Meet FY20 Individual Artist Fellows Vadis Turner & Cebrun Gaustad​

Object Heirloom, Recipe and Sewing Box Gardens, “Some of the pieces are really just threads.”, 2017, hand-stitched quilts, ribbon, fabric dye, wood, resin & mixed media, 83 x 127 inches

Vadis Turner

Gallatin, Sumner County

From Krishna Adams, Director of Visual Arts, Craft, Media & Design

Using traditional materials associated with women (such as repurposed quilts, clothing and ribbon) Vadis Turner creates abstract assemblages and sculptures.

Turner received a B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Boston University. Her first solo museum exhibition, Tempest, was at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville in 2017. Turner was awarded the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2016. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, 21C Hotel & Museum, Hunter Museum of American Art, Tennessee State Museum, Kentucky Arts and Crafts Museum and the Egon Schiele Art Centrum. Selected group exhibitions include the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland, ME; Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA; Islip Art Museum in Islip, NY; and Cheekwood Museum in Nashville, TN. See more of Turner’s work at

My work explores the transformative possibilities of feminist materials. I re-contextualize domestic textiles and gendered goods within the vernacular of abstract painting. Connecting generations of women, my production methods question traditional gender roles and assert value on female experiences.” – Vadis Turner

Cebrun Gaustad


From Lee Baird, Director of Literary Arts & Grants Analysis

Cebrun (Abe) Gaustad holds a Ph.D. in English from The University of Tennessee and an M.F.A. from the University of Memphis. His collection of stories, Welcome to Boomland, explores the lives of disparate characters longing for some escape.

Whether a paraplegic blues aficionado or a boy who finds a strange object in the woods, they are each searching for a way out of their stagnation. Yet each character is trapped by their own unique circumstance: some of them by their mistakes, some by ruthless dictators, others by the very notion of death. As they search for their freedom, they find out new things about themselves and manage to wage quiet rebellions against those that would control them. In the end, they earn small victories, but noble ones.

Many of his stories feature southern characters plagued by a physical inability to fit in with the society that surrounds them. As a writer with a visual disability, he is interested in characters that others may perceive as broken.