Bess McCrary

Bess McCrary hails from Charlotte, North Carolina and was a performer from her first words, crafting stories and fibs so magnificent that her mother had no choice but to enroll her in acting classes as a toddler. Born into a musical family and bitten by the stage bug at age four, Bess acted professionally until she was ten, and began composing her own songs when she was 13. Bess was still writing songs while she studied Musical Theatre at Catawba College—her work as raw and sincere as it was bold and complex. After two years, Bess was eager to test the limits of her instrument and become a better musician, so she transferred to The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. There she trained classically as a mezzo-soprano and took to her training so well that she was cast by Piedmont Opera Theatre, becoming a professional singer before she graduated, in a genre she had only begun studying two years prior. During this time she perfected a voice powerful enough to fill an auditorium and yet persuasive enough to feel like she was sharing an intimate secret with each member of the audience. Also, it was here that swing and jazz first made an appearance in Ms. McCrary’s musical history and left indelible impressions on her compositional style. Bess’s earliest musical influences include Maria Muldaur, Betty Everett and Miss Piggy. A young Bess played (and replayed) Muldaur and Everett’s records, belting them out with her mother and even memorizing the skips from the vinyl. Over time, a teenaged angst-filled Bess found Tori Amos and her haunting, quirky sound as a touchstone for her own experimentations with confession and discordance. The great female jazz vocalists, specifically Nina and Ella, still resonate with Bess on a daily basis as does the work and lifestyle of American modernist composer, Charles Ives.

At the age of 24, it was time to turn all this study into a life, and it was time to leave the South behind. Bess moved to New York City to pursue her passion for singing jazz and swing. Her first years in New York found Bess gigging regularly with her band, The Drinks Are Cheap, as well as a popular swing band. Her early professional years were challenging personally, as her mother, Happy McCrary, lost her extraordinary life in 2008 after a long battle with four different diagnoses of cancer. Bess’s first commercially released studio album of original songs, “for Happy,” is dedicated to her mother, who was her best friend. During post-production on “for Happy,” Bess McCrary received a jarring cancer diagnosis herself that threatened her ability to ever sing again. Bess tackled her treatment and the uncertainties that followed as any born performer would: she sang on, sometimes with no words, sometimes while cursing the sky, but always from her heart. Bess sings today in her new voice, one that while changed, is still potent, striking, and sublime. Bess knows that these heart-wrenching and head-wracking experiences have left her all the more ready to make her music and her mark. Her voice and art are the better for walking this ragged, yet rich road. Her songs don’t ask questions of the listener: they demand answers. Bess McCrary is back. Bess resumed performing in the winter of 2013, and will be recording her next studio album of original songs in May 2014. As for the songs, Bess channels the immortal Miss Piggy: “Express your feelings all the time unless you’re trying to hide something.”

Erika Adams

Erika Adams, born in Seattle, Washington, is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in printmaking. She earned a BA in both Art and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an MFA from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and studied at the Tamarind Institute where she became a Master Printer. Looking to ideas of interdependence, natural systems and language, Erika Adams’ studio practice draws connections between phenomena, experience and meaning.  The images and installations she creates contain a sense of experimentation and are inspired by the natural world, insect swarms, flocks of birds, wrestlers and poetry. Her work has been shown at numerous national and international exhibitions. She was an artist in residence at the Hall Farm Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Frans Masereel Center in Belgium, Penland School of Crafts and Djerassi. She currently teaches at Concordia University in Montreal.

Sally Bradley

Sally Bradley is a native of Columbus, GA.  She received her BA in painting from Wake Forest University and a Masters of Art Education from the University of Georgia.   She pursued postgraduate studies in painting at the Art Student’s League of New York and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.  She has lived in Columbus, GA, New York, NY and Melbourne, Australia.  She is currently completing a Masters of Fine Art in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design.  She currently teaches and resides in Columbus, GA.

