BEVERLY FRESH (Zack Ostrowski) is a song & dance man born in the rural Midwestern United States of America.

Like the archetypal trickster, Beverly Fresh tests the limits of possibility and order. Linking the institution and the outskirts, he flips the script not only on rural community rituals, but also on the habits of art institutions, in order to delve into underlying mores, customs, and values. What are illusion and reality? What do we celebrate and why? From what does meaning derive? What actions do we take to find it? What gyrations, gestures, negotiations, and invitations do we allow to get there? At a time when the division between urban and rural communities is deepening, how can we find paths toward understanding or at least engage with one another—perhaps with some good old-fashioned performance art at a pancake breakfast?
– Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Director of Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive
From the publication “Beverly Fresh – Really Somethin Else” (University of Chicago Press / DePaul Art Museum)

I use both traditional and alternative strategies to examine cultural structures through a variety of media, including drawing, graphic design, installation, video, music and performance. I focus mainly on social behavior and communication devices and my research builds upon theories established by sociologist Erving Goffman, with particular interest in the parallels between social life and theater, which he outlined in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. In the social sciences the term “framing” refers to a set of concepts and theoretical perspectives on how individuals, groups, and societies organize and interpret the social world and how they construct and maintain reality through the deployment of collectively developed communication strategies. Building upon this theoretical tradition, I am interested in “how a culture performs.” My work focuses specifically on the use of established techniques of performance in everyday life, such as song, dance, and storytelling, as these communicative forms have been used for ages to define/sustain the identities of communities, societies, and cultures. In my work, I test what happens when these formal devices are successfully executed, deliberately undermined and/or disassembled and reconfigured.

Far more dangerous, far more demanding, far more compelling is the homegrown rogue—one of us who rises up and doesn’t so much create disorder as point out that the order we thought we had was never really that orderly, that the everyday was always already beyond excess, that the freak is not the foreigner but one of us, one of us, one . . . of . . . us. By the time Zack Ostrowski knocks, he’s already inside. Zack Ostrowski is and is not Beverly Fresh. And he’s got the out-of-control under control. Under the tent, he’s started a gospel revival meeting, chanting nonsense in call-and-response; in under two minutes, he’s created the largest stack of rap cassette tapes and put himself in Guinness World Records; under the radar, he’s worked on graphic arts projects for major publicity campaigns while also doing his own digital collages of freaky faces. Understand this: he is out of this world, but he is completely from our world. One of us. Deftly, entertainingly, brilliantly, Beverly Fresh exposes this trinity of truths as only someone who is one of us could. He embodies our culture, making it appear. He raises it up and celebrates it rather than denigrates it. And at the same time, he demonstrates to us how it is already excessive in its everydayness, and thus we cannot look for a share—accursed or otherwise—that will give us a clue as to which thread to pull in hopes of revealing its true un-excessive nature.
– H. Peter Steeves, author of Being and Showtime; Blinding, Bright, and Beautiful; and The Things Themselves


Characterized by wacky, toxic color and overstuffed, mutating forms, Sam Jaffe’s recent work explores labor, folk and domestic art traditions, ornamentation, collecting behaviors, femininity, and the grotesque fallibility of the human body. All art materials are recycled, reused, repurposed, dead-stock, vintage, or otherwise sustainably sourced. Sam received her BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design in 2005 and her MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. She is represented by 65GRAND in Chicago and is an Associate Professor, Adj. in The Department of Painting and Drawing at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Sam is also one of several Directors of ADDS DONNA, an artist-run collective and exhibition space in Chicago.


Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of four collections of poems: Oh You Robot Saints! (2021).
Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country (2017), and The Spokes of Venus (2016), all
from Carnegie Mellon University Press, and Little Murders Everywhere (Salmon Poetry, 2012),
a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her poetry and prose have appeared such places
as The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Poetry
Ireland, Los Angeles Review of Books, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, and


Frank’s next collection received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award
for a manuscript-in-progress. Other honors and awards include a Mississippi Arts Commission
Artist Fellowship; a Theodore and Jane Norman Fund Award from Brandeis University;
University of Southern Mississippi’s Faculty Innovation Award; and fellowships from such
places as the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Ragdale
Foundation, Writers’ Room of Boston, and Catwalk. She is currently the writer-in-residence at
the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum in Oak Park.
Frank’s collaborations with composers have been exhibited and performed across the United
States. As co-founder and editor of Memorious: a journal of new verse & fiction, Frank co-
produces an art song contest that has brought together poets and composers for original works to
be created, recorded and published online, and premiered in live performances in Chicago and in
Nottingham, UK.

Frank began her creative life as a ballet dancer and left behind dancing to study at Barnard
College. She later earned degrees in literature and writing from Vassar College (BA), Emerson
College (MFA), and the University of Cincinnati (PhD), where she was an Elliston Fellow. She
has taught widely, including recently as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis
University and Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bowling Green State University. She also serves
on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and on the advisory board of the University
Press of Kentucky New Poetry and Prose Series. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, she lives
on the edge of Chicago and teaches in the MFA Program in Prose & Poetry at Northwestern