The Arts Institute (GIA)

Are you an aspiring artist? Amplify your creativity at the Governor's Institute on the Arts!

Sunday, June 23rd - Sunday, July 7th, 2024 @ Vermont State University Castleton

“Being a part of GIA has helped to shape me and give me a sense of direction and control in my own life.”

About the Arts Institute...

At the GIV Arts Institute, you are given the platform to amplify your artistic voice and join a community of young artists from all over Vermont for an exciting two weeks of collaboration, creation, and inspiration. The experience helps develop skills in whatever artistic disciplines you choose alongside fellow creators who share a passion for art and creative thinking! With immersions into theater, music, writing, visual arts, film, dance, and more, the community at the Arts Institute fosters a diverse, meaningful, and life-changing shared experience.

The biggest and best known of the Governor’s Institutes, the Arts Institute has helped shape the trajectories and artistic visions of thousands of students, including world-famous musicians, actors, and artists. Together, we will build a vibrant artistic community, bringing together outstanding professional teaching artists and curious, motivated students to explore the processes of creativity. We can’t promise you’ll end up famous – but we promise you’ll have an amazing two weeks of fun, learning, and inspiration and leave with a whole new perspective and commitment to your art.


The 2024 session will take place Sunday, June 23rd – Sunday, July 7th @ Vermont State University Castleton.

For information regarding this Institute’s sliding-scale tuition, please click here.

Arts Group 2023

At This Institute You Will...

  • Discover new ways to interact with a variety of artistic mediums and styles.
  • Explore new media and professional-grade equipment to create emergent forms of art.
  • Network with professional artists and learn about their artistic practices.
  • Make new friends with artistic peers from all over the state who share your passions and interests.
  • Learn about college options and opportunities in professional art careers.
  • Unleash your unique talents and hone your original voice.
  • Have the time of your life!


Experience the vibe at Arts!

2023 Photo Albums

Link to Highlights Photo Album

Link to Full Photo Album

Note: These albums are arranged in chronological order.

2023 Recap Video

Arts Video Cover


Link to All 2023 Institute Videos

Attending this Institute can earn you credit and proficiencies!

How To Get High School Credit

We encourage all students who participate in an Institute to use the experience to earn high school credit.

Awarding high school credit is at the discretion of the student’s sending school, so we recommend students make a plan with their high school guidance counselor before attending GIV to earn their credit.

Each school has unique requirements around proficiencies, credits, and PLPs, so there are multiple pathways to awarding credit based on your school's system of assessments.

However, we recommend that high schools award credit by having students produce one or more of the following...
- A presentation to reflect on the overall experience to present for counselors and/or teachers in the fall after their participation.
- A learning journal for submission about areas of learning, activities, reflections.
- Work examples to share with sending school teachers (physical or digital products, writing, videos of presentations, learning journal, etc.) to be reviewed and assessed.

Please reach out to us at [email protected] if we can directly help or support you or your school in determining credit opportunities for your experience at GIV.

Curriculum Format

2-week intensive
2 classes each day
Students sign up for classes upon arrival
Exploration between artistic mediums
Artist Series (nightly performances and talks with artists/musicians)
Students can lead their own workshops
Dormitories and roommates
10:1 student-to-staff ratio

Curriculum Topics

Visual art
Digital media
Basket weaving
Mask making
and more!

Hours and Opportunities

108+ hours of arts training
Art industry exploration
Performing for live audiences

Credit Recommendations for Schools

Equivalent to one semester of high school credit in 2 of the following:
Arts - Dance
Arts - Media Arts
Arts - Music
Arts - Theater
Arts- Visual Arts
Social Studies

VT Proficiency Indicators

This Institute’s curriculum has been aligned with the following Vermont proficiency-based graduation requirements at the high school level. Proficiency credit between Arts areas and English should only be awarded based on student class selections.

Arts: Dance (Create, Present, Respond, Connect)
Arts: Media Arts (Create, Present, Respond, Connect)
Arts: Music (Create, Present, Respond, Connect)
Arts: Theater (Create, Present, Respond, Connect)
Arts: Visual Arts (Create, Present, Respond, Connect)

English Language Arts
- Reading: 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e
- Writing: 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e
- Speaking/Listening: 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e
- Speaking/Listening: 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 5e

Transferable Skills
- Communication: 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f, 1g
- Self-Direction: 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f, 2g, 2h, 2i
- Problem Solving: 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f, 3g, 3h
- Citizenship: 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e, 4f
- Informed Thinking: 5a, 5b, 5f

So how does it all work?

Choose from a menu of dozens of expert-led courses in film, visual arts, music, dance, writing, theater, and other media, then immerse yourself in two of your preferred class selections.

**Classes are different each year and announced when you arrive!

Outside of class, your time is filled with engaging workshops led by community members–teachers, staff, and you! Always wanted to learn… beatboxing? Salsa dance? Ukulele? Or teach… Pastel techniques? Adobe Premiere Pro? Haiku?

GIA’s open workshop format is endlessly enriching, empowering, and engaging.

Want More? Check out these videos!

