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April Freely.
April Freely.

April Freely Appointed Executive Director of Fire Island Artist Residency

April Freely has been named the new executive director of the Fire Island Artist Residency, the New York organization founded in 2011 as the first residency to provide resources exclusively to emerging lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying artists and poets. Previously the program coordinator at the Vermont Studio Center, the largest arts residency in the US, Freely will succeed cofounder Chris Bogia, who will transition to the board of directors.

“In this time of transformation, I am excited to learn and grow with this organization, building upon the impressive legacy FIAR has established as a home for LGBTQ+ artists and poets,” said Freely, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is now based in Harlem. “It is my honor to serve this vibrant and dedicated community of artists and allies, and I look forward to our work together.”

In addition to her credentials as an administrator and fundraiser, Freely is a poet and writer who holds graduate degrees in nonfiction and poetry from the University of Iowa and New York University. She is a professor at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, recently received a 2020–2021 Queer Arts Mentorship fellowship in literature, and has published essays on artists in The Kenyon Review and in several artist monographs including Jennifer Packer: Tenderheaded (Renaissance Society, 2018). 

Other arrivals to FIAR include six new members of the board of directors: Brooklyn-based artist Paolo Arao; Washington, DC–based doctor of psychiatry Marc Dalton; Brooklyn-based artist Damien Davis; New York–based lawyer Christian Escobar; Chicagoan artist Derrick Woods-Morrow; Chris E. Vargas, an artist based between Bellingham, Washington, and Los Angeles; and Brian Vines, a New York–based journalist.

“April’s vision, exemplified by her own creative practice and professional and lived experiences, is the future face of FIAR,” said board president Jeremy E. Steinke. “We are excited to welcome April and all of our new board members to embark on our next decade of creating space for and amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ artists and poets.”