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Poppiies by Anna Russo-Sieber

In the Gallery (Nov 17, 2023 - Jan, 2024)

Nektaria Mattheos
Opening Reception: Friday, November 17, 2023,, 5:00-7:30 PM

147th Fifth Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Painting by Nektaria Mattheos

The work of Canadian artist Nektaria Mattheos is an exploration of nature and color bursting forth layer by layer in a meticulous process she has developed over years and countless hours of painting in her Indiana studio.

From a young age, Nektaria drew and painted on a myriad of surfaces. She worked as a stylist in Montreal, before moving to the States where her creative eye never stopped. She conjures colors and patterns in her dreams that sometimes wake her in the middle of the night, a perfect time to put brush to canvas. During the day she sees an ever-changing symphony of colors everywhere she looks making multiple canvases take shape concurrently and around the clock. Her paintings reflect her many ideas and experiences, from her own inner world to the ever-changing affairs of the world.

Painting by Nektaria Mattheos

Nektaria's artwork has been part of numerous juried shows nationwide at Midwest Museum of American Art, Colfax Cultural Center, Hopkins Center for the Arts, Las Luguna Gallery, and Sebastopol Center for the Arts. The Midwest Museum of American Art honored her by selecting her as one of forty artists from Indiana and Michigan for their permanent collection mural celebrating 40 years. The Indiana Arts Commission honored Nektaria in the Hoosier Women Artists exhibition by hanging her painting Unbreakable Together in the Indianapolis Statehouse from February 2020 through February 2022. WSBT News22, a CBS affiliate, featured Nektaria on their news show in August 2019. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg chose her painting First Kiss to hang in his Wedding Art Show at the Lang Lab in South Bend in June 2018. Her work sells internationally and is beloved by many.

In the Gallery (May 27 - August 1, 2023)

"Art That’s Relative" - featuring the ladies of the Pasquinelli family
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 27, 2023, 4:00-7:00 PM

147th Fifth Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Sallie Pasquinelli

ARS Gallery, Arts, and Culture Center is excited to announce our upcoming exhibition: “Art That’s Relative” featuring the ladies of the Pasquinelli family. Art That’s Relative will showcase five generations of talented, female artists including Sallie Pasquinelli, Christina Cameron, Katrina Pasquinelli, Betsey Pasquinelli, and Caroline Jacobson.

Sallie Pasquinelli bio: Sallie (pictured above) born in 1932 is originally from Chicago. “Creating to me is my time, it has literally saved me. Creating is something I needed to do, and I continue to do.” Sallie began as an artist at the age of 4, digging out clay in the river bed and creating clay pieces. She has a true passion for artistic expression - from wood burning to plaster pieces, using found objects and finding a way to breathe new life into them. Fifty years ago Sallie helped found an art center and working artist studio in Flossmoor, Illinois.

Later Sallie became a teaching artist - offering courses in sculpture and collage. She now uses found objects and creates pieces that speak to her imagination. She also works in fashion design, using paper to create unique kimonos. Throughout her 90 years, Sallie has enjoyed working out of her studio in Benton Harbor. “I continue to find peace through art.”

Oil Painting by Katrina Pasquinelli, Sculpture by Christina Cameron Oil Painting by Katrina Pasquinelli 3. Sculpture by Christina Cameron

Above left: Oil Painting by Katrina Pasquinelli. Above right: Sculpture by Christina Cameron.

In the Gallery (Nov 5, 2022 - Jan, 2023)

"Bloom" - Floral portraits by Emma Bass
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 5, 2022, 5:00-7:00 PM

147th Fifth Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Emma Bass

ARS Gallery is thrilled to be showing a selection of photographic artworks by New Zealand artist Emma Bass.

Emma Bass is an established artist whose floral compositions inspire metaphorical and narrative interpretations. Residing in Auckland, New Zealand, her contemporary photographic compositions have been shown in leading art galleries in New Zealand and internationally and held in private collections throughout the world. Bass is the only New Zealand artist invited to exhibit at the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London both in 2016 and 2022.