An Example of a Day at the Arts Institute

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM: Breakfast
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM: Community Meeting
9:15 AM – 10:00 AM: Community Chorus
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Morning Class
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Workshops
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Afternoon Class
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Workshops / Specials
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Dinner
7:30 PM: Artist Series
9:30 PM: Suite Check-in
10:30 PM: Bedtime

Watch the Video

Class & Offering Areas:


Whether or not you take a music class, you’ll be surrounded by music at GIA. Chorus in the morning will have you singing and dancing all day long. Classes often include songwriting, choir, group or individual composition. Musicians will grow personally and artistically as they learn to write their own music, collaborate with others, and have ample opportunity to perform on stage! Jam sessions abound, and many a GIA band has formed and performed in a mere 2 weeks.

Check out these VIDEOS or listen to GIA on Bandcamp

Visual Arts

Over two weeks, our visual artists overflow the gallery with original works. We offer classes in a range of mediums–both 2D and 3D. Our drawing or painting classes include AND move beyond the boundaries of traditional practices. We work with nude models, we use weird tools, we work with our eyes closed, we work BIG and small. We work representationally AND abstractly. Our goal is to break you out of your comfort zone and provide you with some non-traditional approaches to visual arts!

Watch: Visual Arts at GIA

Theater Arts

Theater performance classes will develop characters, scenes, and emotions that translate to the stage. Past classes included Improv ensembles, clowning, individual character and scene work. You’ll learn new theater exercises and games that hone your skills and help you work with others. Non-performance theater classes have included mask-making, stage prosthetics/makeup, and our infamous lighting classes which–beyond creating amazing projects–offer the opportunity to light professional performances in the evening!

Meet one of our GIA theater faculty alums – Isaac Eddy


All ability levels are welcome in our dance classes (and all of our classes for that matter). Unlike conservatory classes, or Ballet 1, 2, or 3, our classes are centered around movement and self-awareness. We learn how to express ourselves, ask questions, and have fun through movement. We often have one class involving choreography (both developing your own and learning others’) and one that delves into experiential and authentic movement.

Watch: Dance at GIA


We offer classes where writers can engage deeply with their craft. Creative writing classes in the past have included fiction, narrative, poetry, lyric writing, playwriting, and some with a mix of everything. Our writers are given the opportunity to write for the page, and are also encouraged to share their work through readings and performances, both in classroom settings and amongst the larger community.

Our writing students often find themselves Filled with Inspiration

Film & Digital Media

Film, photography, and digital media arts are so ubiquitous in our world that they have also become an integral part of our curriculum. Students make anything from narrative or informational films to abstract and multimedia projects. In Vermont State University Castleton’s fully equipped video studio with green screen and editing suite, there’s no shortage of possibilities! With access to the Adobe suite, our digital artists have created photoshop stills and animations, utilizing photography and traditional art mediums.

Check out these student-made VIDEOS

The Artist Series

Every night we enjoy unique evening performances by musicians, illustrators, sculptors, comedians, theater troops, dancers, filmmakers, poets, songwriters, creators, and collaborators. You will see local artists, alums, faculty & staff performing on the BIG STAGE at the Vermont State University Castleton Fine Arts Center. The Artist Series is the highlight of our evenings, where we come together to be inspired, to ask thoughtful questions, and to expose ourselves to many different artists and artistic genres.

Watch: Artist Series at GIA

Got Questions?

What do the days and weeks look like?

In general, GIA days follow the same structure as a typical day though every day has tons of new, different and exciting workshops, specials, performance and more. The one exception is the middle Sunday which is unique as we plan special activities and celebrations!

Where is GIA held and what are the facilities like?

GIA occurs on the campus of Vermont State University Castleton in Castleton, VT. We have full use of their gorgeous, state-of-the-art Fine Arts Center and we also occupy dormitories, eat at their dining hall, and hang out in a number of the campus green spaces. We have a wonderful, long-standing, respectful relationship with Castleton’s campus and employees and we’re excited to welcome you into this environment and relationship.

Where do I live — and with whom?

You’ll share a room in a dorm at Vermont State University Castleton with a roommate (who you don't know in advance). Your room will be part of a small group of rooms (a suite) with a common space in the middle. You’ll have an RA who lives in your suite with you and your suite-mates, who’ll be an awesome, friendly resource for you to navigate GIA smoothly and safely. You’ll also have other RAs in your classes, so there will be lots of cool folks to connect with, befriend and answer questions! The community aspect is as important as the arts at GIA.

What's in my room when I arrive?

Each student gets their own bed, dresser, closet (though without hangers so bring some if you need them), desk, and chair. There is an overhead light so feel free to bring a lamp and/or fan if that makes things feel more comfortable.

What should I bring?

