Meet Artist Mentors
Sonnenzimmer is the collective output of Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. Their work explores the contemporary and historic impact of the graphic impulse through publishing, exhibitions, graphic design, and performance. While the duo works in an array of media, their focus is on triangulating a deeper understanding of the role of graphic expression at large. In addition to their self-driven work, Sonnenzimmer actively engages in commissioned projects aiming to reshape preconceived notions of the graphic arts. Their work has been shown in The United States, Brazil, China, and Europe; with recent solo exhibitions at Vebikus Kunsthalle Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee. They lead lectures & workshops in academic and commercial settings, including past visits to Aalto University, Finland; California Institute for the Arts, CA; Columbia College Chicago, IL; Cranbrook Art Academy, MI; Facebook Analog Research Laboratory, CA; Grafisches Forum Zürich, Switzerland; The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MN; Pratt Institute, NY; Yale School of Art, CT.
Meet Artist Residents
Bobbi Meier is a Chicago-based visual artist working in sculpture, drawing, photography and installation. Through her abstract soft sculptures and domestically focused installations Meier explores themes of sensuality, emotional struggle and loss. Ambiguity is a primary consideration as she encourages the psychological impulse to see implications of the body in her abstract forms. Inspired by Louise Bourgeois and Sarah Lucas, these strong feminist artists have provided inspiration and guidance for Meier’s work through their reference to the body, psychological trauma, and use of domestic materials. Most recent exhibitions include; Fugitive Narratives and Front & Center at Hyde Park Art Center, Soft Sculpture at International Museum of Surgical Science, Exhaustion and Exuberance at Chicago Artists Coalition, Perspiration Glitz at Roots and Culture, Chicago; Evanston Art Center 24th Biennial, Evanston, IL; The Second Terrain Biennial, Oak Park, IL. She has been awarded residencies at; The Ragdale Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, Anderson Ranch, Sanskriti-Kendra, in New Delhi, the HATCH Residency Program at the Chicago Artists Coalition, and was a participant and member of The Center Program at the Hyde Park Art Center in 2017. Meier earned her MAAE (2000), and MFA in Fiber and Material Studies (2011), from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Cydney Lewis is a Chicago artist who creates highly personal and intimate work, centering around ideas related to imagination, desire and the integration of art into daily life. Influenced by her background in ballet, architecture and film production design her work expresses mood,emotions,movement and narrative through detailed drawings,collages, sculptures and installations. Cydney’s work has been exhibited at The Elephant Room Gallery, Saugatuck Center of the Arts, Hyde Park Art Center, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago Artists Coalition, and The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. She is the recipient of various honors, including residencies at Chicago Public Schools, A Tending Space Fellow and Lyselotte Residency in Basel,Switzerland. Lewis’s work has also won awards as Best in Show at Governor State University, a 3arts nominee as well as MSI Black Creativity honorable mention and Green Arts Award. She’s been featured in publications as Neux Magazine, Timeout Chicago Magazine to ABC7Chicago and her work can be found in private collections around the world.
Dana Nechmad’s work focuses on the power of the body and its sexuality, a subject that dominates both the personal and the social spheres. Her fascination is not with the beauty of the flesh but with the emotion it arouses. In her practice she moves between painting, drawing, textile manipulation, embroidery and video. Everything is considered as a drawing, sometimes it’s made with a brush but just as often is made with thread or the body. Dana searches to understand human behavior, our desire for control, and the illusions and delusions that it often generates. Dana Nechmad received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018. MA in Philosophy from the Tel Aviv University in 2014 and BFA from The Libera Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence Italy in 2010.
Emily Lindskoog is a Chicago based artist and educator. Emily was born in Indiana and raised in Nevada. She received her MFA in painting and drawing from Pratt Institute in New York and currently teaches drawing and art history at North Park University in Chicago. Her drawing and unfixed collages are meant to feel infinitely rearrangeable, a concept that stems from her travels and her life as a new mother to an active and curious toddler.
Emma Rozanski is an Australian filmmaker, multi-media artist and a first-generation MFA graduate of Bela Tarr’s acclaimed film.factory experiment in Sarajevo. Her debut feature-length film, PAPAGAJKA (The Parrot) had its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in 2016 and continued on to a successful festival run worldwide. Emma’s moving image works have collectively have been selected for over 150 festivals and exhibitions worldwide and won several awards. She is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talents, the Berlinale Short Film Station and the Reykjavík Talent Lab. Emma is part of the artist collective, Bistrik7 (@Bistrik7), a group of 20 filmmaker-artists from around the globe who make collective projects and curate screenings and exhibitions of their work. Currently, Emma is developing her next two narrative feature films, along with an ambitious long-form video art piece. Her first solo exhibition was created while she was Artist in Residence at Chicago's International Museum of Surgical Science (opening Nov 2018).
