Summer 2020 Virtual Events

Our MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Summer Residency is being held virtually, so the program has put together a full bill of free online programming available to the public. We are thrilled to share visiting faculty and current student work with all of you! Catch an artist lecture, a conversation, art opening, project presentation, or the graduation ceremony! The following events are all free and open to the public, simply register online to receive a Zoom link for each event.

After the Events

Following each public event we will be opening three JumpInChat rooms. These are un-hosted, open space, video chat rooms that support up to 12 visitors at a time. We intend these to work much like the rooms of the art building where attendees congregate in post-lecture to catch up, discuss the lecture, and connect with one another. Please join the community here:

After Hours: Public Room 1
After Hours: Public Room 2
After Hours: Public Room 3
How to share your video on JumpInChat

Summer 2020 Virtual Events:

Sunday, August 9 at 5 PM (PDT): Virtual Lecture – Anna Davidson

Anna Davidson is a visual artist, scientist and educator concerned with ecological breakdown. Her work fuses art, ecology, and biology.

Monday, August 10 at 5 PM (PDT): Virtual Conversation – Ashley Stull Meyers + Dan Paz

Ashley Stull Meyers is a writer, editor, and curator. Dan Paz is an artist and educator.

Wednesday, August 12 at 5 PM (PDT): Virtual Conversation – Julia Schwadron Marianelli + Ayanah Moor

Ayanah Moor is a conceptual artist whose work explores blackness, gender, desire, and language.

Thursday, August 13 at 4 PM (PDT): Thesis Exhibition Opening: THRESHOLD

A virtual reception for the digital group exhibition THRESHOLD featuring work by thesis students Adam Longatti, Kelly Vicars, Kenneth Claybaugh, Kristina Berry, Lisa Freeman, Lizzie Thibodeau, Thomas Putzier. Curated by Amy Khoshbin, visiting faculty.

Sunday, August 16 at 5 PM (PDT): Virtual Lecture – Matt Freedman

Matt Freedman is a sculptor, graphic artist, performer, writer and curator with a background in cartooning and anthropology.

Tuesday, August 18 at 4 PM (PDT): Midway Project Presentation

Current MFA midway students present about their site-specific projects. Featuring works and presentations by Chad Downard, Eliza Fernand, Flo Buie, Jamie Moon, Lisa DeGrace, Teri Barnes.

Thursday, August 20 at 4 PM (PDT): Summer 2020 Graduation Celebration

Join us in closing out the residency by cheering on our Summer 2020 graduates: Adam Longatti, Kelly Vicars, Kenneth Claybaugh, Kristinia Berry, Lisa Freeman, Lizzie Thibodeau, Thomas Putzier!


Summer 2020 Residency to Be Held Virtually

The MFA-IA Summer Residency 2020 will be held virtually, as SNU as an institution has decided on a continuation of a virtual format until mid-fall. The Tahoe region is known as a place to retreat, and it is already attracting more people from all over than usual, thus putting our MFA community at high risk for COVID-19 transmission. We are extending the dates of our residency, and those will now be August 7 – 21. This expansion from its original dates, guided by the voices of our community, will allow time for recovering energy, and hopefully allow more opportunity for points of contact that might have happened spontaneously in person, as well as more time to work on your individual practices. Additionally, we have decided to continue a series of Artist Lectures over the course of the fall semester, offered virtually, to allow additional ways to engage alumni voices as well.

Seeing each other live is a critical part of our program. Missing shared experiences in the Tahoe environment, not seeing each other’s work live, and being at our separate homes rather than at Holman Arts Center together are all part of the impact of the current COVID-19 health crisis. Though we are saddened by this, we know it is our job to adapt to the uncertainties and necessities of this new era. As a community, we are determined to find a way through this crisis, maintaining connections and critiques in ways that will deepen the cultural context of your work.

The MFA-IA program specifically has several advantages as we enter this next phase. One of the program’s founding concepts is an emphasis on creative problem solving, and so all of our participants are prepared to think in unconventional ways about how to address this challenge and new formats within. As a program, we have the ability to provide a virtual thesis exhibition with a corresponding catalog to our graduating students this summer. Additionally, we are working on designs for this thesis group to exhibit their work the next time we are able to be together. We have a jump on other programs, due to our having already established a complex social virtual environment and our emphasis on each student’s individual terms of success. Moving temporarily to an all virtual mode of interaction is a reflection of the current international art world, with exhibitions and production across the world shifting to virtual platforms.

Knowing that informal gatherings and conversations are an important part for each of you in becoming part of this community, we hope that you will find ways to welcome new students so they too can have a sense of belonging to our community. We know that changing to a virtual residency will affect each of you in different ways. We will be sending out full schedules and event information in the next couple of weeks.  Julia, Anza, Austin, Logan, and Russell have been working to put together our calendar, packet, and Field Guide for this summer. We are actively collaborating with the Summer MFA-IA faculty members who are teaching your courses to come up with innovative, fun, inventive, and new ways to invite you to engage in your virtual courses. We welcome your questions and queries as we work to create a new and powerful format for you this summer.