For your Dorm/Room

● Bedding (including blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, and soap. You may also want to bring a mattress pad; the mattresses are covered in plastic and can be sticky in the heat! The beds are extra-long twin beds, a funny size....)
● Alarm clock
● Fan (there is no air conditioning in the dorms)
● Reading light or lamp (if you want)
● Bedroom decorations (whatever will make you feel that Castleton is your home away from home)

For You

● Clothes and shoes for all kinds of weather (hot, cold, rainy...)
● Clothes you can mess up (you might just find yourself with charcoal in your hands...)
● Towel (hand towel/wash cloth too!) and soap/shampoo, toiletries, etc.
● A face mask (or a few!)
● Dress-up/Fun-fancy/Silly clothes (optional, but community members often like to dress up in fancy dresses or silly outfits for performances like contra dancing night, faculty shows, and so on...)
● Bathing Suit - We don’t have access to a pool, but sometimes we have a sprinkler or slip ‘n slide, so it’s up to you....
● Rain gear/boots/umbrella so that it doesn’t rain on your parade!
● Laundry detergent and quarters (Dorms have coin-operated washers and dryers. It costs about $3.00 to do a load of laundry.)
● Snacks! (and maybe extra to share with your roommate and suite-mates if that's fun!)
● Dollar bills and pocket change for vending machines, snacks, bookstore items, stamps, etc. We sell GIA T-shirts ($20) and sweatshirts ($35) on the first and last days of GIA.
● Your journal
● Water Bottle
● A Small Backpack - depending on what class you are in, you may want a backpack to carry a notebook, sheet music, dance clothes etc.
● A watch and/or alarm clock if you have one. This will help you get to class on time without carrying your cell phone around all day. (See: What Not To Bring below...)


● Musical instruments (You never know! You will want them with you even if you don't take a music class!)
● Anything you might want to share with the community (You can run your own workshops, and may want to collaborate with other students.)
● Stamps and envelopes for sending notes home


● Computer
● Pets
● Television set
● Video games
● Etc.! We are not responsible for your valuables, and therefore really discourage you bringing electronic items. Just as importantly, we value interpersonal over internet connection.

Can I choose my roommate?

Nope, we try our best to room you with someone you don’t know, actually. GIA is all about meeting new people and connecting with other VT artists from around the state in one big community. And, believe it or not, there’s so much to do that we don’t really spend that much time in our rooms except for all that necessary sleeping!

How do I know what classes I'm in?

You’ll find out the class options for this year on Sunday after you arrive. You’ll have a chance to meet all the faculty and hear a little about every class. On Sunday night you’ll identify some classes that you’d be interested in taking, and on Monday morning (once we’ve tried our best to get everyone into at least one—and often two—of their most desired classes) you’ll find out which classes you’ve gotten in to. They are all great choices, so you can’t really go wrong in picking! To get a sense of classes that are offered, check out our CLASSES & OFFERINGS section above, and visit the different options.

Can I take two classes with the same teacher?

Nope—and why would you? All of our faculty is fantastic and we want you to get a chance to learn from as many of them as possible, both in class and out. See our Faculty & Staff to get a sense of the GIA team!

I am a vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/have another dietary restriction. Will this be a problem?

No, it shouldn’t be. The cafeteria works hard to have vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc., options available for us. If you’re concerned, let a member of staff know when you arrive and we’ll make sure you don’t go hungry.

Can I arrive early?

No, we ask that everyone arrive on the first Sunday during scheduled registration. If you are struggling to find a ride to GIA, let us know and we’ll try to connect you with another student coming from your area.

Can I leave early?

No, all students participate in the entire duration of the institute. We work very hard to structure a holistic experience and the final hours are some of the most important. If you’re concerned about a conflict, please contact us.

I have a conflict on a day during the institute. Is it possible for me to leave briefly and then return?

Nope. We ask that you commit to the full experience for the duration of the institute, so we can’t have folks leaving during the GIA. We also find it is disruptive to more than just your experience (your classes, suite mates, room mate) which is another reason why we don’t allow it.

What kind of shoes should I bring?

Every day you will walk the 8 minutes (each way) to and from the student dorms and the Fine Arts Center multiple times. This walk will seem like nothing after day one but it's important that you bring comfortable shoes, especially for the parade day. There are also times to dress up for Artist Series and performances so feel free to bring some fun pumps, glittery heels or your furry slippers(!). Other questions? See our list of what to bring.

I forgot something! Can my parent/guardian drop it off to me?

If you forgot something, no worries, we just ask that parents/guardians drop it off to us at the Fine Arts Center Box Office and we will be sure that it gets to you.

Can I drive myself to the institute?

You may drive yourself to the Institute, however, once you arrive you may not return to your car (even to get something out of it) until the Institute finishes on the final Sunday. We don’t collect your keys because we trust you, but we ask that you please get everything that you need out of your car when you arrive and then lock it up for two weeks.

I won't have a cell phone—how do I call home?

If you need to call home, just come by the Box Office and you’re always welcome to make a call from our phones.

Do I need to bring money to the institute?

You absolutely do NOT need to bring money. However, GIA does sell Institute T-shirts and sweatshirts at registration and on the final day, the proceeds for which go directly back into the program.

Is there a place on campus where I can buy food/supplies/etc.?

We eat in the Dining Hall three times a day. If you think you'll be hungry more often than that, you may want to pack some extra snacks. There are some vending machines (though they are not always stocked) in the dorms, so feel free to bring dollar bills and quarters. Students are expected to bring what they need BUT, if you run out of shampoo, etc., please let us know and we can always help you out.

Can I send and receive snail mail at GIA?

You betcha! Outgoing mail gets dropped off at the Fine Arts Center box office (you’ll know where this is) and incoming mail will arrive each morning in the gallery near the office.

The address to send mail to GIA is:

Governor’s Institute on the Arts
c/o Vermont State University Castleton
Fine Arts Center Box Office
Castleton, VT 05735

Meet some of our recent Professional Teaching Artists...

