Positive Space was FATE's bi-monthly podcast providing opportunities for those passionate about art foundations to discuss and promote excellence in the development and teaching of college level foundations in art & design studio and history classes.

Positive Space's host was Valerie Hanks. Podcasts were engineered and edited by Raymond Gaddy.

Episode 38
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[ 1.16.19 ] FATE’s President, Valerie Hanks led a workshop at the annual conference of the Mid-America College Art Association (MACAA), back in October of 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Participants were asked to consider authenticity and were reminded of the risky and uncomfortable setting classrooms carry for students. Workshop participants were then challenged to embrace risk by physically leaving the comforts of the workshop space and put themselves in an uncomfortable situation then report back to the group. The following recording is a selection of participants sharing these experiences and reflecting on how this exercise in discomfort could impact their thoughts about power, control and empathy in the classroom. 

Episode 37

[ 10.24.18 ] How can we encourage students to be comfortable in the uncomfortableness of the creative process? How can we stay energized in a field where burn out is very common? We unpack these questions and many more with Professor of Art & Coordinator of Graduate Studies at Bowling Green State University, Michael Arrigo while attending the Mid America College Art Conference [MACAA] in Nebraska, earlier this month. 

Michael Arrigo is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Toledo, Ohio. He received his M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from the Ohio State University and has been included in many national juried and invitational exhibitions.  He has received painting awards from The Columbus Museum of Art, The Maser Museum of Art and The Toledo Museum of Art.  Recent sound and video projects have been included in PEACEMAKING at Galerie Kerstan in Stuttgart and the EchoFluxx festival in Prague.  Exhibitions include Crumbs Gather in the Folds at the Mariani Gallery in Greeley CO and Interface with Jake Rowland at the Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery in Miami. Arrigo is currently Professor of Art and Coordinator of Graduate Studies at Bowling Green State University, and for the last 8 years has served as a National AP Studio Art Reviewer. Arrigo has taught painting at Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy and served for two years as the director of Young Artists at Work, a nationally recognized arts outreach program for young adults. 

Episode 36
Libby McFalls

[ 10.10.18 ] Positive Space talks with Libby McFalls, Professor of Art and Foundations Coordinator at Columbus State University. She discusses how to change a foundations curriculum by asking "What are we good at?" how to balance life, art and teaching and her role on the board of Integrative Teaching International. 

Elizabeth McFalls (Libby) is a Professor of Art and the Department of Art’s Art Foundation Coordinator at Columbus State University. She received her MFA in Print Media from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI) and earned her BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design (OH). Libby’s love of storytelling began in childhood. Having been raised in East Tennessee, she attended the National Storytelling Festival on numerous occasions. She recalls summers spent developing a love and appreciation for oral storytelling; she and her sisters were fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time with extended family that spread five living generations. While her work does not make direct reference to her family history, she creates nonlinear visual narratives that examine issues of loss and family. Her work explores moments that blur the line between fact and fiction, life and death, humor and sorrow, moments that demonstrate the contradiction and complexity of life. At the moment she is busy, in the studio, completing a one-year Artist Residency in Motherhood (ARIM). Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions nationally, including the Athica Athens Institute, Jaffe and Friede Gallery, Hopkins Center, and the Cade Center for Fine Arts. Recently she has presented in sessions at SECAC, the Southern Studies Conference, and FATE. Additionally, she serves as the VP of Programming for Integrated Teaching International.

Episode 35

[ 9.26.18 ] Positive Space talks with Guen Montgomery MACAA representative for the FATE Board of Directors. She discusses the changing curriculum at the University Illinois Urbana-Champaign and turns the table on host Valerie Powell

Guen Montgomery is a multidisciplinary artist whose work investigates identity through studies of gender, regional narrative and family mythology. Guen received her BFA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Currently Guen lives in Urbana, IL, where she teaches art foundations and printmaking at The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

Episode 34

[ 9.12.18 ] We are back from Summer break with Season Three of Positive Space & marinating on some crucial questions: What is the role of Foundations? What does a Foundations Coordinator actually do? How does the First Year Experience impact upper level art education? We discuss these questions and many many more with Assistant Professor and Foundations Coordinator at the University of Mississippi, Joshua Brinlee.

Joshua Brinlee received his MFA in Studio Art form Memphis College of Art. He was born in Morgan City, Louisiana and grew up in Franklin, Tennessee. Currently, he lives in Memphis, Tennessee and holds the position of Assistant Professor Foundations Coordinator in the Art and Art History Department at the University of Mississippi. He considers himself a multidisciplinary artist and has a deep passion for teaching foundations. Through a variety of media, Brinlee examines and challenges the societal constructs that inform and define culture, gender, and identity.

