The Arts Institute (GIA)

Are you an aspiring artist? Amplify your creativity at the GIV Arts Institute! Join Us June 25th - July 9th, 2023 @ Castleton University in Castleton, Vermont

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

Ready to get creative?

Amplify your artistic voice at the GIV Arts Institute, also known as GIA! You’ll join a community of young artists from all over Vermont for an exciting two weeks of collaboration, creation, and inspiration. Come develop skills in the artistic disciplines of your choice alongside creators who love art as much as you do! With immersions into theater, music, writing, dance, visual arts and more, there’s something for everyone at the Arts Institute!

Join us on the campus of Castleton University in a shared dynamic artistic inquiry. Together, we will build a vibrant artistic community, bringing together outstanding professional teaching artists and curious, motivated students to explore the processes of creativity.

**GIA is a 2-week intensive summer program for Vermont high school students finishing grades 9-11.

June 25th – July 9th, 2023 @ Castleton University in Castleton, VT

For information regarding tuition, please click here.

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!

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. 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.

Check out the vibe from Arts 2022!

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 top 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 – 9:50 AM: Community Chorus
9:50 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
9:45 PM: Suite Check-in
10:30 PM: End of Day

Watch the Video

Classes & Offerings:


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 Castleton University’s fully equipped TV 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 Castleton University 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

Meet some of our Professional Teaching Artists of the past few years

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. A short 17 years later, she returned to the US with ambitions to use painting as her mode of emotional communication and story-telling. 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 Burton | 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

Isaac Littlejohn Eddy lives in Johnson, VT with his wife, writer and Chinese environmental policy expert, Lucia Green-Weiskel, and their three kids. He received his BA in film studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Art from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. 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 second 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.”


Filipa Estrela | Faculty

Filipa Estrela (any pronouns) is a crafter, cartoonist, performer, educator, and storyteller; sometimes all at the same time. They are a working artist living in the Providence, RI area and are a member of the Queer Archive Work and Binch Press studio. Filipa’s creative practice is all about experimenting, exploring, and discovering new things about themselves, their work, and the world around them. Currently, xe has been focused on making comics with unconventional materials– ex: needlefelted comics, embroidery comics, mixed media comics, pyrographed comics, cutpaper comics, etc.– and encouraging others to make unconventional material comics as well. Unconventional Material Comics were a part of xir Center for Cartoon Studies MFA thesis. The thesis, called Tiny & Soft, was a collection of 10 mini-comics tied to objects and inspired by ethereal moments. An online version of the thesis can be found here: . Filipa’s work is also informed by their identity and heritage. They are a queer, gender-fluid, Cape-Verdean/Macanese-Chinese/Portuguese mixed person of color. Their goal in their creative work is to create stories that draw inspiration from their background—whether it is their mixed heritage, queerness, or experience as a crafter, educator and artist —-and blend the everyday with a dose of myth, magic and wonder. Most of all, they want to tell stories that are heartwarming, encourage human connection, and inspire others to embrace their own creative selves.

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 Stowe, 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.

Doug Gillespie | Faculty

Douglas Gillespie is a Brooklyn-based Dance Artist passionate in the making, teaching and embodying of dance as an art form. He teaches at colleges and dance centers around the world, including The Juilliard School, NYU Tisch Summer Program, Mark Morris Dance Group, National Taiwan University of the Arts and at Gibney Dance Center in New York. Gillespie is an avid dance maker choreographing for Teoria De Gravidad, Limon Professional Training Program, Moving Current Dance Collective, Sarasota Contemporary Dance and Doug Varone DEVICES workshop. Gillespie has also created his own student commissions for Florida Southern College, SUNY Brockport, Cleveland State University, University of Florida and Santa Fe College; two of his works have premiered at American College Dance Association. Gillespie has also premiered two international self-choreographed solo projects. Most recently for Festival Danza Urbana in Monterrey, Mx. in August 2018 and 2019 also in Taipei, Taiwan November 2015. Douglas was recently a member of David Dorfman Dance 2018 to 2021 and has been an originating member and creative contributor throughout Kate Weare Company’s first decade and beyond. Gillespie has performed in Punchdrunk Emursive’s Sleep No More and Third Rail Projects’ Then She Fell. Gillespie was born in San Diego, raised in Jacksonville, Fl. and received his BFA in Dance from Florida State University in 2005.

Candace Hope | Faculty

Candace Hope is a documentary photographer and producer based in Western Massachusetts.

She studied photography at Phoenix College and The International Center for Photography. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Take Magazine, The Valley Advocate, and Imbibe Magazine. Her work has been exhibited at the Sharon Arts Center, the Vermont Center for Photography, ASSEMBLE Northampton, and the Northampton Center for the Arts. She is a recipient of the Western Mass Creative awards for her work with SHOFCO, a humanitarian non-profit based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her most recent project, Ending the Silence: #metoo, was awarded a visual arts grant from the Northampton Arts Council and was exhibited at the Northampton Center for the Arts in October 2019.

