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14 artists to watch

by Carrie Nieman

His sculptures, installations and video pieces often feature suburbs and banal settings, he says. Baldes is currently working on an installation of sprinklers that shoot out fiber-optic tubes, created for an exhibit at Longwood Center for the Visual Arts in Farmville, Va. He is also working with the city to allow art students to design bus wraps.

2. Taylor Barnett, trumpet player

As a graduate assistant at VCU, Barnett runs the school's Jazz Orchestra II. He is a trumpet player and protégé of John D'Earth. Antonio Garcia, director of jazz studies at VCU, calls Barnett "one of the most gifted jazz soloists to come through the program since Doug Richards founded the program in 1980." Barnett plays in jazz, Latin, pop and rock groups and is currently pursuing a classical trumpet performance degree.

3. Kristin Beal, painter

Beal received her M.F.A. from VCU's painting and printmaking department last year. According to Department Chairman Richard Roth, she "makes paintings that are very playful, pop-inspired, three-dimensional assemblages." Last year Beal's work was invited into the Corcoran Gallery's "Options 2002" exhibition of new talent.

4. Amy Berlin, director

Berlin, an attorney with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, acts and directs in her spare time. She recently directed the Richmond Triangle Players' Southern spoof, "Eula Mae's Beauty Bait & Tackle," and will be directing a murder mystery, "Accomplice," in January at the Chamberlayne Actor's Theatre.

"I don't know how she does it all, but she does it, and she does it well," according to Triangle Players' Managing Producing Director Michael Gooding. "She has a real knack for comedy and timing both as an actor and director."

5. James Busbee, painter

VCU painting graduate student James Busbee makes big paintings and experimental things with thread, according to Roth. At the beginning of the year he was invited into the Corcoran Gallery's "Options 2002" exhibition of new talent.

6. Daniel Clark, jazz pianist

"He's a real gifted cat," says Antonio Garcia, director of jazz studies at VCU. The recent VCU graduate is nearly omnipresent in the music scene. "As a leader he's very, very visible," says Garcia, who is no doubt referring to Clark's obvious enjoyment in his music. He rarely sits when he plays and he often even dances. Clarke plays rock and jazz with Modern Groove Syndicate, Devil's Workshop Big Band, Regan, John D'Earth and many others.

7. James Frazier, dancer/choreographer

Frazier joined the faculty at VCU last year where he teaches dance history and theory. He tours nationally with a company called Edgeworks from the Washington, D.C., area. The group of five African-American men are "charged with a whole different kind of energy," according to Martha Curtis, chairwoman of the VCU dance department. His work will be performed by students at VCU's student-faculty concert next year.

8. Mark Lomanno, jazz pianist

This 2002 University of Richmond music-performance graduate can be seen leading the Mark Lomanno Trio regularly at Vondel Park in Shockoe Bottom. He has received numerous awards for jazz-piano performance on the state and regional level, including a nomination to the All-Eastern Jazz Ensemble in 1997 and a scholarship to study piano at UR. He was singled out by the Richmond Jazz Society this year with a 2002 Joseph J. Kennedy Jr. Jazz Music Scholarship, which he is using to perform in the Santiago Jazz Festival in Cuba. He also founded and leads a quintet called Groove Sophisticate.

9. Sandra Luckett, painter

Luckett was awarded a 2002 Pollak Prize for excellence in the arts by Richmond Magazine. She assembles thousands of little objects and makes site-specific installations. She was also invited into the Corcoran Gallery's "Options 2002" exhibition of new talent and is currently pursuing her graduate degree in painting at VCU.

10. Jake Mosser, actor

"Jake has a beguiling simplicity about him," local director Richard St. Peter says. "He's got all-American, boy-next-door good looks, but in his heart, he's a ferocious actor and he will take on anything." Mosser has performed all over town in Firehouse, Barksdale and Theatre Gym productions. Catch him next in TheatreVirginia's production of "The Laramie Project" this March. He plays several pivotal roles, including both killers, according to St. Peter, who will direct the production.

11. Scott Putman, dancer/choreographer

Putman came to Richmond last year to teach at VCU. Although he is not well-known in Richmond yet, he arrived from Chicago where he had his own company. "He is an exquisite performer in the prime of his career," says VCU's Martha Curtis. His work -- which is being commissioned nationally -- includes a broad range of styles and has elements that have to do with physics. He will be performing several works with Melanie Richards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland next fall.

12. Derome Scott Smith, artistic director

This award-winning George C. Wythe High School drama teacher began his own theater company with the mission to bring plays that "witness to your soul, testify with your spirit, and minister to your heart." Under the guidance of Theater IV, the Living Word Stage Company plans to minister to African-American youths with both classic and original works that convey positive messages. Its first season kicked off Oct.10 with stories of spiritual awakening written by Smith. The seven shows planned for the first season include a comedy, a drama ("A Raisin in the Sun") and a musical.

13. Javier Tapia, painter

A professor of painting at VCU, Tapia has won respect within the art world for his large-scale abstract watercolors. "He's able to keep vibrant fresh coloration on a large scale," says Bev Reynolds, owner and gallery director of Reynolds Gallery.

14. Heide Trepanier, painter

"I think of myself as a sociopolitical and cultural satirist," Trepanier told Style in June. Her paintings feature intensely colored backgrounds with squiggles and drips of paint that seem to interact. Thei titles -- like "Eros of Envy" and "Potential Problems in Future Relationships" -- suggest that they offer critical visions of human interaction. Trepanier recently won both a Virginia Commission for the Arts grant and a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts fellowship. She co-founded the newly opened, experimental art gallery, Orange Door. She teaches art classes at VCU and the Hand Workshop, plus she's curating shows and showing her own work in Richmond and Washington, D.C.

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