Misoo Bang | Faculty

Misoo was born in the Bronx in 1980, but moved back to her parent’s homeland of South Korea when she was a one-year old. 17 years later, she returned to the US with ambitions to use painting as her mode of emotional communication and story-telling. Her recent work, The Giant Asian Girls, is the manifestation of Asian women living in the western world who have hurt inside after seeing images of the dehumanizing, fetishized version of themselves, or felt oppressed by the stereotypes of cultural passivity. The Giant Asian Girls literally grew out of the intersectionality of racism and sexism that Asian women experience living in America. Misoo has exhibited in a number of galleries and museums across America and around the world. Misoo was selected as one of the Emerging Artist of New England in 2019 and Vermont Artist to Watch in 2020. Misoo currently lives and works in South Burlington, Vermont and can be reached at [email protected]

Troy Anthony | Faculty

Troy Anthony, is a Kentucky-born composer/lyricist, director, and theater-maker based in NYC practicing Black queer joy. He has received commissions from The 5th Avenue Theater, The Civilians, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theater, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and The Shed. He’s enjoyed residencies with Musical Theater Factory (MTF), The O’Neill Theater Center and Village Theater. Additionally, he’s presented work at Joe’s Pub, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, JACK, Prospect Theater Company, the National Alliance of Musical Theater Conference, and 54 Below. Troy recently received the Vivace Award from the Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation and is currently an artist-in-residence at The Chelsea Factory. As an actor, Troy has been seen in the Public Theater’s Hercules, Twelfth Night and As You Like It, as well as Prospect Theater Company’s Tamar of the River. Troy’s work lives at the intersection of art, social justice and community practice. In this spirit, he recently founded The Fire Ensemble as a home to develop his work and to share the joy of singing in community.

Isaac Eddy | Faculty

For twelve years Isaac has performed with Blue Man Group in New York City, Chicago, London, and Las Vegas. With the production he has helped cast and train Blue Men, captain casts, write material, and perform nightly in the show. Isaac is an Associate Professor of Theater and Drama at Northern Vermont University Johnson. There he built the Performance, Arts, and Technology undergrad which focuses on the student-led creation of new multi-disciplinary performance works. This program is in its third year of operation and has been highly influenced by the work that is created at GIA every summer! Concentrations include: Theatre/Musical Theatre, Dance, Music, Immersive Design, and Social Justice and Activism. Isaac is also a writer and a cartoonist and has been published in the New Yorker and in the weekly newspaper, The Herald of Randolph, Vermont. He makes animated documentary shorts for Time Magazine and has a non-fiction multi-panel series about the people that live and work in his neighborhood published in the New York Times’ Brooklyn blog, “The Local.” Isaac also created and animated the online series, “Cat, Dog, Stoop.”


Andy Gagnon | Faculty

A native of Hardwick, Vermont, Andy Gagnon has dedicated his life to music. Gagnon has worked with the Vermont Jazz Camp, U-32’s summer jazz camp, the Get Thee to the Funnery camp in Barre, and the Green Mountain Youth Symphony Summer C.A.M.P., as well as being a private percussion instructor for many years. Gagnon has also served as a mentor for Music-COMP (formerly the Vermont MIDI Project) and as a guest conductor for numerous Vermont district music festivals. Gagnon holds a B.S. in Music Education with a concentration in music composition from the University of Vermont, and an M.F.A. in Music Composition from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He regularly performs with The Renegade Groove, LOVECRAFT, The Vermont Jazz Ensemble, and PURPLE feat. Craig Mitchell, among many other artists and groups. Andy currently lives in Morrisville, Vermont with his wife Leah, their dogs Spock and Kiwi, Minerva the cat, and Poppy Seed the chinchilla. He is the instrumental music teacher at Stowe Elementary, Middle, and High schools.

Lily Gold | Faculty

Lily gold (she/they) is a white, queer, fourth generation new york ashkenazi jew witch, living with chronic illness between the occupied lands of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Oneida and Lenape, where she was born. She is a choreographer, performer and visual artist, working interdisciplinarily in modes of movement, sound, painting, and installation. Lily is also an organizer and grief-worker, practicing somatic healing through an abolitionist and anti-oppression framework. Lily loves hot pink, hot water and newly, sci fi.

Lillie Harris | Faculty

Lillie J. Harris is a Cartoonist and Narrative Designer from Southern Maryland. Both their visual art and writing have been in The New Yorker, Burlington City Arts Gallery, The Vermont Folklife Center, and several anthologies. Themes of ‘tension’ and ’empathy’ play a large role in Lillie’s work, and they’re a huge proponent of not “punching down.” Wilderness is their debut graphic novel.

