MAS founder, Frank Juarez, visits The Thacher School in Ojai, California

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MAS founder and art educator, Frank Juarez, will be participating in a visiting artist program at The Thacher School in Ojai, California. This residency will focus on integrating art into other content areas as well as exposing, educating, and engaging students on regional contemporary art from the Midwest. In addition, create opportunities for students to interact with MAS artists via Skype for a 1-to-1 online critique and Q&A.

Click the link or image to see video of The Thacher School.  

Courtesy of The Thacher School

Courtesy of The Thacher School

http://www.thacher.org/Page/Site-Entry-Full-Video

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Meditation Drawings at Sheboygan North High School with MAS artist, Jessica Anderson

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On March 14, MAS artist, Jessica Anderson, spent the day at Sheboygan North High School connecting with students through her project, Meditation Walking, as the basis for her meditation drawings that she facilitated with Drawing/Painting II, AP Studio Art, and Senior Art 2 students. Jessica is one of our Year 2 MAS artists. 

Jessica’s artist statement states:

Part research, part design, part invention – my work navigates the boundary between mind and body through a re-contextualized lens of science, medicine, and biologic phenomena. Reminiscent of laboratory investigations, my invented scenarios answer questions with questions and provoke participatory explorations of the individual self.  

Taking the position as neither a skeptic nor a promoter, my research examines the role of holistic healing practices in contemporary culture. I am interested in individual relationships within these mechanisms of health and provide viewers with opportunities to test their own boundaries of belief. Reframing practices such as a detoxifying footbath, a chi activation machine, and phenomenological exercises, my re-contextualization of existing treatments heightens the tension of purpose, and provides viewers with neutral environments of investigation. 

Merging factual information with reinvented application allows me to expand the dialogue of cognitive occurrences. For instance, EMDR therapy asks patients to lean their head to the left to access thoughts and to lean their head to the right to access feelings and emotions. Redirecting this information, I then ask: Is there a discernible difference between these two cerebral directions when drawing a line? 

It is a question that can only be answered through experience, observation, and communally applied analytics. 

In my work, invitations for experience occur through demonstrative videos, interactive objects/devices, evocative statements of research, and performative exercises. Together, each of these installation elements create a multi-dimensional environment of investigative viewing, biologic questioning, and experiential answering. By repositioning scientifically grounded phenomena into the context of a gallery, information begins to transcend ratiocination and calls upon a physical conversation between mind, body, and personal experience. 

Katie, drawing/painting II student, writes, “the meditation drawing experience was very different from what I was expecting going into it. My mind works in a very mechanical fashion so I thought that I would not be able to relax and have my hand wander for a period of time. I found myself having completely letting go. Tracking time was impossible. When just sitting and doing nothing, 10 minutes felt like an eternity. Time was called when I thought we were only half way through. After completing the session, I felt more relaxed, more confident in my decisions, and more sensitive to my surroundings. I would gladly doing this again and recommend it to anyone. 

Abrille, drawing/painting II student, writes, “I felt that with this meditation drawing it was weird. At First, it was different because I never done it before. I learned that basically letting your mind take over your hand. You do not exactly create something recognizable. I thought this idea was cool because I never thought you could meditate through art. I was pretty excited with trying something new. In the end Id did get comfortable with doing this. By the time we were finished I was really relaxed, but when I opened my eyes to see what I drew it was unexpected.

Brittany, drawing/painting II student, writes, “Jessica did an amazing job! It was a great experience. I would do it all of the time. I felt refreshed. My mind was at peace. 

Mikayla, AP Studio Art student, writes, my experience during the meditation drawing was calming. I wasn’t thinking about what I was drawing, but more what I was feeling. This process taught me that to create art, I do not need to always necessarily think it through, but express how I’m feeling. I also learned that meditation drawing is the releasing of one’s mind. The thoughts and expressions in our minds flow directly into our hand and create an image on paper. When introduced to this process I was very interested. It seemed very stress free and enjoyable. After it was all done, the meditation drawing session made me feel very relaxed. I was also quite surprised by how my drawing looked. It pretty much was a bunch of scribbles, but nonetheless very enjoyable. 

Running Time: 14:17 with a 6:21 introduction by Jessica. 

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. 

