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A Compass of Love

A few Decembers ago, I painted this little heart compass. I had words for each of the four points that I wanted to cultivate in the coming year, but I remember deciding not to write them onto the paintingto leave it open for future words. 

I was also leaving it open to share it with othersfor your words. 

This is my Happy New Year’s hope: may you point your heart in the direction of all that is good & peaceful & beautiful in the coming year.

Blessings & joy,



Bradley Butler was made for these times

Where Did It Go?, Bradley Butler, 8″ x 10″, acrylic on panel

Bradley Butler’s recent solo exhibition at Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 at Finger Lakes Community College was a quiet thrill. The work is quietly evocative, simple, deeply felt and as ontologically disorienting as a Beckett play. He took his title from Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson’s groundbreaking album: I just wasn’t made for these times. Many of his titles were equally candid in their unknowing vulnerability: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing Here and I Want to Believe in Something. His dark, mysterious landscapes—Turner meets Giorgione meets David Smith’s Hong Kong paintings—evoke a multitude of perceptions that hover just below the reach of the intellect. They are extremely simple in their execution. He uses black, white, thalo ted and thalo treen, and his brushwork remains mostly uniform across the canvas. He reduces his methods to the fewest possible choices and still comes up with a broad array of images that seem to straddle the border between one’s inner life and a twilight world of mountainous space, all of them looking consistently primordial. He seems not to want to assume to know more about existence than what prevailed before the first few words of the Book of Genesis. The way he gets so much variation out of such a paucity of tools reminds me of a guitar lesson I had in my teens when my instructor told me to riff for five minutes, without repeating myself, against a minor seventh blues chord progression by using only three notes. There were, to say the least, a lot of long, expressive pauses. Butler, in his relatively small canvases, creates a sense of vast reaches of an undiscovered world. It beckons and invites you to venture past a corner that juts into view, but also makes you hesitate, unsure what you are going to find. I posted one of his paintings on Instagram and simply quoted a passage from Lao Tzu as commentary:

Something mysteriously formed,
Born before heaven and earth.
In the silence and the void,
Standing alone and unchanging,
Ever present and in motion.
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things.
I do not know its name.”

I disagree with Butler’s show title though. His work seems perfectly attuned to his times, being an example of an honest uncertainty and humility that would go a long way to being an antidote to the cloud of knowingness that cloaks how people communicate now. Anyone interested in seeing Butler’s work can find him most days doing a remarkable job of showing excellent art at his gallery, Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, where a fascinating national juried show of small workswill be up until the Dec. 23rd.

Scott Noel

Scott Noel, Still Life with Pennies and Shell, 30″ x 24″ 2021

From Matt Klos at Exeter Gallery (241 S. Exeter St., Baltimore MD) a solo exhibition, “Still Life”, of Scott Noel’s recent paintings running through the end of the month. His remarks about color are on point. Noel’s paintings have a colorist’s skill with tone and hue. Once you recognize that little red action figure in the center of Still Life with Pennies and Shell, above, all the other colors in the painting are anchored and vivified by it:

Scott Noel has lived, painted, and taught in Philadelphia for most of his professional life. He has inspired generations of painters through his teaching at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) since 1996. His subjects range broadly from figure, cityscape, domestic scenes and gardens near his home in Manayunk, studio interiors, and still life. His painting methods harken to traditional methods of American painting related to artists such as Thomas Eakins, Edwin Dickinson, and Charles Hawthorne although he creates color spaces that register as something contemporary, and perhaps, even indicative of an upbringing in the 60’s in Charlotte, NC.

This exhibition features ten oil on linen paintings, eight painted within the last year. Noel’s painting practice is unrelenting, and his output is abundant. His method of working “allover” in long, sometimes eight-hour sessions, is necessary since he’ll often scrape away his initial marks to serve as a platform for subsequent moves. In this way he keeps the image fresh and walks the line between delicate descriptions and unresolve. His mastery of painting is apparent yet there is nothing insincere or aloof about his work. He is seeking to understand what lays before him and seems to approach his latest works with a touch of naivety and all the joy he finds in his craft.

Scott Noel’s exhibition at Exeter is his first exhibition in Baltimore and coincides with his solo exhibition at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia, Current Events, Provisional Painting. He was born in Charlotte, NC in 1955, educated at Washington University, St. Louis. Noel has written catalogue essays about forbears and peers that include Lennart Anderson, Larry Day and Ben Kamihira. His work is in numerous collections including The Woodmere Museum, Lasalle College Art Museum, The Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Drs. Don and Allison Innes.


Oregon Fringe Festival App is Live - Apply Now!

The 2022 Oregon Fringe Festival App is LIVE!

The 2022 Oregon Fringe Festival App is LIVE!

The 2022 Oregon Fringe Festival App is LIVE! Students, local artists, national artists, and international artists…We encourage ALL to apply! Our roster includes music, theatre, visual art exhibitions, film, physical theatre, dance, circus, spoken word, and MORE! This is a fantastic opportunity to present your creativity to a fun and diverse audience.

The 2022 Oregon Fringe Festival takes place live and online from Wednesday, April 27 – Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Priority Consideration Deadline: Monday, December 6, 2021. December 13, 2021
Regular Consideration Deadline: Monday, December 27, 2021.
Late Consideration Deadline: Monday, January 10, 2022.

Submit applications by the Priority Consideration Deadline to be considered for an honorarium. The Late Consideration Deadline only applies to Southern Oregon University students and faculty. No late submissions accepted. For more information about the festival and application process, please click here.

About the Oregon Fringe Festival:

(Ashland, Ore.) Each spring, the Oregon Center for the Arts produces the Oregon Fringe Festival (OFF), a multi-day event bringing together emerging creators and real-world artistic practitioners to share their respective experiences and to engage with each other’s work. The festival’s mission is simple: to provide a boundary-breaking platform for free expression and to celebrate unconventional art and unconventional spaces.

We encourage individuals with disabilities to attend our events. If you are a person with a disability who requires accommodation(s) in order to participate in this festival, then please contact Disability Resources at [email protected] in advance.

The OFF provides a boundary-breaking platform for free expression. The result amplifies the voices of those who are all too unrepresented in the creative arts industry. Moreover, a lens focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion filter our selection process for all projects submitted.

The 2022 Oregon Fringe Festival App is LIVE!

About the Oregon Center for the Arts:

The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University serves as a creative catalyst for students, educators, and artists from the state, the nation, and the world. The beautiful Southern Oregon mountain setting provides a special place to learn, explore and train in all arts disciplines.


