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MFA candidate Vonnie Quest’s project Edible Heirlooms supported by the Southern Foodways Alliance

January 29, 2021
Congratulations to MFA candidate Vonnie Quest, who recently received a commission through the Southern Foodways Alliance to work on his project Edible Heirlooms. You will find more details regarding the SFA 2021 Spring Symposium here-
For this project, Vonnie plans to use an experimental documentary approach, using found archival material, family photographs, and recordings of conversations with families to create a short video that explores how recipes are archived and shared within the Black community. He will be investigating intergenerational dialogue as a means for preserving recipes, family histories, and identities. Vonnie will trace the roots of contemporary American food to West African cooking styles and recipes by exploring the continued practice of Black cultural customs and traditions long after arriving at the shores of the New World. He will be filming his aunt Faye in Mobile, AL as she prepares a pot of Gumbo and discusses the history of the recipe and her plans to develop a recipe list for future generations.

MFA Alumna Joy Meyer interviewed in Voyage LA Magazine

January 8, 2021

joy tirade is the artist name of Joy Meyer. She holds an MFA from UNC, Chapel Hill. Previously, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University of Virginia with a BA in Studio + Art History. She has exhibited internationally in British Columbia, Norway, Lithuania, and South Korea. Nationally she has  shared work at The Mint Museum, The Ackland Museum, CAM, Masur Museum, the Carrack, LUMP, Fluorescent Gallery, Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Red Ink Studios, and LACDA. She lives and works in Oakland, California where she facilitates a community painting collective |

Studio update from MFA alum MJ Sharp, January 2021

January 4, 2021

Greetings! Along with best wishes for 2021, I wanted to send along a few quick updates.

1) The wonderful lecture by Michele Frederick about curating the Reflections on Light show on view now (and also virtually) at the North Carolina Museum of Art is available on the museum’s youtube channel. She gives a great behind-the-scenes look at how the museum came to produce this particular show but also how museums produce shows more generally.

2) The Studio Store is newly updated and at the moment is a bit of a memory lane of images. With few exceptions, these images have not been out in the world, and they are not part of any previous editioned set of prints. As I’ve been reorganizing the studio, my flat files have been yielding many different types of prints from a wide range of eras.  I’m enjoying rediscovering these prints as I prepare to convert my studio to a giant darkroom (some 5×7 and 8×10 black and white negatives I want to play with).  I’ll probably have another round of prints to list before everything goes dark for a while starting around January 18th, which not coincidentally, is when our spring semester begins at Duke 😀.

Again, best wishes for 2021—


MJ Sharp | | Reflections on Light: Works from the NCMA Collection

PhD Graduate Katherine Calvin receives Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award

December 14, 2020
Congratulations to Katherine Calvin, Ph.D. ’20, who has received the UNC-Chapel Hill Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in the area of Humanities and Fine Arts for her dissertation “Antiquity and Empire: The Construction of History in Western European Representations of the Ottoman Empire, 1650-1830.  
In addition, the Graduate School is nominating the dissertation as UNC’s candidate for the Council of Graduate Schools’ national distinguished dissertation award in the Humanities. We are very proud of Katherine’s many achievements, which also include starting a tenure-track position at Kenyon College, and are also grateful to her advisor, Christopher Johns of Vanderbilt University, who stepped in to supervise the dissertation after Mary Sheriff’s passing. 

BFA Alumna Ayla Gizlice exhibition at Anchorlight

December 14, 2020

Brightwork Series presents: Çukurova Plain by Ayla Gizlice

Thursday, November 5 – Sunday, December 20

Ayla Gizlice is a Turkish-American artist born in Raleigh. Çukurova Plain examines presentations of Osmaniye, her father’s hometown, in her own American one. The work serves as an introduction to this space apart from the tension that is electrified by current events and media portrayals. The space has been set aside as a respite from this tension, using humor and reflection to subvert the stereotypical American narrative of Middle Eastern life and landscape.

Viewing by appointment only.

MFA Candidate Krysta Sa receives 2020 CES research award

December 14, 2020

Congratulations to MFA candidate Krysta Sa, who has received The Center for European Studies 2021 Jean Monnet Center of Excellence EU Research Award for her project “Ancestral Soak: Sea Bathing in the European Union.”

Studio update from MFA alum MJ Sharp, November 2020

November 30, 2020

Greetings! I know it’s been a while. I’ve succumbed to the lure of updating folks via twitter and instagram (those tempting links are at the very bottom), but here is some recent news all in one place and only slightly longer than a short novella.

Firstly I’m tickled that Outside Amarillo is on view now as part of Reflections on Light at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  Through February 14th, 2021. The museum is allowing timed entry Wed-Sun with masks and distancing.  More information about visiting safely is on their website.

Reflections on Light: Works from the NCMA Collection: Featuring objects from 16 countries and spanning more than 2,500 years of art history, Reflections on Light: Works from the NCMA Collection celebrates the diverse collections of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Bringing together artworks from different cultures, continents, and histories, Reflections on Light showcases how artists from many eras—from ancient Guatemala to 20th-century Ghana—responded to, used, and revered light.

In other news, I’ve followed my good friend and potter Matt Hallyburton ( into the world of having an online studio store presence.  A picture I made recently that screamed, “Make me into a holiday card!” meant that I had to really hustle to get the store ready to go in time.  It’s turned out to be real pleasure to configure the store, and it’s been a great excuse to pull together some personal favorites.  Give it a look, and if you are thinking you might write holiday cards this year for the first time in a decade, well, nothing says the holidays like a big box lid full of cherry tomatoes in various stages of ripeness.

