DePauw, NYAP 1990

Peter Zummo

Linda Earle, Executive Director of NYAP interviews Cathy Day, NYAP alumna 1990 from DePauw University.  

Cathy Day attended the New York Arts Program in Fall 1990 from DePauw University where she was an English major.  She is the author of two books:  Comeback Season, a non-fiction novel (Free Press 2008) and The Circus in Winter, a short-story cycle (Harcourt 2004).  The Circus in Winter was a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award, the Story Prize, and the GLCA, New Writers' Award.  Comeback Season was nominated for the Great Lakes Book Award and has been optioned for film.  Her stories and essays have appeared in New Stories from the South, Story, River Styx, Antioch Review, Shenandoah, Post Road, 
Sports IllustratedCreative Nonfiction, The Millions, Fiction Writer's Review. and Ninth Letter.  Her current project is Mrs. Cole Porter, a novel.  She lives in Indiana and teaches at Ball State University. 


How did you make the decision to do a New York Semester?


When I visited DePauw as a high school senior, I met with an English department faculty member who told me about the New York Arts Program, and as soon as I heard you could go to New York, get an internship and college credits, I was sold. I had been looking at a few other colleges, but I immediately decided to go to DePauw.


Where did you do your internship?  How did it meet/subvert your expectations, challenge your goals? Any surprises?


I interned at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, which by 1990 was no longer located in The Factory but in a rather swank building in Soho. My internship was amazingly fun and instructive. What I found challenging was that, having grown up working class in small-town Indiana in those pre-internet days, I had some pretty big holes in my cultural knowledge. For example, during my first week, the editor Ingrid Sischy asked me to call the New Yorker and tell them she was on her way there to do a goat, and then to call someone named Moma and tell them she’d be there for the event. Somehow, I figured out that “goat” meant “Goings on About Town,” but I ended up calling NYC information and asking for “Moma.” When the operator asked me if that was a first name or a last name, I told them, “Maybe it’s a one-word name, like ‘Cher’ or ‘Madonna.’” Despite blunders like this, despite all the things I did not know and how utterly uncool I was, I was successful at Interview. I worked hard. Nobody had to tell me what to do. In no time, I went from ‘flunky’ to ‘assistant to the photo editor’, got my name on the masthead and eventually a job offer (which I turned down). There’s a lesson in this about Midwestern values trumping more cosmopolitan values, I think, and it’s helped me throughout my life to remember that you should never rein in your ambitions just because you’re afraid of making a fool of yourself


How did the experience affect the rest of your time at DePauw?


I had one semester left at DePauw, a time during which I was focused mostly on my undergraduate thesis, which became my first book The Circus in Winter.  I was also applying to graduate schools in creative writing.  Before I left New York, I'd already decided that magazine journalism wasn't for me - I realized I much preferred talking to people in my head than in real life --so my NYAP experience freed me up to pursue new goals without any lingering regrets


Did your decision to move away from magazine journalism and towards fiction as a focus play into your return to the mid-west - closer to your creative sources?


I hated the Midwest growing up, and I thought it was my destiny to live in a place like New York. But what my internship taught me is that it is just not in me to be a journalist, to make a living out of socializing, interviewing, confronting. I learned that I was too much of an introvert for that life, and I’m really grateful that I learned that lesson. So, I thought then, how else can I get out of Indiana? Answer: graduate school. After that, I started my academic teaching career and lived in Minnesota, Gettysburg, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh. It took me a long time to recognize that it’s not easy to live in a place where you know—quite literally—no one. In the New York Arts Program, I was surrounded by young people like myself, and when you’re 21, you think that’s the way it will always be. It’s not. In my mid-30’s, I felt a really strong pull to return home (which became the subject of my second book, Comeback Season), and after a lot of almosts, I finally got a job back home in Indiana. I’ve never been happier, although if you’d told me in 1990 that that’s the way it would turn out, I would have said you were nuts.

Incidentally, when I published Comeback Season, a young man who’d been in the NYAP with me heard me on the radio and got in touch. We were friends back then, but lost touch in those pre-email days. About a year after we reconnected, we got married. 


Your novel The Circus in Winter is being adapted for the stage.  How did that happen?


Ball State is very committed to what it calls “immersive learning.” Basically, it’s a one-semester class where the faculty member and the students work on an arts-related project together (make a documentary, edit a book, create an art show, make a website) and receive a full-semester’s worth of credit. Basically, it’s the New York Arts Program, but on campus. A member of the musical theatre faculty wanted to make a musical, and in their early discussions, my book came up because it had been taught at Ball State for years in the history department. I was living in Pittsburgh at the time. They called me up and said, “Would you allow a group of Indiana students to adapt your book?” and I said, “Of course.” I went to visit the campus and was so impressed with the project and with a school that created opportunities for things like that to happen. A month later, they announced they were looking for a fiction writer. I applied (along with hundreds of other people) and was lucky to be offered the position. Last week, the musical premiered at Ball State. Eight performances, all of them sold out, and there’s a good chance the play has legs. The faculty and students who made it happen are absolutely incredible. 