About Southern Oregon University:

Southern Oregon University sits upon 175 acres of beautifully maintained campus. A committed and well-respected faculty and talented students occupy its outstanding facilities. SOU envisions itself as an inclusive, sustainable university for the future. Therefore, faculty, staff, and leadership collaborate to achieve those ideals. They unite in their dedication to the students who will create lives of purpose and fulfill our region’s promise. As a result, SOU enhances the economic, cultural, and social well-being of southern Oregon. SOU helps its students learn the skills to work both independently and collaboratively, be adaptable and embrace creativity. Its diversity gives SOU both texture and strength. Faculty, staff, and leadership value and respect students’ thoughtfully shared points of view.


Tribal Origins of Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon University and the Oregon Fringe Festival are located within the ancestral homelands of the Shasta, Takelma, and Latgawa peoples. People who lived here since time immemorial.

These Tribes were displaced during rapid Euro-American colonization, the Gold Rush, and armed conflict between 1851 and 1856. Further, the discovery of gold and settlement in the 1850s brought thousands of Euro-Americans to their lands. Consequently, this invasion led to warfare, epidemics, starvation, and burned villages.

Then, in 1853, tribal leaders signed the first of several treaties, confederating these Tribes and others together. As a result, they became known as the Rogue River Tribe. These treaties ceded most of their homelands to the United States in return for the guarantee of a permanent homeland reserved for them. Finally, these Tribes and many other Tribes from western Oregon were removed to the Siletz Reservation and the Grand Ronde Reservation at the end of the Rogue River Wars in 1856.

Today, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon ( and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians ( consist of living descendants of the Takelma, Shasta, and Latgawa peoples of this area. We encourage YOU to learn about the land you reside on and to join us in advocating for the inherent sovereignty of Indigenous people.

Art in Motion Deadline Extended

Submissions for the 2022 Art in Motion has been extended to the end of the week, December 10th. Please submit your applications this week to be considered for this highly successful exposure on the JCT Bus that runs up and down 6th and 7th Street thoroughfares daily in Grants Pass. This is the last call for Art in Motion, so submit your entry today!

Art In Motion 2022


The City of Grants Pass Committee on Public Art (CoPA) invites artists 18 years of age and
older to submit original artwork in any 2-D or 3-D media with the exception of video/film,
installation or performance art for Art in Motion.

This public art project is essentially a gallery on wheels; artwork is displayed on 54” x 34” vinyl
print on both sides of one of the Josephine Community Transit buses. The art is there to
engage people, expand public art visibility, create opportunities for the community to
experience art in everyday life and enhance the overall artistic climate of the City of Grants

This prospectus solicits submissions for two exhibition periods. The first is from January 2022
through June 2022, and the second from July through December 2022. The work will be
selected based on originality, artistic conception, and quality. An effort will be made to
represent a broad diversity of styles, media, and disciplines. One or two artists may be chosen
for each exhibition period.

Media Eligibility:

All artists working in, but not limited to, the following disciplines are invited to
submit “High Resolution” images of their work: painting, drawing, printmaking, photography,
digital graphics, engravings, sculpture, glass, wood, metal/jewelry, ceramics, fiber arts, mixed
media, and assemblage. Video/film, installation art and performance art are not appropriate
disciplines for the Art in Motion project.


Artists must submit a minimum of four (4) images to a maximum of six (6)
works. All work submitted must be original, no copied work, no classwork or work done under
supervision. Choose your most dramatic work that would be easily visible from a distance.

All submissions must include these three (3) items:

1. A CD or USB thumb drive for four (4) to six (6) images. Label storage devices with your
name. (Storage devices may or may not be returned.)

2. A hard copy printout of your contact information and artist statement.

3. A hard copy printout of your inventory of images.


Image Format:

Images must be clear and professionally presented.T
• Images must be submitted in high-resolution jpeg format on a CD or USB thumb
drive. For clarity of reproduction, the resolution needs to be as high as possible.
Because the image you provide will be used by the printer to create the image for
use on the poster, quality of the photos, and their scalability will be considered
during the process to ensure the best possible image for public viewing.

• Three-dimensional art pieces should be photographed against a neutral
background. The background can be either flat or graded.

• Label each jpeg image as follows: last name, first initial, entry number (for
example: Smith, J 1, Smith, J 2, Smith J 3, etc.).


The City of Grants Pass Committee on Public Art (CoPA). Exhibitors will be selected
based on originality, art concept, quality of reproduction integrity and the overall artistic caliber
of each piece submitted. An effort will be made to represent a broad diversity of styles, media
, and disciplines.
• CoPA may, at its sole discretion, crop, manipulate, adjust or use a portion/fragment of the
original art that best fits the poster parameters on the bus display to increase impact and
• The artist’s name and title or medium of their work will accompany each submission once
selected and will be reproduced accordingly. All chosen artists will be notified of their selection
before placement on display.

Mail or hand deliver submissions to:

Grants Pass City Hall
101 NW “A” Street
Grants Pass, OR 97526
Attn. CoPA


Wednesday, December 8, 2021, by 3:00 PM.
Extended to Friday, December 10th at 5PM

All artists will be contacted via email with the Art in Motion jurying results within 30 days after
the submission deadline.

Download the pdf file below to print out the submission form and enter your work for Art in Motion 2022!

9th Annual Angels Show is here!

Southern Oregon Artists Resource is beyond delighted that Art Presence Art Center in Jacksonville is again hosting our annual Angels Show! This is our 9th Annual Angels Show of angel art for Christmas, and the angels are on the wall, waiting for your visit.

Angel Thoughts From the Founder of Art Presence:

December at Art Presence brings the 9th Annual Angels Show. Why, for the ninth year, are we showing such a lively interest in the invisible world? Some of the greatest among the saints and men of God have found a place for Angels. Many of the most difficult questions about their nature, their grace, their intellect, and their love have been addressed masterfully. Their mission has always been to look after each of us here on earth in the pursuit of our salvation. Regardless of our question “why,” we invite you to join our artists as they present their unique perspectives on these winged, haloed beings.
~ Anne Brooke

A Little Angel Art History

Angel-like beings have appeared in art for millennia. However, the earliest artistic interpretation of an angel was found in the catacomb of Priscilla in the 3rd century…with no wings! Though there is some dispute about this, the angel is generally believed to be Gabriel, delivering the Annunciation to Mary.

