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2010 New Hampshire Artist Fellows Named

             This year’s batch of talented New Hampshire Artist Fellows includes a poet, a novelist, a pianist, a composer, a multidisciplinary artist and a sculptor/video artist – two of whom, coincidentally, hail from the small town of Wilton. With the aid of funds awarded by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the six will be busy in their studios in the upcoming year, as well as sharing their talents with the people of the state.

            Literary artists Katie Umans of Dover and Nancy Clark of Wilton, performing artists Matthew Odell of Pittsfield and Jonathan Santore of Plymouth, and visual/media artists Ross Cisneros of Sanbornville and Denise Dumas of Wilton each received a $5,000 award.

            Umans, who works for the University of New Hampshire’s UNH Foundation and teaches online through the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, has completed a manuscript of poems called “The Flock Book.” She plans to use the funds to take time away from her online teaching to focus on writing. Poetry is an instinctive form for Umans. “It’s how my brain works,” she says.

            Clark is the author of a trilogy of novels, “The Hills at Home,” “A Way from Home” and “July and August,” published by Pantheon Books. She plans to use the fellowship funds to travel to South America, where she’ll do research for a new novel that’s set some 150 years ago. “The Amazon probably hasn’t changed all that much from the mid-19th century,” she says. 

            Classical pianist Odell is finishing up, on a part-time basis, a doctoral degree at the Julliard School. He’ll put his award money toward several projects he has planned, including a debut recording and trips to meet with composers. “It’s very nice to be recognized in my own state,” says Odell, who plans to offer a public performance of works by composers with ties to New Hampshire.

            Composer Santore is chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University and serves as Composer in Residence for the New Hampshire Master Chorale. Many of his recent pieces have deep connections to New Hampshire, using texts by writers with ties to the state. “I’m proud to think that I’ve played some small role in bringing our state’s creative and intellectual heritage to a wider audience,” he writes in his artist’s statement. He’ll use the fellowship funds to develop a Web site, to network with new ensembles, conductors and performers, and to continue to bring his music to a broader group of listeners.

            With a bachelor’s degree from the Cooper Union School of Art and a master’s from MIT, Cisneros is a multidisciplinary artist whose work includes videos and video installations, sculptures, film, live performance and musical compositions. He plans to use his fellowship award to help fund his participation in a fall exhibit in New York City. “My work is driven by a number of interests and experiences in the mediums of sound, sculpture, video projections, and multi-media,” he writes in his artist’s statement.

            Dumas creates sculptures and videos that explore questions of boundaries and identity that were sparked by her move from Quebec to the United States. The fellowship award will help her create work for two upcoming solos shows, on in Lowell, Mass., and one in Montreal. “I live frugally so I may create my artwork. It’s like eating, breathing. I have to do it.”

Fellowships are granted in three categories: Visual and Media Arts, Performing Arts, and Literary Arts. Selections are made based on artistic excellence, as determined by work samples and professional commitment. As part of the fellowship requirement, each fellow will present a Report to the New Hampshire Community, which can be a performance, a reading, an exhibition, a blog, or some other form of publicizing the artist’s work.

The deadline to apply for a 2011 Artist Fellowship is April 9, 2010.

            Funding for the awards comes from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

            For more information, visit





 Last updated: September 9, 2009

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