Grace Makuch’s work focuses on millennial communication and outbursts of the heart. Through simultaneous use of humor, oversharing, and steadfast earnestness, her work conveys generational feelings of chaos, hope, and confusion. Makuch received her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Columbia College Chicago in 2016. She is a recent alumni of Spudnik Press’ Studio Fellowship program and recipient of the Ben Seamons Memorial Scholarship at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency. She has tweeted over 25,000 times.
Jesse Meredith is an interdisciplinary artist working to undermine power structures and complicate simplified narratives of belonging. Jesse makes work that challenges the relationship between safety and normativity. Immersing himself in problematic histories, he uses ideology as material, challenging established hierarchy, interrogating and disrupting the lines we draw around ourselves and one another. Jesse has his MFA in photography from SAIC (2018) and has exhibited in Chicago, New York, Buenos Aires, and Philadelphia. His practice incorporates photography, sculpture, video and collaborative lifestyle work.
Born and raised in NYC and currently based in Chicago, Joelle Mercedes is a multimedia artist, producing works that reframe origin while creating new metaphors that encourage yet complicate the notion of self-determination, self-authorship, and personal mythologies. Their work is concerned with and inquires about origins of complicated cultural narratives that often get oversimplified. Mercedes attended The School of The Art Institute of Chicago as a Merit Scholar. Their work has been exhibited in Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and Berlin, in art venues such as Threewalls, Roman Susan, Arts Incubator and Lynden Sculpture Garden, among others. Recently, Mercedes has been published in Strange Attractors, a book project of the 10th Berlin Biennale: We Don't Need Another Hero.
Juan Molina Hernández, born in Guanajuato, México, is a Chicago-based visual artist. Molina Hernández's art practice primarily uses photography and more recently writing, video, and artist books to create narratives that address the complexities of the hybrid immigrant identity. By appropriating symbols from the environment, culture, and personal memory they construct stories in relation to place, family, and a culture that never speaks one language.
Molina Hernández graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in photography. In the past, they have exhibited at ACRE Projects, Aurora Public Art Commission, Evanston Art Center, Elmhurst Art Museum, Gallery 214, Jack Olson Gallery, North Branch Arts Center, Roman Susan, as well as White Ripple Gallery & Co.
Image: Juan Molina Hernández, autoretrato o piel vieja y lo que sobra de una manda cumplida (self-portrait or old skin and remnants of a prayer answered), archival inkjet print, dimensions vary, 2017
Juliann Wang is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist and designer working through various media, whose work is a process of exploration that focuses on human culture. Through researching topics of particular interest in the present social climate, she focuses on methods to engage viewers in considering various concepts that bring awareness of personal experience to influence positive social reform. In capturing moments of encountering, she traces boundaries and perspectives that we often overlook in the rush of daily life. Her work has been exhibited at The Schoolhouse in Beijing (Solo Show), Hyde Park Art Center, The Art Center Highland Park, Bridgeport Art Center, Cleve Carney Art Gallery, Sullivan Galleries and Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at SAIC, Woman Made Gallery, UB Art Galleries at University of Buffalo, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Center for Contemporary Printmaking at Norwalk, 808 Gallery at Boston University, Cetys University and Mexicali Cultural Center in Mexico, 33 Space in Shen Zheng(China), etc. She has performed at the Chicago Cultural Center, 6018 North Gallery, Mana Fine Art, Prak-sis Gallery, and others. Her work is often quoted as possessing a "magical" quality that imparts a thoughtful sense of play and wonder. She holds an MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and BFA from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Her work has also been featured in the bi-monthly artist publication «ShuDo» magazine in Shen Zheng, China. September/October issue 2017.
Karen Dana Cohen was born in 1982 in Mexico City and lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received a BFA from The National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City (2005) and earned her MFA degree at Hunter College, New York (2011), where she based her art studio up until 2017. Her early work consists of scenes where family dynamics evoked visual tension in a composition. By experiencing her own family from abroad and beginning to grow into a family of her own she began exploring her painting practice as a more process-based research. The paintings of her recent work are often part of a specific arrangement based in gestures that she discovered inherited from women in her past as a mandate of femininity. The paintings offer an intimate narrative of the role immigrant women need to reinvent their whole self in order to survive, while at the same time defend their own identity through generations.
Image: Karen Dana, There is a transplanted gathering in between my steps, 2018, Oil on canvas, 72” x 60”
Kelly Xintaris is a writer and artist working primarily in photography and text-based art. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including at Artists Space in New York, Boston City Hall and Logan International Airport, the National Hellenic Museum, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Contemporary Artists Center in North Adams, MA. Her prose and poetry have appeared in the books September 11 in Popular Culture (Greenwood Press), the Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography (Routledge), and various literary journals. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Post-Baccalaureate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Kia Miakka Natisse is an artist and storyteller interested in identity and the narrative form. She experiments with narrative forms and modes to construct both linear and non-linear narratives about the self. She has a B.A. in journalism from Howard University, and a M.A. in transmedia storytelling from New York University. Her work has been exhibited at The Kitchen, Banff Centre and the Hyde Park Arts Center. She also runs an experimental publishing company called Group Project. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Kia Miakka Natisse currently lives and works in Chicago.