Floral portraits by Emma Bass Floral portraits by Emma Bass

Bass seeks to cultivate a sense of hope, her work addresses a psychic human need for the uplifting power of beauty. This connects with her earliest career as a nurse in which she sought to heal and comfort.

Bass says “Flowers are one of the most universal forms of beauty. They are tokens of love, a natural expression of the environment. Everywhere in the world flowers are cherished in some form. What's more, they are scientifically proven to improve mental health and wellbeing. Flowers have power!”

In the Gallery (Jul 16 - Sep 13, 2022)

"Art & Craft" a collaborative exhibition by sisters Kate and Karly Welke of Theave Design
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 16, 2022, 5:30-7:30 PM

Theave Design presents Art & Craft

"Our work has always found its way back to each other, and we’re sure it’s better for it. Theave Design has grown out of our fine art practices and the influence those practices have on our approach to interiors. Theave’s furniture was born from the same instinct to bring our different abilities in craft together. Kate has spent years working with wood, while Karly, resolutely anti-splinter, has focused on textiles.

Karly has made quilts in the tradition of her mother and grandmother. Each quilt was made to be thrown over a body- the trimmings are what seeps through.

Kate’s paintings are landscapes. She has abstracted and flattened spaces, moving from memory into a rhythm of drawing. They are studies on the interplay of color and her own ritual of line.

We hope this snapshot of our current work speaks to our sense of color, our study of craft, and our own joy in design."

Kate and Karly Welke

~Kate Welke and Karly Welke

In ARS Gallery II (Jun 10 - Aug 10, 2022)

A ceramic exhibit showcasing a variety of female ceramic artists including Jan Kimball, Becky Wehmer, Becky Rotter, Sidney Taylor, and Lynne Tan.

ARS Gallery II is at 196 Water Street.

"Ceramique" exhibition at ARS Gallery

Lynne Tan -
Lynne Tan made her first pot shortly after receiving her doctorate in experimental psychology. Unable to stop dreaming of new shapes to make, she had no choice but to play with clay every day. She has been creating quiet, thoughtful objects in her studio at the Box Factory for the Arts since 2009.

Boo Lee Studio -
Sydney was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, and Sean in Chicago, Illinois. They met in a ceramics course at college in 2015 and have been pursuing pottery together ever since. In 2018 they created Boo Lee Studio - a porcelain studio operated in their SW Michigan home. Mainly focusing on functional pottery, their designs portray scenes of animals and nature.

Becky Wehmer -
Becky Wehmer is a potter, glassblower, cook, cheesemonger, and educator in SW Michigan. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996 where her studies were interdisciplinary, but focused on Craft-based media and object making, mainly ceramics. Wehmer was lured away from clay by the medium of molten glass in 1994 at Ox-Bow Summer School of Art and Artists Residency, where she also learned to cook. Becky has recently returned to ceramics and deeply appreciates the functionality and elevated joy a handmade vessel can bring to the everyday.

Jan Kimball -
A student wrote, “Art will save the world” as part of a response to an assignment. I wondered if he meant it or wrote what he thought the instructor wanted to hear. Recently I saw a video of Ukrainian artists risking their lives to set up an art installation in a Ukrainian city under attack. They said sharing their art was even more important during this war. They were fighting for a country where they can express themselves and be creative. They want the freedom to create the world they want to live in. Perhaps the student was right, and art can save the world. This inspires me and I strive to foster creativity in myself and others. I love making art and working with clay.

Becky Rotter -
I'm influenced greatly by my surroundings. Leaves, birds, flowers from my wonderful garden, and images from the Lake Michigan shoreline, such as fish and water, appear in my creations. I like to imagine my customers using my artwork at cherished times in their lives when they are dining with family and friends. I come from a very large close family where good food is an important part of our many get-togethers. I've always valued beautiful dishes, and that inspires me to make various serving pieces, highly decorated with colored slips and glazes. I hope that sharing my work with others enhances their personal spaces and brings enjoyment to their lives!

In the Gallery (May 20 - Jul 10, 2022)

"Uncovered: 15 Years" by Thomas Allen
Opening Reception: Friday, May 20, 2022, 5:30-7:30 PM

Artist Talk with Thomas Allen: Saturday, July 9, 2022, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Thomas Allen art

Thomas Allen is a career artist and freelance illustrator. His work, exhibited nationally and internationally, is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Target Corporation, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft, the Progressive Corporation, and Twitter.