In addition to her work as a photographer, Candace has extensive experience leading teams of designers, developers, illustrators, animators, copywriters and brand strategists to achieve award-winning outcomes on complex creative projects. She has managed teams working on websites, ad campaigns, capital campaigns, product packaging, brand identity, animation, and more.

Flako Jimenez | Faculty

Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez is a Dominican-born, Bushwick-raised, multi-hyphenate artist. As a poet, playwright, educator, actor, producer, and director his work exists in and explores the intersections of identity, language, mediums, cultures, and communities found in his personal life and beyond. Flako is best known for original productions and three signature festivals produced with his company Oye Group. Flako has appeared in Taxilandia (Oye Group, New York Theatre Workshop, NYTimes Critic’s Pick), Esperpento (Sundance Institute), Early Shaker Spirituals (Wooster Group), Last Night At The Palladium (Bushwick Starr/3LD), Yoleros (Bushwick Starr/IATI theater), Conversations Pt.1: How To Make It Black In America (JACK), Richard Maxwell’s Samara (Soho Rep.), Kaneza Schaal’s Jack & (BAM). ATI Best Actor Award Winner for 2016. HOLA Outstanding Solo Performer for 2017. In 2018 he became the first Dominican-American Lead Artist in The Public Theater Under The Radar Festival with his show Oye For My Dear Brooklyn. A 2021 Jerome Artist Fellow and 2021 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Performance Art/Theater Award. Flako is currently working on Mercedes, a multi-disciplinary memory play exploring the relationships between matriarchy and ancestors, familial bonds and inherited trauma, and how our own identity can impact our mental health.

Caitlin La Dolce | Faculty

Caitlin La Dolce (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture, painting and drawing. La Dolce’s work explores such themes as memory, the relationship between synthetic and organic, the body, rural poverty, growth, and inheritance. La Dolce is currently one of 27 artists working for GESTURES (, an artist-run project that prioritizes experimentation and accessible community collection. Caitlin has completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, and Arts 77. She completed a solo exhibition this spring in Burlington, Vermont, and selected group exhibitions at BCA Firehouse Gallery, The Chandler Gallery, TW Wood Gallery, and Gallery 1010. She spends her time outside the studio working as a teaching artist and accessibility educator, integrating arts education into school curriculums for reactive learners and trauma survivors. Caitlin will be moving to Athens, Georgia this fall to attend the Lamar Dodd School of Art to begin a three year interdisciplinary research based MFA program and teaching assistantship. This will be Caitlin’s first time attending GIA since 2005, when she first came to the Castleton campus as a student!

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 Castleton State College. 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.

Alexa Rivera | Faculty

Alexa Rene’ Rivera (she/her) is 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 prestigious 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 usually Punk Bands 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. When not weaving baskets in her studio, Alexa can be found waitressing, reading murder mysteries, cooking, thrifting, taking way too many pictures, watching Spanish court room dramas, and finding any excuse to travel.

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.

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 Castleton University, providing lights, sound and other sundries for too many acts to mention. He is the lucky spouse of Haley Rice and proud father to five-year old, Keaton Stine. He is super excited to be involved with GIA and hopes you are too!

Bonnie Hanley | Nurse

Bonnie Hanley, RN, is an avid supporter of the arts and has been a nurse specializing in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing for 35 years. She teaches for the Castleton University School of Nursing and lives in Castleton, Vermont, with her husband of 30 years, who is also a Registered Nurse. Bonnie has been involved in theater for her entire adult life, beginning in high school when she landed the leading role in “Alice in Wonderland.” She then dabbled in theatrical makeup and finally stage managing for West County Players, a community theater in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. Since having children, she has switched gears to be in the starring role of “Stage Mom” for the past 15 years. Bonnie is thrilled to be joining the GIA team this year!

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 creative arts work into curriculum. In the clinic, Lowry works predominately with 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 strives to make work that prioritizes the leadership of young people to tell their own stories – particularly when they hold identities that Lowry does not. Most recently Lowry co-directed and providing clinical consultation to the documentary–style theater performance Listen Up!. The show was based on the lives of Vermont youth and toured the state in the summer of 2021. Lowry also co-teaches “The Use of Theater as a Public Health Initiative” at Northern Vermont University, exploring the use of documentary, community-based ethnographic, and devised theater as a form of community health and activism. She is thrilled to be a part of the GIA community.

Sam Abrams | RA

Sam returns to GIA as a fifth 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 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 recently completed one year as a digital nomad and has landed in Chicago, IL, after two and a half years of living in Colombia. 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 Amoda is an actor, singer, sticker collector, and lover of arts and crafts from Brooklyn, New York! She is currently a third-year Theatre major, History and English double minor at Oberlin College. 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 and LAByrinth Theatre Company (where she also participated in their annual Barn Series), and a study abroad program at the British American Drama Academy in London. Anire loves singing with friends, discussing Shakespeare through a social justice lens, making jewelry, crocheting, sunsets, and the color green. Her favorite animals are manta rays and sea turtles. She can’t wait to meet everyone and spend her first summer as an RA at GIA!