Winter 2020 residency faculty and upcoming residency deadline

SNC MFA-IA winter 2020 residency faculty: Rob Reynolds / Kara Q. Smith / Sameer Farooq / Ashley Stull Meyers / Michael Perrone / Mariah Dekkenga / Amish Morell / Roman de Salvo

There are a few spots still available to start in Winter 2020. Please get in touch with Julia Schwadron immediately should you have an interest in attending this winter.

Priority deadline has been extended for summer 2020 residency! Apply by February 28, 2020. Apply here.

January 3–12, 2020 will mark the next winter session of the low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program at Sierra Nevada College. We are thrilled to invite several new faculty members to teach within our program. Mariah Dekkenga and Michael Perrone will be teaching our Focused Studio Practice course. They are based part time in Vermont, where they run a brand-new artist residency, as well as part time in Qatar, where Michael is on the faculty of VCUarts Qatar. Kara Q. Smith will be curating an exhibition in our Garage Door Gallery and working with MFA students during her visit. Kara is a New Mexico based curator, editor and writer who is currently serving as the Executive Director of Gallup MainStreet Arts and Culture District. Amish Morell is an educator, curator, editor and writer. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences & School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University in Toronto. Along with artist Diane Borsato, he leads Outdoor School, an ongoing project that combines social practice-based art, outdoor education and critical land-based practices. 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 five 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. While in Tahoe, students have the opportunity to explore ideas about site and location, both literally and figuratively, both through experimental practices and long-term projects.

Our summer 2019 residency was a huge success. Current students and faculty participate from a variety of locales, and across media and discourses. A vital and compelling cross-disciplinary community is forming and growing. Faculty for the program continues to include a rotating list of prestigious Visiting Artists, 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: Matt Freedman / Amy Khoshbin / Walter Kitundu / Macon Reed / Gabie Strong

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,

Image: Installation view, Mariah Dekkenga. Courtesy of the artist and SITUATIONS, NYC.

Article cross-posted from Art + Education

Sam Shear to Install “Upside Down Church” in Virginia City

Upside Down Church + “An Acoustic Gospel Hour with Jenni & Jesse of Dead Winter Carpenters.” Located in Virginia City, Nv. on the site of an old tailings pile, the opening will take place on Sunday, May 27 at 1 pm.

The Upside Down Church a 1/20 (7′ tall) scale replica of a 19th century Midwest style church, pulled, upside down by 1/3 (2′ tall) scale figures of the Artist Sam Shear. The installation is a physical representation of a personal, visceral experience Sam had during his Grandmother’s funeral service. The piece is a depiction of the stress and weight put on individuals caused by religious viewpoints, greed, power, stature or political stance. Through scale and perception with an American pastoral landscape backdrop, the Upside Down Church conjures thoughts of decay, wear, commitment and contribution.

The construction of four walls, a roof, and a steeple represents the purpose of bringing the community together under a spiritual advisor. Churches are places where people come together and form community bonds. They are a spiritual home, a place of communion and divine intervention. These qualities make abandoned and forsaken churches all the more gloomy and unnatural.

Even in its’ dilapidated state, the Upside Down Church casts a strong and overpowering shadow in the presence of the 1/3 scale figures. Whose struggle is captured in their stance as they pull the weight of the church across the picturesque landscape of Virginia City, NV. The deep trench or rift that trails the church is a metaphor for life and as described in the defects above. The trench is the accumulation of the impact on the individuals around everyone.

In addition to the Upside Down Church, 2018 installation, a 20-minute homily by Father Anton of St. Mary’s in the Mountains will take place. Also during the opening, an Acoustic Gospel Hour w/ Jenni & Jesse of Dead Winter Carpenters will be performed. The installation will remain for three weeks at the “Marshall Tailings” site. The Upside Down Church, 2018 will then be moved to Sagehen Creek Field Station in Truckee, CA as the permanent installation site.

Upside Down Church sign, Sam Shear

What is it?
Upside Down Church, 2018 Art Opening + “An Acoustic Gospel Hour with Jenni & Jesse of Dead Winter Carpenters”

When is it?
1pm- 3pm on May 27th 2018 (5/27/18) See Bulletin Below.

Where is it?
“Marshall’s Tailings” at the corner of Union & R Streets. Across from St. Mary’s Art Center, Virginia City, NV.

RSVP and Directions:


Lupita’s Artist Project Grant awarded to Elena Kendall Aranda

We are pleased to announce the selection of Elena Kendall-Aranda as recipients of the 2018 Lupita’s Artist Project Grant.

Elena Kendall-Aranda is an American, Spanish and French artist currently living and working in New York. Through the investigation of gender theories, Internet culture and mass media practices, she addresses issues of identity and embodiment with photography, text, and new technologies. By conjuring narratives that coalesce and collapse, Kendall-Aranda seeks to use online applications that can operate simultaneously in physical and virtual space to create new meaning that makes us reflect about our social-political culture.

The Lupita’s Artist Project Grant will support the continuation of her project Ghost Town Initiative / Los Despoblados which utilizes Google Maps’ Street View features to create an online space where Internet visitors will be able to virtually stroll through abandoned villages in Spain amongst recreated ghost inhabitants, and by doing so, provide a new perspective on our collective past and present.

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

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.

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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


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