Liz Chilsen is an artist, arts administrator, and educator working in a range of media aligned primarily around the photographic image. Her key concern is the role of the individual within a broad social and historical sweep, centered in place and the tangible; both expansive and intimate. Liz’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is in a permanent collections at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Wisconsin Historical Society, Nicaragua Cultural Center, and University of Illinois, Comer Archive. Honors include an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council, residencies from the Ragdale Foundation, a Telly Award, a National Educational Media Award, and the Intercom Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. She is a member of the Stella Photography Collective. She holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College, and a BS-Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to her art-making practice, Liz teaches photography, and serves as Director of Exhibitions for CPS Lives. She is working on a photographic study of endangered places throughout Illinois as part of the State’s 2018 Bicentennial Celebration, funded by a grant from Illinois Humanities.
Liz Gomez is a multidisciplinary artist, activist, and educator currently based in Chicago, IL. Gomez's work aims to celebrate freedom, vulnerability, and the endless depths of the human spirit. Their visual practice includes portraiture, performance, and mixed media assemblage, centered in service, healing, and authenticity. Gomez's portrait practice combats generations of systematic erasure buy representing those whose legacies have been minimized or misrepresented. The individuals portrayed come from diverse perspectives with the goal of deepening our understandings of one another to foster forgiveness, healing, and acceptance amongst all. Gomez is the Founder of The Divine Gratitude Portrait Movement, a series designed to give thanks and bring visibility to individuals whose stories show the healing powers of holding space for others. Individuals nominated for this project disrupt the cycles of fear and division in their communities and pave the way for a joyous and equitable future. Using film and live painted portraiture, Divine Gratitude captures each individual’s unique story of trial and success. By combining art, film, and education Gomez hopes to show the positive impact gratitude and service can have in every community. Liz Gomez received their Associate of Arts in San Antonio and spent several years working as a portrait artist in various venues around the United States before moving to Chicago for further education. Gomez completed their BFA in 2014, from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently holds residency in The Hunter Radcliffe Artist Residency program and the Chicago Artist Coalition, Field/Work Residency program. Their work has been shown at Rootwork Gallery, Chicago, IL; Stony Island Arts Bank; ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Montreal, CA; Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Minneapolis MN, Phantom Gallery; William Hill Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center; The Museum of Science and Industry; Radcliffe Hunter International Gallery, Chicago, IL; Aplomb Gallery, Chicago, IL; The Gene Siskel Film Center; Evanston Art Center 22nd Evanston.
Mara Baker is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist and educator. Combining traditional fiber processes, animation, light and video, Baker’s work draws inspiration from the phenomena of optical illusion and the changing of our eyes perception of light, color and space. Baker received an MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally including Chicago, New York, Santa Fe, Minneapolis, Budapest and Toronto. Baker is Assistant Professor of Foundations and Drawing at the College of Dupage, a community college serving the greater Chicago area.
Image: Chameleon Blind (Winter Light), 2018, Blacklight led weavings illuminate at the moment of dusk through dawn. Materials include: Black light, rope, mason twine, plastic fencing, egg crate light grids, spray paint plexiglass and other found residues on constructed wooden frame. Site-specific installation in the storefront windows at Corner Project, Chicago, IL.
Niema Qureshi is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. She investigates the intersection between art, science and computational technology within her arts practice and in the classroom setting with Chicago Public School students. Combining soft circuits (conductive thread and micro electronics) with textiles and art, Niema explores the physical and computational world and questions it’s relationship. Niema has worked with CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education) for the past seven years as a teaching artist and recently joined CAPE’s board of directors. She also designs arts integrated curriculum for the Olive Tree Arts Network. She graduated from Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, England (BA, Visual Studies) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, England (MA, Fine Art).
Paula Ward is a contemporary jazz choreographer working to share experiences through dance performance, creating connection, breaking the walls of isolation and fostering community between the audience, the dancers, and herself. Having danced since age three, Paula has performed traditional ballet with the Madison Ballet, various modern techniques at Hope College, and urban jazz with the Joel Hall Dancers. Her choreography explores how a fusion of these dance forms can connect an audience to the performers, utilizing recognizable gestures, found shapes, and public locations to ground her work in the here and now. Her company, the Lucid Banter Project, is currently in it's fourth year.
