DEPS Introduces Summer Alumni Residency Program

DEPS Summer Alumni Residents James Kinser (MA '05) and Niki Grangruth (MFA '09)
The Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces introduces first ever Summer Alumni Residency Program

The Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces has selected alumni and Chicago-based artists Niki Grangruth (MFA ’09) and James Kinser (MA ’05) to participate in its first ever Summer Residency Program. The artists plan to use the 8-week residency to continue their ongoing collaborative project Muse, a series of photographic recreations of iconic paintings that seeks to investigate non-conforming expressions of beauty, gender, and identity.

Grangruth, a photographer whose work has shown at the Center for Fine Art Photography and the Kinsey Institute Gallery, and Kinser, a multimedia artist specializing in performance and costume design, will exhibit and generate work at the C33 Gallery—located on the corner of Congress Parkway and Wabash Avenue—in addition to offering classroom visits and workshops on process, collaboration, and gender expression.  

DEPS Director Neysa Page-Lieberman says the new residency serves as an incubator supporting alumni as they generate and exhibit ambitious new work while receiving critical feedback from Columbia College audiences as well as the broader public. The residency is designed as a bridge for emerging artists who are moving into the next stage of their careers and could benefit from a studio, exhibition space and resources of the college. The resident artists in return provide access and opportunities for current students to liaise, network, and learn beyond the classroom alongside the visiting alumni artists.

Page-Lieberman believes Grangruth and Kinser’s Muse series is the perfect project to kick off the inaugural residency, as it highlights the department’s commitment to supporting transdisciplinary work which pushes boundaries of contemporary art practice, while also addressing current political and social issues. Further, the artists’ interest in community engagement and collaboration extends into experimenting with other artists, who may have opportunities for their portraits to be featured in the gallery.

In addition to presenting new work, the artists announced plans to invite members of the public to sit and be photographed for their re-creation of Johannes Vermeer’s famous Girl with a Pearl Earring, saying they hope the residency and exhibition will encourage dialogue surrounding individual notions of gender boundaries and expression.  

Their photographs, costumes, sets, and installations will be on display at the C33 Gallery until the end of their residency late fall when the gallery will return to hosting and showcasing rotating student-organized exhibitions.