Episode 33

[ 6.27.18 ] Positive Space sits down with Anthony Watkins, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Sam Houston State University. Watkins discusses foundations effect on Graphic Design, teaching professionalism in his field and inspirations for students.

Anthony Watkins has been recognized by Graphic Design USA, HOW magazine, AIGA, Time magazine online, and numerous other organizations for his work in Graphic Design. He received awards from American Graphic Design and the University & College Designers Association for his work in logo and identity design.

Episode 32

[ 6.13.18 ] Positive Space speaks with Michael Marks, Associate Professor of Art and Foundations Program Coordinator at the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University. Michael discusses the foundations program at Anderson University and the release of FATE in Review.

Michael Marks received his BA from Georgia College and State University and MFA from Clemson University. He grew up in rural Georgia, acquiring his first set of oil paints from his grandmother and building his first AM radio with his father. He has lived most of his artistic life between those two experiences. 

Marks was a co-founder and exhibitions director of the ThreeCitiesGroup, an artist collective active for nearly a decade across the Southeast. Working across a range of materials and techniques, his creative work has been shown nationally and internationally in over seventy-five exhibitions. He has received several awards and distinctions; including a grant from Vasari Paints, NY; fellowship from Wildacres Foundation, NC; and honors from the SC Art Commission. His writings on contemporary art and education have been published by Temporary Art Review and the Paris College of Art Press. He serves on the board of FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) as editor ofFATE In Review, an academic journal focused on foundations education and visual culture. Marks is an Associate Professor of Art and Foundations Program Coordinator at the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University.

Episode 31

[ 5.23.18 ] In this episode Positive Space speaks with Jesse Payne, Head of the Drawing Studio and Assistant Professor in the Art & Design Foundations Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, based in Doha, Qatar. Mr. Payne discusses the opportunities created teaching at an international university.

Jesse Payne currently serves as the Head of the Drawing Studio and Assistant Professor in the Art & Design Foundations Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, based in Doha, Qatar. Dedicated to employing a rigorous craft when amplifying his creative interests and working with a variety of mediums, Payne’s work is a reflection of self-investigation and influenced by the environment, people, and experiences he encounters in his day-to-day life.

Episode 30

[ 5.09.18 ] We discuss creative detours, the mystery of art, becoming comfortable in your own skin as well as the habit/repetition & true courage it takes to make things, with artist & educator, Gary Setzer, Associate Professor, Division Chair of the First Year Experience at the University of Arizona. While exploring the question many educators are asking “Is (should) Foundations be the same for everyone?”, Gary outlines the heart behind the thematic “salad bar” design to his foundations curriculum, which gives students agency, while balancing both craft & content. Each eight week module explores material possibilities while welcoming the value of individual student voices, with this DIY approach to Foundations. 

Gary Setzer’s transdisciplinary practice incorporates performance art, video art, sound, and installation. Enlisting familiar landmarks like the body, the landscape, minimalism, and humor as entry points, Setzer lures his audience into his conceptual framework—a theoretical space centered on our compulsory entanglements with language.

Setzer received his MFA from Ohio University and his BFA from The University of Akron. His works have been included in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. He has performed, exhibited, and screened work in venues such as the Arsenale in Venice, The Wexner Center for the Arts, the Today Art Museum in Beijing, Tribeca Film Center, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, Mobile Museum of Art, Boston Center for the Arts, Tucson Museum of Art, and the Cincinnati Art Museum. Setzer will be awarded the New Face Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival this summer, where his work will be on view at the National Art Center, Tokyo. From 2010 until 2015, Setzer was awarded the Louise Foucar Marshall Professorship. This five-year endowed chair position recognized Setzer’s contributions to the field and was funded by the Marshall Foundation. He currently lives and works in Tucson where he is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Arizona.

Episode 29

[ 4.25.18 ] Experimentation is something everyone talks about, but rarely are practical examples of how to actually implement experimentation within our creative studios/classroom spaces deeply examined.  Lily Kuonen, Associate Professor & Foundations Coordinator at Jacksonville University, discusses her artwork which she describes as PLAYNTINGS (play + paintings) and how the element of playful experimentation has become a crucial aspect of her teaching pedagogy. Lily reflects on projects that encourage play, observation & curiosity while unpacking how leaderships roles in Integrative Teaching International (ITI), FATE and SECAC have informed her overall perspective.

