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Four Grinnellians Awarded Grin City summer residency

Hannah Kelley’s “Help Eve Spank Adam’s Ass as They Walk Out of Eden.” Her work at Grin City during her residency this summer will be in the same style. Photo contributed

Mira Braneck, Copy Editor

Four Grinnellians have been awarded residencies for this summer at the Grin City Collective. The four residents, Nadiri Saunders ’17, Hazel Batrezchavez ’17, Hannah Kelley ’16 and Ella Williams ’19 will each spend three weeks making art at the collective.

Molly Rideout ’10, the co-director of Grin City, sees the residency as especially beneficial to college students.

“One experience that we feel is important if you are just straight out of college or still in college is the experience of developing a studio practice independent of classroom obligations,” Rideout wrote in an email to the S&B. “In the real world, there are no teachers grading you and oftentimes no deadlines. It’s up to you to self-direct your work but also learn how your work fits into the larger world. We have found that our emerging artists benefit greatly from conversations with mid-career artists who are also in residence.”

Each resident had to fill out an application, which included a project proposal and a sample of their work.

“They tell us why they are applying to the residency, and we’re interested in hearing specifics about Grin City not just the usual response of wanting ‘time and space’ to work on the project,” Rideout wrote. “Sometimes Grinnell students have an advantage because we look for genuine interest in connecting with the local community. That being said, we have also had past Grinnell College student applicants who have clearly not been interested in connecting with Grinnell as a town, and those applicants have been less successful.”

Each resident will spend the time working on a specific project. The four Grinnellians are working on a wide range of projects in various media. For her time during the residency, Saunders wants to pursue film and audio.

“The project that I proposed doing for the residency is something where I record people talking about their dreams. I want to pair that audio with footage of the prairie,” Saunders said. “I want to show the dreamlike qualities of the prairie.”

Saunders wants to go to graduate school to study documentary media and sees her time at Grin City as a good opportunity to gain more hands-on experience.

“Being at Grinnell, there aren’t many opportunities to do anything in production,” Saunders said. “The residency is a good opportunity to be in a space where people will support me in that.”

Batrezchavez is hoping to tie the work she produces during the residency in with the MAP she will work on with Professor Jeremy Chen, Art, ths summer. Her MAP revolves around public presentational strategies.

“Lately I’ve been interested in the intersection between sculpture and printmaking and how these two mediums can work together,” Batrezchavez wrote in an email to the S&B. “Hopefully this summer I will be making some prints and some metal sculptures that speak to issues that I feel are very important, such as police brutality.”

Kelley plans to experiment more with sculpture, a form she has only been working with since last semester. She makes small wooden people that move, which she calls “twistables.”

“I’m going to make this big wooden sheet of people that move so it’s interactive. You go up and move their limbs,” Kelley said. “It’s either going to be a whole crowd of people, like you would see in a city … or it’s going to be an orgy. I haven’t decided.”

Williams is both a visual artist and a musician, and plans to use the residency to work in both media.

In her visual art, Williams uses methods such as assemblage and three-dimensional collage. “I’ve been mostly making art lately about how physical objects, like cultural products, are inherently gendered,” Williams said.

She hopes to continue this theme at the residency, as well as work on abstract oil painting.

“I think I’m going to use [the time] less to work on specific skills and more to just play conceptually,” Williams said.

Williams is also a musician, stage name Squirrel Flower, and will be recording her second album this summer before the residency starts.

“I’m going to work on refining a lot of songs I have, writing new songs, writing arrangements,” Williams said.

She is currently working with producers in New York City to record and finish the album and then plans to send it to different labels.

While she ultimately hopes to go into touring and recording full-time someday, Williams sees her musical work, her visual artwork and her feminist education as intertwined, inter-influencing and equally important. The S&B’s Editor-in-Chief Kelly Pyzik got the chance to sit down with Williams last week and talk more about her artistry. This interview is available in podcast form online at

Hannah Kelley’s “Help Eve Spank Adam’s Ass as They Walk Out of Eden.” Her work at Grin City during her residency this summer will be in the same style. Photo contributed
Hannah Kelley’s “Help Eve Spank Adam’s Ass as They Walk Out of Eden.” Her work at Grin City during her residency this summer will be in the same style. Photo contributed
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