Fellow

Natasha Holmes

Natasha Holmes is a visual artist and educator specializing in photography, ceramics, and design. Currently living and teaching in Upstate New York and loving the northeast cold, she is a westcoaster born and raised in southern California. She undertook a year of post-bac in ceramics, and then received her MFA in Photography from Indiana University. Prior to that, studied for her BFA in both Ceramics and Creative Photography at California State University, Fullerton while also chasing Plan C there, gathering a minor in Anthropology. A craftsperson at heart, she worked in commercial print shops, custom darkrooms, and photojournalism.

Attending and working at schools in mixed locations across the US, and abroad in Kyoto and Venice, she practices cultivating curiosity and understanding. Learning has become her trade. Her classes have included University as well as small workshops and Community Ed. In each, she challenges participants to consider phenomena and presence with criticality and to become socially alert. 

In her work, she blends ephemera with queries of consumption and mass production that mingles with absence and presence. She is enamored with objects and evidence and calls attention to the ubiquity of plastics and the resulting temporary nature of items and the disposability of our era. She focuses on planned obsolescence; fast production, plastics, and other common materials that have made items substandard and expendable. Those cycles ensure the need for more production. Holmes inspects objects, especially technology laden equipment, that is made, wrapped, packaged, and shipped to our hungry little hands faster than ever. And then, just as quickly, these are tossed aside, thrown away, or forgotten, along with their empty packaging, but captured with her lens.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Fellow

William Fillmore

William Fillmore was raised in Fullerton, California. After earning his Bachelors in Business Administration, he pursued his desire for making art, and earned his MFA in Sculpture in 2013, from Indian University, Bloomington, Indiana. Since graduating William has participated in numerous Artist in Residence programs, including The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada, Core Clay Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio, Franconia Sculpture Park, Schafer, Minnesota, Campos De Gutierrez, Medellin, Colombia, and Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont. William has had the great fortune to profess his passion for the studio arts for the last eight years as a professor of visual arts and sculpture at colleges and universities, from Indiana, California, North Carolina, and now currently at Sage College in Albany, New York. William’s creative style and tastes are as eclectic as varied as his career. He takes great pleasure in questioning what is possible with material and ideas, and above all else he loves fucking with people’s expectations… 

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Fellow

Keren Christina Mendjul

Keren hails from a multicultural background—she has lived and worked in Donetzk, Jerusalem, Berlin, Venice and NYC. Immersion in these diverse landscapes has taught her to believe in a simultaneous way of being where the knowledge of the past and imagination of the future are synced in the present, allowing for timeless, perpetual creation.

She is the principal of KCM Arkitekt Studio based in the Middle East and NYC. In 2015, Keren founded MASSA Journal of Architecture based in Israel/Palestine, a collaborative initiative that believes reimagining alternative futures belongs to everyone rooted in these places. Keren received a M.ARCH II from The Cooper Union where she drew and casted flowers in bronze, and a B.ARCH I from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem where she investigated the elimination of ground.

In 2013, in an exchange at Universita IUAV di Venezia,Venice, Italy Keren participated in an installation of Vadim Zakharov, 55th Venice Biennale at the Russian Pavilion. In 2011, she formed part of a practical and theoretical study at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India in collaboration with Professor and Architect Sharon Rotbard, where she and 15 other participants won First Prize Arie and the Eldar Sharon Award, for their design and construction of a local children’s school.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Fellow

Jenny 如 Hsiao

lately I have been working on spatial & temporal sites for civic practice, including — study groups, translations, entanglement, the para-cinematic, cæsurae, time travel, fugitivity  

when I was five years old in 1995, my family moved to Taiwan from Brooklyn after I scored a 44 on a test in Chinese School — in Taipei I thrived in the tropics and chaos, and learned to say 喂 on the phone for "hello / are you there?" to my first friends who did not live on the block — back to the US, I took NYC public school French from 2001-2008 which I still only now am beginning to grasp on a level somewhere below consciousness — in 1881 telephone lines were laid in French-conceded Shanghai — a classmate returned from his travels of summer '07 to inform the rest of us that in fact, the kids do not say "oui" in France — they say "ouais" ::