What are you working on now? 


I’m working on a novel about Cole Porter and his wife Linda, so getting to watch the birth of a musical was a rare and wonderful opportunity.  


Any advice for our current students?


There is no such thing as a bad internship. Even if all you figure out is what you don’t want, that is still an incredibly valuable lesson.  And cherish the friendships you make on the program. Maybe for the first time in your life, you’re surrounded by people just like you. Stay in touch. Given what happened to me and Eric, you just never know what’s going to happen. 


Early in the Fall 2011 Semester Faculty Advisor in Visual Arts & Writing Emilie Clarke and her seminar group participated in a multi-disciplinary arts experience that responds to the sensory challenges of living in the city --many of them created by the very things that make it such a vital place to live: "the ever-present cacophony of traffic, construction, and commerce; the struggle for mental and physical space; and the anxious need for constant communication in person or via technology".   Stillspotting NYC presented by the Guggenheim Museum is a two-year multidisciplinary project that takes the museum’s Architecture and Urban Studies programming out into the streets of the city’s five borough, Every three to five months, “stillspots” are identified, created, or transformed by architects, artists, designers, composers, and philosophers into public tours, events, or installations. The NYAP seminar group participated in the first of these projects - a "tour " of Lower Manhattan.  Earlham student David Aristizábal  found deep resonances with the experience of post-911 New York in his journey:

NYAP 2011 (Columbian National studying at Earlham College)


Stillspotting is so far the most significant experience I’ve had in NYC. Maybe due to the introspectiveness I was immersed that week, maybe because I spent much time alone that weekend or maybe because it was just awesome.

There were 5 stops in our tour. Each in its uniqueness accompanied by amazing musical pieces composed by Arvo Pärt. Each piece, altogether, had the ability to take you out of the routine and the ordinary. This part of the stillpotting project was set for the tenth anniversary of 911. However, instead of showing us what we all have seen, lived and known, Pärt and the architecture firm Snøhetta designed 5 stillspots that invited us to an unbiased-reflection, if we could call it that anyway.

The first piece was a labyrinth, not so much the one you’d see in Harry Potter, but a trail with no trees, no bushes, no walls to make believe you’re lost; nothing of the sort. It was just a trail on the floor, you, an iPod and a frantic city around you. Had I tried e-drugs maybe the experience could have seemed somewhat familiar. It felt as if I was high and no body cared about walking behind each other knowing there was nowhere to go. No body cared about that from the outside. All that outsiders were able to see was just some folks following each other in circles with their iPods on. What was/is the exit to this labyrinth, a labyrinth where stories, people and practices intermingle, where actions have more than one consequence, and where truths have lost its absoluteness appeal? Is there an exit? For me, at least, realizing and finding oneself in the labyrinth was an actual achievement. Far more important than finding an exit. It is only by recognizing the complexities entailed–some of them beyond understanding– that a labyrinth, such as the one in which we’ve been immersed, could make any sense at all.

The second stop was at Governors Island, a decommissioned Coast Guard post in the NY Harbor After the ferry ride we went to what used to be officers’ houses. Beneath the houses you found bunkers that were used to store artillery; the second stop used those spaces. My Heart’s in The Highlands being played in all four rooms, yet each room was a totally different experience. The acoustics of every space were amazingly distinct yet imperceptible at times. There was no need to shut yourself up so you wouldn’t intrude on other people’s experience. It was automatic. You’d succumb to it. It was impossible not to be absorbed by those 4 rooms. How can this relate to today’s world? To some extent, the way these four rooms felt is how the world actually feels. We have come a long way in claiming the end of binary oppositions, the recognition of differences, yet this process is absent at times–at most of the times. We claim to recognize things might be perceived differently, yet in practice, we really couldn’t care less.

The third stop was also in Governors, this time, out in the open. From the house’s yards, part of a fortress, surrounded by walls, protected by canyons, and after the years, decorated by a beautiful view of the city, you could enjoy another wonderful piece composed by Pärt. Somehow, however, this spot didn’t feel complete. The view of Lower Manhattan felt chopped. It was not the common nostalgia of a New Yorker, for I never lived in the city before, it was the assimilation of a narrative, especially around this time, where there are multiple reminders of what happened 10 years ago; not only the NYPD’s motto “if you see something, say something”, or posters on how to recognize dangerous packages, or the hundreds of policemen around downtown on the eve of 911, or even how weird the city felt that day.