Allen’s photo illustrations have appeared in over 50 publications worldwide including The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Newsweek, LeMonde, Telerama, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010, he received a SPOTS Gold Award from The Society of Publication Designers and was nominated for an American Illustration Award in 2014 - both for his work with Harper’s.

Allen currently lives on a 4.5-acre farm in Coloma, MI with his wife and daughter. His monograph, UNCOVERED: Photographs by Thomas Allen was published by Aperture Foundation in 2007. An exhibition of his illustration work opens in August 2023 at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Thomas Allen is represented by Foley Gallery (New York).

In the Gallery (Feb 12, 2022)

"Recounting" - Amelia Briske
Opening Reception: Saturday, Februrary 12, 2022, 4-6pm

Amelia Briske painting

Amelia is a Figurative Abstract Oil Painter who lives and works in Millburg, Michigan. Her paintings could be described as visual narratives of human emotion. She states, “My paintings reflect a colorful romance of everyday life.”

At a young age Amelia displayed a love of creating art and was honored as an artistic talent at her local High School, in Grand Ledge, Michigan. In 1988 she was accepted into The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While going to school here she also served tables and bartended to make ends meet. Most notably, she became a young mom, having her first two children by age 25.

In the late 1990’s her career grew, she was commissioned to paint several murals throughout the city of Chicago, including her favorite and largest mural at the entrance of the Amtrak Station located in the Citigroup Center on Madison Avenue.

By age 30, new horizons opened up when Sushi Wabi, a restaurant located in the popular Randolph Street Restaurant Row, asked her to design their restaurant. Amelia was an absolute natural and went on to design a dozen more throughout Chicago. She became known in the city for her fine painting, sense of color, use of material, handcrafted light fixtures, authentic style and spot on use of Feng Shui.

In 2003 she fell in love with fellow Artist Kirby Briske; they married and moved back to their home state of Michigan, where they had their third child. Together Amelia and her Husband took an Historic Barn and created The Blue Dress Barn Wedding Venue in Benton Harbor, Michigan; which became a worldwide wedding venue phenomenon, soon after two more venues came to life named MillCreek Wilde and Sundance; both located in Southwest Michigan.

During her off season from the businesses, Amelia can be found in her Art Studio finding solitude, she believes painting and creating art has kept her alive and well for over 40 years.

Previously In the Gallery (Dec 3, 2021 - Jan 29, 2022)

"Works by Laurie Schirmer Carpenter"
Opening Reception: December 3, 2021, 6-8pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, January 29th, 2022, 10am - 11:30pm

Laurie Schirmer Carpenter painting

Laurie Schirmer Carpenter grew up in northwestern Illinois and graduated from Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado with a degree in English Literature in 1967. When her two daughters reached high school age, she enrolled in the University of Colorado, Denver to study art, graduating, With Distinction, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a BA in Art History in 1988. She has been painting full time since then. When her husband was transferred to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1990 she became reacquainted with her Midwestern roots and developed an interest in the flat landscape, especially the skies, which are often depicted in her paintings. Moving to northwestern Indiana in 2006, she continues to paint the land and skies of the Midwest.

She has been influenced by the 19th century German Romanticist, Caspar David Friedrich, and by the Luminist Painters of the Hudson River School. Their ability to convey the universality and timeless quality of the land, while giving the impression of a particular place at a particular point in time, inspires her.

The paintings are based upon on-site sketches, plein air paintings, photographs and, most importantly, memory. Using these references, the pieces are created in the studio over a period of several weeks or months. They may be a composite of several places or, wholly or in part, the result of her imagination. Her paintings begin, for her, with seeing and end with seeing better into the spirit of place and time.

Laurie Schirmer Carpenter painting

ARTIST STATEMENT: Paintings are about seeing. For the landscape painter they are about seeing a particular place at a certain moment in time and revealing the essence of what is seen on a two-dimensional surface in paint. Capturing in color and form that which cannot be captured in language is demanding and soul searching (it is called a work of art, after all) but it is also a pathway to a heightened state of consciousness and understanding of the world around us.

