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. 

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. 

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

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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.