Traci Molloy shows 25 years of headshots

Traci Molloy is a Brooklyn based artist that displays her work at Castleton. Her latest exhibit was “Between the Lines” in the Christine Price Gallery through Nov. 3.

As soon as you walk into the Fine Arts Center at Vermont State University at Castleton, five sorrowful portraits stare back at you. These portraits are a part of Traci Molloy’s “Between the Lines 25 Years of Headshots” exhibit. 

“I don’t think of myself as a portrait artist, so it’s kind of funny that I happen to show just portraits,” Molloy said.  

Molloy, who grew up on a dirt road in Shaftsbury, Vermont, is now an artist based in Brooklyn, New York, whose work has been featured on Good Morning America and NPR.  

Castleton sociology professor Linda Olson was instrumental in bringing Molloy and her work to the university. Olson found Molloy’s work fascinating when she initially met her at a Castleton Soundings event in 2020.  

The initial Soundings event that Molloy spoke at was the day before everything shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a couple of years later when Oliver Schemm, Castleton gallery director and professor, asked Molloy if she would ever want to do another show, she was hesitant. 

“I was like, oh I don’t know, I don’t want to show stuff I’ve already shown… And I came up with the idea to show these portraits, and I realized as I was putting together work, that I had work that spanned 25 years,” Molloy said.  

Since then, Molloy has been a lecturer on campus, an educator, and of course, an artist. She is honored to have been able to connect with students on campus, and work with the college for years.  

“She lets people express their trauma in a way that is both innovative, visually stunning, and healing… We are really lucky to have an artist of Traci’s caliber on our campus,” Olson said.  

When asked about how the gallery has impacted students, Olson said, “They seemed impacted by her deep understanding of social inequality and the trauma it causes.” 

 Molloy hopes that’s the case. 

“I hope people are moved by certain pieces. I hope maybe they have some sort of emotional reaction whether it be a little bit of joy, or a little punch in the stomach because some of the pieces are a little heavier,” Molloy said.  

Olson said that students were also deeply impacted by Molloy’s “Against My Will” project last spring.  

“Against my Will” featured banners portraying sexual violence survivors from other campuses. This spring, Molloy will be doing this project at Castleton with sexual violence survivors that are students, staff, and faculty. She is looking for participants, and the project is open to everyone, (male, female, non-binary, trans, etc.) and anyone who is interested in participating can contact Molloy directly, or they can contact Olson.

Molloy also weighed in on recent announced plans to move the art department from Castleton. 

“The art department is outstanding, and it needs to stay on campus. That would be a huge disservice to the community of Castleton. I would have never gotten to campus if it wasn’t for the art department,” she said. “It’s the power of art to move people, it’s the power of art to create change and to be transformative in people’s lives in really profoundly healing ways.” 

The Between the Lines exhibit has been open for viewing since September and will be taken down On Nov. 3. The gallery is free to attend and open to the public.  


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