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


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. 

Frank Juarez presents at the 2015 Wisconsin Art Education Association conference at Lawrence University

photo cred: Jonathan Fritsch

photo cred: Jonathan Fritsch

On October 22, Frank Juarez, MAS founder, presented at the WAEA conference at Lawrence University in Appleton on his Midwest Artist Studios Project. The MAS Project aims to connect art education with regional contemporary art through studio visits, curriculum development, and opportunities for educator outreach. 

The Midwest Artist Studios™ Project  is a three summer project established by a Wisconsin high school art educator, Frank Juarez. A team consisting of a photographer, writer, and assistant travel the Midwest visiting contemporary visual artists who embrace the importance of Art Education, believe that their art experience was influenced or shaped by their K-12 Art Education and are following their artistic dream of art making. These visits will encompass a close and personal approach into the studio life of an artist. Artists will not only talk about their engagement in their art processes, but also discuss their rigorous work schedule, daily commitments, work ethic, artistic vision; to name a few.
After each summer the MAS Team create a catalog and an curriculum workbook, which contains lesson plans that compliment and reinforce the artists’ contemporary art practices. These lesson plans can be used to reinforce, supplement, or become an art curriculum for grades 6-12. In addition to the publication, an series of artist videos, gallery of images have been created for educator use. As well as creating a platform for educators to connect with the MAS artists via Skype. 

To date this project has featured artists from Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. In 2016, I will be introducing our next roster of artists from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Most recently, it has been featured in the September issue of Art Education: A Journal of the National Art Education Association. Click here to read the article. 


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


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


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.


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.


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

Ellie Honl – Bloomington, Indiana


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.

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.

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.


Animation Video

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

A Midwest Artist Studios™ Project Reflection (2015)


Written by Frank Juarez, art educator & founder

This spring semester (2015) I implemented the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project curriculum into two of my art courses. The MAS workbook contains 9 lesson plans inspired by the artists the MAS team visited in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin towards the end of July of 2014. Each lesson designed to address New Visual Arts Standards, literacy, differentiated instruction, technology, assessments, creative processes, and procedures. The only unknown factor was how these lessons would look like inside the art classroom. So I decided to introduce these artists and their work to my students.

To date I have implemented the following lessons: “The intricacy of the object: connecting the past to the present” featuring mixed media drawings by Josh Wilichowski (MN), “Exploring motifs: art & architecture” featuring drawings by Paula Schulze (WI), “Be One with nature: painting your surrounding” featuring paintings by Jane Ryder (IA), and “It is all narrative: the art of assemblage” featuring assemblages by Josie Osborne (WI), and “Space Invader: Exploring the body’s interaction with space” featuring sculptures by Suzanne Torres. Each lesson was accompanied with a video of the artist talking about his/her art, process, influences, and studio practice and viewable online a gallery of the artists’ work.

kimberlyOne of the benefits of this project is that each featured artist agreed to be accessible to educators via Skype to provide students the opportunity for real time interaction. This experience provided my students with the opportunity to ask the artists questions that they may have about their process, medium/a, influences, education, ways to promote and so on. This also provided a platform in which the artist can offer feedback about the student’s work via an online critique. Some of the MAS artists welcomed teachers and students into their studio while others welcomed works by students to be emailed to the artist for feedback. There are just some things you do not learn from a book and must be experienced in person.

Throughout the semester I have been checking in with my students to see how things are coming along with the projects, their thoughts on using new media, and how it has helped them see the world around them. Natalie mentioned it was neat to see Paula Schulze’s work because it allowed her to see architecture in a different way by taking a basic shape and making it into a complex pattern using contrast, balance, movement, and line. Bryan said, “This project helped me focus on one thing and one thing only, and that was my artistic point of view. I truly believe that I’ve improved in my abilities in art because of these projects. They have inspired me to actually complete something that I loved doing”.

josieosborne_videoLike many art teachers, I am always on the look out to incorporate different ways to expose, educate, and engage my students into the world of art. Except my interest is seeking artists at the local and regional level versus googling random artists. I believe by developing professional relationships with these artists results in an authentic art experience for my students. This project is a reflection of this.

As the founder of the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project, I knew it would be a benefit to any curriculum whether it is art, math, science, or social studies to infuse art. I never realized just how much students enjoyed interacting with the artists in real time. The artists we have worked with this semester were fabulous and made this project such a meaningful art experience for my students. For this I am grateful.

With the help of our technology department I was able to record our Skype session with Iowa-based painter, Jane Ryder. 


Below is what my students expressed as their wrapped up this year’s projects at Sheboygan North High School. 


