The Umbrella's Artist-in-Residence program supports an emerging artist within the first five years of their career. For twelve months, the accepted artist is offered the use of a studio at The Umbrella and a one bedroom cottage within walking distance, free of charge.
During their year-long residency, the artist is expected to complete a new body of work. In addition to working in their studio, the artist completes three community presentations that engage both The Umbrella community and the greater Concord community in their practice.
This program started in 2014 with our first artist-in-residence, Nina Earley. Nina is an interdisplinary artist whose conceptual work includes cyanotpes, printmaking, photography, and fiber. Her work was on display in Across the Land and the Water during August 2015. Sarah Fagan, a realistic painter of still lives whose work focuses on the meaningful use of emptiness, was our 2015-2016 Artist-in-Residence. Her work was on display in Accumulations during August 2016.
Our 2016-2017 Artist-in-Residence continues The Umbrella’s search to bring new and different art to our community that sparks dialogue. Meghan Murray is a portrait painter recently graduated from Skidmore College. For her senior thesis, Meghan painted a series of portraits of residents of a local Alzheimer’s unit:
“Each of these individuals recounted to me stories that they felt important to share. Narratives about thirty years in the military or blue-collar work in the coalmines; snippets of childhood memories of swimming inLake Superior; stories from years of experience as parents, daughters, sons, siblings, spouses, friends. Advice gleaned from a life well lived. Some were reluctant to share; others were natural storytellers. They are humorous, blunt, unapologetic. These narratives informed the portraits. I challenged myself to capture the presence of each individual.”
Meghan’s focus on community and narrative made her a natural pick for a residency at The Umbrella, where stories leap out of every corner. Originally from Mansfield, MA, she looks forward to learning about the Concord community with its rich history and natural beauty. Meghan is particularly interested in using her portraiture to tell the stories of marginalized members of the community, seeing her work as a way to bring light to people who are invisible to society.
Hear from Meghan during one of her free community presentations:
- November 10, 2016 at 5:30 pm
- March 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm
- September 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm
Sarah Fagan's Testimonial
"I grew up in New England, but spent many years in Portland, Oregon. The Umbrella residency was a way for me to move back to my "roots" and establish myself and my work in the art world of the Northeast. Regional art scene aside (and it is a wonderful one), I often need to push myself to explore outside of Concord itself. The town is a wonderful place to live and explore. The Umbrella is filled with good energy, inspiring working artists, and meaningful conversation. Then there is the magical red-floored studio itself, wherein I have produced more work than at any other point in my career. I will remember this residency as one of the greatest gifts I have ever, and will ever, receive. I will remember this year as the one where I found a substantial painterly voice."
Nina Earley's Testimonial
"For an artist who has just finished graduate school, two of the most precious commodities are time and space. Leaving the structure of school, with its deadlines and feedback, and finding a way to establish a studio practice is a daunting task. This residency has given me exactly what I had been missing: a place where I can make art, complete with fellow artists with whom daily interaction is stimulating, and the time to figure out how my studio practice realistically fits into my every-day life. The opportunity to create and lead a collaborative project with fellow artists has allowed me to have meaningful conversations and learn about this historically rich area in a way that would not have been possible without this opportunity. As my work continues to change and I continue to make connections within this encouraging community of artists I am excited to see how this residency continues to impact my practice and work. This experience came at the perfect time in my life, and I would encourage anyone who is hoping to focus on his or her art, while exploring a new region, to apply." - Nina Earley, Artist-in-Residence for 2014-2015