Final Thoughts from Frank Juarez: Year 3 MAS Project

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Photo taken in North St. Paul, MN during our first day of road trippin’ in 2014.

My last road trip through the Midwest concluded on July 17, 2016 at approximately 6:00pm (CST). This one was one of the best road trips I’ve had with quite a few challenges during the 2,800+ mile journey. To date I have traveled to 18 cities/towns in 12 states driving 5,000+ miles in the span of a one-week increment during the month of July in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

When the idea of the Midwest Artist Studios Project came about inside my art classroom at Sheboygan North High School back in February of 2014 I never imagined where this would take me as an art educator and how it would change my personal/professional life. I knew that this journey was ambitious so I was fortunate to have worked with such an amazing and dedicated team; Erika Block (writer/editor), Pat Ryan (photographer), and Jonathan Fritsch (assistant). They were there from the beginning to the end no matter how crazy this idea was. This is an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime. I am truly blessed to have them in my life.

The MAS Project aims to connect art education with Midwest contemporary artists through studio visits, curriculum development, and opportunities for educator outreach. 

I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the following artists and arts professionals I met since 2014. 

  • MAS artist, Josh Wilichowski, North St. Paul, MN
  • MAS artist, Vincenzio Donatelle, Minneapolis, MN
  • MAS artist, Jane Ryder, Oskaloosa, IA
  • MAS artist, Jamie Bates Slone, Kansas City, MO
  • MAS artist, Catie Miller, Kansas City, MO
  • MAS artist, Todd Mrozinski, Milwaukee, WI
  • MAS artist, Josie Osborne, Milwaukee, WI
  • MAS artist, Paula Schulze, Shorewood, WI
  • MAS artist, Suzanne Torres, Madison, WI
  • MAS artist, Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, MI
  • MAS artist, Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, MI
  • MAS artist, Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, OH
  • MAS artist, Ellie Honl, Bloomington, IN
  • MAS artist, Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, IL
  • MAS artist, Jason Ackman, Rushville, IL
  • MAS artist, Krista Svalbonas, Chicago, IL
  • MAS artist, Emmy Lingscheit, Urbana, IL
  • MAS artist, Karri Dieken, Valley City, ND
  • MAS artist, Sharon Grey, Rapid City, SD
  • MAS artist, Jody Boyer, Omaha, NE
  • MAS artist, Lori Elliott-Bartle, Omaha, NE
  • MAS artist, Rachel Mindrup, Omaha, NE
  • MAS artist, Joe Bussell, Kansas City, KS
  • MAS artist, Larry Thomas, Kansas City, KS
  • Consuelo Cruz, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO
  • Maria Vasquez Boyd, Artspeak Radio, Kansas City, MO
  • Marissa Starke, Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, MO
  • Beverly Ahern, H & R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO

This project was supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc (2014-2016).

 

This video is about MAS 2016 artists sharing their thoughts on being our featured artists. Running time: 10:55.

 

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L to R: Frank Juarez, Jonathan Fritsch, MAS artists Karri Dieken, and Ellie Honl in Omaha, NE (2016)

 

MAS 2016 Gallery

 

Click here to view our photos from the road. 

You can now follow us on instagram.com/midwestartiststudios or like us on facebook at facebook.com/midwestartiststudios.

Get your copy today of the 2014 & 2015 MAS Catalog/Workbook by clicking here

Announcement: 2016 Featured Artists for the Midwest Artist Studios Project

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I am happy to announce our 7 featured artists for our last year of the Midwest Artist Studios Project. They are Karri Dieken (ND), Sharon Grey (SD), Lori Elliott-Bartle (NE), Rachel Mindrup (NE), Jody Boyer (NE), Larry Thomas (KS), and Joe Bussell (KS). Soon I will be providing more information on these artists via this site. Stay tuned.

Congratulations, Karri, Sharon, Lori, Rachel, Jody, Larry, and Joe!

Frank Juarez, art educator and founder

Version 2

Year 2 MAS Catalog and Workbook is now available. Get your copy today!

