The Artists and Writers

(alphabetical by last name)

Check out these short additional clips to hear advice on creating and composing for an audience; becoming an artist, writer, or musician, and much more!

Use this page to provide students with biographical information about the artists and writers in each of the video segments. The video clips can be used to complement any of the lessons; have students view the clip of the person depicted in a particular lesson’s video segment. This page could also be used as a starting point for additional research on one of the individuals. Consider having students compose a letter to the artist or writer; create a movie that incorporates the video clip and highlights the work of the person; or perhaps complete a biographical sketch of the individual.

  • Fateh Azzam, playwright
  • Joel Babb, painter
  • Jud Caswell, singer and songwriter
  • Amy Stacey Curtis, sculptor and installation artist
  • Robert Farnsworth, poet
  • Alison Hildreth, painter, printmaker and installation artist
  • William Pope.L, performance and visual artist, filmmaker
  • Lincoln Peirce, cartoonist/writer
  • Elizabeth Strout, writer

Fateh Azzam, playwright

With his home base in Georgetown, Maine, Fateh was born a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1966. He has lived in Syria and Lebanon, the U.S., occupied Palestine, U.K., Nigeria and Egypt. He was a member of the famed Celebration Mime Theater in So. Paris, Maine and the Director of El-Hakawati Theater Center in East Jerusalem. Fateh has worked and volunteered for human rights groups, was Associate Professor of Political Science and directed the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Program at the American University in Cairo and is currently the Regional Representative in the Middle East of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Joel Babb, painter

Joel Babb graduated in Art History from Princeton in 1969, studied with George Segal and George Ortman and spent a year in Munich and Rome before going to Boston to get an MFA from the Museum School and Tufts.  There his style changed from abstraction to a contemporary realism.  He is well-known for his Boston cityscapes, although his more recent work has concentrated on Maine landscapes.

Jud Caswell, singer and songwriter

“One of the leading singer-songwriters on the current scene.” Jud has won eight nationally recognized songwriting contests, including the legendary Kerrville New Folk contest. His song “Blackberry Time” is being taught in the songwriting curriculum at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Amy Stacey Curtis, sculptor and installation artist

In 1998, Amy Stacey Curtis began an 18-year commitment to art-making, a project which would culminate through 9 solo-biennial exhibits from the year 2000 to the year 2016. In the end, Curtis will have installed 81 large-in-scope interactive installation and new-media works in the vast mills of 8 or 9 Maine towns. The Maine Arts Commission’s 2005 Individual Artist Fellow for Visual Art, Curtis has committed to this work to convey that we are a part of a whole, that everyone and everything is connected and affects.

Robert Farnsworth, poet

Robert Farnsworth holds an A.B. degree in English from Brown University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. Two collections of his verse have been published by Wesleyan University Press: “Honest Winter” and “Three or Four Hills and a Cloud.” He has received numerous awards including the PEN New England Discovery Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He currently teaches at Bates College.

Alison Hildreth, painter, printmaker and installation artist

Alison Hildreth was born in Boston in 1934. After graduating from Vassar College majoring in English/Art History, Hildreth worked in New York and went to night school at the Art Students League, and the National Academy of Art. She received a BFA from the Maine College of Art in 1976. Since then, Hildreth has maintained a studio in Portland. Literature informs much of her work. Most recently, she has been investigating the intersection of science and art.

William Pope.L, performance and visual artist, filmmaker

Pope.L was born in 1955 in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Pratt Institute, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program and received a BA from Montclair State University and a MFA from Rutgers University. He was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial and is a Guggenheim Fellow. As the self-proclaimed “friendliest black artist in America,” Pope.L invites dialogue through provocative performances. He is best known for a series of more than 40 “crawls” staged since 1978 as part of his larger eRacism project, in which he inched his way through busy city streets on his belly, back, hands, and knees in an attempt to draw attention to the plight of the least empowered members of society.

Lincoln Peirce, cartoonist/writer

Lincoln Peirce attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He is the creator of the comic strip “Big Nate” which appears in more than two hundred U.S. newspapers and online daily at Lincoln Peirce lives with his wife and two children in Portland, Maine. “The Big Nate website” includes a blog, additional video interviews and a “how-to-draw Big Nate” video.

Elizabeth Strout, writer

Born in Portland, Maine, Elizabeth Strout attended Bates College before earning law and gerontology degrees from Syracuse University. Strout’s most recent work, Olive Kitteridge, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a New York Times Bestseller. She is the author of two previous best-selling novels, Abide With Me and Amy and Isabelle, She currently lives in New York city.