Winter 2018 Low Residency MFA faculty & application deadline

SNC MFA-IA winter 2018 residency faculty

Kelly Nipper  / Sameer Farooq / Christine Heindl / Ayanah Moor / Scott Oliver / Rob Reynolds

There are a few spots still available to start in Winter 2018! Please get in touch with Julia Schwadron immediately should you have an interest in attending the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts residency this winter.

Priority deadline for summer 2018 residency is February 5.

Apply here

July 31 to August 9, 2018 will mark the next summer session of the low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program at Sierra Nevada College. We are excited to invite prospective students to join our growing community of artists and thinkers. With rolling admissions, students will complete their MFA in five consecutive residencies regardless of the semester in which they enter.

The program consists of two intensive 10-day, on-campus residencies during summer and winter sessions over the course of 2.5 years. During the fall and spring semesters, students will work in their home studios and continue relationships with faculty mentors and fellow colleagues remotely through online seminars and other points of contact.

Our summer 2017 residency was a huge success. With current students participating from a variety of locales, media, and discourses, a vital and compelling cross-disciplinary community is forming and growing. Faculty for the program will continue to include a rotating list of prestigious Visiting Artist Faculty, made up of working artists and teachers from across the country as well as current members of the SNC Fine Arts Faculty.

Previous visiting faculty

Beth Campbell / Roman DeSalvo / Matt Freedman / Mary Donnelly / Gabie Strong / Peter Rostovsky

About Sierra Nevada College’s MFA-IA

Sierra Nevada College is a small, liberal arts college, located three blocks from Lake Tahoe, within a national forest, on an easily accessible campus in Incline Village, NV. The low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts is a locus for creative problem solving, fostered by creative thinking with an emphasis on community. The experience and exploration of embodied place is a central element of this distinctive program, encouraging students’ multi-dimensional relationship with their environment both in the Tahoe Basin and within their own communities.

Contact: Julia Schwadron,

Kelly Wallis – SNC MFA-IA Class of 2017

“Emerging from the human psyche and showing characteristics of abstract expressionism, minimalism and Russian constructivism, graffiti removal has secured its place in the history of modern art while being created by artists who are unconscious of their artistic achievements.”The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal

Kelly WallisMile_Marker_15.4_Kelly_Wallis_Graffitti is part of an emerging genre of digitally savvy artists whose work investigates the liminal space between our digital lives and everyday experience; between the lived and the systematized; between present action and the bureaucratic management of human activities.

In MILE MARKER 15.4 Things that may have happened at the underpass, Wallis uses the features of her frequent walks that take her under the I-80 underpass at mile 15.4 in Truckee, California, to explore a host of intersections. The installed work meets the audience with elements repeated from Kelly’s past work, most notably the recycled pattern from Security Blankets. Wallis’s Security Blankets are quilts made from business reply envelopes; the kind meant to conceal their contents with a lining of hashes and dots. As Wallis rightly notes in the project statement of MILE MARKER, “We are constantly choosing what to conceal or disclose in our public and private lives…” The project itself becomes an epic exploration of navigation through this site, encompassing notions of public access and private moments, the eminent domain of the state as it passes through nature.  MILE MARKER reflects upon itself, putting on display the negotiations necessary to obtain official permission to interact with, document, alter and perform at the site.

In her documentation of the site, she highlights the mark of Cal Trans workers unconsciously creating contemporary abstract paintings to remove graffiti, similar to those featured in McCormick and July’s 2002 experimental film, The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal. During Kelly’s opening, with many of those present donning safety-green shirts, audience participants walk along her meditative path passing beneath the underpass and up into the woods near her home.

Kelly Wallis - Interdisciplinary Artist - Security Blankets - MFA-IA SNC 2017Throughout the installed work, the pattern of Security Blankets merges with the safety green of public works. Given enough contemplation, a meditative space concerned with concealed communications relevant to personal and public actions of the moment emerges. While an entirely personal experience, Wallis’s attempt to share an activity where she is “able to uncover the part of [her] self-identity that suggests [her] most natural state,” becomes something of a physical metaphor for our contemporary digital society and its intersection with what we do IRL.

Her performative gestures, documented and dispersed throughout the installation, seem then to represent the peeling back of a sticky net of security as bodies pass through public spaces; of anxiety cloaked figures, clothed in a kind of high-visibility obscuration of self for safety’s sake. Multiple lanes of movement intersect here-the walkway negotiates with the roadway, nature negotiates with public works, safety negotiates with the passage, public performance negotiates with the cloak of anonymity. All of these negotiations give a little to reach their goals and find a balance. MILE MARKER 15.4 archives the entirety of itself in stunning proportions, and in its self-reflexive and still-expanding size exposes a core that is confusing on its face but ultimately comforting in its breadth.

