Newport Art Museum has announced an exciting roster of artists for its Artists-in-Residence program AiR/Newport. 

Selected from a very competitive pool of nearly 70 applicants, three artists were chosen for the diversity of ideas, media, and engagement opportunities they will bring to Newport. 

In April, Connecticut-based textile artist Emma Welty will be on site. Welty’s artistic practice incorporates weaving, mending, and the Armenian needle lace-making techniques of her grandmother.

For June, Heather McMordie’s environmentally-based print, textile, and zine work will encourage local exploration and contemplation of threatened flora and fauna and the region’s fragile coastal salt marshes.

During her October residence, digital installation artist Fernanda D’Agostino will visit the east coast from Portland, Oregon to collaborate with local dancers to create a projection-mapping installation.

Newport Art Museum Chief Curator, Dr. Francine Weiss, states that “the artist residency initiative is designed to encourage the creative, intellectual and personal growth of emerging to established visual artists and designers” she says, “by giving them the time, space and solitude needed to create, apart from the daily demands of production and deadlines.”

Each resident artist will be on-site at the Museum for one month, living in the Museum’s studio apartment and working in a dedicated studio space at the Museum School. 

According to Cristin Searles Bilodeau, Director of Community Engagement at the Newport Art Museum, “A key component of the residency is to connect working artists with Newport community members, and facilitate demonstrations and hands-on art activities during the Museum’s new “FREE for ALL Saturday” events taking place on April 29, June 24, and October 28, 2023.” 

Each artist will also offer a variety of opportunities to engage with the public through open-studio hours, workshops, artists’ talks, and/or activations of their work. AiR/Newport supports the Museum’s mission by expanding opportunities for artists and increasing the public’s access to new, creative, and thought-provoking work. 

The Museum is grateful to The West Bay View Foundation, Cynthia Sinclair, EJMP Fund for Philanthropy, The Sand Foundation, Roseanne Williams, and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Cultural Facilities grant for their critical support of this program. 

About the Artists

EMMA WELTY. Connecticut-based artist Emma Welty is a textile artist who incorporates weaving, mending, and Armenian needle lace-making. Artist, educator, curator, and writer, Emma Welty currently resides and works in her Connecticut studio where she is a weaver and researcher, interrogating her relationship to the loom through craft legacies, inherited muscle memory, and the links between textiles and language. She completed her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Fibers and Art History and her MFA in Visual Arts and MA in Art History at Purchase College, SUNY.

HEATHER McMORDIE is an artist, educator, and curator based in Providence, RI. Her work explores the complexities of soil science and environmental restoration through prints, puzzles, artist books, and interactive installations. She is especially interested in how experiences with art objects can mirror field research experiences and create opportunities for tacit learning. Recent projects have been developed through field explorations and collaborations in Guyana, South Africa, and the US. Her work is in the collection of the Georgia Museum of Art and has been exhibited in galleries and museums nationally, including the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Newport Art Museum, RISD Museum, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and Woodmere Art Museum. Heather received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and her BFA from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at Brown University, a Critic at RISD, and the Arts Curator for Creature Conserve. When not in the studio, Heather is likely biking to one of Rhode Island’s many salt marshes.

FERNANDA D’AGOSTINO is a public art and new media installation artist based in Portland, OR. D’Agostino has exhibited nationally and internationally with video installations, large-scale public art projects, and performances. Her work has been featured in numerous new media festivals, and exhibitions, and she strives to share what she has learned with others. In 2018 at the invitation of Curator Justin Hoover, she produced large-scale outdoor projection mapping works in San Francisco for the Untitled Art Fair and in Hong Kong in conjunction with Art Basil Hong Kong.

Her Borderline series of installations was exhibited in 2018-19 at 1A Space Hong Kong, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Open Signal, and Portland Art Museum. (all Portland, OR.) Her work has most recently been featured as part of Venice VR Expanded-a division of the Venice Film Festival and Venice Biennale. Her work is in the collections of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the New York Public Library, and the Cyland Media Archive in St Petersburg, Russia. D’Agostino’s work has been recognized by the Flintridge Foundation, Bonnie Bronson Fellowship, Andy Warhol Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Ford Family Foundation, 4Culture TechSpecific Award, Sacks Foundation of the University of Pennsylvania, Americans for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and with the Oregon Arts Commission Artist Fellowship. D’Agostino is co-founder and co-director with Sarah Turner of Mobile Projection Unit and is a member of the IN/body performance collective in Portland, and Collective Action Studio, San Francisco. D’Agostino works between sculpture, installation, creative coding, and video mapping on several programming platforms. The connecting thread in all her work is creating an immersive, interactive environment that places viewers within the work.

About the Artist-in-Residency Program (AiR/Newport)
The Newport artist residency, AiR/Newport is designed to encourage the creative, intellectual, and personal growth of emerging to established visual artists and designers by giving them the time, space, and solitude needed to create, apart from the daily demands of production and deadlines. The hope is that some aspect of Newport County’s architecture, flora, history, or oceanfront geography will result in resident artists further developing their current practice or the creation of new work. Each visiting artist will participate in engaging the community through open-studio hours, leading a workshop, or sharing their practice through artists’ talks or activations of their work. During each month-long residency in April, June, and October of 2023 there will be a “FREE for ALL Saturday” where the public will be invited free of charge to learn and enjoy a variety of art-related activities and meet AiR artists.

About the Newport Art Museum
The Newport Art Museum was founded in 1912 on the belief that arts and culture have the power to bring diverse groups of individuals together, which ultimately promotes civic engagement and strengthens the social fabric of our communities. This core belief continues to guide the Museum’s direction today. The mission is to share a diversity of art and experiences that spark reflection, inspiration, discovery, and connection within our Newport community and beyond.

Located on three acres along Bellevue Avenue, the Museum’s galleries are housed in two historically significant buildings: the John N.A. Griswold House (completed in 1864, by architect Richard Morris Hunt) and the Cushing Memorial Gallery (completed in 1920, by Delano & Aldrich Architects). The galleries showcase over 600 contemporary regional, national, and international artists annually.

Art classes for all ages and experience levels are held in the Museum’s School studios. Teaching artists provide art education through robust community outreach initiatives.

Dynamic public programs connect the exhibition content with the community.

Newport Art Museum is a private 501(c)(3) charitable arts and education organization. For additional information visit or call 401-848-8200.

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