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

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Impressions on the Midwest Artist Studios Project

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IMG_4418Here are the thoughts of a high school freshman on the Midwest Artist Studios Project. This project has a bigger impact on students who have been exposed to this project that I would have ever imagined. I was impressed on how this student was engaged in this process. – Frank Juarez, founder.
 
I was fortunate to get a chance to work with him during our freshmen art class. I thought that the program that he has created at home is a great way to get high school kids involved with the arts. Usually when I think of art and artists, as I’m sure is common with most people, I think of two types of people. I think of the tortured artists, like Van Gogh. The other type of artist would be the classic painter, who always seems to have died before appreciation for their art developed.
 
Previous to the discussion with Mr. Juarez, I would not really think of being an accomplished artist as something attainable for people today. It seems as though we see accomplishment for artists as something that can only be attained after death. Mr. Juarez helped me see that success in art is not limited to past generations, but there are actually many successful artists who create masterpieces in my own community.—Ursula, class of 2019

Get your copy today – Year 2 Midwest Artist Studios Project

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The catalog contains 66 pages with studio images and full interviews with our featured Midwest artists: Mellissa Redman (MI), Kate Robertson (MI), Jenniffer Omaitz (OH), Ellie Honl (IN), Jessica Anderson (IL), Jason Ackman (IL), Krista Svalbonas (IL), and Emmy Lingscheit (IL).

The workbook contains 96 pages with color illustrations and grades 6-12 lesson plans inspired from our studio visits with our Year 2 Midwest artists. This includes access to our Backroom on our MAS site, which gives you access to artist videos, a gallery of images, and the option of contacting the artist for a Skype session with your students. 

Published by the Midwest Artist Studios™ Project, 2015

Catalog design by Erika Block of Creative Studios

Limited Qty: 100

(Stock code: MASCATWKBK15)

Click here to purchase this catalog & workbook

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

Orders will be shipped within 7-10 business days of your purchase. 

MAS_WAEAad2016

 

Krista Svalbonas – Chicago, 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.

I have to thank my high school art teachers for being so amazingly supportive of me. After exhausting every art class possible in the school they devised a series of independent studies for me to focus on media and ideas that I wished to explore. Without there continual sponsorship who knows where I would be.

Why is Art Education today?

I read an article the other day that talked about an MFA being the new MBA. So much of today’s world is looking for the creative thinker, someone who can “think outside of the box”. Arts education, as that article adeptly put, is filled with ways to problem solve, think conceptually, flexibility and of course creativity. Without arts education many of our cultural, technological and social advances wouldn’t have happened.

Krista Svalbonas

Web: www.kristasvalbonas.com

head_shotIn the Presence of Memory Statement:

I grew up in an area of Pennsylvania dominated by the steel industry, and have long been interested in industrial architecture as an expression of cultural history.  “In the Presence of Memory” explores the architectural vestiges of a far more ancient industry: agriculture. The disappearing vernacular architecture of barns in rural Pennsylvania reveals their varied European lineages: specific structural elements reflect the building traditions of the home countries of the immigrant families who built them. A typology of these barn structures bears witness to centuries of migration. But what once seemed a stable and permanent destination is now in flux, as the family farm gives way to industrial farming, and farmland is converted to residential or commercial developments. For the past year I have been traveling throughout my home state to document these agricultural structures: abandoned, re-purposed, or – occasionally – still in use.  These photographic images have become the source material for this body of work. Using industrial felt (manufactured in Pennsylvania) as a substrate, I silk-screen images of architectural details of the barns using industrial pigments such as steel, iron and copper. I paint each piece individually using oil and cold wax, and cut into the felt, echoing the empty and thatched spaces of the often-dilapidated structures I have photographed. I “patch” these cut areas with colored sections of serigraph negatives, mimicking the splashes of incongruous color on the weathered surfaces that have been repaired again and again. The colors, forms and shapes of the felt panels all refer to the original structures; even in their abstraction, these paintings document the vanishing rural industrial landscape.

Bio

Krista Svalbonas holds a BFA in photography and design from Syracuse University and an interdisciplinary MFA in photography, sculpture and design from SUNY New Paltz. She has exhibited at the Miller Yezerski Gallery, Massachusetts; Watchung Art Center and George Segal Gallery in New Jersey; Monterey Peninsula Art Gallery in California; Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Matteawan Gallery, The Painting Center, Trestle Gallery, and BWAC in New York; and Tubac Center For The Arts, Arizona. She recently completed large-scale site-specific installations at the ISE Cultural Foundation in New York and Wall Gallery in Oakland, California. She was part of a two-year traveling group exhibition in Latvia, where her work was acquired for the permanent collection of the Cesis Art Museum. She is a recipient of a Cooper Union artist residency as well as a New Arts Program residency and exhibition, and was awarded a Bemis fellowship for 2015. Svalbonas is currently a lecturer in photography at Columbia College.

Gallery

 

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

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.

Midwest Artist Studios™ Lesson Plans Released January 2015

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A limited run of our Midwest Artist Studios™ Lesson Plan Workbook will be printed later this month with our release date being early January 2015. These lesson plans come with the National Visual Art Standards, Literacy, differentiated instruction, technology, artist-Skype critiques, and so much more. These lesson plans are inspired by our studio visits with our MAS artists.  

We will also be printing a limited run of our Midwest Artist Studios™ Catalog featuring Josh Wilichowski (MN), Vincenzio Donatelle (MN), Jane Ryder (IA), Jamie Bates Slone (MO), Catie Miller (MO), Todd Mrozinski (WI), Paula Schulze (WI), Josie Osborne (WI), and Suzanne Torres (WI). 

Below is a snapshot of our 2014 lesson plans. 

MAS LPs 2014