Ricardo Mondragon is a Mexican artist and music composer born and raised in Mexico City (1984). He resides in Chicago, Illinois. Ricardo graduated with a Post-Baccalaureate of Arts in Music Composition at Columbia College Chicago. Ricardo has a passion for sound and visuals. After studying Music Composition, the art of sound took a more meaningful quest. Listening to sound was never enough, so he took it further through the pursuit of seeing and materializing sound, as well as composing and exploring harmonic environments. Experiencing harmony, frequency, modulation, and waveforms with delicate materiality is what his art is all about. Ricardo's art is based on matter, color, light, space, and of course, sound. His sculptural work is exact representations of sound waves interacting with one another in harmony. Each sculpture is an accurate three-dimensional representation of harmonic waveforms “frozen” in time. When waves are pure (such as sine waves) and are far from the intricacies of noise, they create beautiful patterns that are aesthetically pleasing. These sculptures show a phenomenon that is natural, but we can see it unless is digitized. These sculptures are materialized music. Through his paintings, he shows snapshots of music, rhythm, harmony, and time. These figures or forms are fast-moving mechanisms passed through matrices and screens that capture some kind of mysterious symmetry, repetition with minimal changes and bursts of energy. Life moves in a constant sea of harmonic motion.
Sonia Jourdain is a first-generation Chicago-born artist whose media are film and photography. Her introduction to photography began as a child when her mother bought her and her siblings disposable cameras. She has always loved the idea of stealing time with an image and how much history lives in a photograph. She began her film career at Columbia College Chicago where she received her BA in Cinema Arts & Science with a concentration in Cinematography. She chose film, specifically Cinematography, due to the lack of [black] women in the industry. With her art she aims to capture the multidimensional essence of Blackness here in Chicago.
Tracy Marie Taylor’s studio practice thematically and practically explores the relationship between nature and technology. She is a Chicago-based multi-media artist and educator. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from the University of New Mexico and is an Associate Professor at Lake Forest College. She embraces traditional tools such as painting, drawing and sculpture, as well as digital tools such as video, animation and creative coding. Through her art, she surveys the assisted reproductive and breast feeding technologies that were her companions during struggles to become a mother and in her efforts to sustain new life. Taylor’s artwork has been exhibited in Chicago galleries including Roman Susan Gallery, SUB-Mission at The Mission Projects, and at institutions across the United States.
Zachary Nicol constructs texts across media that address scrutiny, identification, illegibility, and presentation. Nicol’s performance, writing, video, and print work has been presented in Chicago, Portland, Toronto, and online. Nicol is a 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Annas Projects, and has participated in residencies at ACRE and Links Hall. They work frequently as a collaborative and performing artist in dance, theatre, and film. Their recent contributions include projects with Mlondi Zondi, Aram Atamian, Kim Brandt, Alexandra Pirici, Jonas Becker, Ginger Krebs, Elise Cowin, Catherine Sullivan, and Anna Martine Whitehead, among others. Nicol lives and works in Chicago.
Zachary Nicol “Fragment 3.1.1" (from “III") (2018).
Meet Guest Speakers
Anjali Pinto is a photographer and writer based in Chicago. She received a BA in photojournalism from the University of Missouri, with special training at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. Her work focuses on the following topics: women, body image, feminism, lgbtq+ , poc, education, youth, non-profits, community development immigration, civil rights, human rights, government death, grief, mourning, memory sexuality, love, partnership food, drink and travel Anjali's clients include: New York Times, BITCH Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Washington Post, Refinery 29, Food & Wine, Food Network, Rolling Stone, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Reader, Chicago Community Trust Recent articles: The Year that Changed My Life I Was Judged for Having Sex After My Husband Died A Year of Grieving Publicly
Claudine Isé is the director of Goldfinch, a contemporary projects gallery located in East Garfield Park. She is also the director of the Riverside Arts Center’s Freeark Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Riverside Illinois, and is a Lecturer in the Painting and Drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2008, she was the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, and before that, was an Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. For the past 10 years, Claudine has written extensively about contemporary art in Chicago for publications such as the Art21 Blog (where she also served as Editor), Bad at Sports, Art Papers, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine, among others. She holds a Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in English from Pomona College. Claudine will be a guest speaker for Storytelling with a Purpose: Public Relations for Artists on January 22, 2019.
Damon Locks is a Chicago based visual artist, educator, vocalist/musician, and deejay. He attended The Art Institute in Chicago where he received his BFA in Fine Arts. Recently, he has been lending his artistic and/or teaching talents to organizations such as Prisons and Neighborhood Arts Project, Art Reach, the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and at UIC. The voices, the places, the stories, the human exchange helps connect his work to the experiences of others, thus making the work stronger. He is a recent recipient of the Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Achievement Award in the Arts and the 2016 MAKER Grant. He also just completed a music residency at The New Quorum in New Orleans. With the aesthetics of a printmaker, he calls upon the medium that suits the situation best whether it be screen/relief/digital print, photography, ink, pencil, voice, drum machine, sampler, or turntables. Regardless of the medium the goal is to reach out and connect.
Dana Bassett has been described as a writer, producer, problem solver, logistical coordinator, fundraiser, shapeshifter, talker, listener and a sensitive, yet demanding, soul. Born in Miami Florida the same year Michael Jackson’s Bad was released, Dana currently lives in a converted former funeral home in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. She has worked with up-and-coming organizations such as The Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions Project (ACRE), Borscht Film Festival, and Bad at Sports. Her writing has been published in outlets such as Hyperallergic, The Miami Rail and The Seen. Dana formerly served as the Development Director for ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), a volunteer-run nonprofit based in Chicago devoted to employing various systems of support for emerging artists.