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IMG_7506Year 2 MAS Catalog and Workbook is now available for purchase. This publication features 8 amazing artists from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. They are Mellissa Redman (Grand Rapids, MI), Kate Robertson (Ann Arbor, MI), Jenniffer Omaitz (Kent, OH), Ellie Honl (Bloomington, IN), Jessica Anderson (Jackson, IL), Jason Ackman (Rushville, IL), Krista Svalbonas (Chicago, IL), and Emmy Lingscheit (Urbana, IL). These artists’ careers range from emerging to established working in mixed media, sculpture, painting, printmaking, installation, performance, photography, and collage.

To purchase your copy click the link.

MAS publication is only $40.70 (includes shipping/handling).

(includes a catalog with artist interviews and studio shots. As well as a workbook containing lesson plans exposing, educating, and engaging students into various studio practices and media. In addition, to a series of artist videos, a gallery of images, and the opportunity to Skype the artists).

There is a limited quantity available.

I am happy to announce that this year’s publication is printed by NASCO arts & crafts in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. There is a beautiful ad inside this publication.

If you have purchased last year’s MAS publication I would LOVE to hear from you.

Thank you for your support.
Frank Juarez

art educator & founder

Here is one of my recorded Skype sessions with MAS artist, Todd Mrozinski

Year 2 MAS publication would not be possible without these contributors.

Layout by Erika L. Block.
Photography by Pat Ryan (unless otherwise noted).
Curriculum development by Frank Juarez.

The Midwest Artist Studios Project is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc, and the Wisconsin Art Education Association. 

On the Road: Year 2 Midwest Artist Studios Project Summer 2015 Reflection

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Version 2This summer my journey took me to Grand Rapids, Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Kent, Ohio; Bloomington, Indiana; Jacksonville, Illinois, and Rushville, Illinois. I met Mellissa Redman, Kate Robertson, Jenniffer Omaitz, Ellie Honl, Jessica Anderson, and Jason Ackman, respectively. Each artist brought something special to this project. Along with meeting these talented artists I visited the Ann Arbor Art Center and the Indiana University Art Museum. 

It was a grueling experience traveling from one city to the next each day documenting our featured artists. By Friday one of the artists said, “you look tired”. Every artist had an unique story to share about where their studio practice have taken them, where they are today, and what they have planned for the future. What I find exciting about this project is that we do not know what we will be walking into, what we will hear, or what we will see. The studio visits ranged from a studio apartment to a barn, a house to a printmaking department at Indiana University, and a basement to a defunct book store. Last year one of my Art Foundations 1 student mentioned that a studio can exist anywhere. She is so right!

Today I head back to Wisconsin and begin to go through all of the photographs, videos, and audio.  

Looking Ahead

In late August I will be visiting Emmy Lingscheit at her artist in residency at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin followed by the last two studio visits in late September to visit Krista Svalbonas (Chicag0, Illinois) and Emmy Lingscheit (Urbana, Illinois). Also slated in September is the MAS Project published in the National Art Education Association Instructional Resource Publication. 

On October 22 & 23 I will be presenting on our project at the Wisconsin Art Education Association 2015 Fall Conference in Appleton, Wisconsin as well as being an exhibitor where I will have a trailer for Year 2 MAS featured artists and Year 1 MAS catalog & workbook available for purchase. 

What I like about this project is that it is provides a platform for my students to be introduced to a variety of artistic processes and creating opportunities for them to begin an online dialogue with these artists. 

– Frank Juarez, art educator

Here is a snapshot of the trip from July 26 through July 31, 2015. 

Photo cred: Jonathan Fritsch and Frank Juarez. 

To read about the artists visited during this trip click on their names

Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, Ohio

Ellie Honl, Bloomington, Indiana

Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, Illinois

Jason Ackman, Rushville, Illinois

This project is supported by a grant from the National Art Education Foundation, Kohler Foundation, Inc., and the Wisconsin Art Education Association. 

Mellissa Redman – Grand Rapids, Michigan

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I am extremely excited to be heading into Year 2 of the 3 year project, the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project. I will be traveling from July 26 through August 1, 2015 to the following artists/cities/states – Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, Ohio; Ellie Honl, Bloomington, Indiana; Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, Illinois; and Jason Ackman, Rushville, Illinois. In mid-August I will be visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Arts/Industry to document Emmy Lingscheit, who is one of our featured 2015 MAS artists and a current artist in resident. In late September, I will finish our documentation/research by visiting Krista Svalbonas, Chicago, Illinois and Emmy Lingscheit, Urbana, Illinois. 