Jessica Anderson – Jacksonville, Illinois

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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.

While it is hard to select just one, all of my important moments came when an instructor granted me permission to follow my instincts. In college, I was pursuing a triple major in Painting, Women’s Studies, and Religious Studies. I found connections in all of these academic areas and was thriving with my personal research. But in a quick period of time, my sketchbook began to fill with ideas for sculptures and dimensional forms. I found myself unable to paint and felt this surge and urge to sculpt. This was tough on me, because I did not know anything about sculpture and held such a strong identity to painting.

After meeting with the sculpture professor at my school (now deceased, David Newton), he encouraged me to work independently with him and gave me the resources to begin sculpting. This meeting changed my life. Every professional and artistic accomplishment I have made since this meeting has roots in this initial discussion. David Newton, as an instructor, mentor, and artist, provided me with an academic framework to explore my own inner voice.

This is so important from an art educational standpoint, because the art classroom is a space for permission to thrive. It is a space to nurture empowered decision-making and self accountability. David Newton showed me that I can use the tools and theories that I had learned in all of my art classes and can apply them to the visions that are waiting within me.

Why is Art Education today?

Art education is absolutely essential. It is essential for students who are interested in a future in art and it is also essential for students who are not. While Art Education fosters art-making practices, it also provides students with tools and experiences that are applicable across academic and professional fields.

In the Art classroom, students learn to take risks. Students learn to strategize. It is a hands-on environment for materializing problem-solving practices and becoming familiar with their own relationship to success and failure. (I do not mean failure of my Class, but rather, when we try something and it does not work how we intended. “Failure” is relative and it is a moment that I celebrate with the student because it is a place of creative improvisation and discovery).

We learn to be human in an art classroom – we learn to be resilient, we learn to be self-motivated, and we learn the power of our own inner expression. I think that Art Education is THE most important class in a curriculum because it teaches students the power of their own potential, regardless of their “artistic” ability.

Jessica Anderson

Web: www.jessicabrookeanderson.com

Part research, part design, part invention – Jessica Anderson’s work navigates the boundary between mind and body through a recontextualized lens of science, medicine, and biologic phenomena. Reminiscent of laboratory investigations, her invented scenarios answer questions with questions and provoke participatory explorations of the individual self.

Taking the position as neither a skeptic nor a promoter, her research examines the role of holistic healing practices in contemporary culture. She is interested in individual relationships within these mechanisms of health and provide viewers with opportunities to test their own boundaries of belief. Reframing practices such as a detoxifying footbath, a chi activation machine, and phenomenological exercises, her recontextualization of existing treatments heightens the tension of purpose, and provides viewers with neutral environments of investigation.

Merging factual information with reinvented application allows her to expand the dialogue of cognitive occurrences. For instance, EMDR therapy asks patients to lean their head to the left to access thoughts and to lean their head to the right to access feelings and emotions. Redirecting this information, she then asks: Is there a discernible difference between these two cerebral directions when drawing a line?

It is a question that can only be answered through experience, observation, and communally applied analytics.

In Anderson’s work, invitations for experience occur through demonstrative videos, interactive objects/devices, evocative statements of research, and performative exercises. Together, each of these installation elements create a multi-dimensional environment of investigative viewing, biologic questioning, and experiential answering. By repositioning scientifically grounded phenomena into the context of a gallery, information begins to transcend ratiocination and calls upon a physical conversation between mind, body, and personal experience.

Bio

Jessica Anderson currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Art at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. She received her BA in Studio Art from Guilford College in 2007 and her MFA in Sculpture from the University of Tennessee in 2013, where she served as a Graduate Teaching Associate and Director of the University exhibition space, Gallery 1010.

In her work, invitations for experience occur through demonstrative videos, interactive objects/devices, evocative statements of research, and performative exercises. Jessica has exhibited both nationally and internationally including an interactive outdoor installation on the border of Finland and Sweden in association with the Magneetti Foundation. Other exhibition sites include London, England, Toronto, Canada, and throughout the United States. Jessica has been an Artist-in-Residence at Spark Box Studio, in Ontario, Canada and a participant in the “Silence. Awareness. Existence.” residency at the Arteles Center in Haukijärvi, Finland.

Gallery

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