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Visiting Artist

Chris Fabian

Christopher Fabian is a technologist who, along with Erica Kochi, co-founded UNICEF’s Innovation Unit in 2006. He currently runs UNICEF Ventures - and makes investments into open source technologies that can provide solutions to societal problems, particularly those facing children. Between 2007 and 2015 he held the role of Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Director at UNICEF. Fabian spent a year (2010) as Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. In 2015 he led the launch of UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, a pooled funding vehicle built to quickly assess, fund and scale companies, teams, and ideas that have been developed in new and emerging markets. Fabian is known for his work on tools for children and communities in low-infrastructure environments, including the Digital Drum, U-Report, and RapidSM. In 2013, Fabian was on the Time 100 list of global influencers. Since 2007, Fabian has been Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Director at UNICEF. He co-founded UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, which has developed open source tools for improving basic health and communication in low-infrastructure regions. It has helped build the largest mobile health system in the world in Nigeria. The Office of Innovation has also used real-time SMS to help stop the spread of Ebola,smartphones to register children after a disaster, and tablet-based games to teach kids in Sudan.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Advisory Council

John Butkus

John teaches partner dancing with a focus on the connection and the physical conversation that takes place between two people gliding across the floor as one. John enjoys many types of dance and has a passion for West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango.

A photographer for most of his life, John creates magic from the mundane by capturing the light that bounces off of ordinary objects.

When John’s not dancing, teaching or behind the camera, he runs a software company that specializes in Energy Management, Building Automation Controls and HVAC systems. His expertise is writing code as an art to save energy, one BTU at a time.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Visiting Artist

Hans-Petter Bjørnådal

Hans-Petter Bjørnådal (1977) is a Norwegian architect, graduated from the Bergen School of Architecture (BAS) in 2003. Besides architecture and scenography he is focused on the research of nomadic cultures and the connection between the modern humans and nature. The works have been internationally published in Topos, Architectural Review, Architectural Worlds, Architizer, Designboom and Arch Daily among others. The environmental theatre Klemet was a finalist in the Architizer 2015 + awards and the WAN-Awards 2016 and winner of American Architecture Award 2016 and German Design Award 2018. Nomad City was exhibited at "La Biennale de Venezia 2016”. Gapahuk received honourable mention in the American Architecture Award 2017.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Fellow

Merethe Bahn Trolle

Merethe is currently studying production management and props design at the Danish National School of Performing Arts in Copenhagen. At the school she is a member of several committees and boards, working towards strengthening collaborations between students, and investigate new structures and constellations in order to raise questions that will help create space for new works and methods.

Merethe has over the last years been a part of several artistic processes, both as a performer and as a production manager and facilitator. She is part of the Copenhagen based artistic collective SIGNA, producing site-specific performances all over Europe. She has participated in several of their performances.

In her work with Arts Letters and Numbers she is interested in the collaboration between people from a wide variety of nationalities and disciplines, and sees it as an opportunity to share and strengthen the knowledge of processes.

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. Oscar Wilde
 

 

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Fellow

Josephine Nørtoft Saabye

Josephine received her bachelor in architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2017. Throughout her education she has served on various committees and boards to advocate for students’ interests and to better understand the structure of educational institutions.  During her degree she also did a internship in 2016 at Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a non-profit design research lab based at Hong Kong University, where she will return as a research assistant in 2018. 

Before entering the field of Architecture Josephine co-founded the organisation ‘One World Musical’ in 2013.  Creating musicals with children in rural communities in developing countries in Africa and South East Asia, the organisation strived to demonstrate creativity as a universal human trait, the importance of the arts and it’s impact on children’s ability to learn. In 2015 Josephine initiated ‘Dreams of a School’, a project in collaboration with students of Education from Aarhus University, to encourage reflection on the connection between the physical space and the learning processes within. Through one-day workshops elementary school kids dreamt of their school in drawings and models as a space for learning, imagination, creation and inspiration.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Visiting Artist

Megan Mosholder

Megan Mosholder is a conceptual artist who operates in the real-world setting of the social-political landscape through site-responsive, sculptural installations. She is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design and has received numerous awards from institutions such as the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. A variety of publications have featured Megan's work including Beautiful/Decay, Hi-Fructose and Huffington Post and her diverse exhibition history includes participation in No Longer Empty’s Through the Parlor (2013) in Manhattan and an installation in Sirmione, Italy (2014), a body of work that speaks of the lasting impression a place of beauty can leave on an individual. More recently, Megan has been working in the corporate sector installing commissioned, permanent artworks, including a temporal, light-sensitive piece for Google's new office in Pittsburgh, PA. Originally from Ohio, Megan is currently based in Atlanta, GA but will be relocating temporarily in January 2017 to Oklahoma for the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