The artists selected were based on their responses to an online survey focusing on Art Education, body of work, and a Skype interview. 

Throughout our visits I will be introducing you to 8 amazing and talented artists from the Midwest working in printmaking to painting, sculpture to mixed media and collage to installation art.

Click here to read a collaborative reflection from this past school year’s MAS Project. 

Join me on this MAS adventure via facebook.com/midwestartiststudios or subscribe to the blog, midwestartiststudios.com

– Frank Juarez

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Here are two of the questions asked on our survey and the artist’s response.

Please share one positive Art Education experience that you had in middle school, high school or college.

I interned for the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology from 2013-14 and during that time I saw young teens who were not particularly interested in being in yet another program, let alone an arts program become truly excited about community projects they were involved in. The defining factor for the success of WMCAT is not the facilities or the glamour of the studios, but the genuine interest of the instructors and the hands on approach they have toward their students. These kids were what the school system would have considered not worth the time, but I found them really charming and attentive once given the right amounts of attention and motivation to see a project to it’s completion.

Why is Art Education today?

Art education impacted my decision to pursue art as a career. I was homeschooled from fifth grade until I entered college, but I attended school through fourth grade. The art classes I was involved in helped me to hold on to my creativity through very difficult family circumstances that would have otherwise extinguished my interest in the arts. Once I was homeschooled, my mother recognized that I was artistically inclined she put me in summer programs which fostered education through the arts.

Mellissa Redman 

Web: mellissajredman.smoothfolio.com

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The precursor to her current body of work was her father’s cancer diagnosis in May of 2011. She took this into her artwork as a way to record her feelings at the time, and it slowly evolved into a series of work on its own. The creative process turned from an escape to a cathartic experience. Coping with life is part of our existence as humans. It is an emotional process, affecting each individual differently. The concept of “masking” the true self is something that is well known by nearly every human being. In many ways, it can be described as an elaborate act, a play of sorts; in others, a survival tactic that maintains order and control. She believes both examples of these methods of coping can have positive outcomes.

The portraits in these pieces are not meant to represent any specific person or people group, rather humanity as a whole. Therefore, the expressions of the faces of these figures are neither threatening nor inviting. They are to be viewed as pensive and introverted; facing the viewer, yet clearly not acknowledging him/her for his or her own thoughts. The patterns she uses throughout the picture plane look may appear to be familiar to a viewer, but only in the way that they simply mimic the human fingerprint or loop/whorl pattern in which human hair grows. In addition to the patterning, she alters the smooth surface of the pieces with resin drips and pouring. Additionally, the patterning represents the complexities within oneself as anxieties multiply and are internalized. When light passes through the translucent screen-printed patterns, the portrait in the layers beneath the resin is interrupted. She begins with washes of watercolor that she builds up to increase color saturation. Over this, she uses colored pencil to flesh out the figure’s skin tone and facial details. The only other part of the body shown in this series is the neck, which she has made uniform in each individual piece to create homogeneity.

Once the portrait is completed, she screen prints a transparent thumbprint pattern directly onto the piece and cover the surface with a coating of clear epoxy resin. More transparent screen-printed patterns are printed in between layers of the resin, before the piece is completed. All of the pieces contain at least three layers of resin to achieve the correct amount of layering. The rest of the body is unimportant to this work as the focus is on the head. Behind the head of the figure is a colored disc. Although in art history, a flat disc behind the head of a figure was regarded as a holy symbol, its additional function is to represent a person’s aura (her reasoning for including it is the latter definition). She has modified the aura to act both as a compositional element to frame the face and head, and also to obscure it. Her goal with this series of work is to make the hidden external, to depict how swallowed fears and anxieties would appear if made tangible and visible. Though it’s well known that there are plenty of destructive, unhealthy, and dangerous coping strategies associated with emotional turmoil, she tends to think that there are an equal amount of positive experiences that can be gathered. It is these experiences that give us growth of character, a will to live. These are the experiences she hopes to convey in her work.