From this year, I have learned to have a little faith in the outcome of my projects. I am usually a self-doubting person, so I should take this experience and apply it to my life in general. There have been a lot of things this year that have actually increased my self-confidence. I do not feel ready for next year; however, I do feel a little more prepared, and I think I am in a slightly better mindset for what is to come. The world is complex just like these projects were. The outcome, on occasion, could turn out amazing though and I am excited to see what the world has to offer to me if I work hard enough. It is awfully strange, yet awesome, how many similarities the process of creating art is to living life.

The slightest change in a piece of art can change the entire meaning of a piece. After our interview with Jane Ryder, I began to think about what would be best for my painting, She gave specific suggestions to me through email, and I took those and created a more complex piece of art with the inclusion of another style of gouache painting. I watered down the gouache and created a fluid movement in the background, opposed to the strong colors and solid painting in the foreground. In the end, I gave my painting a softer, more balanced feeling.


I learned really only one thing  this year about myself while doing art. The  thing I learned about myself was that I can’t really plan out a project. After I plan out the design I always end up changing my mind because I find a new inspiration and add on to it.  I think that the reason I do this is because art is about creativity and you can’t plan creativity. While doing all these projects it has opened my eyes to things around me by finding inspiration in the things around me.

Savannah B

IMG_8673 I learned that not everything I make will be what I expect it to be, some will not live up to my expectations and some may be. I have come to realize that I will not always excel in every single media that I’m given, I will always have a weakness in particular mediums, but that doesn’t mean that I should stop trying to work with them. I think that it just means I should just work with it to understand how it works, that way I don’t necessarily rule that media out for a project. 

While learning about the last project it has helped me realize that not all art has to be so elaborate or perfect. Things aren’t always meant to go the way you want them to. I myself am a perfectionist and any art project I do. I won’t particularly like because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted to, but that’s just how things go. I know that I criticize my work harshly but that’s just the way I am. I always feel like I can do better, but I get lazy. I’ve got to learn to accept that my artwork has turned out this way, and if I want to improve I always have another shot at it. I don’t always have to be so hard on myself.

I would say the assemblage was my favorite project to do because I had dedicated it to my grandpa who passed away two years ago.


Through creating my art I learned many different things about myself as not only an artist but an individual. I learned that creating different styles of art helps me expand my thinking and brainstorming. What I mean by this is that when I am having a hard time trying to think of ideas for my artwork I like to make sketches to get my mind thinking and get other ideas. I also have learned that creating art helps me deal with stress and helps me relax and calm down from my busy life. Art has helped me in many different ways. Overall by taking art over the last few years I think that I have grown into a stronger and more positive individual.


IMG_3849Through art, I enjoy expressing my emotions on paper.  By creating art I can express my creativity without anyone judging. I have noticed that everyones style is unique, no one is exactly the same, when expressing one’s creativity. The arts can teach individuals to make good judgement about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real. The arts help individuals learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job. This course, I have learned many techniques and strategies to improve my art capabilities. Stretching, creating canvases, paint strokes, sketching skills are some of the many techniques learned. By learning these new techniques, it has opened my eyes to the world around me.

Gallery of students’ work from this semester. 

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A colleague of mine, Sylvia Cavanaugh, at Sheboygan North High School purchased the MAS Catalog to use in her curriculum and this is what she had to say about the experience working with Jane Ryder’s lesson plan. 

“I am a teacher of African and Asian Cultural studies, and chose to incorporate the lesson, Be One With Nature:  Painting Your Surrounding, into my unit on Japan.  Throughout the course, I have been teaching my students various techniques for deep relaxation based on focus.  This unit allowed me to apply meditation to nature and art.  Based on Jane Ryder’s suggestion, I gave each student a simple view finder and sent them to the school courtyard to study nature and to sketch a few images.  The next two class periods were spent in the classroom, where students created watercolor compositions based on the work of Ryder.  Ryder’s work was the ideal inspiration for this because it is very detailed, and yet is not perfectly realistic.  This allowed students who did not view themselves as artistic, to the be willing to take a chance. In fact, all of my students did engage in the project and created paintings.  They seemed to experience the deep meditative focus I was looking for, and I think many of them produced art that was beyond even their own expectations. This was the sort of valuable educational experience that provides a life lesson in the power of art, nature, and meditation”. – Ms. Cavanaugh

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MAS Reflection by Midwest Artist Studios featured artist, Todd Mrozinski.


Todd skyping with Mr. Korb’s student. Courtesy of Frank Korb from Waterford High School.

The experience with the students and seeing their unique version of a shadow portrait was wonderful and inspiring. The collaboration with their partner and the energy of that interaction was also evident in their work was great to discuss during the Skype sessions.  Frank Korb , art teacher from Waterford Union High School, was amazing to work with and I hope to continue a connection with him and his classes.

MAS presents a phenomenal new way of connecting students with artists, I am so glad to be a part of it.