Kelly Wallis - Interdisciplinary Artist

Kelly Wallis

Kelly is an project-based artist, graphic designer and candidate for a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village. She thrives on connecting to peers through their personal narratives, experiences and adventures and often pairs meetings or gatherings with exercise. She explores the condition of the psyche by taking note of the emotional and physical transformations during these outings. These revelations drive and influence her process.

In her work, Kelly visualizes an investigative dialogue taking place between the heart, the brain and the hand. By becoming conscious of these exchanges, she attempts to understand how they may protect and threaten one another. She is interested in what happens when anxieties overcome each unit, the system falters and patterns displace. Her practice is informed by these uncertainties, a need for control and a proclivity for hard, laborious work. This work is executed through use of diverse materials and exercises including durational performance, out-dated technology and the obsessive collection of useless, everyday, forgotten and neglected house hold items.


Aaron Czerny – SNC MFA-IA Class of 2017 – echo/locator

“We see on our shelves, in Handsome Volumes, the Works of old Authors who lived and wrote before the invention of printing; but how few of us ask ourselves the questions: Where are the originals of which these books are the copies? And what authority have we for the genuineness of the text?” – William Forsyth

Aaron Czerny is an interdisciplinary artist very much concerned with the new epoch of the Anthropocene and the creation of “shifting context zones” that include made and found objects in stylized exhibitions. Czerny positions himself as a “ritual facilitator,” in his work through the use of performance, video installation and the creation of educational ephemera. Aaron doesn’t navigate what it means to be human in the work he mounts; he archives the way we navigate our humanity. In making this attempt, he allows authorship to transfer to those who enter into the spaces he creates.

Aaron Czerny - Interdisciplinary Artist - via pati sacra (details) - 2017 -multimediaAaron Czerny - Interdisciplinary Artist - wilderness radio-2016-multimediaAs a viewer, to be in the work is to activate the space. It is this feedback loop that creates the work, hewn together from the discarded and created utilitarian materials therein and the observers’ entry into the exhibit. Disconnected from their original context, Czerny seeks to assuage Kim Carson’s musings over a found arrowhead in The Place of Dead Roads: “This artifact, shaped to fill a forgotten need, now has no more meaning or purpose than this arrowhead without the arrow and the bow, the arm and the eye.” As if answering this line directly, Aaron joins with his audience in seeking possible purpose and meaning for the materials in his “anthropological collage.”

In echo/locater,  Czerny exhibits an object called resonator. A finely crafted wooden box containing a collection of objects, Aaron shipped the box with a set of instructions outlining how to use and add to the resonator object. Hence, a resonator returns to the exhibit bearing the marks of ten artists’ activation, an archive to be joined to the archive — a collage of notions around human activation.

Aaron Czerny Aaron Czerny is a trans-disciplinary artist engaged in investigating the complex dynamics embedded within the concepts of wildness and domestication. His work, which utilizes a wide range of materials, media, and exhibition strategies, has been exhibited and collected nationally and internationally. He pursued undergraduatestudies at the San Francisco Art Institute and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Sierra Nevada College. Czerny was the recipient of the SNC MFA-IA Artist Grant (2015-2017), the Transart Institute Earth Awareness Award (2014), Can Serrat artist stipend (2013), and the SFAI Sobel Award (1992-1996). He currently resides and works north of San Francisco.


Mary Grace Tate – SNC MFA-IA Class of 2017 – All That But Nicer

All That But Nicer - Mary Grace Tate - 2017Neon. Flowers waiting in an ice bucket. A swan made from your bath towel to greet you. Mary Grace Tate captures the landscape of life we take for granted, transforming each space she enters into an appreciation of the hidden lines around us every day.

There is an earnest connection to the everyday made as Tate captures the proximal landscape of lodging and its nearly uncanny imitation of life, in melodramatic fashion. In All That But Nicer, Mary Grace, a member of the SNC MFA-IA program’s inaugural cohort, guides us through an illustrated archive of her painted travelogue.

All That But Nicer - Mary Grace Tate - 2017

All That is the result of six months of stays in roadside motels encircling Lake Tahoe. “From check in to check out, I was the plein air painter of my suite,” writes Mary Grace. In line with her reference to the 19th Century tradition of landscape painting, Tate allows the paint to be paint, melding illusion with observation.