9th Annual Angels Show : First known angel art from the catacomb of Priscilla, c. 3rd century BCE
9th Annual Angels Show: Image of wingless Gabriel delivering the Annunciation to Mary in the catacomb of Priscilla

Winged angels first emerged in 4th century Anatolia—on the Prince’s Sarcophagus, found at Sarigüzel, near Istanbul (c. 379–395)—the first of many found in Byzantine art. Check out this interesting piece on angels and their wings here, more angel history here, and another on the history of angels in art here.

Meanwhile, humanity’s ancient fascination with these celestial creatures continues to this day. Many artists return year after year with fresh artistic interpretations painted especially for the Angels Show with imagination and inspiration. Moreover, many patrons return year after year to add to their collections of angel art and to select angel art for Christmas gifts. Here’s “The Guardian,” a small yet powerful impressionistic piece in oil by Katy Cauker:

9th Annual Angels Show : The Guardian, 9 x 7 oil on panel by Katy Cauker
The Guardian, 9 x 7 oil on panel by Katy Cauker

9th Annual Angels Show

Come view the Angels Show from 11am–5pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. At least 2 angels had sold by the time we hung them on the wall, so if you find one that speaks to you, make that purchase of angel art for Christmas before someone else does!

Really? You have enough angels in your own home? Then consider giving angel art for Christmas to someone who needs a beautiful guardian in theirs! Note: Angel art needs to remain in the gallery until the show is over. You might be able to discuss a special angel certificate with the artist if you plan to give one as a gift.

The Angels Show is on display at Art Presence Art Center at 206 N. Fifth Street in Jacksonville, Oregon. It runs from Friday, December 3, through Sunday, January 2. Moreover, the gallery is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12–5 pm.

Watch the Art Presence Facebook page for featured angels throughout the month! Meanwhile, here is the gallery’s virtual tour of their December members show, artisan treasures in the Galleria, and the 9th Annual Angels Show to get you started.

Wine and Watercolor — Give an Experience for Christmas!

In addition to our exhibitions of fine art, the artisan treasures in the Galleria, and books written by local authors, there’s another way to give the gift of art for the holidays at Art Presence Art Center. You can drink wine with friends and family while you learn how to paint with watercolors together in Anne Brooke’s “Wine and Watercolor” workshop! All art supplies are provided, just bring your favorite wine and hors d’oeuvres and enjoy painting in festive company. Give the gift of a wonderful experience that will last a lifetime for Christmas! Call today and reserve a Thursday evening with up to 7 friends & family. $25 per person, vaccination required. Make your reservation today!

To ask questions about the art you see in the Angels Show or to reserve a date for Wine & Watercolor, contact Anne Brooke at 541-941-7057 or [email protected]

Folly and wisdom in The Ambassadors

Chad, making his debut in the novel, coming into the balcony at the theater occupied by Strether. Illustration by Leslie Saalburg.

It might be fun and profitable for someone—if college students still read Henry James—to translate his late novels into English. I read The Ambassadors in graduate school, as required, and absorbed little of it. It was a compulsory title. The problem was that I wasn’t prepared to pay enough attention to actually locate subjects and verbs. It’s often a challenge in The Ambassadors. Over the past several years, as I’ve attempted to read or reread all of James’s novels, I’ve struggled to find the right adjectives to describe this late prose style: elliptical, disembodied, ethereal, circuitous, evasive, a sort of private murmur of abstracted assertions that seem to exhale the aura of his protagonist’s awareness rather than simply tell the reader what in the world is going on. Henry was offended when his brother, William, reacted to The Golden Bowl, the novel James published directly after The Ambassadors, by saying he admired its brilliancy but would have preferred an “absolute straightness of style” rather than “the method of interminable elaboration of suggestive reference.” William was being tactful: his observation more or less sums up how annoying these novels can be. And yet they are addictive once you succumb to the challenge of deciphering the prose. They tease you into submission. It can be amusingly, ridiculously frustrating to fish in the dark lake of this prose for what a given sentence signifies, especially when—fish in creel —you realize you could have netted one just as nourishing from inside an easily plumbed aquarium of the sort built by the earlier Henry James himself.

Lambert Strether is the central “ambassador” in the book. He has been sent to Europe by Mrs. Newsome to retrieve her son, Chad. She owns and runs a lucrative industry in Woollett, Massachusetts, and she wants him to lead it into the future. Ostensibly, Chad has been seduced by an immoral woman, maybe even a woman “of the streets.” Fears about this mysterious woman’s antecedents are groundless. She’s an aristocrat. Chad has been transformed into a genteel, poised, Parisian courtier by his association with Madame de Vionnet and her daughter, Jeanne. He has become a bit like Swann, from Remembrance of Things Past, twenty years ahead of Swann’s emergence in Proust’s novel. Strether must convince Chad to come home because his mother wants him, effectively, to run the company with a focus on the new world of advertising—a force that, it’s surprising to learn from this novel published at the turn of the 20th century, was already fueling commerce.

From the moment he arrives in Europe, Strether falls in love with his surroundings, and finds himself—in his own version of a mid-life crisis, in his fifties—falling, not for the first woman he meets (who falls in love with him, as it happens) but for Europe and, especially Paris itself. When he meets his quarry, Chad Newsome, he recognizes that Chad has matured and come into focus as an accomplished social creature in ways Strether never would have guessed were possible from his acquaintance with the boy while he was growing up. Strether’s imagination opens to Paris, the magnificence and subtle elegance of the shops and houses, the left and right banks of the Seine, the Faubourg St. Germaine, the parks and the museums, the restaurants, the hotels, and the everyday sounds that rise from the streets. The world has been renewed before his eyes. His impulse is to wander and absorb everything he sees, smells, hears and touches. He’s reborn. Through this febrile, almost manic hunger for the city and the region, he’s only half-aware of how the seemingly innocent seductions of a beautiful place color his perception of the relationship between Chad and this lovely, charismatic and slightly older woman. Marie de Vionnet is a countess, highly intelligent, sensitive, humble, the model of noblesse oblige. All of Strether’s actions arise from his desperate faith that her relationship with Chad is virtuous, chaste, a model of Platonic devotion and friendship. She is married but estranged from her husband and Chad’s family suspects adultery, hence the need for Strether to bring the son home. Yet, from the beginning, Strether is charmed by both Chad and the countess and immediately begins to resist his mission, the call of Woollett. His motives for temporizing are a complex mix of selfishness and generosity—he wants to dwell in Paris as long as possible to absorb its glory. This requires Chad to be morally pure. If Chad’s love for this woman and her daughter were base, it would break the spell of Paris itself, destroy the aura of nobility. It would be the serpent and apple in this garden. The garden itself would cease to charm. This would obligate him to bring Chad home by any means possible, ending the entire European idyll. His actions throughout most of the book are based on Strether’s desire for this new, improved Chad to have grown from the soil of Europe, a man adroit, connected, moral, a paradigm of human flourishing, as a result of his role as protégé, confidant, and companion to Madame de Vionnet. What Strether discovers is that as dazzled as he is by the possibilities of becoming Europeanized, following in Chad’s footsteps, he is too old to take advantage of all this himself. It’s too late for him to grasp the possibilities he has missed, so his effort to save this ostensibly courtly love between Chad and Marie intensify into a new, selfless mission.

