Sean Foley is one of two new members of the College of the Atlantic faculty. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

COA names two to faculty

BAR HARBOR — Two new faculty members have been appointed by College of the Atlantic.

Artist Sean Foley is COA’s new professor of painting and drawing. Kourtney Collum has been named the second holder of the COA Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems.

“With these appointments, we’ve attracted dynamic, bright, successful candidates who mesh well with COA’s educational philosophy,” said COA president Darron Collins. “It’s always exciting to bring new talent and expertise into our faculty group.”

COA’s degree program in human ecology focuses on the relationships between humans and their natural, cultural, built and technological environments. It is a philosophy of education that is interdisciplinary, action-oriented and value-driven. COA’s 35 faculty are not divided into departments. Each is expected to collaborate with their peers across the disciplines, Collins said.

Kourtney Collum is one of two new members of the COA faculty this fall. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Kourtney Collum is one of two new members of the COA faculty this fall. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Collum, who received a doctorate in anthropology and environmental policy from the University of Maine, has focused her teaching and research on applied anthropology, agricultural policy and food justice.

“As an environmental anthropologist and human ecologist, my work is highly collaborative and transdisciplinary, contributing to theory within the fields of anthropology, sociology, human ecology and political science,” Collum said. “My scholarship focuses on the complex problems inherent in human-environment interactions within food systems, focusing particularly on farm and food policy.”

Collum’s dissertation examines the social and political factors that influence the adoption of on-farm bee conservation in the lowbush blueberry industries of Maine and Prince Edward Island.

Collum completed a master’s degree in forest resources at the University of Maine and a bachelor’s in anthropology and environmental studies at Western Michigan University. She has received funding for her research from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative and Northeast SARE.

Foley comes to COA from The Ohio State University, where he was a visiting associate art professor and senior lecturer. Prior to his time in Ohio, Foley was the chair of painting at Maine College of Art in Portland.

Foley’s work explores ideas of the monstrous and the grotesque through paintings, drawings and installations that playfully combine notions of figuration, abstraction and art history into a single “carnivalesque” visual experience. He aims to provoke the imagination and facilitate a sense of visual wonder for his viewers.

His paintings, he said, are like monsters: “messy, captivating, silly, but irrevocably prodigious creations unconcerned with being anything in particular.”

He has shown nationally at Anna Kustera and Mary Ryan Gallery in New York, Irvine Contemporary in Washington, D.C., and Allston Skirt Gallery in Boston. Museum shows include the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), DeCordova Museum, Portland Museum of Art and the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. He is the co-curator of “Explode Every Day,” an exhibition currently on display at Mass MoCA.

Foley’s recent honors include residencies at the Kohler Art/Industry program and a Rauschenberg Foundation residency. He also has been recipient of a Golden Foundation Fellowship, Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, and Jurors and Purchase prizes from the Portland Museum of Art Biennial exhibitions.

Foley earned a master’s from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s from the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, both in fine arts.


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