Meet Our Resident Artists

To get a better idea of the grandeur and scope of the artists who are currently participating in the artist residencies at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, visit this page often for bios and introductions.


JULIA ROONEY - Visual Artist

Julia Rooney is a visual artist and arts educator. Though rooted in painting, her practice often bridges other disciplines, including writing and collaborative, community-based projects. She holds an MFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Yale School of Art and a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College. She has exhibited her work with Kopeikin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), Diane Rosenstein Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), Zeit Contemporary Art (New York, NY), The Painting Center (New York, NY), and ChaShaMa (Brooklyn, NY), among others. Following Brush Creek, Rooney will complete residencies at MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) and The Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans, LA).

ANNITA SAWYER - Literary Artist

I’m a clinical psychologist in practice for close to forty years, a member of the clinical faculty at Yale. Thanks to generous teachers and fellow writers at impressive workshops, artists residencies, and a local writers group, I’m also a writer. My essays have appeared in both literary and professional journals and are included in three anthologies. My first book, Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist's Memoir, won the 2013 Santa Fe Writers Project Grand Prize and was published in 2015. I seek to diminish the stigma of mental illness by speaking to clinical audiences around the country, using myself as a case study. My work highlights harm caused by careless psychiatric diagnoses and treatments, enduring effects of stigma and shame, and the power of human connection to heal.

I’m developing a collection of short stories centered around a family reluctantly engaged in psychotherapy. Representing different characters’ personalities and points of view, these stories offer diverse, sometimes conflicting, perspectives on reality and life experience. I hope to illuminate psychotherapy as an inconsistent, but real, process of increasing emotional self-awareness for the participants themselves and in relation to others. When the therapist feels trustworthy, and the room feels safe, change can follow—change that not only touches those in the session but also ripples through communities around them.

DENNIS SWEENEY - Literary Artist

Dennis James Sweeney’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Crazyhorse, Five Points, Ninth Letter, The New York Times, and The Southern Review, among others. He is a Small Press Editor of Entropy, the recipient of an MFA from Oregon State University, and a former Fulbright fellow in Malta. Originally from Cincinnati, he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he is completing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Denver. He is the author of the chapbooks Poems About Moss, THREATS, and What They Took Away, as well as Ghost/Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Being Haunted, a new chapbook published by Ricochet Editions this March.


Janice Mason Steeves attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, graduating with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology. She held school psychology positions before leaving the field to focus on painting. Further studies were completed at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Janice is represented by galleries in Canada and has work in public, corporate, and private collections in North American and internationally. As well as an active studio practice and art-mentoring program, she developed an international art/travel program called Workshops in Wild Places. She has been awarded residencies in Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland and Wyoming.


Natalie Niblack lives on the Skagit River north of Seattle. From this viewpoint, she observes the impact of human activity on a fragile landscape. Her paintings, drawings, and ceramic work reflect a pervading sense in accelerated change in our climate, environment, and politics. She asks the viewer to recognize the consequences of our relationship with the environment, and the choices we have made that are inevitably altering the world around us. Niblack taught college level visual art for 20 years. She has an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art, and has shown her work internationally, nationally and regionally.

SARA KUEHN - Musician/Composer

Sara Kuehn is a German vocalist and songwriter living in Hamburg, Germany. She is interested in classical and popular music styles. Her debut album “Blütenschlag” was released in 2016. Her vocals and piano style range from chanson to rock, from art-song to pop. Her lyrics are poetic and unconventional. She also performs as a soloist (soprano) in classical ensembles and multimedia-based performances.

While at Brush Creek, she will work on new solo works as well as music for a band she plans to form in 2020.

LAURA FISHER - Visual Artist

My imagined landscapes speak both to division and to unity. Many views, one horizon line. Many roads, one sky. I don't depict specific places in factual detail, but rather I illustrate what it feels like to travel through a particular environment, what it looks like through the window of a car or an airplane, what is remembered about faraway places when returning to familiar ones.

We view so many of our surroundings through the compressed vertical orientation of our phones, and it's a compelling visual puzzle to portray a landscape the way our eyes widely take it in, while acknowledging our modern way of seeing in narrow slices. Oil paint allows me to work with both subtle and pronounced interplays of color to delineate these slices and slivers, as well as to tie them together across an articulated horizon.

                                               PAST RESIDENTS

 Summer-Fall 2019  Winter-Spring 2019  Summer-Fall 2018  Winter-Spring 2018  Summer-Fall 2017   Winter-Spring 2017  Summer-Fall 2016  Winter-Spring 2016  Summer-Fall 2015  Winter-Spring 2015  Summer-Fall 2014  Winter-Spring 2014  Summer-Fall 2013  Winter-Spring 2013  Summer-Fall 2012  Winter-Spring 2012

Pilot Program 2011