Heather Stivison

Heather Stivison, Star Store Umass Campus

Living in a seacoast town, I frequently look out at the ever-changing, immense, and powerful ocean and am reminded of my own physical insignificance. Looking overhead at what seems to be an endless sky—but is actually an infinitesimal part of the incomprehensible universe—overwhelms me. The forms I paint are often derived from my responses to the vastness of water, sky, and constellations. But I do not recreate or illustrate these places. Instead, I paint the unseen, with personal links to a sense of place, concerns of the day, or hazy dreaming that such sights elicit. Lately my dreams have been imbued with a sense of anxiety for the world we are leaving to our children.


There is an ebb and flow in my process. I often begin by rapidly applying subtle color variations of paint, responding to the paint itself more than rigidly adhering to my preconceived plan. I pour translucent washes, smear thicker layers of viscose paint, scrape lines into the surface, and dab and poke at the surface with rags. When I finally pause, I realize my hands are covered with colors, my palette is a mess, rags and paper towels litter the surfaces where opened tubes and jars of paint are scattered in chaos. This is when I need to sit with the work. To be with it, live with it, to listen to what it is saying. Often, my anxiety from staring at the canvas brings on dreaded feelings of apprehension and suspense of “what now?” These moments alternate with exhilarating feelings of anticipation of something wonderful yet to come. And so, I often experience my subject while painting it. The process of alternating furiously painting and quietly “listening” continues until the work feels done. Or at least until I feel I can let go of the work. Often, I wonder if a work is ever truly complete.

Artist Professional Achievements

Selected Exhibitions


  • Old Myths, New Stories, Women’s Caucus for Art, national juried exhibition. Jurors Chris Stevens and Jennifer Perlow. Curtis Cultural Arts Center, Greenwood Village, CO
  • Scylla: The Ugly Truth Revealed, Invitational regional exhibition as part of the National Endowment for the Arts 2020 Big Read. Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro, MA
  • Women Making Their Mark, O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, Mill Valley, CA. National exhibition. Jurors Donna Seager and Suzanne Gray
  • Suffrage and Struggle: Feminist Art and the 19th Amendment Centennial, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI, regional exhibition. Juror Jan Howard, Chief Curator,RISD Museum
  • 14th Annual International MFA/MA exhibition of Master Pieces, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center, Cincinnati, OH. Juried international exhibition.
  • Waking Dreams, Solo Exhibition, Gallery 244, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • Perspectives 2021, juried international exhibition. Czong Institute for Contemporary Art, S.Korea.
  • Just Like a Woman, juried national exhibition, Cultural Center of Cape Cod.
  • Shifting Sights, curated and presented by A R E A Gallery, Boston MA
  • Shim Masters Show, organized and presented by SHIM Art Network with support from the Social Distance Art Project, UK
  • South Coast Artists Invitational, Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery, Bristol Community College, MA
  • State of the Art 2020, Studio Montclair, Montclair NJ


  • Quiet Places, Norton Gallery, South Dartmouth, MA; by invitation
  • South Coast Artists Invitational, Gallery at Four, Tiverton, RI; by invitation
  • High Anxiety, Gallery X, New Bedford, MA
  • Maritime, Norton Gallery, South Dartmouth, MA; by invitation
  • Transformations, Parker Giles Gallery, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY; juried national exhibition as part of a year-long lecture series featuring two MacArthur “Genius” Award winners.
  • Shift/Fix(ed), Hunter College Gallery, New York, NY, by invitation.
  • Drawing on Expression, Judith Klein Gallery, New Bedford, MA, by invitation.
  • Heather Stivison &Patricia White: a two-woman show. Judith Klein Gallery, New Bedford, MA
  • Glimpse, Gallery 244, UMass Star Store, New Bedford, MA, by invitation.
  • Winter Works, the Annual Juried Exhibition of New England Artists, Bromfield Gallery, Boston; juried.
  • In Transit, juried international exhibition, Arts League of Rhode Island, Vets Gallery, Providence; juror Abigail Newbold, Director of Exhibitions, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston.
  • Judith Klein Gallery 9th Anniversary Exhibit, Judith Klein Gallery, New Bedford, MA, by invitation.
  • Nocturnes, True Grit Gallery, Middleboro, MA; juried.
  • Quench!, Vault Gallery of Fine Art, South Dartmouth, MA; solo exhibition.
  • Post Industrial Impressions, True Grit Gallery, Middleboro, MA; juried.
  • Rock, Paper, Paint, Wickford Art Association, Wickford, RI; juror Teresa Mowery.
  • New Bedford Art Museum Members Juried Exhibition, New Bedford MA; juror, Robert Moeller.
  • Active Imagination: Artists Respond to Global Challenges, University Gallery, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA; juror, April Claggett.
  • Chromatic: The 61st Annual National Fall Exhibition, Southern Vermont Arts Center.
  • Paper Unleashed, juried, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, CVPA Main Campus Gallery, collaborative installation entitled Arise!

