Artists & Scholars

Fall 2017


Greg​ Borzo ’76 introduces readers to more than 100 outdoor public fountains in his new book Chicago’s Fabulous Fountains (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017). Along with photos by Julia Thiel, he shares short stories about the structures, the artists, and the city, from the serious and historical to the silly and whimsical, such as a pile of bronze dog poo that glistens when wet, to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets. 


David Hechler ’72, an author and editor-in-chief of the legal magazine The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, published In Good Hands about a South Carolina day care in which two infants died under mysterious circumstances. His book was honored this year by the American Society of Journalists and Authors as the best work of general nonfiction published in 2016. He followed the twists and turns of what proved to be a medical and psychological mystery and also focused on the challenges parents face when trying to ensure that their children in day care are safe. The book is available as a Kindle book on Amazon.

Steve Abhaya Brooks ’64 has published a new book of poems, The Five-Headed Lizard & The Famous Death of a Firefly: American Zenku (CreateSpace, 2017).


Jessica Thebus ’88, a theatre artist and director of the Northwestern University M.F.A. program in directing for the stage, directed the Chicago premiere of For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday at the Shattered Globe Theatre in April and May. The show was written by Sarah Ruhl, Thebus’ longtime collaborator and a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Jackie Weissman ’92 wrote “Parenting Outside the Mainstream: Indie Rocker Moms,” a chapter in the anthology Music of Motherhood: History, Healing, and Activism (Demeter Press, 2017). She describes her work making Rock N Roll Mamas, a feature-length documentary about three indie rockers who strive to follow their creative dreams and raise their children. Weissman is also executive director of Oregon Doc Camp, a retreat for experienced documentary filmmakers. Doc Camp is currently embarking on its fifth year. 

Noga Ashkenazi ’09 is co-writer and director of Saints Rest, a musical drama she shot in summer 2016 in Grinnell, including scenes in the actual Saints Rest coffee shop. Many Grinnellians were involved in the film’s making: Paul McCulley ’79, executive producer; Tyson Stock ’09, co-writer; Brian Cavanagh-Strong ’09, music director; Jaysen Wright ’09, actor; Jon Richardson ’10, actor; Sumana Shankar ’10, actress; Grace Lloyd ’16, makeup artist; Michael Kelley ’16, art department; and Melissa Fandos ’17, second assistant director. See the film’s website to preview a trailer. 


Holly Barnet-Sanchez ’69 and her co-author, Tim Drescher, spent 12 years researching, writing, and editing Give Me Life: Iconography and Identity in East LA Murals (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). Chicanismo, the idea of what it means to be Chicano, was born in the 1970s, when grass-roots activists, academics, and artists joined forces in the civil rights movimiento that spread new ideas about Mexican American history and identity. The community murals those artists painted in the barrios of East Los Angeles were a powerful part of that cultural vitality, and these artworks have been an important feature of Los Angeles culture ever since. This book offers detailed analyses of individual East Los Angeles murals, sets them in social context, and explains how they were produced. The authors, leading experts on mural art, use a distinctive methodology, analyzing the art from aesthetic, political, and cultural perspectives to show how murals and graffiti reflected and influenced the Chicano civil rights movement.

John Fisk ’65, professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University and retired pediatric orthopedic surgeon, was lead contributor to The Atlas of Spinal Orthotics (Exceed Worldwide, 2017). The atlas is an open learning (free-to-use) medical textbook covering the history and use of spinal orthotics in the treatment of many disorders and injuries and is a much-needed resource in underserved regions of the world. The textbook is available free online.

Summer 2017


Lee Running, associate professor of art, won a monthlong artist residency at Jentel Arts, a private family foundation in Sheridan County, Wyo. She was one of six people selected from more than 100 applicants.


Robert Vas Dias ’53 authored Black Book: An Assemblage of the Fragmentary (Shearsman Books, 2016) with British artist Julia Farrer. It’s the first major collaboration between a poet and artist reacting to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.