Artists-in-Residence at the Spencer Center


In 2007, Argentine artist and activist Claudia Bernardi helped Mary Baldwin University students transform a blank bakery wall in Staunton into a community point of pride. In 2009, she guided the transformation of plain cinder block on campus into a story of multiculturalism, empowerment, and peace. In the meantime — through those very visual projects, powerful trips abroad with students, and memorable visits to campus — Bernardi’s vibrancy, talent, and sincerity transformed the Mary Baldwin community.

The college welcomed Bernardi to campus in September 2006 as that year’s Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Doenges Visiting Artist/Scholar, and she captured imaginations and hearts from the beginning. Bernardi opened her work and herself during that first visit through the documentary Artist of Resistance, which explored her experiences at the site of a mass civilian murder in El Mozote that occurred during El Salvador’s brutal civil war and the artwork that resulted. She shared with us how she works to reconstruct the spirit of people in that region with projects such as Walls of Hope, school and open studio that she founded in Perquin, a neighboring village of El Mozote, where families — and culture — were nearly obliterated by the massacre.

In 2008, Bernardi was named artist-in-residence at Mary Baldwin, and during Spring Break 2009 she took a group of students, faculty, and staff to Perquin for an intense week of living and working with the people of that community and expanding the outreach of Walls of Hope. She return to El Salvador with another group during May Term 2010, and her continuing projects in Perquin were the focus of her presentation, The Perquin Model: Art and Diplomacy in the Process Toward Justice.

In 2012, Bernardi led the Permeable Borders May Term course, during which students, teachers, community members, and several Mary Baldwin alumnae participated side-by-side in a collaborative mural project with children from an after-school program for immigrant families of the local elementary school.  She continues to periodically spearhead projects like these, often eliciting “life-changing,” “eye-opening,” and “bittersweet” as  descriptions of her courses from students who have participated in them.

Read more about Claudia Bernardi on Mary Baldwin News:
Artist-in-Residence Proposes Healing Through Community Art
Resident Artists Put Global Engagement on the Map
Her presentation as the 2006-07 Doenges Artist/Scholar 
2007 community mural


As artist-in-residence for the Spencer Center, Srinivas Krishnan joins a talented and energized staff at the college’s newest hub of activity. Named in honor of Mary Baldwin President Emeritus Samuel R. Spencer Jr. and his wife, Ava, the Center provides a physical space and leadership for the college’s global and service endeavors.

Krishnan is familiar to Mary Baldwin as a former colleague of Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox at Miami University of Ohio, where he continues to teach. He first performed with members of Global Rhythms in a special concert for Dr. Fox’s inauguration in 2004, and he returned for a visit and concert in 2006.

Krishnan is a musician whose special gift is bringing together diverse peoples, cultures, and musical traditions — much like an atlas gives a comprehensive view of the world, Heather Ward said. Unlike an atlas, though, his work is deeply visceral. He gives us the smells, tastes, sights, and sounds that make us want to jump on the next plane to Chennai.

“I love the fact that there is love and passion in each student at Mary Baldwin to appreciate the small and finer things — be it a cup of chai, ethnic costumes, squirrels, or to breathe and feel good through yoga,” said Krishnan. “This [Mary Baldwin] is one superb ecosystem that the world needs to know. Let’s start by bringing the world here.”

Read more about Srinivas Krishnan on Mary Baldwin News:
Resident Artists Put Global Engagement on the Map
Krishnan Returns in Concert and Classroom 
Concert to Showcase World Music
World Music Wows Audience at Inaugural Concert