All That But Nicer - Mary Grace Tate - 2017

The result is realism guided by impression and recognizable details, arranged by an appreciative sensibility. All That But Nicer functions as an installed whole, with her archive framed by the lamps and bedside tables of the motel room and arranged around an impressionistic faux fireplace. The window outside the exhibit holds a neon “Open?” sign, humorously referencing the often deteriorating state of motel signage.

As an element of her work, the playful inversion of a familiar holiday excursion is not new. In Fish House/Human House, Mary Grace created a series of five acrylic panels describing the behaviors of homo sapiens alongside informative illustrations that enhance the trouts’ understanding of our lifestyle displayed at the Sagehen Creek  Field Research Station’s Fish House, a viewing area for the Cutthroat trout habitat.

Mary Grace Tate is an interdisciplinary artist currently pursuing her MFA at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, NV. Her work delves into the unintentional residue of our lived experience. The language on plastic bags, neon signs, and scrawls left on bathroom stalls are framed as earnest attempts for connection between the maker and the viewer. Her resulting representational paintings offer a humorous and sincere lens with which to view the world.

Fish House Human House - Mary Grace Tate - 2016 Summer ResidencyFish House Human House - Mary Grace Tate - 2016 Summer ResidencyFish House Human House - Mary Grace Tate - 2016 Summer Residency

Richard Petrucci – SNC MFA-IA Class of 2017 – Tactical Maintenance


Richard Petrucci -Grove 4941, Versailles, France

Grove 4941, Versailles, France

Richard Petrucci is something of a landscaper. Or rather, an archivist of landscapes. Petrucci’s work throughout the Sierra Nevada College MFA-Interdisciplinary Arts program has focused on the human management of our appreciation of nature. As Christopher Thacker writes in The History of Gardens, the first gardens were likely discoveries —  “…such spots are the gardens of the gods, or of those favoured by the gods, so that they need do no work to keep the place in order.” Petrucci’s work explores this question then, exploring our enjoyment of nature, and the notion of “enjoyment” itself as a product of our time.

Richard Petrucci - Parc Andre Citroen 5260, Paris, France 2017

Parc Andre Citroen 5260, Paris, France 2017

In Tactical Maintenance, Petrucci offers an archive of European gardens, controlled natural spaces, meant to be either in conversation with nature or to exhibit human dominance over the natural. The installation of Tactical maintenance offers a mirror of such venues, or avenues as it were.

During the Summer Residency of 2016, Petrucci worked directly on the natural surroundings of the Sagehen Field Research Station, creating entry-ways into nature, and even digitally retouching natural objects using projection. These interventions highlight the drive to apply order to that which, in reality, has an order of its own already.

Richard Petrucci is a Brooklyn, New York-based visual artist working principally with photography, with each installation taking a slightly different form, including digital projections and prints. Often traveling for his work, notions of documentation and the status of the photographic image are at the core of his practice. Richard’s experience as a professional photo retoucher has had a profound influence on his artwork. In his most recent project, Richard traveled to Europe, where he photographed royal and municipal gardens.

Richard Petrucci - Sagehen Creek




Nicole Harper – SNC MFA-IA Class of 2017 – Sensory Superfluous


Incubator Project(ion) Video projection, projection screen mural April 1, 2017 thru May 30, 2017

Incubator Project(ion) Video projection, projection screen mural April 1, 2017 thru May 30, 2017

Nicole Harper seeks the everyday, the banal, the overlooked. When she finds a niche there, she exploits it and activates it with combinations of the materials present with video projection, drawing, signage and sculpture.

During her career as a student in the Sierra Nevada College MFA – Interdisciplinary Arts Program, she has built a serious called Sensory Superfluous. Sensory Superfluous seeks to activate public spaces at their gaps and intersections. A stairway, a stream bed viewing portal, a storefront window — sites where transition requires attention its inhabitants in order adjust to another level, conceptually and physically.

Harper’s portals transfigure and activate the overlooked in ways that require engagement and implication, without forcing perspective or delivering an anvil of messaging. Everyday spaces become active sites for “re-cognition,” as Nicole puts it. A simple re-calibration of spaces, whose function and purpose are generally taken for granted, into a site for sublimation, contemplation or genesis.

