Students Prepare for Unique Creative Immersion at Golden Apple Art Residency

Posted June 5, 2017 in Alumni, Student, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Architecture, MFA Printmaking

Deep in the tranquil woods of southeast Maine, Shelley Stevens (’00, BFA Painting; ’04, MFA) and her husband Greg have created a paradise where artists can escape the drone of modern life and immerse themselves in their creative practice.

Applying for the Stevens’ Golden Apple Art Residency is understandably competitive, but the Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) alumna has always taken care to provide opportunities for graduate students from her alma mater to experience all the residency and its surrounding natural splendor have to offer.

Each year, KCAD graduate students are invited to submit a statement of purpose and samples of their work to the Golden Apple Scholarship Competition. The residency recipients are supported with a scholarship for the full or partial cost of a two-week summer residency.

This summer, the most recent scholarship recipients, 2017 MFA graduate Emily Cobb and graduate students Amber Bledsoe (MFA) and Kim Buchholz (Master of Architecture), will journey to Maine for an experience unlike any they’ve had before.

Cobb was awarded a partial scholarship from Golden Apple. She plans to continue developing the ideas that inspired her senior thesis project, “All the Things I Never Say,” which focused on empathy and the complex ways people interact with each other.

work by alumna Emily Cobbwork by Emily Cobb (image courtesy of the artist)

“I'm intrigued by the idea of boundaries and how they change based on personal moods, political changes, a person's environment and any other little change that may occur from day to day,” says Cobb. “While I’m in Maine, I hope to complete a performance and make a series of intimate 2D pieces that can be installed in either a gallery or an outdoor environment.”

Implicit in Cobb’s partial scholarship was a challenge to cover the rest of the cost, one she answered by selling existing work and crowdfunding.

“When I fund a scholarship, it is my personal vote of confidence that the recipient shows great creative strength and insight,” Stevens says. “The fact that Emily was successful in reaching for that additional ‘golden apple’ is a sign of her creativity and passion.”

Bledsoe and Buchholz were each awarded scholarships funded by KCAD. Bledsoe plans to focus her time in Maine on embracing the opportunity to work without distraction, continuing her studio research on handmade paper, fiber manipulation, and basket weaving with a series of “vessel” pieces inspired by and incorporating found materials from the natural environment surrounding Golden Apple.  

work by alumna Amber Bledsoework by Amber Bledsoe (image courtesy of the artist)

“Within my work, I use the vessel as a container to hold and capture objects and manipulated fibers that express the connections and interactions I experience with other individuals,” Bledsoe says. “This project will focus on the burial of frustrations and the embracing of the beautiful moments of clarity that occur in relationships.”

Buchholz has similar plans to maximize the natural coastal setting of Downeast Maine by responding to the environment with a variety of mixed-media documentations. She’ll be balancing artistic inquiry with reactionary investigations of potential ways to translate the observed natural world to an architectural context.

work by MArch student Kim Buchholzwork by Kim Buchholz (image courtesy of Kim Buchholz) 

“Architecture is a language of the human spirit, and its expressions can harness deeply rooted emotional responses, yet there are feelings and emotions that we grasp from nature that are not found within the built environment,” says Buchholz. “Being a resident of Golden Apple will realign me with sublime landscapes, inspiring design work to heighten spatial experiences within architecture as well as everyday encounters with the built environment.”

Stevens says that it’s precisely this kind of intentionality that separated the three students from other applicants.

“The creativity and passion has to be there, but I also look for originality of ideas, unique ways and processes of conveying those ideas, a certain facility of their medium of choice, and the ability to write about their ideas with clarity and professionalism. An artist statement doesn't need to be dense or heavy, but rather it should convey an honest and well-written description of the artist's thoughts and ideas and how they are reflected in their work.”  

Learn more about KCAD’s MFA program here.

Learn more about KCAD’s Master of Architecture program at