 The landscape of the Chattahoochee Valley features prominently in her current body of work.  She continues to explore ideas of memory and experience through exploration of landscape and figure.  

René Treviño

René Treviño was born in Kingsville, Texas.  He received his BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 2003 and his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2005.

He has shown at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, CT; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Goliath Visual Space in Brooklyn, NY; White Box in New York; the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art; the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, VA; the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA; and Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA.  He was also included in the 2007 WPA/Corcoran OPTIONS Biennial in Washington DC and was awarded a 2009 Baltimore Creative Fund Individual Artist Grant and won the 2009 Trawick Prize. 

His work has been featured in Art Papers, New American Painters, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore City Paper, Philadelphia Enquirer, Washington Blade, Washington Post as well as several online publications.

Treviño currently resides in Baltimore, MD and teaches at MICA and at Towson University; he is represented by the C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore, MD and Erin Cluley Gallery in Dallas, TX.

Adam Koch

Over the past 15 years Adam’s 100+ scenic designs for theater and opera have been seen in New York City and across the country.  As a creative director and show doctor Adam has overseen and shaped numerous theatrical and nightlife events.

A 2015 Helen Hayes nominee for Outstanding Set Design (1st Stage Theatre’s ‘Bat Boy’), and a 2009 Helen Hayes nominee for Outstanding Set Design (Signature Theatre’s 'Kiss of the Spiderwoman’). Adam is the recipient of both the USITT Oren Parker Award for Excellence in Scene Design, and the 2007 Kennedy Center Design Fellowship.

Theater credits include productions at Ford’s Theatre, Signature Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Syracuse Stage, Portland Stage, Ogunquit Playhouse, TheaterWorks USA, Casa Mañana, Bristol Riverside Theatre, The Human Race Theatre Company, 1st Stage, The Engeman Theatre, Playhouse on the Square, Algonquin Arts Theatre, MetroStage, Vital Theatre Co., as well as commercial productions at The Goodman Theatre, Apollo Theater, New World Stages and Theatre Row in NYC.

Adam is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the Andrew Carnegie Society. Mr. Koch is a credited contributor to the widely used collegiate textbook ‘Scene Design and Stage Lighting’ by R. Craig Wolf & Dick Block (Wadsworth 2009 – 2014). Member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829

Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore was born 1957 in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. He is best known for his richly colored images of architectural and urban scenes particularly in Cuba, Russia, and Detroit. He teaches in the Photography M.F.A. program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His work is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Israel Museum, the High Museum, the Eastman House and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Moore has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The New York State Council on the Arts, and several private foundations.

Throughout Andrew Moore’s 35-year photographic career, he has positioned himself at the forefront of contemporary photography, capturing places of historical significance in all of their beauty and squalor. His work in Cuba, Russia, and post-recession Detroit has garnered international attention, and now his interest has turned to a regional exploration of the United States, particularly the American south, an area that has fascinated him since he first began to take pictures. Moore’s Southern renaissance is a revisitation and a way of marking time, allowing the artist to reflect on changes to the landscape as well as in his own life. 

Taylor Eigsti

30-year old New York-based pianist and composer Taylor Eigsti started playing the piano when he was 4 years old. The Menlo Park native was quickly labeled a prodigy, and has since released 7 albums as a leader.

In 2006, Eigsti received two GRAMMY nominations for Best Jazz Solo and Best Instrumental Composition after releasing "Lucky to Be Me" (Concord Jazz). Since then, Eigsti released two much-acclaimed albums after this, "Let it Come to You" (2008 Concord) and "Daylight at Midnight" (2010 Concord). Eigsti has also been featured as a sideman on many award-winning albums throughout the years as well.

Eigsti has had the good fortune of performing, touring or recording with such luminaries as Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Esperanza Spalding, Chris Botti, David Benoit, Christian McBride, Marian McPartland, Red Holloway, James Moody, Chris Potter, Ernestine Anderson, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Clayton Brothers, Dianne Schuur, Ambrose Akinmusire, Hank Jones, Brubeck Brothers, Frederica Von Stade, among many others over the years.