Reflection on Todd Mrozinski and Silhouette Drawings

Written by Frank Korb, art teacher

2015 Drawing Class – Waterford Union High School

Korb5I introduced my students to Todd Mrozinski through the Midwestern Artist Studios Project workbook designed by Frank Juarez. In order to help my students better understand who Todd Mrozinski is, I used Frank Juarez’s writing and interview with Todd from the M.A.S. Workbook as well as looking at Todd’s website and video prepared as his application for the Pfister Artist in Residence. From there, we discussed the ideas and history behind diptychs and triptychs. The ideas behind the works were planned around the idea of working with a partner, learning about them as individuals and then working together to create works about one another through the same ideas of Todd – working with the Silhouette of one another and also working with the ideas of shadows cast from plants or trees. Originally, we were going to be creating a triptych and including the shadow of a person made object, one chosen by the partner in the pair, but because of time limitations we only had one artist get that far with the drawing.

Korb6In the very beginning, we introduced one another through learning the ideas behind the elevator pitch. Using an elevator pitch approach to introduce themselves gave them a good understanding about who they are, what they believe in, how they make art, what their ideas about life and art. From there we all went outside and looked at shadows and the partners worked together to choose which types of plant shadows to trace. The artist traced the shadow their partner liked or felt symbolized them. They then traced the sitters silhouette. From there we all worked in studio and created these wonderful images through the use of oil pastels. Over these quick 2 weeks or so, a large assortment of strong and conversation starting compositions were created. Works were focused on the positive and negative space the silhouettes created while also being built up upon the idea of color scheme. Working together gave the artwork a collaborative element that previous works did not have. Students were a bit apprehensive about the use of oil pastels, but this was a good choice as time was of a concern. Oils have a quality that really show the mark of the artist and this showed through in many of the works. A few thoughts about the next time that this lesson is taught are to allow more time to work, a mid-critique, as well as a field trip to Todd’s studio in Milwaukee.

Each class period began with a virtual trip to Todd’s gallery and discussion about a few works. Personal written reflection happened at the end of each day with students thinking about and responding to the successes and failures that they were experiencing in the work. When we had about a week left, I provided an online written critique (google forms) for them to use as their final exam. All said and done – kids came into the final exam period with their finished artwork, Skype TV turned on, and Todd, my students, and myself I met up online to talk about the ideas and works that were created.

Korb10Over the course of two days and two separate classes, 20 kids each, a 1 1/2 hour time period we had GREAT critiques, conversation, and reinforcement of many words I spoke of earlier. Todd added a lot of new ideas about intention and symbolism, compositional ideas that were new ideas for the students. The young artists were very interested in Todd’s comments, critique, and support about the work. Discussion of the works was very strong and the students took to the conversation with elements and principles in mind with interpretation becoming even more a highlight. I sincerely hope that the ideas spoken about are carried forward into the individual student work.

Korb11During the first week of summer vacation, I put out a brief survey to the kids that asked four questions. 1) What are THREE (3) highlights that you found, experienced, or achieved in the working on your shadow / color scheme drawings? 2) What are TWO (2) suggestions you suggest for the next time this artwork / experience gets taught? 3) What is the ONE (1) thing that you feel you will remember / use in the future that you learned from this work of art? 4) Do you have ANYTHING ELSE that you would like to add? Please let me hear more of your thoughts. Survey results HERE. While I am not expecting a lot of responses, summer vacation having started, I do hope to get a few comments in about the project. My students works as well as images of the kids in the process of working and critiquing can be seen through this link: https://goo.gl/UgFmbo.

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


Frank Juarez is a Wisconsin art educator, artist, gallery owner, advocate and community leader living and teaching in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In 2005, he committed his life to expose, educate and engage others on the importance of experiencing and supporting the Visual Arts. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art events, facilitating presentations, and supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed him in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to interact, collaborate, network and exhibit in the Sheboygan community.

Juarez is the art department chair at Sheboygan North High School. He is actively involved in local, regional, state, and national arts organization such as the Wisconsin Art Education Association, National Art Education Association, Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, Arts Wisconsin, Cedarburg Cultural Center, and is founder/former director of the Sheboygan Visual Artists. In 2011, he has opened his first art gallery, EFFJAY PROJEKTS Gallery (now called the Frank Juarez Gallery), in Sheboygan. He has been presenting at local universities/colleges on the Business of Art | Art of Business. He founded two projects focused on Contemporary Art and art education called The Midwest Artist Studios and the 365 Artists 365 Days Project. Recently, he has been recognized as the 2015 Wisconsin Art Education Association Teacher of the Year. 



Frank Juarez, MAS founder, and Erika Block, MAS writer, will be sharing their Midwest Artist Studios Project journey at the Museum of Wisconsin Art today. Thank you, MOWA!