Edra Soto (b. Puerto Rico) is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist, educator, curator, and co-director of the outdoor project space THE FRANKLIN. She is invested in creating and providing visual and educational models propelled by empathy and generosity. Her recent projects are motivated by civic and social actions focus on fostering relationships with a wide range of communities. Recent venues presenting Soto’s work include the Pérez Art Museum Miami (FL), Hunter East Harlem Gallery (NY), UIC Gallery 400 (IL), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (NE), and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago (IL) amongst others. Soto has attended residency programs at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (ME), Beta-Local (PR), the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency (FL), Arts/Industry at the Kohler Foundation (WI), Headlands Center for the Arts (CA) and Project Row Houses (TX) amongst others. In 2017 Soto was awarded the Efroymson Contemporary Arts for installation artists. Her co-curation for the exhibition Present Standard at the Chicago Cultural Center was praised with overwhelmingly positive reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Newcity, PBS The Art Assignment and Artforum. Soto was recently featured in Newcity’s annual Art 50 issue Chicago’s Artists’ Artists and at VAM Studio 2017 Influencers. Soto is a lecturer for the Contemporary Practices Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, from where she holds an MFA , and a BFA degree from Escuela de Artes Plastics de Puerto Rico. Edra will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Business Models on October 16, 2018.
Elizabeth Neukirch is vice president of Chicago public relations firm The Silverman Group, where her clients range from world-renowned cultural organizations to educational and civic institutions making a positive impact in the city. She received an honorable mention in PR Daily’s Nonprofit PR Awards for her national campaign in support of Chicago Loop Alliance’s Color Jam public art project, which included placements in The New York Times, Vogue and NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams. In recognition of her creative writing, Elizabeth received an Illinois Arts Council Agency artist support grant, and this year was awarded a Ragdale residency to work on her first novel. Prior to joining The Silverman Group, Elizabeth was the public relations manager for Chicago Shakespeare Theater and worked in Goodman Theatre’s Education and Community Engagement department for several years. Originally from Chicago, she began her communications career as a contributing writer and advertising account manager for Northern Illinois Publishing. Elizabeth studied at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and received her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a Howard Nemerov Writing Scholar. Claudine will be a guest speaker for Storytelling with a Purpose: Public Relations for Artists on January 22, 2019.
Erica Mott is a choreographer, sculptural object designer and cultural organizer who, utilizes body based sculptural forms (mask/costume/object), transforms discarded materials and disregarded spaces. Using the tools of humor and surprise, she captures and heightens the magic and mystery of the mundane and invites communities to re-view and re-envision shared spaces and practices.She has been called “ingenious” by the Chicago Reader’s Laura Molzahn, and “a vibrant performance-maker, installationist and choreographer engaged with distinctive creative research and methodology, effectively complimented by articulate and generous teaching skills, mentoring, community and audience building, and public discussion about her work” by CJ Mitchell, Deputy Director, Live Arts Development Agency, UK
Erica’s recent site-specific performances were featured at Free Fall Festival (Toronto), Ingenuity Fest (Cleveland), NES (Iceland), Museo del Ferrocarril (Mexico), CAD Special Exhibitions Space/Artopolis. Erica has collaborated nationally with Tim Miller, Eighth Blackbird, Sharon Bridgforth, Coman Poon/re[public] in/decency, and Guillermo Gomez-Pena. She works with Gomez-Pena’s collective, La Pocha Nostra, as a core troupe member.
She instructs workshops for Lookingglass Theater, Northeastern Illinois University’s Teacher’s Center, The Second City, and several independent venues and organizations. Additionally, she has designed and facilitated lectures for The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Amnesty International, The Memphis Theological Seminary, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and the Universities of Witwatersrand and Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. She has a masters degree in Psychophysical Theatre Practice with an emphasis on intercultural performance and Asian Martial Arts practice from the University of Exeter in the UK. For six years Erica has served as the Director of Education and Community Programming at Links Hall, Chicago.
Erica is a recipient of several awards including Amnesty International’s Patrick Stewart Human Rights Fellowship (to teach arts in community in South Africa), The Santa Fe Art Institute Residency, Ragdale Foundation Residency, NES Artist, the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Fellowship, the City of Chicago CAAP program and the Neighborhood Arts Program (NAP).
Erik L. Peterson is a Chicago-based public artist, sculptor, and museum educator. Drawing on the vocabularies of traditional arts media along with architecture and transportation infrastructure, Erik L. Peterson creates site-specific installations, public artworks, urban performances, edible sculptures, and neon artworks that challenge a viewer’s sense of space and self. Teasing out the absurdities of social convention with wry humor, his projects give viewers agency to experience the physical act of perception. Peterson’s unconventional approach to materials and his commitment to audience engagement serve to activate the public realm in new and unexpected ways. His art transports the pedestrian into a space of subtle strangeness and surprise, offering viewers a new way to participate as members of, and in the space within, a complex and changing public.