Everything sensible for both Strether and Chad depends on their obeying Mrs. Newsome’s wishes, because she has promised to marry Strether if and when he returns with her son, who will inherit the company if he comes home to marry his intended bride, Mamie Pocock, a comically inappropriate woman for the new Chad. Strether has let life slip through his fingers and survives on a small income he receives from Mrs. Newsome in the role of editor for a small quarterly she publishes. At one point, it’s clear he’s ashamed of his comparative poverty and his social standing back in Woollett. The little journal he edits isn’t literary, but prints essays on science, philosophy and other subjects. It’s respectable, interesting in its own way, but obscure. She has offered Strether a path toward wealth and all its privilege, insofar as Massachusetts can confer it. If Strether stands up for Chad and the glories of Paris (glories filtered and fed to the reader through Strether’s heightened consciousness) against Mrs. Newsome, then he will forfeit his future. He has everything to lose by guarding Chad from Mrs. Newsome. But the virtue of this sacrifice accomplishes nothing if Chad’s liaison with Marie itself isn’t virtuous. Knowing James, it’s not that hard to discern what will happen, but what’s remarkable is how he seduces the reader as deftly as Paris seduces Strether. Your hope for Chad, for Madame de Vionnet, for Strether himself, and for Maria Gostrey, his guide through Europe and the woman who falls for him, keeps flickering until the last words of the book.

Much is at stake. Pathos lingers everywhere. How to tell good from evil? Wholesome intimacy and rank duplicity bear all the same earmarks, the whispered asides, the lingering glances, the silent smiles across a room: there’s more than enough suspense in all of this to make the novel gripping. For many characters, bliss and fulfillment hang in the balance against ruin and shame. Yet, instead of telling a straightforward story, James seeks to convey the unstable, dark glass of Strether’s consciousness itself, the stream of impressions, questionable insights, suppositions, hesitations, second-guesses, joys, sorrows, regrets, the parade of ghostly hints that pass through his awareness. It isn’t a Joycean stream, but unmediated nonetheless, with severe limits. Those limits are the universal boundaries of human knowledge and certainty, and the way in which thought, reasoning, moral choice, are all riding on a wave of untrustworthy feeling and emotion. James works that dynamic: he tempts you with veiled language, draws you in, and then keeps you hooked by withholding rather than delivering what you need to know until you’re nearly done. You aren’t allowed to know anything Strether doesn’t know, and there’s a submerged iceberg of information he can’t access.

This murkiness, this uncertainty, and, in essence, this moral dread, Strether’s horror of making the wrong choice—as well as the integrity that makes the wrong choice a horror to begin with—are conveyed in this oblique prose that makes nearly everything that happens in the book an occasion for confusion and only tentative understanding. (Hence that urge to translate back into actual, familiar English, nearly everything in this milestone of English literature.)

Here’s an example of one of the clearer, though still verbose passages, one of the turning points in the story. Strether has been waiting to meet Chad when Maria Gostrey takes him to the theater. During the performance, a man steps into their balcony and waits patiently, silently for a chance to talk. It’s Chad, but Strether doesn’t realize it and doesn’t recognize him because Chad has been transformed. When Chad’s identity is revealed, his metamorphosis stuns Strether so deeply and immediately that it colors everything else he thinks and does in Paris. It convinces him that Madame de Vionnet has magically turned this unrefined young American into someone who could pass for a prince. This impression disarms him so thoroughly that he can never bring himself to side with Mrs. Newsome’s wish to bring Chad home. Here, at length, is how James describes the moment in what is a comparatively clear, direct passage in comparison with others in the book that might as well have been delivered in Navajo:

Our friend was to go over it afterwards again and again—he was going over it much of the time that they were together, and they were together constantly for three or four days: the note had been so strongly struck during that first half-hour that everything happening since was comparatively a minor development. The fact was that his perception of the young man’s identity—so absolutely checked for a minute—had been quite one of the sensations that count in life; he certainly had never known one that had acted, as he might have said, with more of a crowded rush. And the rush though both vague and multitudinous, had lasted a long time, protected, as it were, yet at the same time aggravated, by the circumstance of its coinciding with a stretch of decorous silence. They couldn’t talk without disturbing the spectators in the part of the balcony just below them; and it, for that matter, came to Strether—being a thing of the sort that did come to him—that these were the accidents of a high civilization; the imposed tribute to propriety, the frequent exposure to conditions, usually brilliant, in which relief has to await its time. Relief was never quite near at hand for kings, queens, comedians and other such people, and though you might be yourself not exactly one of those, you could yet, in leading the life of high pressure, guess a little how they sometimes felt. It was truly the life of high pressure that Strether had seemed to feel himself lead while he sat there, close to Chad, during the long tension of the act. He was in presence of a fact that occupied his whole mind, that occupied for the half-hour his senses themselves all together; but he couldn’t without inconvenience show anything—which moreover might count really as luck. What he might have shown, had he shown at all, was exactly the kind of emotion—the emotion of bewilderment—that he had proposed to himself from the first, whatever should occur, to show least. The phenomenon that had suddenly sat down there with him was a phenomenon of change so complete that his imagination, which had worked so beforehand, felt itself, in the connexion, without margin or allowance. It had faced every contingency but that Chad should not be Chad, and this was what it now had to face with a mere strained smile and an uncomfortable flush.[1]

