IAA Emeritus Fellows

The IAA Faculty Fellows program provides UNT (Denton campus) Faculty Fellows with 100% reassignment for one semester to accomplish and present creative research projects. Participants are selected through an annual application process open to all UNT (Denton campus) full time faculty in the visual, performing and creative literary arts. The list of current and emeritus IAA fellows offers examples of projects completed or underway through this initiative.  Fellow’s activities often involve collaborations with outside artist and entities, resulting in creative works or initiatives that garner national attention and further raise the profile of the arts at UNT.

2015 - 2016 IAA Fellows

Matthew Bourbon

In recent years, Bourbon has traveled the world – from various points in Europe to Japan – as research for his work that combines western and eastern strategies of narrative painting. After visiting art collections in Toyko and Kyoto in spring 2014, he returned to create a new body of paintings that combine his interest in the historical traditions of western art (such as paintings by Giotto, Fra Angelico, Masaccio and others) with the shallow and truncated space found in eastern art (such as paintings by Hokusai, Hiroshige, Korin Ogata and others).

With such varied inspiration, his paintings appear representational and abstract, and seem to call to mind collages. He finds inspiration in a variety of images – film stills, illustrations, advertising, mail catalogs and fabric designs.

“By combining and transforming these varied sources, I create painted vignettes that merge my interest in descriptive painting and abstract patterns,” Bourbon said. “I think of it as akin to jazz music, where there is a foundational structure for the medium but, within it, ample room for improvisation.”

Each of the pieces that Bourbon creates takes shape over many weeks and months, which is why the IAA fellowship is so valuable to his work. The chance to work uninterrupted throughout the fall 2015 semester will help with the continuity of his painting and accelerate the progression of his work.

“This gives me unimpeded time to work, but also time to think, read and assemble the pieces needed for each painting,” he said.

When these pieces are finished, Bourbon expects to show a number of mid- to large-scale paintings, as well as a suite of drawings, at one or more of his galleries in Houston, Dallas and New York, and in Denton at UNT on the Square.

The fellowship will also allow Bourbon the chance to create a catalog and promote his work nationwide.


Shelley Cushman

In 1996, UNT College of Music professor Phil Winsor, now deceased, asked Cushman if she would choreograph to some of his music compositions. That collaboration – finished in a whirlwind three weeks – resulted in 10 works, titled “Book I,” and a performance at the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia. When Professor of Media Arts Ben Levin saw the performance, he approached Cushman about filming the works. So began a long term project that now includes 26 pieces that have been choreographed, 22 of which have been filmed. Eight of these are completed and have been published by Carl Fischer, Inc., in New York City under Cin Car Films and two are in the Lincoln Library for the Performing Arts Dance collection in New York City.

The four works that Cushman aims to choreograph during her time as an IAA fellow includes one new work and the reconstruction of three previously choreographed works. These works will be added to “Cinematic Caricatures,” which is in the dance collection of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts. “Cinematic Caricatures” will include 30 works, organized in three “books.” Levin and Michael Mullins, teaching assistant in the MFA film program, will film the choreographed works.

“All 30 pieces will be choreographed to music that Phil wrote before he died,” Cushman said. “Each piece takes the title of the music composition – but I don’t know what the title is before I choreograph it. I want to get the feel from the music when choreographing the piece, rather than knowing what Phil thought it was about.”

Cushman, Levin and Mullins plan to submit these works – which wrap up the project originally started with Winsor – to film and dance festivals, for conference presentations and in showings around the world.

“I’m not sad that this project is coming to an end,” Cushman noted. “I’m hopeful that we can have a premiere of all 30 pieces in one event at some point.”


2014 - 2015 IAA Fellow

Harlan Butt

Butt has enjoyed hiking and camping since 1979, and in 2003 the metalsmithing professor combined those hobbies with his art for his National Parks Project. For the project, he took photos and sketched while camping and hiking at national parks in the U.S. Then, he went back to his studio and created vessels with intricate lids that reflected the sights he had seen at the parks.

The IAA fellowship will allow Butt to continue his series. He starts at the end of May when he heads to the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona to camp through the first two weeks of June. That will be followed by a camping trip to Glacier National Park in Montana and then Acadia National Park in Maine during the fall.

Although he typically creates two or three vessels that reflect his experiences at each park, Butt said he never goes into the parks with expectations. Each park is different and has its own character, so he allows himself the flexibility to express that. That flexibility can be seen in a tall, cylindrical silver and enamel vessel reminiscent of a cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and, Butt’s favorite piece, a short, rounded silver and enamel vessel with outlines of bears across it and a lid of leaves and blueberries (which the bears he watched were eating).

The vessels from Butt’s National Parks Project have been exhibited locally at UNT on the Square and across the U.S. at the Appalachian Center for Crafts, National Ornament Metal Museum, James Madison University and other galleries. He expects the additional vessels he creates from this project to be exhibited at UNT on the Square and elsewhere.