I’m also excited about the very latest work I’ve been up to—this summer and fall I’ve been shooting with a panoramic view camera as well as 4×5, 5×7, and 8×10 formats.  Some of that work is at the link below (and with any luck, it’s a little bit mobile-friendly).  I enjoyed a slice of one of the new photos (Tomato Proscenium) as my phone lock screen so much that I made an actual little image file that you’re welcome to right-click and download to use as your phone wallpaper. That’s the second link. Fair warning, I like to keep my phone screen really cleared off (as opposed to my frighteningly crowded office/studio in real life). If you’ve got a million icons on your phone screen, you may want to stick to your phone-supplied color or texture.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and restorative holiday season!

MJ Sharp | |

MJ on twitter

MJ on Instagram

New Essay from Associate Professor Dorothy Verkerk

November 3, 2020

Sometimes our Art History faculty get to do research on topics a little bit outside their usual specializations, and this can turn into an interesting and broader view of the field–one example is Medievalist Dorothy Verkerk’s recent essay for Religion and the Arts about a late 19th-century popular culture image of the Good Shepherd that became ubiquitous in protestant North America. You can read the full essay attached here: “The Quiet Affection in Their Eyes” Bernhard Plockhorst’s Jesus as the Good Shepherd

Studio Update from Alumna Joy Meyer

October 22, 2020

Hello Friend  

It has been a while since I have written to you but I am thrilled to announce today my new teaching project. I hope you will consider joining me on this new journey. 

New Course: Intuitive Painting

This is a contemporary watercolor course which allows you to paint when you have the time or energy. It is a go-at-your-own-pace, playful but relaxing, approach to painting. This will help you begin or loosen up existing practice. This is completely virtual and portable course.

This course has beginners in mind and the assignments require no previous drawing or painting skills. We will spend most of our time working in abstraction. This class is also perfect for those who have stopped painting but want to get back into the studio. 

  • Five Modules include: video lectures, demonstrations, material information, sketchbook prompts, activities, and imagination starters. 
  • You will finish this course with some work you can proudly share or hang on your wall. 
  • Learn helpful techniques to shift your mindset to become more gentle with your painter-self. 
  • We will cover topics such as: line, shape, texture, space, depth, and composition but in a new and fresh way that will not intimidate you. 
  • Instructor is available for office hours for feedback and you are invited to a monthly painting meeting to share your work. 

Enrollment will be very limited to ensure you get the attention you need on your journey. Pre-registration for course opens today! This course will become available as a complete set of the modules described above opens December 05, 2020. Introductory price of $149.00 gives you access to the course for one full year. 

Click the blue button below to pre-register. It will open a Google form. 

Click Here!

I have listened to your comments and designed the perfect signature course for stress free painting! 

Many of you have sent me questions by email, text, DM, and in the comments section of my videos I have been posting on instagram and youtube. I have used this data to build the perfect course for our current time. Using my combined experience teaching college and at a community art center, I address the main blocks to creativity in painting. I have also considered my own journey as a self-taught painter before I entered art school. 

Do any of these apply to you? 

Do you want to paint but don’t know where to start? 

Are you curious about abstraction but don’t know what “the  rules” are or how to apply them? 

Do you feel stuck or stressed out when you try to paint? 

Do you want to paint but need to feel more connected to others who are painting? Are you looking for more connection with your creativity? 

Are you a surface designer or a UX/UI designer who wants to learn to use more analog methods? Or maybe do you just a break from the screen? 

Have you been teaching yourself with workshops and YouTube but it feels disconnected? Do you need a curated collection of tutorials in an order that flows and makes sense? 
I have helped all of these types of people to loosen up and develop a painting practice. This method can fit into your busy life and infuse it with a new sense of creativity. Because of these successes my students have produced, I am confident I can help you with your painting goals or with finding a peaceful way to enjoy your paints you’ve been saving to use someday. 

Studio News: My Work is now on BOOOOOOOM! 

Booooooom! is Canada’s largest art blog. I am completely stoked that you can now see some of my work over on this incredible site. Check it out by clicking here: joy tirade profile


If you are new here or want to know more about my story here is a brief introduction. 

My name is Joy and I use the artist name joy tirade which is an old riot grrrl, punk name someone gave me in the 1990s. I have a bunch of new friends on here so I thought I’d introduce myself. 

My first major introduction to Fine Art was in Houston. It was the year 2001 and I was visiting a friend’s family for the holidays. I went to Museum of Fine Arts and encountered the James Turrell piece called, The Light Inside. This is a light installation in a narrow passageway between two galleries at the Houston Museum of Fine Art. I stood inside the installation for ages, and watched the light ebb from magenta, to violet, to blue.

This magical light pulsed and fell into tempo with my heartbeat and my breath. I became obsessed with art after that moment. It was like falling in love for the first time. I taught myself to paint that year. I had friends that were in art school so I spent a lot of time with them listening to them discussing technique and theory. We had art nights at my big house in Boulder and all of us made work of some kind. I wouldn’t enter art school for a few more years. Eventually, I left San Francisco to attend school in Virginia and completed a degree in Art and Art History from University of Virginia. I am the first in my family to graduate and I was granted entrance into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. My grandmother flew up by herself to watch me walk the lawn.  After a few years I went on to get an MFA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After this I taught Studio Art Courses in a few colleges on the east coast for a several years before relocating my studio to Oakland, California. 

My practice combines painting, experimental video, intermedia, writing, and zine making. In all of my work I am asking questions which explore the qualities and properties of human longing and love. My work also contains a lot of research into phenomenology (the study of the nature of being), technology, and feminism. More at

It is very nice to meet you. 

Congratulations on making it to the end of this newsletter! 

Until we meet again remember to keep your heart open and a brush in your hand. 

joy tirade