“Comedians” is a brilliant touch, completely unpredictable and outside the sort of box James usually creates. So is the phrase: “imposed tribute to propriety.” Still, here would be my loose translation from Late Henry James into common English, or at least into a more familiar and contemporary syntax and wording. I’ve eliminated nearly a hundred words, including all of the ones that contribute almost nothing but the sound of precise but empty qualifications while they create the refined rhythm of idle, patrician patois: “quite”, “as he might have said”, “the note had been so strongly struck” (“note” is an almost obsessively used word, a kind of verbal tic for James, in the sense of “tone” or “key”, as in music, and the word “high” recurs constantly, as another verbal tic and often empty adjective) “as it were”, “for that matter”, “being a thing of the sort that did come to him” and so on:

Strether felt instinctively how this moment would become the foundation of his stay in Paris. The sense of discomfiting recognition, when he understood he was looking at Chad without being able to recognize him, would reverberate throughout his sojourn in Europe. He felt already how it would set the tone for everything he was yet to think and feel with regard to his mission. Sitting there, stunned that Chad seemed to have become a charming young nobleman, Mrs. Newsome’s ambassador found himself completely disarmed. The rush of this recognition was one of those moments if life that counted, as he later put it. The moment’s impact had to do not only with the way Chad bore himself, the clothes he wore, his posture, his mature and poised demeanor, his utterly cool and almost carefree patience—the gentility of his ability to wait on them, his sprezzatura—but also the fact that they were all courteously waiting to speak, so as not to disturb those in the seats beneath them. None of this would have been innate to the Chad he recalled from Woollett. Kings, queens, comedians, no less, had little relief from the pressures of life, but this new Parisian Chad bore the pressure of the moment with such aplomb that he was magnificently at ease. The pressure, for Strether, on the other hand was overwhelming. They all waited through the performance, for half an hour. That half-hour was an awkward blessing. Strether was able to compose himself. If they hadn’t been forced into silence, Strether’s bewilderment might have completely destroyed any hope he had of impressing Chad with whatever borrowed authority he carried with him from Mrs. Newsome. He had imagined every possibility other than this fact: Chad was no longer Chad. The charm of the new Chad overwhelmed him and colored every other impression he was to receive during his stay. For half an hour, he found himself blushing and straining to smile. All of his resolve was undone. Yet somehow by the end of their long wait, he had regained his composure.

I don’t think much is lost in translation here. I violated the limits of the point of view once near the end, that’s all. There’s only one great argument for wording this novel in the more difficult Late Henry James. Critics have defended the obscurity of the prose as a way of conveying the flux and complexity of Strether’s consciousness itself, the currents and undertows and eddies in its stream. James was trying to do something radical, a precursor to the bolder experiments of Joyce and Woolf to follow. The story is told in limited third person. We have one window through which to see and hear what’s happening: Strether’s unreliable awareness of everything in and around him. Here we are told not only about what Strether sees and hears, but about the state of his awareness itself—and the difficulty of the prose is showing that state rather than telling us about it. We eavesdrop on Strether’s consciousness, and James makes it as difficult for us to see and hear clearly what’s happening as it is for Strether to discern the truth in his perceptions. We are spies, as Strether is himself a spy, an agent, sent into Europe from America. We struggle, as he does, to decipher what’s happening. We are interlopers, outsiders, and we remain uninitiated into the quiet or unspoken semiotics of this social order. The prose reflects and intensifies all of this.

But it’s doing more. Instinctively, I think James wanted his prose to sound almost rarified into unintelligibility. He wanted the reader to feel socially at a disadvantage, as Strether himself feels. I imagine the reader as someone alone at a table in an expensive restaurant, seated beside the characters in this book as they talk in terms familiar to the members of the beau monde but nearly impenetrable to anyone who comes in off the street and overhears them. Or, imagine a married couple on a loveseat at a party, foreheads a foot apart, smiling, exchanging nearly inaudible asides—using a shorthand language they’ve grown into over the years—about the party. They know exactly what they’re saying, because they are so intimate, but the eavesdropper—James’s reader—has to decrypt what he hears. For the onlooker, there is not only the mystery of what’s being communicated but a sense of envy for how easily the insiders understand one another. This envy is part of what James undoubtedly intended to instill in the reader—the sense of always being out of step and a little dense, always on the outside peering in a little enviously at the peerage. The narrator and the characters are knowing, quick, winking with an implicit mutual understanding and you, the commoner, the—ahem—American, are trying desperately to keep up, rereading again and again, rewinding and playing, rewinding and playing until . . . okay, I think I get it.

The reader’s fluctuating bewilderment bonds with Strether’s. You are both immersed in mystery, struggling for clarity and feeling intensely excluded, socially crippled, essentially ignorant. You are both living at the edge of where everything is happening, tolerated, invited, but not included. As Rebekah Scott sums it up in an essay published online earlier this year:

The necessary absorption, engrossment and bewilderment experienced by James’s reader in trying to decipher his text reflects that of his characters, as they struggle to manoeuvre through their circumstances, equipped only with the acuity with which they can perceive, realize, and convert meditation into self-assisting action.

And they do all of this without any certainty about the knowledge or the outcome of actions based on it. This cloud of unknowing, for narrator and reader, serves as the essential medium from which James conjures his final stories. This is the primal scene for James: the outsider, the interloper, the latecomer, the observer in a world full of people so immersed in a member’s-only private language that they don’t have to explain anything to one another. They get the joke, and you don’t. It’s annoying because James, in his narrative voice, sounds like the insider, the one who holds the key to the code and keeps taunting us with his ability to remain vague and indirect, promising us the possibility of clarity but always withholding it just enough to keep us uncertain about what’s what. The reader, along with Strether, fears being made a fool. Two people, heads together, smiling and whispering: from our distance, they could be declaring their love or plotting a crime, or doing both at once, as Strether fears Chad and Marie are doing. Intimacy has the look of lies, as well as love. At the end of the novel’s eleventh book, James writes:

That was what, in his vain vigil, he oftenest reverted to: intimacy, at such a point, was like that—and what in the world else would one have wished it to be like? It was all very well for him to feel the pity of its being so much like lying . . .