2013-2014 IAA Fellows

Three UNT faculty members have been named as the 2013-14 Institute for the Advancement of the Arts fellows. Robert Jessup, professor of studio arts; Bonnie Friedman, assistant professor of English; and Claudia Howard Queen, assistant professor of dance and theatre.  As fellows, the three professors will be granted a semester off from teaching duties to work on their projects full time.

Robert Jessup

Professor of Studio Arts Robert Jessup, a UNT faculty member since fall 1991, will use the fellowship to challenge his own style of painting. Jessup went to Europe five years ago as what he calls a “self-styled Realist painter” but came back with a desire to shake up his artistic style.

“The easiest description is to say the work has gone from Realistic Figuration to Abstraction – but that is not quite right. What I have been after is a new pictorial language, one where abstract forms signify in ways similar to figurative ones,” Jessup said. “I also want, once again in my work to make narrative pictures – albeit ones whose configurations are unfamiliar, or rather may in fact be familiar but only in subterranean psychological ways.”

Once finished, Jessup intends to show the work at UNT on the Square, and in Dallas and Houston. The work he has done so far will be shown at the Taylor Foundation in Paris in June, along with the works of six other American artists represented by the Besharat Gallery of Atlanta and Barbizon.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue my work that the IAA Fellowship will provide,” said Jessup. “The funding is coming at such a great time for me. New ways of picture-making have consolidated in the last year and this fellowship will enable me to fully develop, explore and express these new ideas.”

Jessup instructs drawing and painting students in the College of Visual Arts and Design. His work is in several prominent public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the University of Virginia Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum of the University of Texas  at Austin, and the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. He has been exhibiting for more than 30 years and has had multiple solo exhibitions in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.


Bonnie Friedman

Assistant Professor of English Bonnie Friedman, a UNT faculty member since fall 2008, will use the fellowship to continue work on essays for her “Kingdoms of the Bronx” collection, which will be nine lyric creative-nonfiction essays when complete. Five of the essays for the collection have been published or accepted to be published in top-tier literary venues, with two of the essays nominated for prestigious Pushcart prizes and one selected as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays of 2012. The IAA fellowship will give Friedman the time needed to write the four remaining essays.

“‘Kingdoms of the Bronx’ is about the tension between the narrow material circumstances of a particular second-generation-immigrant Bronx community and the imaginative aspirations that promise escape,” Friedman said.  One person tries to escape through the intense study of physics, another through fierce devotion to the iron, old-world God of her grandmother, another through Weight Watchers, and another through sheer affability, even at the cost of downplaying his considerable intellect.  The people examined in this collection are searching for ways out of constricting circumstances, and often finding them, although they come with unexpected trade-offs.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have received this fellowship,” said Friedman. “It is difficult to hold an entire book that one is writing fully in mind during the course of a semester.  The time to devote exclusively to writing will allow me to make the kinds of intuitive, psychic inner connections that books require to be most deeply significant to readers.  I am excited to be able to compose the remaining essays for this collection and to do the kind of immersive work that allows for a strong, cohesive book.”

Essays from Friedman’s first book, “Writing Past Dark,” are anthologized and excerpted in seven different writing textbooks. The book was also selected to be a Village Voice Bestseller.  Friedman was selected to be a fellow at the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown and also at the MacDowell Arts Colony. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Her essays have been chosen for inclusion in The Best American Movie Writing, the Best Writing on Writing and The Practical Stylist.


Claudia Howard Queen

Assistant Professor of Music for Dance Claudia Howard Queen, a UNT faculty member since fall 2008, will use the fellowship to travel to sacred Celtic sites in Ireland known as "Thin Places, where the veil between heaven and earth are thin." Inspired by these sacred places, she will compose a 20-minute music score for a new dance work based on Celtic mysticism. The music will explore the use of female Sean-nós, a type of traditional Irish a cappella singing, and the mystical qualities of the pentatonic (five-tone) scale, and their effect on the body. Queen plans to premiere the final music/dance work in New York, choreographed by critically acclaimed choreographer, Sėan Curran and performed by the contemporary Irish dance company, Darrah Carr Dance.

“I truly believe that the arts can work hand-in-hand with science to uplift and improve the human condition intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically,” said Queen. “I see the IAA Fellowship as a great honor and also as a responsibility to strive to create something of significance toward this goal. I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

As a composer and multi-instrumentalist for dance, Queen creates uplifting, kinesthetic music that both moves the dancers physically and moves audiences emotionally. Her scores have toured the U.S., Ireland, England, Uruguay and Taiwan. She has collaborated with more than 200 instructors as a dance musician at the American Dance Festival, in NYC and Chicago studios, at universities throughout the U.S., in China and Taiwan. Queen has received two Fulbright Specialist Awards to share her music for dance with Taiwan's foremost dance school, Taipei National University of the Arts. In addition she has earned three awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for her original music. She has performed with improvisational dance artists including Taiwanese company, Ku & Dancers. She holds an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.