Caitlin La Dolce | Faculty

Caitlin La Dolce is a multidisciplinary artist and educator originally from the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont. La Dolce’s work explores such themes as memory, the body, growth, survival, and inheritance. Working in the mediums of sculpture, painting, and drawing, La Dolce researches in the fields of ecofeminism and biology to explore intersections of gender, toxicity, reproduction, and organic matter. Caitlin is currently pursuing her MFA at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Cavan Meese | Faculty

Cavan Meese got his start in theater at an early age with the Bread and Puppet Theater and in performances at schools, libraries, clubs, festivals and small theaters around the country with his family. Cavan is an alumni of the Governor’s Institute on the Arts and first studied lighting design and television production at Vermont State College Castleton. He went on to The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he studied theater arts and apprenticed with lighting designers and directors at the Pennsylvania Ballet, The Arden Theater, Pig Iron Theater, and others. Cavan has designed for Anais Mitchell (Hadestown), Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, Phish, Vermont Stage Company, Lost Nation Theater, The Barre Opera House, Kingdom County Productions (The Voices Project Tour), Ryno Fest, The Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, and toured extensively as both a performer and lighting technician. Cavan is founder of The Parker Pie Company and the Village Hall barn stage in West Glover.

Liz Moran | Faculty

Liz is a graphic designer and illustrator with a focus on branding, print, and digital design. She holds a certificate in Graphic Design from Massachusetts College of Art, and a B.A. from Smith College, where she studied Environmental Science and Studio Art. For five years, Liz worked on creative teams both large and small, learning the tricks of the trade. Clients have ranged from multinational companies to local coffee shops. In 2020, she left her job at a larger design firm to start Liz Moran Design. With that change, she enjoys a closer connection to client outcomes and the creative process.

Alexa Rivera | Faculty

Alexa Rene’ Rivera (she/her) is a basket weaver of Puerto Rican and Jewish descent based in Burlington, VT. Alexa is founder and owner of WOVN.COUNTRY, a small business selling baskets and teaching basket weaving workshops in the Northeast. Her workshops take place anywhere from institutions such as The Shelburne Craft School and Montgomery Center for the Arts, to friends’ backyards, a muddy farm in a flood plain, and basements where Punk Bands usually practice. She is a proud member of the Hive on Pine, a studio collective in Burlington’s South End, and has attended the artist residency program at The Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been featured in Boston Home Magazine and for the Vermont Arts Council. Alexa is interested in basket weaving as both a basic utilitarian craft, and as an important study of vessel, geography, intuition, and abundance. When not weaving baskets in her studio, you can find Alexa waitressing, reading murder mysteries, and taking way too many pictures of food.

Naomi Saito | Faculty

Naomi Saito is a Chicago-born, New York City based filmmaker and cinematographer. After studying film at Wesleyan University she worked for experimental theater artist Kaneza Schaal and director Josephine Decker before moving to freelance film production. She now works as a camera operator and DP on documentaries, commercials, music videos, and narrative feature films. Naomi has done camera work for companies including Lincoln Center, BAM, The Shed, Condé Nast, PBS, WNET, Telfar TV, Stella McCartney, Google, and Planned Parenthood, and collaborated with artists and performers including Jomama Jones, Pam Tanowitz, and Eiko Otake. She is drawn to filmmaking that’s collaborative, interdisciplinary, and challenges binaries by engaging with the slipperiness of categories. Naomi first learned to use a camera through a childhood passion for birdwatching and continues to love movement, close observation, and building intentional relationships with the spaces around her.

Luna Shen | Faculty

Luna Shen is a visual artist currently based in Burlington, VT. She graduated from Middlebury College as a Sociology major and works at a homeless shelter while pursuing art professionally. Her artistic practice focuses on unearthing the dysphoric and persistent feelings that come from unbelonging. Her interest in what lies beyond the binaries of “here/there,” “native/alien” stem from her family’s migration patterns and her own transcultural and transnational migrations. Shen works in ink and paper, and her sculptures combine non-traditional mediums associated with her sense of “home,” like rusted metals, concrete, felt, stockings, hair, and spit. As an emerging artist, her art picked up momentum in 2022-2023 during which she was an artist-in-residence at Generator (Burlington), showed at Karma Bird House (Burlington), was awarded an Artist Development Grant by Burlington Community Arts (BCA), was selected to participate in BCA’s annual virtual auction, and committed to her first studio space at The Hive (Burlington). You can see her work at

Toussaint St. Negritude | Faculty

Former Poet Laureate of Belfast, Maine, poet, bass clarinetist, and composer Toussaint St. Negritude conjures whole liberations in full tempo. US Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks described his work as “full of sweet sounds and surprises.” Originally from San Francisco, Toussaint has lived and broadly thrived across the African Diaspora, from the sacred mountains of Haiti to the Coltrane District of North Philadelphia. He, along with bassist Gahlord Dewald, is the leader of the band Jaguar Stereo!, a free-form ensemble of his own poetry and improvisational jazz, and his works have been widely published and recorded for over 40 years. On an alpine sanctuary facing east, Toussaint St. Negritude continues to thrive in the farthest elevations of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

Sophie Wood | Faculty

Sophie Wood is a multidisciplinary performance artist whose work explores ritual, land use, myth, humor, and the metabolization of grief. She has simultaneously built a career in farming, floristry, and landscape design, so she is versed in operating both sequins and heavy machinery. Her art uses textile, sculpture, movement, clown, storytelling, poetry, shadow/light work and plant/earthworks design. She has a self-directed degree from Hampshire College, is co-founder and producer of The Royal Frog Ballet performance collective, and currently runs her own landscape design business and plant nursery. She has additionally run a summer performance project on Shakespeare and clowning, built for various large-scale parades, including HONKfest and the Cleveland Art Museum’s ‘Parade The Circle’, worked with Bread and Puppet Theater, and published two collections of poetry. She came to GIA as a student and just won’t leave, having occupied roles as student, RA, guest artist, Director of Operations, and Director of Student Life. She is thrilled to be teaching this year. While she has pursued a professional career as an artist and drawn from the work of many well-known artists, she identifies primarily as a folk artist, as much of her work and creative practice includes quilts, clothing, food, gardens, home spaces, and community rituals. Her influences draw from folk traditions and many ‘anonymous’ artists, homemakers, and ritualists, and much of her art practice is not made for public viewing. She currently lives and works on the same hill she was born and raised on in Vermont.