Observing the intimacy of others, you are excluded. The experience of exclusion—of not knowing what’s actually passing between Strether and Marie, and of being merely a tolerated guest of Paris—underlies all the action, all the thinking, in the novel. Exclusivity guards the privilege of belonging: whether it’s membership in a marriage, a love affair, a country-club, a political party, an economic class, a conspiracy or a faith. The famous, crucial scene in Gloriani’s garden reveals to Strether the abundance and complexity of a life fully lived, but how rare the invitation into that sanctum. Once inside the garden, he recognizes that he has failed to live, along with an awareness that it’s too late to succeed in a pursuit of personal fulfillment he’s only now discovered he has failed to seize. He has come across the Atlantic to gaze into this glittering, exhilarating cage of social and sexual power, sophistication, wealth and freedom, and all he can do is to advise someone younger, Little Bilham, to live his own life as intensely as possible while he still has time. Carpe diem. Whether or not he’s simply been dazzled by Babylon’s lovely surface, unaware of the rot within, is the matter that hangs in the balance. It’s clear Strether doesn’t believe he’s been fooled by the lovely, inviting surface of a corrupt city, because he doesn’t want that to be the case. Here is where Madame de Vionnet, the countess in question, makes her debut, at this moment of Strether’s psychological surrender to a desolate awareness of his personal failure in life. She appears, charms him, and begins the process of winning him, enlisting him into her desperate hope to keep Chad for herself. Her refinement conquers him, as well as her achievement as Chad’s finishing school, and then her pathos as a woman appealing to him for mercy. She finds him at his most lucid, but therefore most emotionally weak, because his moment of clarity reveals his failure as a person, and swept into the current of her power and charm, he becomes her agent rather than Mrs. Newsome’s. The first blow of seeing that Chad was no longer Chad is followed by this second, the beauty of her behavior, and his ability to believe in Mrs. Newsome’s mission dies under the force of this one-two punch.

At this point and then through most of the rest of the book, the reader is just as morally disoriented as Strether, and anyone who sticks with the prose has begun to slow down, parse each difficult sentence, tease out what it actually denotes and then step back from the jigsaw puzzle of sentences to recognize what a paragraph actually depicts. By tossing away a deadline for finishing the book, the way Strether ignores and then abandons any sense of a deadline in getting Chad home, you succumb to the obscurity, plumb it and fish out what’s comprehensible.  The game becomes enjoyable. You feel as if you have been initiated into the exclusive club and now other readers are the neophytes, the pledges, hoping to get in. Your envy turns to a nasty kind of pride and you keep reading, feeling more and more accomplished as you go. You have accepted the terms of the class structure created by nothing more than the quality of the prose and you have found a way to work your way up into the exclusive salon, the Faubourg of readers.

Meanwhile, more and more identified with Strether’s struggle, you eagerly want everything he wants; you want to believe in the virtue of the relationship between Chad and Madame de Vionnet. At first you accept Little Bilham’s assessment that Chad must be in love with Jeanne, the daughter, since Marie is married and off limits. Then when Chad becomes instrumental in Jeanne’s engagement to a suitor, you and Strether tell yourselves than this was the heart of his allegiance with the mother, simply a noble attempt to help her find a partner for her beautiful, but shy and socially isolated daughter. You want to believe you’re reading a Jane Austen novel where people pair up, after many mistakes, with the man or woman most suitable. Strether will return Maria Gostrey’s love. Chad will resist the call of money and power and somehow devote himself to Madame de Vionnet, who desperately thinks of Chad now as the embodiment of her entire life. Little Bilham will somehow take Strether’s hilarious counsel to chase Mamie Pocock, in order to foil the Woollett plan to have her marry Chad. The book is nearly done. Then Strether decides to take a day off and wander around the countryside and—in an improbable, novelistic coincidence—comes upon Chad and Madame de Vionnet in a boat, flustered at being seen, drawn into spending a few hours with Strether in order to keep up appearances and yet, through their behavior, betraying the fact that they have spent the previous night secretly together. Everything begins to crumble. Finally, Chad returns from a trip to London as an evangelist for advertising, how it “has presented itself scientifically as a great new force” that will reveal a new world of commerce, and is, in fact, a world of its own. It’s nightmarish, almost claustrophobic. Strether brings up the subject of Marie. The awful horror and absurdity of Chad’s remarks at this moment have devastating power only because the reader has spent more than three hundred pages surrendering to Strether’s vision and his romantic illusions. You realize you and Strether have been played. Here, abruptly, Strether and the reader recognize that the prince is actually a frog. He has become thoroughly French in the most despicable way possible.

“Of course I really never forget, night or day, what I owe her. I owe her everything. I give you my word of honor . . . that I’m not a bit tired of her.” . . . He spoke of being “tired” of her almost as he might have spoken of being tired of roast mutton for dinner.

With all the clothes they had to leave behind in the country, to keep up the appearance of a day trip, it’s clear he isn’t tired of her. Chad has used everyone around him, has transformed himself at their expense, and now is ready to ditch them all and return home to claim all the bounty that will simply be handed over to him. He’s as evil, in his own way, as anyone can be in Henry James. All is lost, for Strether, for Madame de Vionnet, for (as it turns out) Maria Gostrey, and for the reader. Chad’s choices will destroy people around him, and yet he’s full of plans, ready for the future, absolutely stoked about advertising, so at least there’s that. He’s a man who will get things done. Yet Strether’s quest was all for nothing, because Chad isn’t Chad. Only this time, it’s the reverse of what that sentence meant in the theater when Strether met him. This is a novel obsessed with ethics and morality and the fine distinctions they require, and by the end it feels also almost as dark as King Lear.

E.M Forster’s very funny trashing of the late Henry James misses all of this. Many readers share his displeasure with James, the way in which the structure of the book demands characters who obey it and don’t exceed the outlines of the story James devises. He uses characters as puppets. Forster is funny and deadly in his brief skewering of James in Aspects of the Novel. He shrugs off the obscurity of the prose as if to boast that it didn’t make him pause at all—no need to rewind to hear that dialog again for me, folks—but he classifies James as an aesthete who sacrificed flesh and blood, the actual mess of common human life, on the altar of perfectly imagined form. The book is an hourglass where Strether and Chad change places, starting on one side of the helix and ending up on the other, crossing paths in the middle. Though he doesn’t point it out, Chad and Marie also obey a different hourglass, he lusting for her European sophistication and she falling for his American innocence, all of which leads to a reversal where he becomes the cynical and sophisticated manipulator and she the helpless romantic in his hands:

A pattern must emerge, and anything that emerged from the pattern must be pruned as wanton distraction. Who so wanton as human beings? Put Tom Jones or Emma or even Mr. Causaubon into a Henry James book, and the book will burn to ashes, whereas we could put them into one another’s books and only cause local inflammation.

He gives you a moment to laugh with pleasure and then continues:

Only a Henry James character will suit, and though they are not dead—certain selected recesses of experience he explores very well—they are gutted of the common stuff that fills characters in other books, and ourselves. This castrating is not in the interests of the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no philosophy in the novels, no religions (except the occasional touch of superstition), no prophecy, no benefit for the superhuman at all. It is for the sake of a particular aesthetic effect which is certainly gained, but at this heavy price.

