UNT's Institute for the Advancement of the Arts gave two faculty members a rare commodity — time. The institute's faculty fellows program gives honorees a semester off from teaching to work on their own creative projects. This year, Vincent Falsetta, professor of studio arts, will work on his paintings, and Miroslav Penkov, assistant professor of English, will write a novel.
Falsetta plans to work on his abstract paintings, with wave-like strokes intricately planned and recorded on index cards and in color studies. His work has appeared in more than 50 solo and two-person shows and in public collections across the country.
"The most important benefit of being a fellow is having the time to work," Falsetta says. "The commitment necessary to research, create and evaluate requires the ability to work day after day with a project."
A faculty member at UNT since 1977, Falsetta served as artist-in-residence at the Bluecoat in Liverpool in 2011 and two residencies at Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia.
Penkov, the author of a short story collection, will conduct research in the Standja Mountains in his native Bulgaria for his second book, Nominalia of the Imaginary Khans.
"Writing a novel is often compared to running a marathon, and for good reason. Like a runner who must first train for months, a writer must first do research and consider his characters, setting and story carefully before putting pen to paper," Penkov says.
"On some level, this fellowship also serves as a validation — a sign that perhaps there is promise in the pages I've already written."
Penkov's first book, East of the West: A Country in Stories, received national attention, including a feature on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, when it was published in 2011. One of the stories was selected for The PEN/O Henry Prize Stories 2012, a collection of 20 of the best short stories from the previous year.