main Street in Waterville—home to the Lunder Institute offices. She was soon joined by the rest of the summer 2021 cohort of resident fellows, visual artist Veronica Perez, musician Jose Barrionuevo ‘16 (a.k.a. Killer Bee), and dancer Riley Watts.

Herman’s Emotional Value Auction was an anchor point for the Colby College Museum of Art’s annual Community Day in July of 2021, which returned after a hiatus . Harnessing the power of witnessing and exchange to facilitate emotional release, this non-monetized auction model is grounded in reciprocity. It allows participants to donate an object laden with personal meaning; a personal story accompanies each object. During the auction, participating “bidders” wrote statements of interest or desire, making a case for why the item should pass on to them. Donors eventually chose from among the bids received.  Herman and Lunder Institute student intern Yan Xuen ’22 completed the exchange. No money changed hands.

Herman notes of the experience, “Authentic written expression and shared vulnerability are rewarded, and are rewards in themselves.”

Other experiences facilitated by resident fellows included a release party for Killer Bee’s latest album, Blood From a Stone, and a movement workshop by Watts and collaborator Ian Robinson. Capping off the summer was a Tender Table Food and Poetry Fair—billed as “a celebration of Black and Brown joy”—at Congress Square Park in Portland, which Perez coorganized.

Barrionuevo and Watts concluded their fellowships in August.  Herman and Perez along with new fellows Julia Arredondo and E. Saffronia Downing comprised the fall 2021 cohort.

In its second season, the residential fellowship program built on the momentum created over the summer, with all four fellows engaging with both the Colby campus and the wider community through a series of programs in Waterville and beyond, including serving as teaching artists at Colby Museum sponsored programs and monthly open studios event at the Greene Block + Studios, which allowed the artists to engage with and demonstrate their practice to the visiting public.

Most recently, Arredondo worked with campus and other community partners to bring to life two events, the Elm City Small Press Fest, in collaboration with Colby College librarian Fannie Ouyang and Solon Morning Session #1, an experimental musical event at the historic South Solon Meeting House.

With Herman concluding her time as a Lunder Institute residential fellow at the end of December, Portland-based mixed media artist Golaleh Yazdani joins Perez, Arredondo, and Downing for the spring 2022 semester.

We’re excited to see how this group of innovative creators continues to build community through artistic practice.

Image: Lunder Institute resident fellow E. Saffronia Downing with a studio visitor during a recent Lunder Institute Open Studios event. Photo by Coco McCracken.