Introducing the 2016 MAS featured artists

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I am extremely excited to be heading into Year 3 of the 3 year project, the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project. I will be traveling this summer to the following states to visit the 2016 MAS featured artists; Karri Dieken (ND), Sharon Grey (SD), Jody Boyer (NE), Lori Elliott-Bartle (NE), Rachel Mindrup (NE), Joe Bussell (KS), and Larry Thomas (KS).

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

Throughout the studio visits I will be introducing you to 7 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. 

This project is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc. 

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

– Frank Juarez, art educator and founder

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portrait2014.5_thumbKarri Dieken

Web: www.karriadieken.com

Here are two 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 have always known I was going to be a teacher, how I was going to get there and the full time line. Up until my final year of college, it was then, that I met a professor who changed the way I will forever look at teaching. Rita Cihlar Hermann was a professor of photography, she engaged all students in the course dialogue, creation or work, and developed a safe work space. I never, thought college would be a place with bullying, I found out during my final year of school that there were so many students who didn’t quite fit in. This is where Rita, helped them see they had a full potential, and a place in art, where they could share their stories and belong. She incorporated interdisciplinary curriculum, innovative uses of technology, and group work where all the members actually participated. It was as if she had some magical power over the students, where everyone wanted to participate and create to the best of their ability. Her magical power was positivity, and using positive feedback during critiques, she modeled behavior on acceptance and free speech without hurting another person. During this last year I was exposed to new forms of art and photography and how they could be created to make one piece of work or a body of work. That we as a class were a team and once we worked together we were un-stoppable. Today, I use many of the teaching methods facilitated my Rita. It is through kindness and positive feedback that we see the greatest gains, building strength through confidence and trust, this is what allows for the opportunities to take risks and not fear art. Its with this that I share art in my classroom, exposing students to a world they shouldn’t fear. The biggest gain has been seeing so many students share their creative voice!

Why is Art Education important today?

Art is a way to pair our thoughts and ideas in multiple forms, mediums, methods. Its something that everyone can do! Through art education we will open doors for future scientist, mathematicians, doctors, accountants, and so much more. With out art education in schools, children loose the opportunity to express themselves through visual images and creative solutions. We can look at Adult coloring books and see that art is essential in balancing our everyday lives. Art is a necessary part of our lives, and is essential in our K-12 and college schools. Art is the butter to our dry toast!

Artist Statement

As a mixed media artist, she is interested in fibers and polymers as mediums for documenting moments in time, considerations for collecting data, re-creating patterns, and engaging in community based performances and installations.

Relying on the repetition of imagery found in relationship to domesticity of common place and nostalgia. With the use of various techniques within handmade art making practices. Her work is about making marks via material exploration. She works with both traditional fibers, to cast porcelain, to found material sculpture. Resulting products range from cross stitched food, domestic interior installations, prints and paintings about “home.” Dieken, references outdated technological use of communication with everyday objects and repeated patterns.  Type writers, telephones, sewing machines, and bicycles become surrogate objects within each narrative space. Much of the work is instigated by a collection of narratives informed by life experiences growing up in the Midwest to current daily interactions. The labor intensive repetitive work is an act of meditation, remembrance and homage to her Grandmother and Father.

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Bio

Dieken grew up in the badlands region of the Midwest, inspired by the landscape, heritage, craft and the hand-made. She earned an MFA from Washington State University in 2010, and a BSED in Art from Black Hills State University in 2007. She has studied printmaking, sculpture, photography, and ceramics throughout her education.

Since 2007, her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions across the United States, New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands. Her work has been included in exhibits at the Plains Art Museum, Museum of Art WSU, Boise Art Museum, Essex Art Center, Dahl Fine Art Center, and the South Dakota State Museum of Art. A selection of her prints have been acquisition into the permanent collections at the Museum of Art WSU, Boise Art Museum, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and the Missoula Art Museum. She continues to participate in select print exchanges and sculpture based installations exploring narratives of nuclear family, midwestern heritage, and childhood in rural America.

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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. 

Drawing-Painting I students Skype with MAS artist, Todd Mrozinski

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On November 5th, Mr. Juarez’s Drawing/Painting I students skyped with Midwest Artist Studios (MAS) artist, Todd Mrozinski. The MAS project aims to connect art education with regional contemporary artists through studio visits, curriculum documentation, and opportunities for educator outreach. 

Todd is a full-time artist living and working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is currently the 2015-2016 Pfister Artist in Residence.

Born in Rensselaer, IN in 1974, Todd has loved to paint for as long as he can remember. He acquired his BFA in painting from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 1997 and in 1996 attended The New York Studio Program. He has been in solo and group exhibitions nationwide and his work is in various public and private collections. By focusing on two main areas, shadows and clothing, he explores the power of a subject’s presence through its absence. Meditation and contemplation as well as following inspiration and free flowing expression are essential to his working practice. Todd sees and shares the beauty and illumination of light and personality through drips and skeins and piles of paint. He and his wife, Renee Bebeau, have a studio in The Nut Factory, Riverwest, Wisconsin, where they offer art classes and workshops. He is currently represented by Woodman/Shimko Gallery, Palm Springs, California.   

