USM Art Department

Artist-in-Residence Program

Artist-in-Residence Spring 2015 Artists-in-Residence Spring 2015 Project   



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The University has had a successful Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program since 1986. Students are directly involved with the artist through a flexible course specially designed by the AIR. The residency occurs for at least seven weeks during the Spring semester. The Artist-in-Residence is expected to create a project that will engage with the campus and greater community; give one public presentation; be available for discussions with faculty and students; and teach approximately 6-10 students as a class and/or supervise a similar number of students independently on a directed project.

Artist-in-Residence applications are not being accepted at this time.

Spring 2015 Artist-in-Residence: Traci Molloy, Constructing Identity

USM Artist-in-Residence Traci Molloy

Traci Molloy, Brooklyn, New York-based artist and education activist, created collaborative artwork with the Center for Grieving Children's Multicultural Program, which practices a peer support model to build and strengthen community. Seven USM art students enrolled in Molloy’s USM Artist-in-Residence course assisted Molloy with the artwork and attended the Center’s program to observe.

Marie Sheffield, coordinator of the Center’s Multicultural Program and licensed art therapist, explained that “when those who feel as if they are part of a community, work together, hope and resiliency flourish.” 

“Traci’s community-based art project helped to facilitate the process of finding common meaning, promoting expression and recovery, and reducing isolation for students in the Multicultural Program,” said Sheffield. “Non-verbal expressions reduce language barriers and inherently connect to the expression of feelings, shifting towards action and resolution.”

For the past 17 years, Molloy has worked on collaborative art projects in New York City and across the U.S., exploring themes of adolescent identity, and building and strengthening communities.

“With this type of community project, people can realize the commonality in our collective humanity,” said Molloy. “The artwork, the visual language, can prompt dialogue and inspire people to consider things from another perspective. That is how we, as communities, can enact social empowerment and change.” 

USM Artist-in-Residence project 2015

The Center's Multicultural Program is divided into two groups of middle school and high school students, and Molloy  created a separate artwork with each group.

In addition to being exhibited at the USM AREA Gallery during the Spring of 2015, duplicate banners of each group's projects will be displayed at different locations in Portland for an extended period.

A large duplicate banner of the middle school group’s collaborative project will be displayed at the Portland Public Library this from April-August, 2015. The banner features a composite photo of each student in the group. Overlaying the photo are words that the students wrote, in response to a promp from Molloy. The prompt asked students to finish the phrases: "I am..., I will..., I'm afraid."

USM Artist-in-Residence Project 2015

“In talking with the middle school and high school students at the Center, I found that they are very empowered,” remarked Molloy. “They are strong, they are brave, and they believe that they are going to make a difference. There is an extraordinary sense of community.”

Duplicate banners of the high school group's project will be displayed at the USM Abromson Center from May-August, 2015. Each of the high schoolers designed motifs and patterns to overlay watercolor portraits that Molloy created.

USM Artist-in-Residence project 2015USM Artist-in-Residence project 2015