Eigsti has travelled internationally quite extensively with his trio and quartet, and also frequently tours with artists such as Julian Lage, Gretchen Parlato, Kendrick Scott Oracle, Chris Botti, Sachal Vasandani, and Eric Harland Voyager. Eigsti's career has involved much global touring, and he has performed at many premiere venues throughout the world, including the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Salle Pleyel, Royal Festival Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Olympia Hall, Massey Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, and many top festivals including Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Singapore Mosaic Music Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Stockholm Jazz Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Quito Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival, and many more performances hroughout the world.

Eigsti has also been featured numerous times in various television specials, NPR appearances, and recently composed the theme music to the motion picture "Detachment" (2011) starring Oscar-winner Adrien Brody.

In addition to leading and performing with various small ensembles, Eigsti frequently has had the opportunity to work with, compose for and orchestrate music for various symphony orchestras, and has written a growing repertoire of music for orchestra and jazz ensemble. Various soloist and compositional features include the San José Chamber Orchestra, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, Boston Youth Symphony, New York Pops, Indianapolis Symphony, San Jose Youth Symphony, Bear Valley Symphony, Tassajara Symphony, Reno Philharmonic and multiple collaborations with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra.

Paul Rucker

Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who combines media, often integrating liver performance, sound, original compositions, and visual art. His work is the product of a rich interactive process, through which he investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research, and basic human emotions surrounding a subject.

Rucker has received numerous grants, awards, and residencies for visual art and music, In 2012, he received an award for Visual Art from the Creative Capital Foundation, a 10-week residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in California, the Conductive Garboil Grant, a Grant for Artists Projects from Artist Trust, and an Artist Project Grant and Gallery Show from 4Culture. Seattle-area organizations that he has received project funding from in the past include: Seattle Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Washington State Arts Commission, King County Site Specific, 4Culture, Artist Trust, and Photo Center NW. He has also received funding from the South carolina Arts Commission.

As a musician and director, Rucker plays in various situations, from solo cellist to leading his Large Ensemble of 22 musicians. He was awarded Best Emerging Artist as well as Outside Jazz Ensemble of the Year by Earshot Jazz, and Jazz Artist of the Year by the Seattle Music Awards. Rucker regularly plays as a solo cellist, including past performances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and The Stone in New York City. He was invited by legendary filmmaker David Lynch to perform for the opening of Lynch's film, Inland Empire.

As a public artist, Rucker has created work for the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 4Culture, and the City of Tacoma, WA. Past residencies include Blue Mountain Center, Ucross Foundation, Art OMI, Banff Centre, Pilchuck Glass School, and the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. In 2011, Rucker was commissioned to create the fine arts poster for Bumbershoot Arts and Music Festival in Seattle. 

Headshot photography of Paul Rucker courtesy Jennifer Stanton

Jamie Burmeister

Jamie Burmeister’s artworks have been exhibited in galleries, museums and public places throughout the world.  His “vermin.me” project has resulted in over 1000 installations of small ceramic figures, called vermin, on 6 continents, 42 countries and 46 US States.  Burmeister’s gallery and museum pieces have been widely exhibited including shows at the Des Moines Art Center in Des Moines, IA, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE, Akron Art Museum in Akron, OH, Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, NE, and the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, WY. Jamie’s many commissions including pieces for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Akron Art Museum, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the South Omaha Library. He has received numerous awards including the Nebraska Art Council’s 2010/2007 Individual Artist Fellowships, Omaha Entertainment and Arts 2007 Best Public Art and 2006/2013 Three-Dimensional Sculpture Awards and residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, NE and the Hot Shops Art Center in Omaha, NE.  He received an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2005 and currently lives and works in Omaha, NE.