Erik’s work been featured in solo exhibitions at the Arts Club of Chicago, Open House Contemporary, EXPO CHICAGO, Bert Green Fine Art, Waubonsee Community College, Project 1612, Chicago Artists Coalition; large-scale public art projects and performances for the Broadview Hotel in Toronto, the Downtown Norfolk Council, Chicago Department of Special Events & Cultural Affairs (DCASE), and Pick Museum of Anthropology; and in group shows at The Franklin, Ralph Arnold Gallery at Loyola University, Arizona State University, Eastern Illinois University, University of Nebraska–Omaha, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Columbia College, and the Chicago Artists’ Coalition among others. Peterson is a founder of Hyde Park Kunstverein (HPK), an experimental “community museum” and Qeej Hero, a cross-cultural video game featuring an ancient Hmong musical instrument.
He holds a B.F.A in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to his artmaking practice, Peterson is the Manager of Family Programs and Student Engagement at the Smart Museum of Art. Peterson recently completed Ashland, a sculptural bench made from reclaimed ash wood, located in Edgewater Beach as one of the featured artists in the City of Chicago’s Year of Public Art in 2018. Erik will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Project Development on December 4, 2018.
(Updated in 2019)
Hương Ngô (Huong Ngo, Ngô Ngọc Hương, 吳玉香) is an interdisciplinary artist whose conceptual practice connects the personal and the political, giving material form to histories which have been rendered invisible and interrogating the ideological origins of their erasure. Having grown up as a refugee in the American South, Ngô creates work that reframes the hybrid, the imperfect, and the non-fluent as sites of survival and knowledge. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BFA Fine Arts, 2001), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA Art & Technology, 2004), and was a studio fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program (2012). She was recently awarded the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant in Vietnam (2016) for her research, begun at the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in France and recently presented at DePaul Art Museum (2017), that examines the colonial history of surveillance in Vietnam and the anti-colonial strategies of resistance vis-à-vis the activities of female organizers and liaisons. Her work, which has been described as “deftly and defiantly decolonial” by New City and “what intersectional feminist art looks like” by the Chicago Tribune, has been exhibited at the MoMA (2018), MCA Chicago (2004, 2016, 2017), Para Site HK (2017), Nhà Sàn Collective (2016), the Queens Museum (2014), The Kitchen (2011, 2014), and the New Museum (2012) among others. She has been awarded the DCASE Individual Artist Program Grant (2017, 2018), the Illinois Arts Council (2018), Chicago Artists Coalition BOLT residency (2016-17), Rhizome Commission (2011), and has been in residency through the Camargo Foundation Core Program (2018), LATITUDE Chicago (2015), and SOMA Mexico (2014). She has taught at the MoMA, Pratt Institute, and Parsons The New School for Design and is currently Assistant Professor in Contemporary Practices at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Hương will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Project Development on December 4, 2018.
Jane Beachy is the Founder and Artistic Director of Salonathon (est. July 2011). She is also Program Manager for Art at Illinois Humanities, where she spearheads the Elective Studies Series and a myriad of other programs. She was recently named one of Newcity’s “Players 2017: The Fifty People Who Really Perform For Chicago.” Through Salonathon, she has produced events, performances, residencies and retreats at and/or with the Steppenwolf Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Chicago (Chicago Performance Lab), Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (OnEdge, SummerDance), Metro Chicago, The Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall, The Promontory, Land and Sea Dept., The Inconvenience, The Neo-Futurists, Columbia College, MAKE Magazine, Printer’s Ball, Bottom Lounge, Berlin Nightclub, Chicago Reader, Slideluck and ACRE Artist Residency, where she was recently a Visiting Artist. Along with the Salonathon team, she also runs Camp Salondawega, an artist retreat at the acclaimed Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin, and has taught as an artist in residence in the Theater and Performance Studies Department at the University of Chicago. Jane will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Building an Audience + Community of Support on February 5, 2019.
Kalena Chevalier currently serves as the Program Director for the Cultural Grants Program at the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Kalena has 14 years of experience working in Chicago's arts and culture community. She has worked artistically and administratively with organizations including Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Writers' Theatre, and most recently as the Associate Director of Development for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, where she managed foundation and government fundraising efforts over seven years. She is also a playwright and her plays have been workshopped, developed and produced by several local storefront theaters. Kalena graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with degrees in Theatre, Dramatic Writing and History. Kalena will be a guest speaker for Mock Proposal Review Panels on December 17, 2018.
Kate Schutta is an artist, educator, and Director of Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kate Schutta advises students and alumni/ae on professional and job search strategies and coordinates Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) activities and resources. Schutta’s past experience includes book cover and poster illustration and teaching at SAIC and the Royal College of Art. Exhibitions include: National Museum of Art, Wroclaw; Royal College of Art (RCA); and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Grants and Fellowships: Chicago Artists Assistance Program grants; RCA Research Fellowship in Communication Design; and Peoples' Republic of Poland Art & Culture Grant. Education: MFA (1989), BFA (1985), School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BA History of Art (1983), Bryn Mawr College. Kate will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Business Models on October 16, 2018.