 

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Alumni Troupe/Fellow, Visiting Artist

Tine Bernstorff Aagaard

Tine Bernstorff Aagaard Studied architecture at Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark, and graduated in 2010 with distinction on her thesis project. During her education she has assisted Berlin-based artist Michel de Broin and worked for architecture company R&Sie(n) in Paris.

Throughout her education she has been involved in EASA (European Architecture Students Assembly) in which she together with companion Emilie Bergrem taught a workshop exploring basic relation between body and space by ‘modifying’ the body with prosthetics to challenge our conventional beliefs of how the surroundings adapt to the body and vice versa.

The same theme was explored in their installation "1:14" a suspended labyrinth in the Spring Exhibition in Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark.
 
Since graduating, she has taught first year at the Aarhus School of Architecture in architecture, drawing, and representation. Now she lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Alumni Troupe/Fellow

Amara Abdal Figueroa

Amara Abdal Figueroa (b. 1990, Puerto Rico) graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, earning both a BFA and B.Arch. In 2012 and 2013, Amara contributed in the restoration of a 19th Century coffee plantation in Medellin, Colombia, which became Campos de Gutierrez- an international residency program. There, she worked on studio development for residing artists. In upstate New York, Amara is working on Arts Letters and Numbers to transform the cotton mill and house into an interdisciplinary space. She is interested in spaces that foment creation.

"How are both of these, once axes of development in their respective areas, the perfect architectural types for the production of coffee, cotton, or visionary works?"

Most recently, Amara took part of the research team of Kuwait's National Pavilion in La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura titled Acquiring Modernity with the objective of investigating the repercussions of commissioning architectural works towards the formation of the State. To help articulate the nation’s history of modernization, the team has chosen to focus it’s participation on the establishment of the Kuwait National Museum specifically through the envisaged program of its second more modern yet defunct iteration. It is an effort to generate meaning and restore a sense of ownership and responsibility over Kuwait's built environment. 

The project is obsessively local and utterly informal despite its appearance at la Biennale; its highest aspiration is to influence authorities so that when the project returns to Kuwait from Venice, it will have found a place inside of the Kuwait National Museum as a sort of ‘Special Projects’ program, or research and documentation center.

Commissioned by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Visiting Artist

Ashley Bathgate

Ashley Bathgate

A native of Saratoga Springs, NY, cellist Ashley Bathgate has gained international renown as both a soloist and chamber musician. The New York Times writes, “Ms. Bathgate’s rich tone, fluid dynamics and imaginative phrasing captured the magic.” Equally at home in both the concert hall and the rock club, Ashley focuses on presenting concerts that draw from a wide range of musical genres. Her dedication to performing traditional music is equally matched by her passion to promote new music by today’s composers. She is a member of the award winning, internationally acclaimed Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Metropolis Ensemble and four chamber groups of which she is a founding member: TwoSense, Typical Music, Bonjour and the newly formed quintet, Samadhi.

As a soloist Ashley has performed on many of the world’s great stages including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Musiekgebouw and the Barbican. Her radio/television appearances include performances on WQXR FM’s Young Artist Showcase, NPR’s Performance Today, WYNC’s New Sounds Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She has recorded for Naxos, Nonesuch, Innova, Cantaloupe Music, La-La Land Records, and Albany Records. Currently, Ashley is embarking on a collaboration with the Brooklyn-based composer collective Sleeping Giant, who will write her a six-movement suite for solo cello to be premiered on Metropolis Ensemble’s Artist-in-Residence series during the 2015/16 season. She is also working on an album featuring a new cello concerto by Australian composer, Kate Moore, for release in 2015. Other upcoming commissions include works by Ted Hearne, Erdem Helvacioglu, Jascha Narveson, Todd Reynolds, Neil Rolnick and Fay Wang.