Forster steps aside and quotes H.G. Wells to deliver the coup de grace:

The thing his novel is about is always there. It is like a church lit but with no congregation to distract you, with every light and line focused on the high altar. And on the altar, very reverently placed, intensely there, is a dead kitten, an egg shell, a piece of string . . .

Forster sums it up:

Maimed creatures alone can breathe in Henry James’s pages—maimed yet specialized. They remind one of the exquisite deformities who haunted Egyptian art in the reign of Akhenaton—huge heads and tiny legs, but nevertheless charming. In the following reign they disappear.

It’s all hilarious, especially the dead kitten, and true to the experience of reading much of the late prose, and quite a persuasive take-down. Yet the nay-sayers remain blind to the evil that prevails or merely threatens to, how the duplicity of evil surrounds the occasions of adultery in the last three great novels, and how that adultery ruins—or, in the case of The Golden Bowl, his Winter’s Tale or The Tempest, is helpless to ruin—the lives of those around it because of the Christ-like sacrifice and selflessness of the betrayed wife, Maggie. His arrow is aesthetic perfection. His target is the reality of evil. Adultery is the other primal scene for James. The fact that James reduces his drama to a handful of characters is hardly a critique. It takes only three characters to create a timeless, profound story: a man, a woman, and a snake. James wanted to be a playwright, and the room on a stage admits a fraction of the characters in a novel from, say, Tolstoy or Proust. A short list of characters is hardly a flaw for Salinger or Beckett or Kafka. Forster apparently wants all novelists to be, in Isaiah Berlin’s terms, foxes rather than hedgehogs. What Forster misses, maybe because Strether doesn’t seem to quite comprehend it himself (a feature consistent with the point of view and with that unified aesthetic effect Forster mentions), is the tragic power of a James novel. Portrait of a Lady is, as Anthony Lane put it when he revisited the novel in The New Yorker a decade ago, a horror story. So is The Ambassadors.

The horror isn’t in the revelation of evil alone. It’s in the dread that precedes it, the fog of duplicity, the fog of words and glances and smiles, the medium of the novel itself, that makes it possible. James went back again and again to the plight of the American in Europe. He lived it. One can imagine his being invited to dinner three hundred nights out of the year and yet every invitation represents, not a welcome into the European extended family, the gracious Habsburg hospitality, but an offer to be the night’s entertainment. Much of his life was probably spent this way, knowing how he was secretly held at arm’s length, even seated in a neighboring chair at a party in London or Paris. One would invite James into the fold for a few hours, the way one might hire Mackelmore or Taylor Swift to sing at your daughter’s wedding. The American in Europe is always an outsider. In an essay published in The Nation in 1878, “Americans Abroad”, James sums it up:

Americans in Europe are outsiders; that is the great point, and the point thrown into relief by all the zealous efforts to controvert it. As a people we are out of European society; the fact seems to us incontestable, be it regrettable or not. We are not only out of the European circle politically and geographically; we are out of it socially, and for excellent reasons. We are the only great people of the civilized world that is a pure democracy, and we are the only great people that is exclusively commercial. Add the remoteness represented by these facts to our great and painful geographical remoteness, and it will be easy to see why to be known in Europe as an American is to enjoy an imperfect reciprocity. (The Nation 27, October, 1878, pp 208-9)

That sardonic “imperfect reciprocity” is perfect, pure James, in its of tact and understatement. Please keep those dinner party reservations coming, Countess. It’s the fulcrum of the worldview that prevails in so much of his fiction. The American struggles to find a safe path through Europe and mostly fails and the failure can be horrifying, the lack of reciprocity deadly. Ironically, Chad actually enacts a sort of unwitting revenge for this imbalance—using Europe the way Europe mostly uses Americans in a James novel—and in his betrayal of Marie, he offers a mordant opportunity to smile for a reader so inclined. Chad uses Madame de Vionnet, not the other way around. But Strether’s defeat is total, and in it, James depicts how a good man, assiduously trying to do the right thing, can be used by the people around him and then discarded—just as Chad uses and discards Marie. Europe seduces Strether and compels him to sacrifice his own future for the sake of a few more weeks of Chad’s sexual pleasure and Madame de Vionnet’s romantic fantasy. It chews Strether up and then leaves him on the pavement, without income, without the wherewithal to see where his own interests lie with Maria Gostrey, dazed and confused and with nowhere to go. Europe ruins him in the process of reshaping Chad into a heartless, manipulative captain of industry, a model of American success, a kind of metastasized version of the stereotypical American Europe might befriend but never embrace. Forster could only wish he might have achieved such a dark, unsparing vision of human helplessness and hinted at it only in the echoes of the Marabar caves, but Forster’s wheelhouse was social comedy. James can be very amusing while he breaks your heart, but his amusements are a side dish. William James was a professional philosopher. Henry James is closer to Socrates. Though he had a mind so fine no idea could violate it, as Eliot put it, The Ambassadors has a philosophic, Socratic gravity: human knowledge is insufficient, misleading, evanescent and flawed. In the end, we know nothing. What are we to do? Alone, we are helpless to help ourselves, and those who survive, who succeed, will use us and then leave us behind. We can only hope to share Strether’s apparently cheerful stoicism, in the face of all this, at the end of the book—he may have been a fool, but he’s been ennobled by his sacrifice and his ability to be cheerful is the fruit of genuine, belated wisdom.

[1] Henry James, The Ambassadors, Norton Critical Edition, 1964, pp. 89-90.


SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements

SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements - logo image

SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements

SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements - Growing Createive Community

Thanks for reading SO Guild of Artists & Artisans announcements for Thanksgiving, December 2021, and January 2022! We have a lot to tell you about! Our Black Friday alternative sale. A December filmmaking and editing workshop with Alex Gaylon. A January storytelling workshop with Georgia Churchill. Our YouTube channel. And more…

Thanksgiving Plus One

Fine Art & Craft Sale

(The Antidote to Big Box Store Black Friday Crazy-making)

Begins Friday, November 26

SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements - Thanksgiving Plus One Fine ARt & Craft Sale

For many years, the day after Thanksgiving has been advertised by giant retailers as the day to shop for bargains at big box stores. For some of us, THAT is no fun at all (not to mention that the purchases are less than inspired.) We are offering you a local and lovely antidote for that “ailment.” 