MacArthur Stine | Production Manager

MacArthur Stine moved to Vermont as a 2-year old with a bindle full of dreams and a golden retriever named Annie. He spent his youth tramping the forests of Cornwall Vermont and can still often be found meandering amongst the maples. Since a starring role in ‘Free to Be You and Me” in grade school, he has been active both on and backstage. A graduate of the Second City Conservatory, he founded a sketch group, Sassafrass Productions, worked at the Steppenwolf Scene Shop, and ran a successful standup showcase. Following his move back to Vermont in ’09, he immediately left to work for FELD Entertainment as a touring Props Master, Pyrotechnician and Assistant Stage Manager for both Mickey Mouse and Phineas and Ferb. For the last few years he has been the Director of Technical Services at Vermont State College Castleton, providing lights, sound and other sundries for too many acts to mention. He is the lucky spouse of Haley Rice and proud father to six-year old, Keaton Stine. He is super excited to be involved with GIA and hopes you are too!

Sarah Lowry | Mental Health Counselor

Sarah Lowry is a theater maker and Registered Drama Therapist. Lowry works both as an individual and family counselor at Centerpoint’s clinic in South Burlington, as well as in the Winooski Middle and High Schools where she collaborates with educators and students to incorporate trauma-informed, youth driven, creative arts work into curriculum. In the clinic, Lowry uses somatic and creative practices to work with predominantly LGBTQIA+ youth as well as with teens, young adults, and families who have experienced trauma. Both in the counseling room and on the stage – Lowry centers her work on listening to young people and uses storytelling and theater as tools to center the voices and perspectives of teens in Vermont. As a white, Jewish, queer 39-year-old counselor and artist, Lowry brings her own life and experiences into her relationships with young people, and strives to make work that prioritizes the leadership of young people to tell their own stories. She is thrilled to be a part of the GIA community.

Martha Israel | Nurse

Martha was a school nurse in Central VT for 23 years until moving to the coast of Maine in 2019. During the Covid pandemic she worked for the Maine Dept. of Education helping schools manage their infections. Martha is also a psychiatric nurse and works remotely for the VT Department of Mental Health. She has been involved with the Governors Institute for over 15 years and loves working at GIA because it is two fantastic weeks of art, music, theater, dance – and really happy, creative students and staff!

Emily Billado | Community Manager

Emily C. Billado’s entire personality is based on her love of three things: art, warm beverages, and Vermont. Born and raised in Castleton, she left for the big city (Washington D.C.) for 5 years, but she eventually had to follow the call of New England’s mountains and relocated closer to home in Western Massachusetts. With a background in both musical theatre, costume design, and art history, she loves to take an interdisciplinary approach to art and loves the challenge of a new medium. By day, she works as the project manager and marketing coordinator for a Vermont-based skincare company. But when she isn’t working, she can be found exploring museums, taking deep breaths of fresh air, making music, making herself laugh, sewing, researching niche historical topics, or generally frolicking. She was first introduced to the magic of GIA as a student in 2011 and always considers it the highlight of her year to spend time learning from and being inspired by our amazing young artists.

Sam Abrams | RA

Sam returns to GIA as a sixth year RA! A GIA participant herself in 2010, Sam was a student at The Sharon Academy where she participated regularly in the performing arts, especially theatre. She was a member of the Get Thee to the Funnery summer Shakespeare ensemble in Chelsea for many a moon! She went on to attend Beloit College in Wisconsin, where she expanded upon her experience with sketch comedy, writing for performance, dance, a capella, poetry, and more! In addition to being a fan of the arts and community building, Sam is also a globetrotter, having lived in five states and three countries. She has lived in Chicago, IL for a little over a year now, and spent her first year back in the states attending the most concerts she EVER has in a single year! Sam loves building relationships, coaching others and leading with empathy, which she does every day (in Spanish!) as a Customer Support Team Lead for a multinational tech company. She cannot wait to meet and grow with this year’s fabulous artists!

Anire Amoda | RA

Anire Kim Amoda is an actor, singer, scuba diver, sticker collector, and lover of arts and crafts from Brooklyn, New York! She is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, where she majored in Theatre and minored in History and English. After graduating from LaGuardia High School as a drama major, she participated in a range of Theatre programs in and outside of school, including arts intensives at the National YoungArts Foundation, where she was a two-time winner in theatre, LAByrinth Theatre Company, and a study abroad program at the British American Drama Academy in London. She has also recently begun her journey into the world of acting for film and television! Anire loves singing with friends, Shakespeare (especially through a social justice lens), her dog Nova, making jewelry, crocheting, sunsets, and the color green. Her favorite animals are manta rays and sea turtles. She is so excited to meet all of the lovely humans who will be at GIA this summer!

