The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Introducing SoVA's Artists in Residence

SoVA is enjoying the opportunity of having two artists-in-residence this academic year. Our artist-in-residence project is a new initiative for SoVA and we have been able to benefit from fortuitous circumstance to welcome two exciting artists to our creative community. Sculptor Phoenix Savage was awarded the 2012-13 Penn State Institute of Arts and Humanities Postdoctoral/MFA Fellowship. Her scholarly and creative work during her SoVA residency will extend the research she conducted in Nigeria as a Fulbright Scholar. Phoenix will create a body of new work, the Human Touch Project, which investigates the invisible space that exists when human beings connect by way of a simple touch. Joe Julian is a sculptor who resides in State College. Although he spent his working life as a neurologist he continued to pursue his fascination with many areas of human creative capacity and potential. His lifelong commitment to learning mirrors a belief of those within SoVA who inspire students to fully understand the individual drive that animates the creative impulse, and to appreciate the personal and public relevance of art. Phoenix Savage (cont.) Phoenix Savage is a native of Philadelphia, PA. Phoenix completed graduate work at Northwestern State University in Louisiana, majoring in Sculpture, and has a graduate degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Mississippi. She holds a Master of Fine Arts  from Georgia State University, with a concentration in cast iron sculpture.  Phoenix is also the co-author of two books, African Americans of Jackson, and African Americans of New Orleans. The Human Touch Project Phoenix will be working on during her Penn State residency continues her questioning of human connectivity in the face of technological advances that seemingly connect us while simultaneously disconnecting the human body from itself and from others. Phoenix will teach a seminar in the spring of 2013 called 400 + 1. The course is designed to allow students to locate themselves globally and communally within the context of their individualism through the exploration of artistic practices and practice-based art forms. For more information about participating in Phoenix’s Human Touch Project please see her Human Touch Facebook Page. Phoenix can be contacted on and her website is   Joe Julian (cont.) Joe Julian describes himself as a storyteller. And he certainly has a story to tell. But these days, he prefers to communicate through his sculpture. As he says, “it is in conversation, in expressing thoughts out loud, that richer meanings and new understandings emerge. So it is with sculpture. Making the object requires a ‘conversation’ with the materials, which often have a mind of their own. Showing the object leads to useful conversation with those who see and respond to sculpture.”  Joe brings to his studio a lifetime of experience of responding to situations where creativity were needed, and this made good use of his capacity to blend his training in medical science and his ingenious capacity for making things. Joe is the subject of a chapter in Charles Garoian’s forthcoming book, The Prosthetic Pedagogy of Art: Embodied Research and Practice,  which features the work Joe did in Cambodia in the early 1980s developing a rehabilitation program in refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border. During his residency Joe will continue exploring his narrative themes and will produce a body of work for exhibition next year. He will participate fully in activities with students and faculty, and an early fall event will be a public conversation with the SoVA Director Graeme Sullivan that will explore Joe’s considerable expertise on art and the brain. Joe can be contacted on