Our special Friday-after-Thanksgiving event is for all those who have supported the Guild through the past months and years by making a cash donation, purchasing anything from our gallery, attending one of our workshops, sharing Guild information with friends, or wanting to do any of the aforementioned. 

The Guild’s talented and generous artists have donated a few select pieces to offer as a fundraiser for the Guild and for your gift-giving pleasure. Of course, all the items in our most recent show will also be for sale. Come help us support the Guild and celebrate our wonderful community of artists and art lovers. You can also enjoy light refreshments, music, laughter, and a relaxed atmosphere to begin the holidays in an artful frame of mind. Please note that COVID safety procedures will be in place.

You are invited to our “tech-forward” Filmmaking and Editing Workshop With Alex Gaylon

Click here to find out more about the Film Making and Editing Workshop or to register

The Art of Storytelling Workshop

Presented by Master Storyteller, Georgia Churchill

SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements - image of Georgia Churchill

A Three Part Zoom Workshop January 15, 22, & 29
Time travel through stories!
Discover your voice!
Connect to the rich and ancient tradition of oral storytelling!

This class for all those from age 7 to 107 will be empowering, warm, and full of laughter. We enthusiastically welcome anyone interested in learning to tell stories or simply wishing to improve their oral communication skills.

The first session will focus on basic storytelling techniques such as loosening throat muscles, vocal tone, diaphragmatic breath, and expressing believable emotions. Then, in the second session, participants will apply these techniques to a 5 minute story of their own choosing, and the third session will be a sharing and celebration of everyone’s stories.

Throughout all three sessions, Georgia will pepper in examples from stories of her own repertoire. With them, she explains the power of storytelling and the way that stories are windows into the time and place from which they emerge.

Click here to find out more about the Art of Storytelling or to register

SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements - Happy Holidays!

Wondering what to give to the person who has everything or to give to an entire family?

Consider giving them the gift of either of the workshops above or give them a Guild gift certificate.

We are excited to announce that our Guild YouTube Channel now features ALL 13 of our videos freely available for viewing! With over 6 hours of content featuring Guild members and guest instructors, our Creative Community playlists include artist spotlights, tutorials, and ZOOM class recordings to inspire you! Moreover, you can learn how to create 3D paintings with Sheila Mason, 3-D collages with Kathi Culver, embossed copper ornaments with Ruth Wendover, applique banners with Jean Robertson, naturally dyed fabric and paper with Angela Franklin, and DIY Puppetry.

Tune in and try something new today!

Click here to go to the Guild’s YouTube channel

If you have ideas for programming, please share and let’s see what we can do. Call or email 541-659-3858 [email protected]. Stay tuned for more SO Guild of Artists & Artisans Announcements here on SOARs blog, Art matters!

24353 Redwood Highway Kerby, OR 97531 USA(541) 592-5019
Click to go to the Guild website  

Life Studies

Night Walker, Jim Mott

It’s the last week to see Jim Mott’s excellent work from a unique project, Life Studies, a modification of his usual itinerant mode, where he travels to a city like Ferguson, Missouri and paints scenes from the life of his participating host, as a gift in exchange for lodging. In this case, he has painted multiple scenes that mattered to a woman who lives here in Rochester.  About “Night Walker”, he says:

One of the paintings in my current show at the Yards – done after exploring Ridgeway Avenue at night a couple of weeks ago. This is in the area of Sacred Heart Cathedral – where my project collaborator, Sonja Rosario, was baptized and where one of Rochester’s 50+ fatal shootings of 2021 occurred earlier this year.

At THE YARDS – Jim Mott’s 2021 NYSCA project exhibit runs through Nov 28, Saturdays 10-1 and by appointment. Jim will give a talk about his practice on Nov. 20 from 5-7 pm. “Featuring the results of my 2021 NYSCA Grant project, Life Studies is a collection of paintings and stories based on collaborative sketch outings with Sonja Rosario Belliard, a creative individual and young mother from northwest Rochester. The images and words represent places of significance to her life.”

Applications open for MASS MoCA Summer/Fall 2022 residency

MASS MoCA’s artist residency, the Studios at MASS MoCA, has partnered with the Ford Family Foundation to support another year of fully funded residency fellowships for Oregon visual artists.

Applications are now open for The Studios at MASS MoCA’s Summer/Fall 2022 artist residency season.

Applicants are eligible who:

  • 1. Are currently practicing visual artists
  • 2. Have lived in Oregon for the past 36 months
  • 3. Are not currently students
MASS MoCA Summer/Fall 2022 residency

Applications are now open for The Studios at MASS MoCA’s Summer/Fall 2022 artist residency season.
Join the 750+ artists who have enjoyed an artist residency of up to 8 weeks on MASS MoCA’s historic mill campus in the Berkshire Mountains. Run by Assets for Artists (the artist-development arm of MASS MoCA), artist residencies will be available from June 15 – Dec 31, 2022 for the Summer/Fall season.

 Selected artists receive:

  • Private, furnished studio space at MASS MoCA, available 24/7
  • Housing in newly renovated apartments directly across the street from the museum.
  • One communal meal per day in the company of fellow artists-in-residence.
  • MASS MoCA member benefits for the duration of the residency, including free access to the museum’s galleries, The Clark, and discounts on performing arts events and museum store purchases.
  • Access to basic printmaking presses and two weaving looms.
  • A studio visit with a MASS MoCA curator.
  • 1-year access to Assets for Artists’ online artist professional development workshops.

Application deadline January 8, 2022   


Supported by The Ford Family Foundation, this fellowship shall be awarded to two visual artists from the state of Oregon. The fellowship funds all residency fees for two or four weeks, plus a stipend of $600 – $1,000 for travel or other expenses (amount dependent on the length of residency). To qualify for this fellowship, you must be (1) a visual artist who has evidenced five or more years of active professional participation in your medium, (2) have lived in the state of Oregon for at least 36 months prior to applying, (3) not currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program. For the purpose of this award, “Visual Arts” include a broad array of work designed to be experienced primarily in an exhibition, installation, or object-based environment. Media or other work intended to be web-based or theatrically viewed is not included in this definition.

To apply, simply select the appropriate box on the “fellowships” question of the Summer/Fall 2022 residency application. There is no separate application for this opportunity. Be sure to also indicate whether you would like to be considered for a regular residency at the Studios at MASS MoCA if you are not awarded this special fellowship residency. All applicants must first be accepted through the regular jurying process to receive this fellowship.
Learn more at: