Eleven Tennessee Artists Receive FY19 Individual Artist Fellowships

Denise Stewart-Sanabria, People # 55,56,57, 2016,

From Krishna Adams, Lee Baird and Suzanne Lynch, TN Arts –

The Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF) provides $5,000 awards to outstanding professional artists (i.e. those individuals who by education, experience, or natural talent engage in a particular art form or discipline) who live and work in Tennessee. To qualify, an artist must be financially compensated for his or her work, and this compensation must be a significant source of support for their livelihood. No matching funds are required, and no specific project has to be carried out with the funds. IAF applications for FY20 will open this fall.

Congratulations to the following artists who received an FY19 IAF:

Dance: Marsha Barsky, Murfreesboro
Marsha Barsky serves as the Director of Dance at MTSU, and as the artistic director for Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Dance Theatre. She received her BFA in Dance from Arizona State University and her MFA in Performance and Choreography from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Marsha has trained in contemporary dance, somatic modalities, the Alexander Technique and. She has been a company member of Desert Dance Theatre and Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre.

Literary Arts: Deborah Bernhardt, Knoxville
Deborah Bernhardt’s poetry is a hybrid of Experimental, lyric and narrative traditions, often placing multiple narrative threads in a single poem. According to poetry adjudicator Dora Malech, “There’s a wide variousness to its modes and diction, curated by a fierce and singular sensibility.” Deborah holds an MFA from the University of Arizona and is widely published and is a sought-after lecturer and reader. Her most recent book is Driftology.

Visual Art 3D: Emily Bivens, Knoxville
Combining video, vintage furniture and animal objects (furs, feathers, bones and full taxidermy animals) Bivens creates new conversations, relevance and awareness using visual outlets. Through her works and installations, she weaves stories with multiple outcomes. Emily is an Associate Professor of 4D arts and Time-Based Art at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  She received her M.F.A. from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Emily’s work has been shown at Skulpturens Hus in Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, CO; and Temple Contemporary in Philadelphia, PA.

Literary Arts: M. Simone Boyd, Nashville
For M. Simone Boyd, a life-changing experience serving on a jury was the impetus to pursue writing full–time with the intention of researching and writing about what makes families thrive or die. Her writing shows, “… a deft handling of history and of conflict spanning across generations and seemed to be a smart examination of the way the consequences of our actions played out over time.” according to fiction adjudicator Amina Gautier. Simone earned her MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her work can be found in several publications and on the popular blog, Black and Married with Children. She is a freelance writer and workshop-leader in Nashville.

Craft: Audry Deal-McEver, Nashville
Audry Deal-McEver works each piece of clay into a work of art through floral imagery and symbolism detailed in her glazing designs and process. Audry has a degree in Ceramic Studio Arts from Ohio University and studied at Die Burg Giebichenstein Hochschule für Kunst und Design (School of Art and Design) in Halle, Germany. She has shown work in over 40 solo and group exhibits across the US including venues such as the American Museum of Ceramic Art, the Reece Museum of Fine Art, the Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center, the Nashville International Airport, and various nature centers/botanical conservatories. Audry teaches at Vanderbilt University’s Sarratt Art Studios, The Old School Farm Pottery, and Watkins College of Art, Design, and Film. She also teaches workshops, and privately out of her home studio.

Craft: Claudia Lee, Liberty
Claudia Lee knows paper. She works in both 2 and 3D forms artfully incorporating her textured handmade paper into fanciful and functional works including wall pieces, books, and boxes. Two-time recipient of the Master Artist-Apprentice Program and creator of the 2011 Tennessee Governor’s Arts Award, Claudia has taught paper arts at many institutions. Her work has been exhibited at Flying Solo: Arts at the Airport, Inside and Outside the Box, Nashville International Airport, Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University, Nashville; the 5th International Book & Paper Triennial, Chicago Center for Paper and Books, Chicago and many other venues. Claudia’s work can be found in the Tennessee Arts Commission Collection, Nashville Public Library, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, James Walker Library, Special Collections at Middle Tennessee State University and in the Southern Highlands Craft Guild Private Collection.

Music: Paul Kowert, Nashville
Paul Kowert graduated from The Curtis Institute of Music in 2009, joined the band Punch Brothers and moved to Brooklyn, NY. Since then they have made three albums, contributed music to The Hunger Games, This is Forty, and Inside Llewyn Davis. In addition, to playing with Punch Brothers, Paul has toured and recorded with Mike Marshall’s Big Trio, David Rawlings, and Hawktail. In recent years, he has been a frequent band member on the radio show “Live From Here.”

Filmmaking: Jonathan Rattner, Nashville
Using imagery coupled with unpredictable light and sounds often disregarded as common or ordinary, Rattner brings to the audience an awakening awareness to the daily interactions and connections that make up our lives. Rattner has shown at many colleges, festivals, and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Australia. He holds M.F.A.’s in Film and Video Production and in Intermedia Art from the University of Iowa, and a B.F.A. in Film and Television from Tisch School for the Arts at New York University. Rattner holds the position of Assistant Professor of Cinema & Media Arts and Art at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Photography: Tamara Reynolds, Nashville
Reynolds takes photography and uses down to earth images to encourage contemplation and conversation about uncomfortable topics such as poverty, homelessness and addiction. She holds a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in photography. Her clients are numerous and include AARP, AT&T, Bank of America, Cracker Barrel, Dell, Entertainment Weekly, Frito Lay, Men’s Journal, Reader’s Digest, Red Cross, Rolling Stone, Southwest Airlines, USA Weekend and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Visual Art 3D: Denise Stewart-Sanabria, Knoxville
Denise Stewart-Sanabria revisits the traditional concept of 2D charcoal drawings and expands the process to create life-size 3D illustrated woodcut sculptures of everyday people in everyday surroundings. Often the woodcut figures seem to be engaging in dialogue and based on their placement in the environment, one can imagine untold conversations. She received her B.F.A. in painting from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Her work is included in the Tennessee State Museum, the Evansville Museum of Art in Indiana, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Firstbank TN, Pinnacle Banks, Omni and Opryland Hotels, Scripps Networks, Knoxville Botanical Gardens, Jewelry Television, TriStar Energy, and the corporate offices of McGhee Tyson Airport.

Theater: Becky Wahlstrom, Nashville, TN
Becky Wahlstrom studied at The Chicago Academy for the Arts High School and the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Arts. In 2013, she wrote and performed her one-woman show, All In. Becky has written two screenplays, Between Heaven and Here and the adaptation of Tania Aebi’s travel memoir, Maiden Voyage. She’s was commissioned by Tennessee Women’s Theater Project to write her first full-length stage play, In Stitches and was then invited to participate in Nashville Rep’s 2017 Writer’s Room Program where she completed her second full-length play, A Froggy Becomes.



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