InterArts Alums Are All Around Us!

The vibrant and active artistic practices of alumni of the InterArts Media and Book and Paper MFA program have been on display sa far this spring and summer. This past week’s appearance of People on a Stage at the PSi:19 conference in Stanford, CA is a perfect example. The conference, subtitled Now Then: Performance and Temporality, was the ideal venue for People on a Stage’s piece Collecting Ourselves/Bone Stacking, a performance piece which concerns the ephemeral time and space that its members spent together immersed in the creative process. The work had its debut in four Chicago-area appearances before hitting the road to California.


The work of People on a Stage is a key example of the interdisciplinary nature of the program at Columbia. The ensemble is composed of a number of alums, including Alexa J. Rittichier as Artistic Director; Jenny Garnett, Michael Chad St. John, and Don Widmer. The company is rounded out with performance and movement artists Emily Rose, Courtney St.Clair, and Lydia Feuerhelm. In addition to the growing and hybrid performative work, Collecting Ourselves is also manifested in an artists’ book entitled This is the Body You Are Going Home With, a collection of the writing and imagery produced by the group’s collaborative and immersive process.


The group also collaborated in creating a blank hand-sewn notebook with Coptic stitch binding and a wooden cover. The choice of Coptic stitch was made by POAS member Don Widmer, a 2012 Book and Paper graduate. The text and images on the cover and throughout the journal were created during an actual performance about community-building and the performing body. The improvisational fragments contained within are intended to serve as inspiration for others to jump-start their own creative process through journal entries.


Pontas, a literary and film agency representing internationally a wide range of international authors is currently representing the newest novel by Book and Paper InterArts alum Brandon S. Graham. His new novel, Good for Nothing, is darkly humorous social satire that explores men’s attitudes toward work, love, family, women, sex, and consumer culture. Graham is a regular contributor of articles and book reviews to JAB (the Journal of Artists Books, published at CBPA), as well as a poet published author of numerous artist’s books, book reviews, and essays in academic journals and magazines. His artists’ books are included in several dozen special collections libraries throughout the United States, including those at Yale, UCLA, Otis College of Art and Design, Emory University, and Ringling School of Design.

2013 Media MFA Michelle Korte-Leccia’s work explores ritual actions and environmental issues, resulting in hybrid installations. Korte Leccia will be presenting a ritual art experience at Chicago’s Life Force Art Center on July 18 at 7:00 p.m. The experience event invites participants to collaboratively create rituals of movement, sound, and visuals based on a pattern of concentric circles. Using sound-work toning exercises, participants will create whirlpools of energy using dance and movement. Inspired by Korte Leccia’s work “Wishing Wells, the group will learn to use hands, minds, and hearts in a visual art making meditation incorporating collaging patterns, colors, and rings of concentric circles.


Korte Leccia’s art practice draws on collage, sculpture, video, and performance to create works that investigate processes of destruction and healing. She has exhibited her work in museums, galleries, and public spaces locally, nationally, and abroad. For tickets and information on her upcoming performative event, click here.