It was about the acknowledgment of a narrative of fear; behind it all, a fear for everything and nothing, fear for it to happen again; a fear that has caused the deportation of hundreds of families, has caused thousands of deaths abroad, has caused deep economic crisis; fear that ultimately is causing the current modus operandi to tremble. Western Democracies’ values tremble, they tremble when a gap opens up, when Democracy for the sake of Democracy is just not enough. When for its own sake it has to allow exceptions. Exceptions that only blur and/or invalidate a possible definition of values.

The fourth stop was in the lobby of a famous skyscraper, the Woolworth Building, a partly gothic, partly Victorian place. In Principio, playing in the back, no one talking, a half Harry Potter half churchlike experience, a reminder of the very-thin–fragile –non-existent boundaries between fiction and reality. Wasn’t that the feeling 10 years ago? At least for me, it was, a feeling where fiction is juxtaposed with reality, making it impossible to differentiate between the two. Although, there’s something in me that wanted to make it something more fictitious than real, relying on the fact that since it was a TV that showed me 9/11, it could not possibly be as real. TV, when I was 12, was all about entertainment for me.

The final stop was the most significant. It was on the thirty-something story, of the renovated 7 World Trade Center. Located on Greenwich between Barclay and Vesey Streets. The view of the city was beautiful and over-whelming, from one side, Midtown and the Empire State, from the other, lower Manhattan and the unfinished Freedom Tower. It was an encompassed and privileged view of New York; a view that accompanied by another–yet happier– piece by Pärt, provided a moment of closure, a moment to think about how far we’ve come. The twin towers are gone now, with only two simple fountains as reminders, not only of what was there before but of what’s at stake and what’s been at stake for the past ten years. The two fountains –which are two holes in the ground, where the towers used to stand– ultimately symbolize a hole in history, a hole that not only represents thousands of people who have died, or the thousands without jobs, or the countries that had been intervened; it represents a whole in what we are invested; a hole where democracy-as-it-is– before a certainty– becomes my/our favorite bedtime story, a lullaby before going to sleep; something between reality and fiction; ultimately a story in reconfiguration

For more on the stillspotting project visit:




NYAP Residence Manager

This year the NYAP Student Art Show and end of semester reception will be held on December 5 in the NYAP residence.  

NYAP will be exhibiting the works of Daniela Garcia, Wilson Land, Marcela Pardo, Shaheen Patel and Christian Sommer

an art show

Invitation designed by Ben Simon



NYAP Fall semester Guests Artists and Lecturers

Nina Katchadourian

Nina Katchadourian invited the students into her Brooklyn Gowanus studio to talk about the twenty-year history of her practice as a conceptual artist. Nina Katchadourian’s work, while wide in its conceptual investments, has consistently dealt with the ironies and humor of man in his relationship to nature and the natural, as well as questions of translation --in language, identity and image. Having recently begun a new project that involves photographs and videos taken in flight, Katchadourian spoke in great detail about her process, her concerns and her reservations about what she was doing.

ABOUT Nina Katchadourian is an artist and Curator of the Viewing Program at The Drawing Center in NYC. Her work as an artist exists in a wide variety of media including photography, sculpture, video and sound. Her work has been exhibited domestically and internationally at places such as PS1/MoMA, the Serpentine Gallery, New Langton Arts, Artists Space, Sculpture Center, and the Palais de Tokyo. In January 2006 the Turku Art Museum in Turku, Finland featured a solo show of works made in Finland, and in June 2006 the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs exhibited a 10-year survey of her work and published an accompanying monograph entitled "All Forms of Attraction." The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego presented a solo show of recent video installation works in July 2008. Katchadourian is represented by Sara Meltzer gallery in New York and Catharine Clark gallery in San Francisco.

Established in 1977, The Drawing Center’s Viewing Program offers emerging artists the opportunity to include their work in a curated Artist Registry that is consulted by a wide variety of arts professionals from across the globe: curators, gallerists, collectors, and educators, among others.



 Mark Fox allowed the students to walk within his densely packed studio in lower Manhattan, filled from floor to ceiling with past, present and future works, as he described his process.  He spoke about the evolution of the work from two-dimensional ink drawing, to his discovery of language and its significance for him personally, and the way in which he was able to merge language into and out of his drawing practice and transform it into work that is at once deeply abstract and personal. 
ABOUT  Mark Fox is an artist who uses cut up drawings to create elaborate three-dimensional sculptures and wall hangings. 



