Launched in the fall of 2016, the Grum Project is Williston’s visiting artist program. Funded by a generous alumna from the Northampton School for Girls, the Grum Project brings artists of all kinds—musicians, actors, visual artists, dancers, and more—to campus for mini-residencies so that the entire Williston community can participate.
2023-24 Grum Presenters
Singer, actor, writer, and voiceover artist Daniel James Belnavis will work with the cast of this year’s musical to enhance the production, and host a workshop about the nature of creativity. Winter 2023
Elizabeth Acevedo is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Poet X, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Acevedo will bring the power of the written and spoken word to campus for an all-school assembly and talk. May 2024
Notorious Cree (James Jones)
James Jones is a traditional hoop dance artist who has performed and traveled across the globe. Ranked among the top 5 hoop dancers in the world, Jones will spend several days on campus to highlight this form of storytelling done through dance. In addition to dance classes, Jones will also visit history classes and is scheduled to perform a dance during our annual Spring Dance Concert. May 16-18, 2024
Kevin Shannon visited the dance studio and the pottery room during his multipurpose visit. With the dancers, Shannon choreographed and taught students a routine that they later performed in their spring recital. With ceramics students, Shannon gave insights to his soda-fired ceramic work and explained the intricate process of using soda and flames to design his works in the kiln.
Theater artistic director Miguel Bregante, founder of La Mona Ilustre, brought his passion for theater to campus with a free showing of the company’s one-man play, Juan Salvador Tramoya, for the student body. In addition, Bregante visited different theater classes to conduct workshops, and spent time in high-level Spanish classes talking about his work.
A multidiscipline artist, Elizabeth Duffy has made two trips to Williston now as a Grum Project Visiting Artist. In 2021-22, Duffy worked with students making sculptures out of repurposed material. In 2022-23, Duffy’s visit saw students craft masks that obscured their physical appearance, but highlighted internal characteristics they wished to share.
Ghanaian-Canadian artist Ekow Nimako brought his trademark LEGO design work to campus for a week. Challenging students to look into the future, Nimako helped design and build an all-white LEGO replica of campus—set in the year 3023. He also did a lesson with students utilizing LEGO elements to build masks that represent themselves and their cultures.
Phoebe Stephens '93
Designer and jeweler Phoebe Stephens ’93 returned to campus to talk with arts students about her work and the processes her company, Anndra Neen, uses to craft its unique items. Stephens also spoke to the student body during an assembly in the Phillips Stevens Chapel, recounting her journey from the church pews to the fashion world.
To celebrate the school’s 180th anniversary, WNS Choirs and the Grum Project commissioned Geoffrey Hudson to set to music words culled from student texts to create a piece for the school: “The Mountain and the Bell.” Hudson also hosted a Zoom discussion, where he discussed his musical inspirations, career path, and how he composed the music for “The Mountain and the Bell.”
Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble is recognized nationally for its bold and inventive vocal interpretations of overlooked compositions. In October 2019, the group performed a private concert in the Phillips Stevens Chapel and hosted a Q-and-A session with members of Williston’s choral groups.
Rosemary Fiet Covey
The paintings of artist Rosemary Feit Covey ’72—often connected to her deep interest in science, including evolutionary biology, entomology, and, presciently, emergent diseases—are housed in more than 40 major museum and library collections worldwide. During winter 2020, she shared her art and perspective with students.
During a six-day residency in January 2020, Los Angeles-based artist Kiel Johnson worked with students to create a collection of unique cardboard trophies that celebrated victories both personal and humorous. He also addressed the student body during an assembly, telling students, “If you pursue your dream 150 percent, life will open up to you.”
Dancer, filmmaker, and five-time-regional-Emmy-award winner Ben Needham-Wood in January 2019 worked with dancers on a special number for the forthcoming spring dance performance. He screened his film BaseBallet, which celebrates the athleticism of dance and the artistry of sports.
Following numerous trips to Cuba, Mark Guglielmo created large collages using 4″x6″ photo prints he took on the island. Landscapes to intimate portraits of family life hung in Grubbs Gallery in October 2018. Guglielmo also spoke in a variety of classes, from Latin American history to Spanish class, and brought to campus a four-piece local Cuban band.
Tectonic Theater Group
In the run up to the Williston production of The Laramie Project, Tectonic Theater Group, which created the play—conducting 200 interviews in the aftermath of the hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998—arrived on campus in October 2018 to work with students and reflect on how theater can be a vehicle for social change.
Two-time National Poetry Slam champion Anis Mojgani brought his wit and insight to campus during a three-day visit in April 2018. The author of five books of poetry worked with students and performed alongside them during a Friday-night spoken word festival.
Dan Phakos '06
Film director Dan Phakos and a crew came from NYC in April 2018 to help execute the vision of student Aidan Bourbonnais ’20. Her PSA, meant to draw attention to the dangers of texting and driving, was inspired by the death of her cousin. Williston students and the crew plotted out the ad and shot over a three-day period.
In a wide-brimmed hat and tap shoes, musician and music historian and three-time Grammy winner David Holt performed songs on an array instruments with his musical partner, Josh Goforth, in December 2017.
Rutty, an American painter living and working in Boise, Idaho, in April 2017 lead classes, worked with individual students, and created a large oil painting that will remain at the school.
Pitch Slapped, a co-ed a cappella group based at Berklee College of Music in Boston, performed at assembly and lead workshops with singers in February 2017.
In November 2016, photographer and artist Tanja Hollander spent three days on campus with students exploring the intersection between art and social media.