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Q and A with Suzanne Fetscher

by Mark Peres

April 3,2004

Suzanne Fetscher is president & CEO of McColl Center for Visual Art. Prior to assuming her role in April 1998, Suzanne served for five years as Executive Director of Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. A graduate of the University of Central Florida (B.F.A.) and University of Florida (M.F.A.), she spent several post-graduate years teaching design and drawing, serving as adjunct instructor at Rollins College and at University of Central Florida, and a full-time visiting instructor at Stetson University. Suzanne served three terms as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Artists’ Communities, a national consortium of organizations and individuals established to improve the environment in which artists’ communities support artists in the creative process.

What is the McColl Center for Visual Art?

The McColl Center is an artist-in-residence program and gallery. Artists come from all over the world to live and work in Charlotte for three months. They use our outstanding and beautiful facility like a laboratory to conduct research and create new work. We have an extraordinary facility with many specialized studios: wood, sculpture, metal, printmaking and ceramics studios, a darkroom and a digital lab.

How are artists selected?

The artists-in-residence are selected primarily because of the excellence of their work.  We attempt to get a mix of emerging and mid-career artists and variety of disciplines represented in each residency session. In our selection process, we try to utilize the facility by identifying artists in as many disciplines as possible. We also attempt to have international artists-in-residence as well as regional and national artists. Approximately 50 nominators from around the world assist in identifying talent. Applications are gathered. Half of our artists are selected by a jury. The other half is selected by our senior staff to round out the field.

How is the McColl Center different from other artist-in-residence programs?

There are approximately 80 artist-in-residency programs in the U.S. Most of them are rural retreats. The McColl Center is one of a dozen programs that are urban. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for artists to connect with one another and to our community.

How does Charlotte benefit?

Our artists interact with the community in formal and informal ways. Each artist presents at least two outreaches into schools, universities and cultural and non-cultural institutions. In this way, we try to share these very talented artists with the broader public. We also have an exhibition program that is designed to showcase a range of contemporary art. We feel that the experience of having artists here for three months enriches all of us and, over time, will help shape Charlotte. Already, the McColl Center has had 100 artists in its short history.

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