Lily Kuonen holds an MFA in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design and a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in painting from University of Central Arkansas. Currently, at Jacksonville University in Florida, Kuonen is Foundations Coordinator and Associate Professor of Art. Solo exhibitions of her work include; Atelier Un, Lacoste, France; Capitol One, Chicago, IL; Overbrook Gallery, Muskegon, MI; McMaster Gallery, University of South Carolina; Pearl River Gallery, Jackson, Mississippi; Crisp-Ellert Art Museum at Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL; Bogard Storefront, Charleston, SC; Fahm Gallery, Savannah, GA; and Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, AR. Her work has been exhibited in numerous national and international group exhibitions. She was FATE's SECAC Representative from 2015-17. For Integrative Teaching International (ITI) board she has been serving in progressive roles of leadership as Associate VP of Programming, as Vice President of ITI, and now as President of ITI. She has received grants including; an Art Ventures: Individual Artist Grant from The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida; Faculty Development and Research Grants from Jacksonville University; an Emerging Educator Fellowship from ITI; an Artist and Work Exchange Grant from the Vermont Studio Center; and a Target Professional Development Grant. She has participated in numerous residencies (including an international residency in Lacoste, France), produced workshops, lectures, and engaged programming. Kuonen also regularly contributes exhibition reviews and interviews for regional publications including BURNAWAY Magazine in Atlanta, GA. In Jacksonville, she owns and operates Clay & Canvas Studio.

Episode 28

[ 4.11.18 ] This episode was recorded live at the FATE panel at the 106th Annual College Art Association Conference held in Los Angeles. The FATE panel was moderated by Naomi Falk, the FATE CAA Representative

Episode 27

[ 3.28.18 ] A very honest conversation with David Janssen Jr., MFA Candidate at The University of Idaho. We unpack the privilege of being an educator, millennial haters & the urgent need to avoid becoming lazy by staying  passionate about all aspects of being an academic. As a current graduate student, David offers a uniquely fresh perspective about classroom dynamics, with a focus on self reflection and empathy.

David Janssen, Jr. is an artist, designer and educator. He is a current 3 rd year MFA candidate at the University of Idaho who is graduating in May 2018. He is teaching both foundation level courses in drawing and design, as well as introduction level courses in
graphic design and typography. David was a FATE Shout-Out Award Nominee in 2017 and presented on the panel “Should Paneling: Mounting Groovy Presentations” panel during FATE’s Biennial Conference in Kansas City, MO. David earned his BFA in Drawing and Painting from Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan.

David has exhibited work nationally for the past several years and has continued to carve his path and sharpen his attention to collage, painting, sculpture and installation. Janssen has accepted his role in the generation of artists pushing forward concept and material collisions. Cultivating experiences from his life, much of David's work critiques and comments on masculinity and recently, his text based
work explores the power of words and the residual effects they have on memory and relationships.

Episode 26

[ 3.14.18 ] Rethinking creativity & being truly open to opportunities - even if they are unfamiliar & across the globe - marks only the beginning of our thoughtful chat with artist & educator Chris Kienke, Chair of the Foundations Curriculum at the School of Art & Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Chris outlines how his evolving artistic practice has been informed by places/spaces while teaching abroad in the middle east. In addition, we discuss the state of foundations, advise for emerging educators & the navigating the politics of higher education.

Chris Kienke is a visual artist who works with painting, installation and photography. His current project utilizes iconic visual images of Americana. Ideas about patriotism, citizenship and freedom – are represented through these images, which are themselves reflective of class, race, and gender. They shape our beliefs about what American values are and who gets to share in those values.  Kienke’s work has been exhibited in over 70 shows including recent solo exhibitions at Fuchs Projects in Brooklyn, NY (2016) Amos Eno Gallery in Brooklyn (2016), the University of Kentucky (2016), the Art Center at the National Central University in Taiwan (2015) and the University of Wisconsin in Osh Kosh (2014). Chris exhibited in the Governors Island Art Fair (2017), Rockford Midwestern Biennial (2014) the 1st Brussels Biennial in 2009 and the Sharjah Biennial in the U.A.E. (2005) His work was included in New American Paintings in September 2009. Kienke has been a fellow at Hospitalfield House in Scotland in 1998-1999 and at the Vermont Studio Center in 2003 and 2007.  His work is in the permanent collections ABN Amro Bank in Dubai, Savannah College of Art and Design, Sharjah Art Museum (UAE) and the United Kingdom National Collection, NY.

In 2015 Chris was awarded the FATE Emerging Educators Award for teaching. Chris Kienke received his MFA from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale in 2000 and his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1994. Chris is on the faculty of the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Episode 25

[ 2.28.18 ] Artist, educator & Gallery Director, Shannon Rae Lindsey, reflects on her evolving art practice & how a curiosity of material possibilities has informed her approach to foundations curriculum. In our conversation, Shannon shares practical strategies for encouraging experimentation in the studio classroom, and her passion for the role interdisciplinary collaboration plays within academic gallery spaces. 

Shannon Rae Lindsey received her MFA in Studio Art from the University of South Carolina and her BFA in Fine Arts from the University of South Florida. She has participated in exhibitions throughout the South East as an interdisciplinary artist who explores drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation with unconventional art materials and processes. Her work embodies order and disorder to manifest her understanding of entropy. Lindsey currently resides in Orlando, Florida and works as the UCF Art Gallery Director at the University of Central Florida and teaches Two-Dimensional Design courses. 