Ashley received her bachelor’s degree from Bard College under the tutelage of Luis Garcia-Renart and a master’s degree from Yale University where she continued her studies with renowned cellist Aldo Parisot. She currently resides in Manhattan, NY.


People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Advisory Council

Ira Baumgarten

Ira Baumgarten is a Senior Consultant for the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI). He coordinates NCBI’s school based diversity and leadership programs. Ira is a trained mediator and also provides consulting services to resolve workplace conflicts. He has developed and instituted successful organizational intervention models. 

He recently worked with Kinuso School District in Alberta Canada, a mixed community of First Nation and Non-First Nation families. The project goal was to build strong inter-group relations resulting in a more caring school environment for all children and their families. 

Prior to becoming a consultant, Ira worked for over twenty years administering education and training programs for the Civil Service Employee Association (CSEA) and the United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company.  At CSEA he was responsible for the negotiation and administration of the educational benefits for the CSEA-State represented workforce. In that capacity he assisted in the development of the New York State – CSEA Partnership for Education and Training and served as its labor Co-director for six years.  In that capacity he instituted many educational opportunities including creative writing and photography classes for workers entitled Unseenameria – Pictures and Words of Working Lives. 

His interests include training for sprint-triathlons, traveling and camping with his wife, Nadine, being a new Grandfather, and writing. He currently is engaged in self-publishing an end-of-life story and audio book for adults. 

Ira has a BA degree from State University of New York at Oneonta and a Masters Degree in Adult Education from Syracuse University.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Visiting Artist

Ben and Sebastian

‘The work of the collaborative artist practice, benandsebastian, teeters on a cusp between designed physicality and intangible theories of the mind. Trained in architecture and theoretically versed, their sculptures take on elaborate mechanics and boast intricate detailing, yet speak to vast philosophical and sociological systems. It is impossible to concretely anchor their work, an elusiveness made evident in their recent exhibition at the Designmuseum Danmark, ‘Phantom Limbs’.
Embedded directly within the permanent collection and specifically paired with unexpected inventory from Copenhagen’s Medical Museum, National Museum and the attics of Designmuseum Danmark, their work becomes not only the sculptures on display, but the myriad relationships made between context and object, between body and limb. Evoking the medical sense of phantom limbs, where an amputee still feels the presence of the absent limb, benandsebastian navigate the museum context and call into question the assumed wholeness we expect, perceive and viscerally feel.’
Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch,
independent curator, DAMn magazine, issue 33

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Advisory Council

Russell Bennett

Russell Bennett is a recently retired attorney who has lived in Averill Park on the shores of Burden Lake for the last 33 years, a short distance from the Mill.  A graduate of Middlebury College and Albany Law School, he worked for the New York State Court of Appeals and the New York State Department of Social Services (now Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance) in a variety of legislative, house counsel and litigation roles. He has also served numerous terms as Town Attorney for the Town of Sand Lake. Along with wife, DeDe, he is an enthusiastic lover of the arts.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Board of Directors, Visiting Artist

Michael Benson

Michael Benson works at the intersection of art and science. A photographer, writer, filmmaker, book-maker, and exhibitions producer, in the last decade he has staged a series of increasingly large-scale shows of planetary landscape photography internationally. Benson takes raw data from NASA and European Space Agency archives and processes it, creating large-format landscapes. He edits, composites, then frequently mosaics, and then finally optimizes these images, producing seamless digital C prints of landscapes beyond direct human experience. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, with work that straddles the boundary between fiction and documentary practice.

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council

Visiting Artist, Advisory Council

John Conaty

 

John Conaty is currently the sole proprietor of J. Conaty Architects and was the Owner’s Representative on site for the construction, opening and Park Manager for Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City. He was previously a partner in the Firm Standard Architects in Brooklyn, NY for 14 years. As a partner at Standard Architects, John converted several manufacturing Buildings to residential condo properties, and constructed new buildings throughout Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prior to establishing Standard Architects, John work for the firm of Smith Miller and Hawkinson Architects in Manhattan. While at the firm, he was the project architect on The North Carolina Museum of Art Outdoor Amphitheater and the Corning Glass Museum.

John received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Environmental Design from Parsons School of Design in 1986 and Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union in 1990. John Conaty has been a registered Architect in the State of New York since 1994. 

People | Fellows | Visiting Artists | Board of Directors | Advisory Council