Maya Das O'toole

Maya is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, where she majored in studio art and psychology. Maya is primarily a painter, print-maker, and drawer. She was born and raised in Boston, specifically Jamaica Plain, and loves dogs, summertime, friends, and astrology. Maya is passionate about mental health, community building, and creativity and is so excited for the first summer at GIA after many years spent in the Berkshires programming as a camp counselor!

Manda Dixon | RA

Manda grew up in Upstate NY and loves everything about the outdoors! When she is not out running around with her dog Mimi, she can often be found getting crafty. She enjoys cross-stitching, working with watercolor, making cards, and sewing. If she is not crafting, she could very well be baking. She loves to mix flavors together and has been perfecting her vegan cookbook for years. Her current favorite flavor combination is lavender and lemon. She also loves to read and write and takes pride in being a Nancy Drew aficionado and a list-making fiend. She is currently working to become an environmental lawyer at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

Lily Feinson | RA

Lily is an art maker and dancer, specializing in embroidery and sewing, painting, found-object art, and tap dancing. Lily grew up in Vermont and attended GIA as a high schooler, and will return as an RA for their third time this year! After a recent move to Kansas City, Missouri, they have been spending their time integrating into the vibrant local art and activism scene and connecting through creating. Lily has a background in sex-ed, LGBTQ studies, and suicide prevention, and will be attending Columbia University in the fall to pursue a degree in Social Work. They believe strongly in the healing nature of art, and love to use creative spaces in conjunction with their background in mental health care to facilitate growth and conversation. Lily is also passionate about baking and community organizing – in their new community, Lily is already known for giving the neighbors cookies while mobilizing them into local action.

Greta Hardy-Mittell | RA

Greta is an artist-activist who attended GIA in 2015! Their main love is poetry but they also write almost anything and dabble in music, dance, drawing, collage, and songwriting. Greta grew up wandering the forests and mountains of Vermont, then fell in love with the prairies and lakes of Minnesota while attending Carleton College. They’ll be moving to Minneapolis in the fall of 2023 to work as a community organizer, building a joyful, queer future despite capitalism and the climate crisis. The coolest three months of their life were living in Peru, climbing trees and studying parrots in the Amazon rainforest, and they hope to return to Latin America soon. In the meantime, they’re beyond excited to spend another summer creating art and community at GIA.

Zack Lee | RA

Zack is a graduating Africana Studies major from Oberlin College. Over the course of his life, Zack has found love and peace in nature, food, music, making, the sun, constant movement, and friends. He has used his undergraduate studies to the study of diasporas, specifically the African and Asian diasporas, and interracial tension and collaboration under the ever present influence of White supremacy. Attending an Elementary/Middle School privileged to own a 160 acre farm in upstate NY, he has grown up with a love of nature, animals, fresh air, and being in a live-and-work environment. Through experience teaching kids from ages 4-14, he has learned the importance of active learning and listening. In Zack’s free time he likes to bike, run, jump, swim, blast music, and laugh with friends and family. He is excited to join GIA for the first time and to immediately share so many of these experiences that he loves with young people whose shoes he was in not so long ago!

Hannah Little | RA

Hannah Little is a writer, podcaster, and musical theater nerd who grew up in Winooski, VT. After attending GIA in 2014, she studied Creative Writing, Theater, and Arts Management in undergrad, where she studied abroad with her university’s London Theatre Program. During those three months, she had the privilege of seeing almost 50 shows in the city’s famous West End. Hannah currently lives and works in the nonprofit scene in Rhode Island. When she’s not talking about her cat, Guava, you might find her painting, scrapbooking, writing, singing, dancing, or doing her best wobbly yoga pose. Hannah is incredibly excited to be a returning RA this summer.

Brittney Malik | RA

Brittney comes to you from Burlington, VT. As a performing artist and newly found visual artist, she found her love of creation and exploration as a GIA student in 2014. She studied Theater at Northern Vermont University – Johnson, where she focused on Acting and Directing. During that time, she found a love for fusing artistic expression with activism and self-awareness. She is co-founder of Black Sacred Soul, a clothing company where she and her partner create and print custom designs. As of late, when not auditioning or using the heat press, she can be found recording music, streaming online, and playing in a field with her dog Nova. She truly enjoys the conversations and connections to be made when sharing and creating art with her peers and she is excited to get the chance to do that with you all at GIA this summer!

Aja Selbach-Broad | RA

Aja is a filmmaker currently living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. After growing up in the woods of Southern VT and attending GIA as a student many moons ago; Aja followed his passion for filmmaking to Syracuse University where he received a BFA in Film, and to FAMU international in Prague in the Czech Republic where he studied 35mm. Between smaller and more personal artistic endeavors, Aja works full time as a set lighting technician on feature films; from tasteless comedies for streamers, to indie award show darlings, to big marvel blockbusters. After finishing principal photography on Black Panther 2 last year, Aja moved on to his first ever self-produced feature film that was shot right here in Vermont in the fall, alongside many artistic collaborators from GIA and beyond. Aside from trying to avoid burnout on Captain America 4 all year, he also loves to watch movies of any kind (ideally on the big screen), binge-read fantasy and sci-fi, listen to music that sounds like breaking machinery, ride his onewheel and have a nice cup of PG tips English tea. He truly cannot wait to spend the summer returning to his roots and helping to try and pass on the artistic passion to young artists in his home state of VT.