Episode 24

[ 2.14.18 ] A dynamic conversation with artist & educator Susan Altman. We discuss how she has seen education change in her over thirty years of experience in the classroom, projects she is excited about, and the benefits of working at a community college.


Susan Altman is an artist and educator living in New York City. She is an Associate Professor and Assistant Chairperson in the Visual, Performing and Media Arts Department at Middlesex County College where she has taught foundations for over 30 years. She has an active studio practice in drawing and printmaking, and her work has been shown nationally and internationally. She received her BFA in Printmaking from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and her MFA in Printmaking from the Tyler School of Art. Her work can be found in numerous public and private collections including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Brooklyn Museum and the Library of Congress.

In addition to her studio practice, Altman’s research interests are in the pedagogy of teaching studio art. She is especially interested in teaching at the community college, and is president of the Community College Professors of Art and Art History, an affiliate society of CAA.  Her research and her passion for teaching is enthusiastically shared with her colleagues and presented at national and international conferences including the College Art Association, FATE - Foundations in Art Theory and Education and The Lilly Conference for Brain Based Teaching and Learning. 

Episode 23

[ 1.24.18 ] Awakening students to their passion, while bringing the fullness & honesty of his experiences into the studio classroom, Brian Hitselberger, Assistant Professor in Painting & Printmaking at Piedmont College, reflects on his habits as an artist & his values as an educator. We discuss virtuosity, vulnerability, the value of guest critics & how having conversations with students about tattoos can act as a gateway to discussing symbolic representation. In addition, Brian presents thoughtful & sincere personal reflections on his role as a parent & the reality of being a gay man living in the South. 


Brian Hitselberger is an artist living and working in Athens, GA. His installations, paintings and works on paper explore a variety of themes that shift between subjects and perspectives alternately intimate and immense – occasionally within the same piece. Often working in series, his modestly-scaled paintings and drawings employ detailed mark-making, dense layering and unexpected relationships between form, content and material, yielding works that that strive for optimism without simplicity, and privilege wonder over resolution. His references are wide-ranging, a reflection of the reach of his interests: Caspar David Friedrich, Tantra painting, medieval star charts and Japanese textiles are all referenced, as well as the writing of Annie Dillard, Italo Calvino, and Gaston Bachelard. His work has most recently been exhibited at ATHICA in Athens, GA, Dalton Gallery of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, Barbara Archer Gallery in Atlanta, GA, the Contemporary in Atlanta, GA, and Cabinet in Brooklyn, NY. Recent visiting artist engagements include the art departments of The University of Georgia, The University of North Georgia, and the University of the South.

He has held residencies at the Elsewhere Artists Collaborative, the HUB-BUB Arts Initiative, and the Hambidge Center for the Arts. He has received funding for his work from the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Willson Center for the Humanities, and the Andy Warhol Foundation. He received a BFA in Printmaking from Tulane University in 2005, and MFA in Painting from the University of Georgia in 2010. He has taught studio courses in a variety of settings for the past decade, and is currently Assistant Professor of Painting and Printmaking in the Art Department of Piedmont College

Episode 22

[ 1.10.18 ] A dynamic conversation with artist & educator, Meredith Starr, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts, The State University of New York (SUNY) Suffolk County Community College. We discuss her recent FATE regional event, staying observant, as well as her upcoming paper presentation at CAA in February. She shares a recent informal experiment she conducted with her Fall 2017 Drawing 1 sections. One section focused on the quality of their drawings-producing fewer drawings while spending more time on each drawing. The other section focused on producing a large quantity of quicker drawings during the semester. It will be challenging to avoid being inspired by Meredith’s enthusiasm, while she offers many tips & poses thoughtful questions about how creativity informs our daily lives as artists & educators. 


Meredith Starr’s art over the past decade has centered around large-scale projects that merge the corporeal with the emotional and psychological parts of human experience. She uses a multitude of media that incorporates an accumulation of marks to explore such themes as desire and memory. Through her site specific installations she hopes the audience will feel engulfed by the art and by their emotion, and will have become a central figure to the artwork itself. 

Meredith Starr lives in New York with her family.  Her artwork has been featured in galleries in East Hampton, Brooklyn, Hong Kong, and the Hague. Recently, her series Repeat Pattern was featured at the SAL Gallery at Long Island University.  Also in the fall of 2017, she gave an artist talk and a co-presentation about teaching creativity with Sarah Kain Gutowski at the SECAC Conference. She is a full time Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at SUNY Suffolk County Community College where she teaches Foundation courses including Drawing and 2D Design.