Selected Publications

Selected Presentations and Related Work

  • Stivison, Heather E. Craftsman Farms. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. 2014.
  • Cathers, David, ed. Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Farms: A Pictorial History, contributing essay, and overall publication management, 2010. Print.
  • Quarterly essays published in Notes From the Farms, the journal of the Stickley Museum, 2007-2013.
  • Essays in the annual publication of the National Arts & Crafts Conference, 2008 – 2013, and 2019.
  • Nature Inspired: Autumn AnthologyWinter Anthology, and Summer Anthology, Falling Leaves Press, national distribution; 2015-2016.
  • “Minority Representation in Mainstream Museums” Three installments published over a three-month period. org, Whitestone Publications, 2019. Web.
  • “Piecing Together the Little-Known Life of Eloise Roorbach,” Two installments– Notes From the Farms, The quarterly journal of the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Summer, 2018, Winter, 2018-2019
  • Uncovering Eloise Roorbach: An Unsung Hero of The Craftsman. Curated the exhibition and wrote the gallery guide to exhibit of the same name. 2019.
  • Powerful Women Artists. Mentor artist for middle school in pilot project to elevate the presence of living and historical female artists. Funded by a grant from the National Art Teachers Association. 2019-2020.
  • Windows on Pawtucket Exhibition. Served on planning committee and as a juror. 2020.
  • Reading and Creating Abstract Art. Presented for the Bourne Wareham Art Association. 2019.
  • Wet Paint Padanaram. Served as juror for plein air art competition. 2019.
  • The Women Behind Gustav Stickley. Symposium speaker, 31st Annual National Arts & Crafts Conference, Asheville, NC. 2018.
  • Bourne Wareham Annual Art Exhibition. Served as the juror. 2018. 

Selected Awards and Recognitions

Selected Affiliations

  • Arts & Crafts Research Fund Grant for work on unknown artist and journalist, Eloise Roorbach. 2018.
  • Museum work profiled in Redux: The Arts & Crafts Revival 1972-2012, Budwig, Judith and Jeffrey Preston (2013). Mercer Oak Publishing, Princeton, NJ (pp. 287-304).
  • New Jersey Historical Commission’s Award of Excellence for Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. 2011.
  • Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Farms: A Pictorial History, Third Prize, League of Historical Societies Annual Publications Award. 2010.
  • Bronze Telly (shared award) for Excellence in Fundraising Videos for the Montclair Art Museum.
  • Silver Thimble from The National Needlework Association, for design excellence
  • President, Board of Directors, South Coast Artists, Inc.
  • Board of Directors, Arts League of Rhode Island
  • Elected Artist Member, Arts League of Rhode Island
  • Member, American Alliance of Museums
  • Member, New England Museum Association
  • Member, Gallery X Artist Cooperative
  • Member, Women’s Caucus for Art
  • Member, National Association of Women Artists
  • Past President, Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums
  • Past President, New Jersey Association of Museums
  • Past President, Dartmouth Cultural Center, Inc.
  • Past Co-Chair, Dartmouth Cultural Council, a local branch of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Heather Stivison

South Dartmouth, MA 02748