Kaelan Selbach-Broad | RA

Kaelan Selbach is a filmmaker currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. After Growing up in the woods of Southern VT and attending GIA as a student many moons ago; Kaelan followed his passion for filmmaking to Syracuse University where he received a BFA in Film, and to FAMU international in Prague in the Czech Republic where he studied 35mm. Between smaller and more personal artistic endeavors, Kaelan works full time as a set lighting technician on feature films and TV. Aside from his work he also loves to watch movies of any kind, binge read fantasy and sci-fi, listen to music that sounds like breaking machinery, eat donuts and have a nice cup of PG tips English tea. He truly cannot wait to spend the summer returning to his roots and helping to try and pass on the artistic passion to young artists in his home state of VT.

Mo Singletary | RA

Mo Singletary is a creator, collaborator, and artist from Boston, Massachusetts. They recently graduated from Oberlin College with a double major in Environmental Studies and Africana Studies. Mo chose this combination of majors because they are particularly passionate about community organizing in relation to environmental and food justice. Mo strongly believes in the power of learning, growing, healing, and creating in community. Although they are interested in all types of artistic and creative endeavors, they are particularly drawn to the potential for healing and liberation that the act of storytelling through art can offer. Mo would describe themselves as a freedom dreamer, avid gardener, and lover of the moon, sun, stars, ocean, and all things green. They find peace and joy in nature, building connections, movement, cloud-watching, cooking, and dreaming up a future that centers community, creativity, healing, mutual-aid work, and Black agrarianism. Mo is SO very excited to be a part of the GIA team again this summer!

Anokha Venugopal | RA

Anokha is a visual learner. As a recent grad from Oberlin College with an Environmental Studies major and French minor, Anokha is passionate about utilizing media, specifically photography and videography, as a tool for social and environmental change. From working as a media intern for Buzz Women, an India-based NGO addressing poverty amongst rural women, to studying sustainable development in Thailand, Anokha’s EOS 7D camera has remained a constant companion in her travels. At Oberlin, Anokha’s interests in media and environmental communications motivated her to work in public outreach for a sustainability funding board and the Asia Diaspora Coalition, as a photo editor for the Oberlin Review, a campus photographer, and as a Sustainability Intern for the City of Oberlin. Anokha will be moving to India for two years in August to pursue work at an environmental non-profit in the Nilgiri Mountains! On a warm day, Anokha loves to get out her roller blades and coast over well-paved roads. When it’s colder outside, she loves to film and edit videos of her friends and her travels.

Janice Amaya | Director of Student Life (member of the Radministration)

Janice Amaya is an actor, theatermaker, and educator of Nahuatl descent based in Lenapehoking (New York City). There they teach at the Atlantic Acting School, both in the full-time conservatory program and the undergraduate acting studio through New York University. Janice is also a proud member of Pipeline Theatre Company. Recent theater credits: Shhhh (Atlantic Theater Company), Cartography (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Sally Forth (Lincoln Center), 02020 (Performance Space New York), Tell Them I’m Still Young (American Theater Group), Bloodworks (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Brief Chronicle: Books 6-8 (Access Theater). Film: Patriot’s Day (Lionsgate, Dir. Peter Berg). They received their MFA in Acting from the Moscow Art Theater and the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.

Corey Harrower | Institute Director (member of the Radministration)

Corey grew up in a log cabin in the woods of Middlesex, Vermont. After graduating from Wesleyan University he became a professional contemporary dancer, while also mixing in some carpentry, teaching, cooking, arts administration, emergency medicine, conflict resolution, and educational advocacy. He is now the Co-founder and Chief People Officer at Luminary ( and, a music technology company, headquartered in London, UK, where he lives with his wife, Kate, and their daughters, Hazel (7) and Willa (4). He is inspired by the work of, among others, Toni Morrison, Noella Coursaris Musunka, James Baldwin, and Cary Wolfe. He attended GIA in 2000.

Malina Leslie | Director of Operations (member of the Radministration)

Malina Leslie (she/her) is a red-headed giggler who graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in English and Art. She is a quilter who likes to paint with fabric and draw with thread to portray people in various emotions. She also likes to make comics and worked for cartoonist Alison Bechdel on her comic book “Are You My Mother.” Malina is often found birding because birds are awesome. She has lived for significant chunks of time on four of the seven continents and has gotten really good at decorating envelopes because of it. Originally from Hardwick, Vermont, she attended GIA as a student in 2005 and is always thrilled to return!

Hazel Wood | Director of Student Life (member of the Radministration)

Hazel Wood was born and raised in Thetford, Vermont. She now lives an adventurous and bicoastal life between Oregon and Vermont (and beyond) filled with family and gardens. When she’s not traveling, she likes to dabble in every artistic medium she can. Sometimes a performer, she clowns around and shakes her booty in festivals and performances that she gets roped into (usually by her sister Sophie Wood). An auntie and now mother, Hazel enjoys learning by trying new things and relishes epic failures that lead to revelations.

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