Aziz and Cucher collaborative artists walked the students through their twenty-year career history starting in their Long Island City Studio space then moving into a lecture space in the same building. Their projects, originally focused on the human body and technology, have transitioned into complicated multi-channel video installations that deal with representations of the organic and the artificial, the idea of boundaries and borders and categories of identity.  The artists are preparing for a solo exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in the spring, and they were generous in showing the students their incomplete 7 channel video project for that installation.
ABOUT Aziz and Cucher have been collaborating on and exhibiting digital photograph, sculpture, video and architectural installation works since 1991.  Considered pioneers in the field of digital imaging, they have exhibited their work in major museums and institutions both in the US and abroad.  Both are member of the Faculty at Parsons The New School of Design, New Y


Executive Director and Chief Curator of THE KITCHEN

Tim Griffin's lecture  WORKING ACROSS THE DISCIPLINES was followed by a Q&A with students and faculty.
ABOUT Tim Griffin is the current Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Kitchen.  He served as editor of Artforum for seven years, before joining The Kitchen one of New York's oldest and most influential experimental showcases for visual and performing arts.  Prior to that he was art editor of Time Out New York. During his time with both publications, he has worked on projects and texts with architects, artists, choreographers, composers, and filmmakers His book on site-specific art and performance will be published in 2012 by Sternberg Press.  The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country for more than three decades.  Tim Griffin, originally a poet will talk about the artists and influences that have shaped his vision as a writer and curator.  






EMILIE CLARK was recently nominated for the Joan Mitchell 2011 Painters and Sculptors Grant

Emilie's work will be featured at the Miami Pulse Art Fair in December 2011.


September 16
Ripple: A Brooklyn Salon
At Bric Arts / Media / Bklyn presented a evening of reading by artist writers - Alan Gilbert, Tracie Morris and Jen Bervin.  The event included musical performances by members of the band, Strange Farm: Bill Brovoid, Billy Ficca, Peter Zummo and Ernie Brooks.  

September 25 West Bath Outdoor Music Festival

The STONE - David Behrman with Peter Zummo

THE STONE - Works by Jackson Mac Low. performed by his friends Andrew Bolotowsky and Greg Bynum,  Mitch Highfill, Mary Hurlbut, Christina Strong Peter Zummo



 Lucier Celebration Concert 11 at Wesleyan University
a tribute to Alvin Lucier
Go: Organic Orchestra at Roulette, NYC
celebrating the release of their new CD
"Heroes of Toolik" at Maguires Public House








NYAP students earn academic credit while gaining professional experience in the arts and creative industries. 



Fall Semester 2012 due March 1, 2012

Spring semester 2013 due October 1, 2011

Kari Nelson, Depauw University,
Lauren Tweddale, Wooster College
Natalie Dalm, Hope College 
Katherine Romero, Southwestern
University at Fall 2011 reception

Fall 2011 Participating Colleges:
Albion College
College of Wooster
Denison College
DePauw University
Earlham College
Hendrix College
Hope College
Kenyon College
Ohio Wesleyan University
Southwestern University
University of New Mexico

NYAP students at Fall 2011 Orientation

Fall 2011 Participating Sponsors:
Saturday Night Live Music Dept
BRS Agency, artists agents
Art Department, creative agency
New Group Theatre
Matthew Buckingham, artist
Rodale Publishing
Sebastiaan Bremer, photographer
Lee Strasburg Institute
DAW Books,  publisher
Vineyard Theatre
Gallim Dance
Relix Magazine
Lee Boronson, artist
STAND UP NY, comedy house
NBC Universal
Kathy Erteman Studio, artist
Rumur Films
Petah Coyne, artist
Bruce Pearson, artist
New Dramatists
Jordan Doner Studio
Bomb Magazine, art & culture publication
International Center for Photography
Noulin-Merat Sudio, scenic design
Martien Mulder, artist
Eye on Dance and the Arts, video archives
Jones/Ginzel,  public art
Anne Chu Studio, artist
Common Room, architecture
Morgan Lehman Gallery

 Emilie Clark at Fall Orientation

Dana Tarantino Fall Orientation

Guest Speaker,TIm Griffin, Executive Director/Chief Curator of THE KITCHEN with NYAP students

Kristin Jones with NYAP Alumna Olivia Fu and Alumna Katelyn Schroeder at NYAP Fall reception

Geremy Webne Behrman, Earlharm College with NYAP Alumna, Heather Revfrem

Cheri Fein, Executive Director of Public & Media Relations Communications and External Relations at FIT (NYAP Alumna)with Linda Earle, NYAP Executive Director

NYAP students around the city




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