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Resident artists live and work on campus during BDF for 1–3 weeks, developing new work, engaging with students, and sharing with the community. Artists are local, national and international and this program has an additional focus on supporting artists who are originally from or currently live in Maine.

Heather Lyon

HEATHER LYON is a performance, video and installation artist from Blue Hill, Maine. Combining her interest in the meanings of materials (ranging from rebar to sequins to milk to ash) and the question of the human body, she investigates relationships and the ways in which we negotiate longing, loss, desire, and vulnerability. She holds a BFA (2002) and MFA (2004) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.Her work has recently been exhibited and performed at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, Maine, IMRC Center, University of Maine Orono, Orono, Maine, TEDx Dirigo, Portland, Maine, The Danforth Gallery, University of Maine Augusta, Cynthia Winings Gallery, Blue Hill, Maine, Space Gallery, Portland, Maine, Zaratan, Lisbon, Portugal, “The Picnic Pavilion” a parallel project to the 58th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, The State Silk Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia and at Artisterium 10, Tbilisi, Georgia, for which she received an Emergency Artist Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York.

Portal is an outdoor site-specific sculpture, created by Heather Lyon, activated by the community of humans and more than human beings on campus.

Bardwell Street Field
July 1–29

More information 

Gesel Mason

GESEL MASON is a choreographer, performer, educator, and arts facilitator. She is Artistic Director for Gesel Mason Performance Projects and Associate Professor of Dance and Choreography at the University of Texas at Austin. Her company, Gesel Mason Performance Projects (GMPP), serves as a medium for her creative work. GMPP is a project based dance company that seeks to create meaningful, relevant, and compelling art events as a way to encourage compassion and inquiry. In her work, Mason utilizes dance, theater, humor, and storytelling to bring visibility to voices unheard, situations neglected, or perspectives considered taboo.

Yes, And is a collection of performance experiments that place an expanded vision of Black womanhood at the center of its creative process. The project invites us to inhabit inspired realities that reclaim the past, transform the present and dream new futures into being. The result is a work that is both: YES, an unapologetic celebration of Black sisterhood, AND, a complex investigation of issues that impact of Black women and our communities. 

Yes, And asks: “Who would you be and what would you do if, as a Black woman, you had nothing to worry about? What would you create and how might you be in community with Others?”

From July 22–29, 2023, Gesel Mason Performance Projects invites self-identified Black women (cisgender, transgender, and gender non-conforming) of all ages to investigate these questions through a series of workshops and activities. Together, with participants from the community, we will create a Yes, And performance event that reflects the stories and spirit of that community and connects to the project’s overall vision. Let’s build a world together! 

More information about how to participate here.

Photo by Josh Coe

Betsy Miller

Born and raised in rural Ohio, Betsy Miller is a dance artist, educator, and facilitator now based in Salem, Massachusetts. Her choreography blends improvisational practice, ritual, athleticism, and theatricality through collaborative practices. She has performed with Lostwax Multimedia Dance and Fusionworks, and has recently appeared in works by Kathleen Hermesdorf, Heidi Henderson, Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Audrey MacLean and Rachel Boggia, and in collaborations with Matthew Cumbie, Lida Winfield, and Shawn Hove. She has recently presented at the International Association for Dance Medicine Science (Helsinki, Finland), Dance Studies Association (Vancouver, Canada), National Dance Education Association (Miami, FL), and TEDxSalemStateUniversity. Miller was a 2017 Bates Dance Festival Emerging Artist, a 2016 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Choreography Fellow, and a 2019 Next Steps for Boston Dance Awardee. Currently serving as Associate Professor of Dance at Salem State University, Miller has been on faculty at Providence College, Connecticut College, Dean College, and AS220 (Providence, RI), and regularly teaches and performs as a guest artist throughout New England and beyond. She holds an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University and a BA in Dance from Connecticut College.

In the american / woman project, Betsy Miller is collaborating with women dance artists from every state in the US. The project explores, through a dancer’s lens, possibilities for what it means to be a woman in America today. It also endeavors to highlight the artistry of women dancers from across the country.

Work in progress showing of the american / woman project by Betsy Miller
The BDF Tent
Friday, June 30 at 7:30PM 

More information

Header image and studio work image with dancer Jennifer Deckert, by Sadie Whitehead