2012-2013 IAA Fellows


Vincent Falsetta

Falsetta, a faculty member at UNT since 1977, developed paintings incorporating the concepts and formal elements of his color studies. The works he created during the faculty fellowship are expected to be on display in group and solo exhibitions in various galleries and museums.

"It is an honor to receive the fellowship. The field of applicants was very competitive," Falsetta says. "The most important benefit of being a fellow is having the time to work. The commitment necessary to research, create and evaluate requires consistency of time and the ability to work day after day on a project."

Vincent was included in the 2013 Texas Biennial.  http://www.texasbiennial.org/


Miroslav Penkov

Penkov, a native of Bulgaria, used his fellowship to conduct research for his second book, Nominalia of the Imaginary Khans. He spent time in a village in Bulgaria's Standja Mountains that is similar to one of the locales in his novel.

"Writing a novel is often compared to running a marathon, and for good reason. Like a runner who must first train for months before taking on the 42-kilometer stretch, a writer must first do research and consider his characters, setting and story carefully before putting pen to paper," Penkov says. "I hope that this fellowship will provide me with the necessary time to research, write and rewrite my novel. On some level, this fellowship also serves as a validation -- a sign that perhaps there is promise in the pages I've already written."

Penkov's first book, a collection of short stories called East of the West: A Country in Stories, received national attention, including a feature on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" when it was published in 2011. He also is a fiction editor for American Literary Review, which is published at UNT.


2011-2012 IAA Fellows

Mark Ford

Coordinator of Percussion - College of Music  

Ford composed a concerto for wind ensemble and percussion soloist, and Marks will write a book of poetry. The program grants faculty members release from other faculty duties to concentrate full time on creative endeavors.  Ford has composed a concerto for wind ensemble and percussion soloist. The percussion concerto will be performed and may be recorded by the UNT Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Migliaro Corporon. Ford also plans to create a version of the concerto for orchestra, and Innovative Percussion Inc. has agreed to publish his composition. Ford is a marimba specialist who has performed throughout the United States and the world. 

More about Mark Ford:





Corey Marks

Associate Professor (English)- College of Arts and Sciences  

Marks used the fellowship to work on his third manuscript of poetry. He concentrated on writing a sequence of six poems that will explore the theme of the modern zoo and “how zoos embody a complicated set of impulses: intellectual curiosity, preservation, entertainment, titillation, the performance of power,” he wrote in the fellowship application.

More about Corey Marks:






2010-2011 IAA Fellows

David Bithell

Assistant Professor (Composition Studies) - College of Music  
Bithell has worked on a composition for the New York-based new music ensemble Yarn/Wire. The work, which used interactive audio, video, and sensors, premiered in Spring 2011 in New York as part of Yarn/Wire's annual season.

More about David Bithell:


Bruce Bond

Regents Professor (Department of English) - College of Arts and Sciences  
Bond is writing a full-length book of poems provisionally titled The Fire Breather.
"The book concerns the mind-body problem — the mysterious ways in which the mind is connected to the body or has some causality over the body," according to Bond. This includes personal poems about his father-in-law's Alzheimer's disease and his mother's spinal stenosis, as well as possible poems about addiction and a poem in response to writer Oliver Sacks.

More about Bruce Bond:                                              
NEA feature
Essay on Charles Wright
Features by Verse Daily
Interview about the poem "Wake"
Commentary on “Ringtone” from Best American Poetry
Amazon author's page
English Department Faculty Profile

Poems in various journals:


Lesli Robertson

Lecturer (Fibers) - College of Visual Arts and Design  
Robertson traveled to Uganda in November 2010 to continue her research on bark cloth from the mutuba tree. She organized an exhibition of the works of contemporary artists and designers who use bark cloth that was on display in Spring 2011 at the UNT Art Gallery. With the help of Ugandan printmaker Fred Mutebi and Makerere University scholar Dr. Venny Nakazibwe, she also plans to hold community activities in Uganda to promote bark cloth.
More about Lesli Robertson:


2009-2010 IAA Fellows

Dornith Doherty

Professor (Photography) – College of Visual Arts and Design  
Dornith Doherty used the Fellow tenure to continue her Archiving Eden photo-documentary project creating digital x-ray images of seeds and tissue samples from the collections of the research labs at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Colorado, the Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. An exhibition of work related to the project was on display at UNT on the Square from November 18, 2010 through February 8, 2011.

More about Dorinth Doherty:


Cindy McTee

Professor (Composition Studies) – College of Music  
Being an IAA Fellow afforded Cindy McTee the time to compose Double Play for orchestra, commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and premiered in June 2010 under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. She also has arranged the piece for symphonic wind ensemble, which was premiered at the University of North Texas in the fall of 2010.