Kristin Abhalter Smith is the creative director and founder of Roman Susan Art Foundation, a project incubator and platform for Midwestern artists. Since 2012 the space has worked with over 900 artists in the Chicago neighborhood of Rogers Park. Kristin has recently exhibited inflatable sculptures, garments, flags, and paintings at Flatland, Ignition Projects, OPEN Gallery, and STNDRD, and received a DCASE grant for her exhibit at DEMO Projects in Springfield, IL. Kristin received her MFA in Technical Theatre and Design from the University of Minnesota, and has twenty years experience designing, building, and painting for stage and motion picture.
Laura Biagi, Ph.D., is a full time faculty in The Theatre School at DePaul University, where she also serves as the Artistic Director of the school's Summer High School Training Program. Since 2016, Dr. Biagi has been focusing her artistic practice and academic research on creating and teaching her method, Inviting the Medicine (ITM), a blend of devised theater techniques, wellness practices, and leadership training that promotes self-care to build creative, inclusive, and sustainable communities. Her 20018 TEDx Talk, “Reimagine Failure: Breathe, Belong Believe,” is a reflection on the power of our words to shape our reality, and manifest our highest human potential. Dr. Biagi is an Instructor with the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program and, since 2017, she has collaborated with the Steans Center at DePaul University and Cook County Jail (CCDOC) in Chicago to teach her academic course “Healing Narratives: The Power of Your Story.” Learn more at www.mywildest.com and on Instagram @mywildestvoice
Meg Leary is an artist and the founder and principal of Meg Leary & Associates, a Chicago-based arts consulting practice providing strategic thinking and creative action plans for artists, arts organizations, and philanthropists. Before beginning her consulting practice, Leary was the Director of Programs for United States Artists (USA), where she led the largest grantmaking initiative for individual artists in the country. At USA she created and managed a rigorous annual nomination, application and panel selection process involving over 1500 artists, curators, producers, historians and experts from diverse backgrounds. Prior to her role at USA, Leary was the Communications and Program Officer at the Irving Harris Foundation, a Chicago-based family foundation that grants over $15 million annually. She managed a portfolio of grants to support arts and cultural organizations, progressive media, documentary film projects, and social justice, anti-racism, and interfaith efforts in the US and Israel. Previous positions include Director of Development and Operations for the Reeling LGBT Film Festival and roles at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics and East Coast Artists. Ms. Leary has a master in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a master of arts in performance studies from New York University's, Tisch School of the Arts, and a bachelor of arts degree from Smith College. She previously served on the Board of Directors of Links Hall, ACRE (Artist's Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), Beyondmedia Education and the Fire This Time Fund. Ms. Leary also has a thriving practice as a visual, sound and performance artist. Meg will be a guest speaker for Crafting a Winning Proposal on October 30, 2018.
Mike Nourse has over 15 years of experience with formal and alternative learning settings. He has taught as adjunct faculty at undergraduate and graduate levels for DePaul University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has managed studio programs at Marwen, and led citywide design and architecture programs for Chicago Architecture Foundation’s partnerships with over twenty Chicago Public Schools. As the Director of Education at Hyde Park Art Center, Mike’s work involves partnerships with over 25 schools, onsite programs for 2000 youth and adults, self-directed teen work, and professional pathways offerings for working artists. Separately Nourse is also the Executive Director of Chicago Art Department, a residency-based learning lab he founded in 2003 which features fully-funded residencies, exhibitions inside of three galleries, mural projects, and studio space for over 20 artists.
Norman Teague is a Chicago-based designer and educator whose practice focuses on using design as an agent for change and as a mechanism to empower black and brown communities. In 2012, Teague worked with Theaster Gates on "12 Ballads for Huguenot House", dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany. He exhibited in Milan at gallery Spazio Rossana Orlandi in 2015, and shortly thereafter was featured in BlkHaUS, his first solo exhibition at Blanc Gallery in Bronzeville. In February 2017, Teague participated in “Wall of Respect: Vestiges, Shards and Legacy of Black Power” at the Chicago Cultural Center. This exhibition chronicled the legacy of a seminal mural developed for and within Chicago’s Black South Side communities located at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue, and unveiled to critical acclaim in 1967. Along with Fo Wilson, Norman Teague is a partner in BlkHaUS studio, L3C. The team blends contemporary aesthetics with locally-sourced materials to create furniture, objects, and spaces that transform common typologies into original works representative of twenty-first century design. Sounding Bronzeville, a current commission by the Wildlife Corridor, the Field Museum, and the Chicago Park District, is a public arts project that teams Teague and Wilson with designer Chris Buchakjian. Teague was recently named as a creative collaborator on the exhibitions team for the Barack Obama Presidential Library with design lead, Ralph Appelbaum and Associates. Past projects also include partnerships with Leaders1354, The Silver Room, The Exchange Café, Chicago Architecture Foundation, and The Art Institute of Chicago. Norman will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Business Models on October 16, 2018.