Abbreviated Trees - Nicole Harper - SNC Community Gallery

Abbreviated Trees, Detail. Wood, wire, black & white photographs, color video projection January, 2016

Wind & Wiregrass. Steel wire, clay, dried grasses, mummified insects, video projection July, 2016

Wind & Wiregrass. Steel wire, clay, dried grasses, mummified insects, video projection July, 2016

Nicole Harper is a multidisciplinary artist creating art spurred by the influence of affective experience, complexities of existence, and human agency within the natural world. Through an aesthetic language, her aim is to translate imagery and substance into visual poetry, molding layered facets of experience into tangibility. Nicole’s current concern is with activating site-specific encounters to stimulate re-cognition.

Nicole also has served as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador and a Board Member for the Alabama Fulbright Association.


Susan Bass – SNC MFA-IA Class of 2017 – Embodied Alchemy: Rotating Creation

Susan Bass - Gray Space Gallery - Embodied Alchemy: Rotating Creation – Abstract Sculptures and Mixed Media PaintingsSusan Bass - Gray Space Gallery - Embodied Alchemy: Rotating Creation – Abstract Sculptures and Mixed Media PaintingsAs part of her fast approaching graduation as a member of the inaugural cohort of Sierra Nevada College’s Low-Residency MFA-Interdisciplinary Arts program, Gray Space Gallery presented Susan’s MFA Thesis show, Embodied Alchemy: Rotating Creation. The show took place February 3 to March 19, 2017.

Digging into the mysterious and ambiguous form of porcelain, Susan draws out fragments, attempting to resurrect order and completeness from the duality of modern life that she sees in the in the shards and shapes of reworked ceramic. Her work draws out symbols, ideas of antiquity and modernity from the raw material of clay and seeks to assemble meaning from the disassembled pieces. Her flirtations with chemistry, alchemy and the transformations brought about by the application of fire result in structured forms reaching for new meaning.

Embodied Alchemy: Rotating Creation – Abstract Sculptures and Mixed Media Paintings

Embodied Alchemy: Rotating Creation – Susan Bass

Framing her forms are large-scale paintings that translate the whirling space of the ceramic process into color — an action specific to the medium of clay. The result is an exciting play of multiple mediums and materials in communication, contradiction, and support of each other.

Susan Bass - Gray Space Gallery - Embodied Alchemy: Rotating Creation – Abstract Sculptures and Mixed Media Paintings

Pottery Coast Studio

Susan Bass is a ceramic sculptor and mixed-media artist who works with porcelain, metals, and fire. She is also the owner of Pottery Coast, a community-based ceramics studio with a mission to cultivate a space for those who make. She lives and works on the Central Coast of California.

Susan’s work will be included in the first edition of the SNC MFA-IA Graduating Class Catalog, available later this year. Reserve your copy by contacting Julia Schwadron.


Current MFA-IA Student, Karen Krolak – “This is going to take a while to process…”

Karen Krolak is deeply concerned with pathways. A choreographer at heart, her work winds its way through life’s processes, bringing the audience to sets of instruction and action that result in revelations both in her work and in the participants.

Her work can be seen currently at the Nave Gallery Annex, 53 Chester St, Somerville, MA. The show title In Triplicate, carries a special significance for Karen.

“The exhibit opened on June 3, 2017 -,” says Krolak, “which would have been my mother’s 75th birthday. When I read the call for this show, I immediately began to think about all of the paperwork that had to be filled out in triplicate after the car accident in 2012 that killed my mother, father, and older brother.”

Karen Krolak - This is going to take a while to process... - Nave Gallery Annex

Upon entry to the space of This is going to take a while to process, a river of paperwork carrying short instructions streams into the room. Scattered across the floor and flowing up the walls, they present as a deluge of imperatives with only the currents of the paper path as guidance.

“In my  head, I like to think of this as instructions for the dance of the undead,” says Karen. “Working with Peter Rostovsky as a mentor (in the SNC MFA-IA program) encouraged me to decontextualize my experience as a teacher.”


Karen Krolak - This is going to take a while to process... - Nave Gallery AnnexTo the deluge of paperwork of This is going to take a while to process…, Karen’s previous piece, The Shelf, has lent its audio track. The Shelf employs a robotic voice to tell one side of a death benefits conversation with an officer of the government.

The final movement of This is going to take a while to process… will occur on Sunday, July 2, 2017, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. Monkeyhouse will join Karen to present three different performance responses to the installation.

You can process Karen’s work at  Nave Gallery Annex, along with the work of Carlie Bristow and Anthony Febo, Justin Playl and Inguna Gremzde until July 2, 2017.


Sierra Nevada College
Interdisciplinary Arts
Low Residency MFA


1008 Tahoe Blvd
Incline Village, NV 89451


Julia Schwadron
Assistant Program Director
P: (775) 831-1314 ext. 7492