Emily Billado | RA

Emily C. Billado is just your average art loving, coffee drinking, theatre enthusiast who was born and raised in Castleton, VT. While she left for the big city (Washington D.C.) for 5 years, she eventually had to follow the call of New England’s mountains and relocated closer to home in Western Mass. When she isn’t working as a college admissions counselor, she can be found exploring museums, making music, reading plays, or sewing! GIA is the highlight of her year and she can’t wait to be inspired and learn from some amazing young artists!

Aja Broad | RA

Aja Broad 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 this year, Aja moves on to his first ever self-produced feature film that will be shot right here in Vermont in the fall. Aside from his work 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.

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 a small-town Vermonter trying to make her way in the fun and overwhelming city of Boston, where she works at Tufts University! She has a background in sex-ed, LGBTQ studies, and suicide prevention, and will be attending Columbia University to pursue a degree in Social Work. You can find Lily baking loaves of challah, embroidering all over her old clothes, mending her friend’s clothes, singing and tap dancing. Lily has been an artsy and crafty human for all of her life, including back in high school when she attended GIA as a student!

Casey Greenleaf | RA

Casey Greenleaf is a singer-songwriter, producer, activist, and community organizer from Brattleboro, Vermont. After graduating high school, she studied Cultural Anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston, where she had the chance to wear many hats among the rich art scene there, working at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Huntington Theatre Company, music-directing the award-winning acapella group “Pitch, Please!”, and playing shows around the city with her former band, Mutual Friends. She’s taught summer chorus and theatre programs in Southern Vermont and is the founder of “Familiar Strangers” – a national arts gathering that helped artists maintain creative connection throughout the pandemic. When she’s not working her 9-5 as a Community Coordinator in Brooklyn, she can be found at band practice, cooking, meditating, journaling, rock climbing, or doing a weird dance.

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 as an undergrad in Rhode Island, 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 and Creative Capital of Providence. When she’s not taking care of her seven fish or producing her podcast, “The Tangible Toolkit,” you might find her painting, scrapbooking, writing, doing her best amateur yoga pose, or watching the sunset. Hannah is incredibly excited to return to the institute this summer.

Brittney Malik | RA

Brittney comes to you from the Burlington, VT. As an actor and newly found visual artist, she found her love for performance and the arts as a GIA student in 2014. She studied Theater for a short time 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 currently co-founding a clothing company where she and her partner press customs designs on clothing and other materials. 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 two dogs Nova and Sage. 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 in person at GIA this summer!

Pirawan Ratanapratum | RA

Pirawan Ratanapratum spent most of her life in a quiet town located in northern Vermont. She now currently lives and works in Chittenden County as a classroom teacher after graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in Elementary Education. When she’s not teaching her imaginative group of 4th grade students, she can be found bullet journaling, creating colored pencil drawings, doodling, writing haikus, or simply with her nose buried in a book. She is also someone who is very passionate and curious about the many different cultures and languages in the world. Don’t be surprised if you spot her jamming out to BTS or sipping some matcha (or both)! It’s been seven years since she attended GIA as a student in 2015, Pirawan is incredibly stoked to return as an RA and is looking forward to meeting all the amazing artists!

Karan Saini | RA

Karan Saini is from Fairfax, VT and went to GIA at a student in 2014. He is very ecstatic to return as an RA! Having been in over 15 productions over the years, Karan is passionate about the arts and finds serenity in the theater. Having previously worked in the financial industry, Karan is now currently working on mastering his craft. In his free time, he likes to hang out with his dog Yoshi and play video games. Let’s chat about our favorite tv shows!

Kaelan Selbach | 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. After graduating high school, Mo ventured out of the city to attend Oberlin College in Ohio where they are studying Environmental Studies and Africana Studies. They 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 this summer!

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.

Emily Climer | Director of Student Life (member of the Radministration)

Emily lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where she dances, teaches, and writes curricula. She first became part of the GIA community in 2012, when she worked as an RA just after graduating from Bennington College. While at Bennington, Emily studied dance with Susan Sgobati, co-writing a chapbook about her Emergent Improvisation. Today, she continues to perform, improvise, and teach dance. She also works for an education organization called Great Minds, where she designs books and lessons for emerging readers. Emily can’t wait to return to GIA this summer.

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 currently the Director of People for Luminary in NYC and 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!

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 exceptions is the middle Sunday which is unique.

Where is GIA held and what are the facilities like?

GIA occurs on the campus of Castleton University 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 Castleton University with a roommate. 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


● Cell phone (If you must bring one to communicate with your parent/guardian, it must be used only in your suite.)
● 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 above to get a sense of the GIA team!

I am a vegetarian/vegan/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 (1:30 pm — 3:30 pm). 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 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. So just 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 but don’t have the means, 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, GIA does sell T-shirts and sweatshirts at registration and the final day.

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 Castleton University
Fine Arts Center Box Office
Castleton, VT 05735

Can you imagine two weeks surrounded by a community of Vermonters who love art as much as you do?

Apply Now!