Ann Fessler, a visual artist and professor at Rhode Island School of Design, has worked over the past twenty years in interactive-video and sound installations, photography, and artists’ books, using storytelling to explore issues of family, identity, and gender inequities. Since 1990, Fessler has created four installations on adoption. Her current project, Everlasting, is based on oral-history interviews that she conducts with women who surrendered children for adoption between World War II and the passage of Roe v. Wade.
During her Radcliffe fellowship, Fessler will interview birth mothers from the six-state New England region and produce a new sound/video installation based on their stories. She will also continue production on a film that combines archival footage from the 1940s to 1960s with the voices of mothers to address the gap between lived personal history and official histories as disseminated through film.
Fessler has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the LEF Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and Art Matters, New York. She has also held residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has been exhibited at venues including the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; the California Museum of Photography, Riverside; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Her award-winning videos have been screened widely at festivals and in gallery installations.