Bio

Mellissa Redman earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Akron. A native of Akron, Ohio, Mellissa volunteered her time or artwork to the local YMCA and YWCA chapters, the University of Akron Ballet Institute, the City of Akron, The Chapel: Akron Campus, and the Akron Children’s Hospital. She now resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she recently received a Master’s Degree of Fine Art in Painting at the Kendall College of Art and Design. Though she works with water-based media, her paintings also include drawing, printing and collage.

 

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All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

Ellie Honl – Bloomington, Indiana

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I am extremely excited to be heading into Year 2 of the 3 year project, the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project. I will be traveling from July 26 through August 1, 2015 to the following artists/cities/states – Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, Ohio; Ellie Honl, Bloomington, Indiana; Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, Illinois; and Jason Ackman, Rushville, Illinois. In mid-August I will be visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Arts/Industry to document Emmy Lingscheit, who is one of our featured 2015 MAS artists and a current artist in resident. In late September, I will finish our documentation/research by visiting Krista Svalbonas, Chicago, Illinois and Emmy Lingscheit, Urbana, Illinois. 

The artists selected were based on their responses to an online survey focusing on Art Education, body of work, and a Skype interview. 

Throughout our visits I will be introducing you to 8 amazing and talented artists from the Midwest working in printmaking to painting, sculpture to mixed media and collage to installation art.

Click here to read a collaborative reflection from this past school year’s MAS Project. 

Join me on this MAS adventure via facebook.com/midwestartiststudios or subscribe to the blog, midwestartiststudios.com

– Frank Juarez

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Here are two of the questions asked on our survey and the artist’s response.

Please share one positive Art Education experience that you had in middle school, high school or college.

It is a challenge to narrow it down to just one! As the daughter of an art educator in Wisconsin, I know that I was privileged to attend public school at a time when art education was a valued and better-funded part of the curriculum. The first art education experience that I can remember had a profound affect on me, because it made me realize that my unique perspective was valued. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher showed us how to make a penguin from cutting and gluing together pieces of construction paper. Having just visited the Chicago zoo where I was mesmerized by the crazy “eyebrows” of rockhopper penguins, I used my leftover pieces of orange paper to create the unique feather plumage. When the teacher saw this addition, she showed my project to the class and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and validation.

Why is Art Education important today?

Art education is important today, because art teaches students valuable skills that most other subjects don’t. Because art never has one right answer, it empowers students to think for themselves and to consider all possibilities. Art nurtures creative problem solving, curiosity and flexibility, and encourages students to take risks and to embrace ambiguity. Art is a reflection of the culture in which it was created, so studying art has the potential to teach students about history, society, and the makers’ unique point of view. It also has the ability to teach students about themselves and how to express things that cannot be said with words alone. With a fast changing global economy, being able to find creative solutions to new problems will be very important. People that possess creative literacy, will have the skill set to find innovative solutions. Beyond the job market, learning how to create and appreciate visual aesthetics creates a better quality of life and improves society as a whole.

Ellie Honl 

Web: www.elliehonl.com

ellie headEllie’s artwork is about the human desire to find stability in an unsteady present and unpredictable future. Through her artwork, she tries to understand why things are the way they are and strive to find logic in the random. She works intuitively allowing herself to experiment with unpredictable processes to discover new marks and imagery. Many times these initial investigations look chaotic and they provide a problem for her to resolve. She imposes order through geometric forms and color, while making connections through lines, written explanations, and collage elements. These acts of resolution are based on research into theories of geometry, psychology, space, and her own history.  Through a multidisciplinary approach, she creates prints, objects, and moving images that oscillate between rational and irrational, organized and disordered. Printmaking’s unique ability to retain the original image helps her create variables that grow organically and allows her to combine and alter visual elements using a wide variety of media. This layering, warping, and re-presenting information reflects her research in how people make sense of the world around them.

Bio
Ellie Honl is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Printmaking at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Combining printmaking, time-based media, and alternative photographic processes, her artwork has been widely exhibited across the United States and is included in many national collections. She has been awarded residencies at Vermont Studio Center and the Kala Art Institute, and has been a visiting artist at numerous universities and art centers. She has previously taught at Arizona State University, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She received her MA and MFA in Printmaking with a minor in Intermedia from the University of Iowa where she graduated with honors, and received a BA in studio art from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Ellie is from Stevens Point, Wisconsin where her mother is an art teacher in the public school system.

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All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.