Text highlighted in orange are live links to websites. 

Running time: 14:34

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

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. 

Jason Ackman – Rushville, 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.

Where do I begin? Creating art has been one of the most consistent and positive things I encountered in school. My high school art room was my sanctuary. It was in Karen Icenogle’s room that I always felt at home. I was allowed to experiment and try new things. Even if doing so resulted in failure. In middle school I had been working on a drawing that would later be transferred to a scratchboard. I ended up taking far longer than the other students to complete the initial drawing. It was then that my teacher, Nancy Pitlik, told me to skip the scratchboard and keep going with the pen drawing I was working on. I thought that was pretty cool that she was willing to highjack the project and allow me to move in a different direction.

Why is Art Education important today?

Art Education is important because it challenges students to become creative problem solvers. No matter what a student chooses to do with their life after they leave school they will be far more impactful and successful in whatever they choose if they can come up with creative solutions. Whether that be as an artist, educator, factory worker, doctor, custodian, you name it; all require creative problem solving skills. Art Education deeply fosters this type of development in a student.

Jason Ackman

Web: www.jasonackman.org

The symbolic meaning that can be found in the most ordinary, outdated and utilitarian objects intrigues me. These objects are rich with meaning and significance. Many times they have outlived their usefulness or purpose. Their place as forgotten objects allows us to see them re-imagined- we are able to see their metaphorical potential because we are able to distance ourselves from their original intent or purpose. My work explores these alternative or re-imag- ined meanings as they relate to the concepts of transition and discernment. Sculpting and carving these once common and everyday objects out of reclaimed lumber and clay is a sub- tle and transformative process. Through this process I reveal the unrefined qualities of the chosen material. Ultimately, the re-imagining of these seemingly outdated objects and dis- carded materials illuminates the deeper meaning that can be found in forgotten or cast aside items. This illumination, in turn, reflects on the way we view our own human experiences. I choose weathered surfaces and a neutral monochromatic palette to unify each piece and use hand tools and simple construction techniques to enhance the beauty of such materials. In re- gards to using reclaimed materials I embrace the challenge of making something out of a ma- terial that has seemingly lost its purpose or need-the things that others look past, the things that so often don’t fit the standard mold of perfection. I see the material not for what it was, but for what it will become. In my hands it still has worth and a purpose yet to be discovered.

Bio

Jason Ackman is a high school art teacher and sculptor living in west central Illinois with his wife and two daughters. He received his BA from Western Illinois University and for the past 16 years he has been teaching a wide range of studio art classes at Rushville-Industry High School. His studio practice over the past 5 years has been focused on the use of reclaimed lumber as a sculptural medium.

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

Jenniffer Omaitz – Kent, Ohio

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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 is one of the questions asked on our survey and the artist’s response.

Why is Art Education today?

Art allows young students and students in general to be versatile in multifaceted and have an understanding for cultural experiences. It incorporates cognitive skills with hands-on applications. The way art is taught now occurs in both 2-D and 3-D and virtual environments. This range of experiences along with cultural connections is imperative for young students high school and college age students to become more sensitive and responsive to social and environmental shifts.

 

Jenniffer Omaitz

Web: www.omaitz.com

Our urban and geographic environment is in a constant state of transformation. My work explores states of change between order and chaos that relate to this experience of environmental shift. Painting and Installation Art are modes of communicating the sensitivity to environmental factors; these practices provide me with a cadence and context through which to communicate utopian elegance, or dystopian plight. Installation explores this order/chaos in theory by invoking parts of abstraction, architecture, landscape, natural disaster, and a tactile response image making. Paintings are a meditation on movement, permutation, gesture, boundary, space and color.

In 2014, I started a series of work titled, Solid Movement. Solid Movement is an investigation into gesture and its ability to encapsulate time and psyche, fuse internal and external, and record conceptual state changes in solidified form. This series struggles to define beauty, exploring abstraction as incident and artifact of the process in which paint is applied. There is a constant struggle between surface and ground; between paint and the boundaries within the painting. This series of work attempts to unify my sculptural endeavors with my interests in painting.

Over the past six years I have explored site-specific installation. The installations built encompass three-dimensional landscapes frozen in the midst of a chaotic event. This “event” is reminiscent of a landscape that has been caught in a fictitious disaster. By incorporating drawing and painting with objects and found materials, this ignites play between the structure of the gallery and the theatrics of the painterly gesture and their united associations. This sense of theater is a formal extension of the shadows cast by gallery lights, the configuration of the wall, ceiling, and the intrinsic architectural nature of the given space.

Overall, my work explores space; both physical and psychological space. This refers to “Space” as it is applied to a two dimensional surface, or a three dimensional location.

Bio

Jenniffer Omaitz (1979, Cleveland, OH) lives in Kent, OH and works in Kent and Cleveland. She holds an MFA in painting from Kent State University and a BFA in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at The Sculpture Center, Cleveland; Sandy Carson Gallery, Denver; and Kent State University, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. Her work was featured at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas in Denver. Omaitz is a part-time faculty member at Kent State University, and the University of Akron. She is represented by 1point618 Gallery in Cleveland.

 

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

 

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

________________________________________________________________________

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.