Patrice N. Perkins is the founder of Creative Genius Law®, a business and intellectual property law firm and strategic legal partner exclusively for creative entrepreneurs, innovators, and change agents. They are game changers looking to impact the world in creative ways. Patrice’s mission is to encourage clients to tap into the unrealized revenue potential of their intellectual property while using the law to protect and nurture creativity rather than stifling it. She develops legal strategies and provides counsel in the areas of business law, contracts and negotiation, intellectual property (trademarks and copyrights), social media, advertising, and marketing law. She’s been recognized by the American Bar Association as a “Legal Rebel” for being a leading innovator in the legal industry. She’s previously spoken at Chicago Creative Expo, Self Employment in the Arts Conference, Chicago Urban League, Chicago Artists Coalition, Blogging While Brown, Alt Design Summit, BlogHer, Eat Write Retreat, and AVVO Lawyernomics to name a few. She's appeared in popular media and blogs including FORTUNE, NBC, Women 2.0, Design Sponge, Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed, Carol Roth and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Artists Coalition. Patrice publishes Creative Genius Society, a business and law blog, and is the creator of the Quit Kit, a strategic planning system to help creative entrepreneurs ditch their 9 to 5 for full-time entrepreneurship. You can follow Patrice on Twitter and Instagram @creative_esq. Patrice will be a guest speaker for Know Your Rights: A Legal Toolkit for Creative Producers on March 5, 2019.
Rhonda Wheatley is a Chicago-based artist whose sculptures, paintings, and written works are grounded in the speculative and metaphysical and explore consciousness, healing, and transformation. She’s had solo exhibitions at Hyde Park Art Center and David Weinberg Gallery and group shows at spaces including The Franklin, Gallery 400, and Glass Curtain Gallery, as well as Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles and the Black Fine Art Show in New York City. Wheatley teaches art and writing and leads personal development, journaling, and wellness workshops in schools and art spaces in and around Chicago. She also performs readings from her personal journals and other writings, gives tarot card readings (private and as performance), and practices several energy healing modalities. Wheatley earned a BA in English Literature with a minor in African American Studies from Loyola University, Chicago and an MA in Writing from DePaul University. Rhonda will be a guest speaker for Failure Immunity + Building a Sustainble Life in the Arts on January 12, 2019.
Steven Wang is the Executive Director of High Concept Labs. Steven has over seven years of experience within the consumer packaged goods industry, helping Fortune 500 companies develop and grow their store brands. His experience spanned the realms of retail execution, new product development, market research and analytics, and category management for such retailers as Kroger, Office Depot, Safeway, and Kmart. His passion for opera—and the desire to find ways of getting younger generations involved in the artform—influenced him to pursue his MBA at the University of Cambridge in the UK, specializing in Culture and Arts Management. During his studies, Steven produced a modern interpretation of Dido and Aeneas, and worked as a budgeting consultant for the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. After his program, he assisted the Aldeburgh Music in Suffolk on multiple consulting projects, including a revamp of their marketing message to improve their recruitment strategies for the Aldeburgh World Orchestra. Steven joined High Concept Labs as the organization's first full-time executive director in 2015 and has helped triple the budget, grow the board of directors, expand staffing to include the organization's first artistic director, and expand the organization's reach on social media. Steven has also served as a panelist with the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Steven is a board member of the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) and a founding member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) MakeWork Council. Steven also holds a B.S. in Marketing (Honors) and Economics from Arizona State University. Steven will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Building an Audience + Community of Support on February 5, 2019.
Todd Irwin is an artist that uses several modes of production including design, printmaking, and sculpture. His work incorporates the language of commerce and social commentary with ideas of proliferation. He grew up influenced by his father who worked in specialty advertising and uncle who printed cue cards for the television industry. Having learned initially how to print in t-shirt shops Todd expanded his practice to printing gig posters and eventually working for artists in New York City. He exhibits his own print and sculptural work regularly and has shown at De-construkt in Brooklyn, NY, Station 116 in Athens, OH, and at Silpe Gallery in Hartford, CT. Todd is also the co-creator of the semi-annual silkscreen publication Power Washer Zine. Todd will be a guest speaker for Sonnenzimmer Studio Visit on November 13, 2018.
Tonika Johnson is a visual artist/photographer from Chicago’s South Side Englewood neighborhood. In 2010, she helped co-found Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) and now she serves as its full-time Program Manager. She was featured in Chicago Magazine as a 2017 Chicagoan of the Year for her photography of Englewood's everyday beauty, countering its pervasive media coverage of poverty and crime. Her Folded Map project is currently on view at Loyola University's Museum of Art through October 20, 2018. Tonika will be a guest speaker for Artist Case Studies: Building an Audience + Community of Support on February 5, 2019.
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