For the viewer it is also about seeing. Looking at the finished work, the viewer enters a dialogue with the artist that is based upon each of their perceptions of what is seen. Today’s culture of novelty and social media often lacks the complexity of the deeper reflection called for in the dialogue between artist and viewer. Paintings are ideas made visual and open the possibility of finding quiet centers of contemplation in their viewing.

The landscape grows, changes, dies, renews but always endures. While my oil paintings are a chronicle of the land as I see it they are also visual ideas of the land – the essence of its beauty, vastness, peace and strength. I hope to convey these emotions to those who look at my paintings and trust that they will find their own quiet center in this dialogue. Henri Matisse expressed this perfectly when he compared art to “...a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.”

Previously In the Gallery (Aug 20, 2021 - Oct 2021)

Opening Reception: August 20, 2021 – 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Allison Baske Wiese painting

Ali grew up in St. Joseph, MI and the fabric of her artwork has been heavily influenced by Lake Michigan's beaches, lake, and sunsets. Over the past 20 years she has migrated to many cities on lakes or oceans -Evanston, San Diego, San Francisco, south Florida... while practicing for 15 years as a clinical therapist specializing in adolescent depression and anxiety. She and her family have gained footing in a surprisingly landlocked northern Virginia where she and her husband are raising their two daughters. Her background as a Michigander and therapist very much informs her creative process, and she is now pursuing art full-time.

Allison Baske Wiese painting

She still finds herself drawn to painting water-based subjects-playing with colors, movements, and patterns in big ocean waves and large fish. Each piece is a love letter to and a meditation on everything in and around our vital oceans. However, the cows in Virginia have also started to rub off on her -hence the title of her show "Surf & Turf." She finds barracuda's underbites as endearing as cows' giant tongues.

Previously In the Gallery (Apr 30, 2021)

"Animali e Natura – Two Artists, Three Bodies of Work"
Opening Reception: April 30, 2021 – 5:00 – 8:00 pm

ARS Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of their spring exhibition, Animali e Natura featuring works by artists Susan Henshaw and Martha Cares. Opening reception is April 30 th , 5:00 – 8:00 pm. Reservations for opening night may be made below. “I was inspired by the natural elements of both Susan and Martha’s art and felt the subject matter of their work complemented each other”, said Anna Russo Sieber, ARS Gallery President. “The exhibit includes three stunning bodies of work that are fresh, colorful, and timely as we re-open the gallery to the public.”

Animali e Natura at ARS Gallery - schedule your visit.

Susan Henshaw loves creating oil paintings abstracted from nature. Her latest works include animals which have emerged from the flowing paint textures she lays onto the canvas. As a lifetime resident of Union Pier, Michigan, much of Henshaw’s inspiration has been influenced by the 30 acres she grew up on. Photography plays a major role in her art and she captures traditional photographs as well as “images of a smaller world” - things most people might overlook. Henshaw finds beauty in the design of these unconventional views and strives to inspire others to look closer at the world. She expresses her reaction to these wonders and works in several mediums including, Pastel, Oil and Drawing.

“The ‘Water Elements’ series developed over time as I explored photographic images of water in various locations and conditions. Magical combinations of elements, sometimes covering a visual field of several yards, while others only a few inches, created compositions that balance somewhere between a quiet stillness and a steady flow. Echoes of beings with human animal-like characteristics as well as images and patterns that evoke a deep emotion and an essence of human experience can be found here”, said Susan Henshaw. “While some images are recognizable as water, others leave the viewer room to question. Working large scale, I hope to further push the viewers' experience to the possibility of becoming involved in the mystery.”

A self-taught artist, Susan has held many solo shows and is part of several permanent corporate and private collections. Over the years she has received many juried awards for her Pastels and Paintings. Susan has also had the honor of being chosen as an Artist-in-Residence at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Porcupine Mountains State Park, and in 2011, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Martha Cares work includes animal sculptures, which bring awareness to animal rescue opportunities. Born and Educated in Michigan, Cares is a classically trained vocalist and visual artist. Cares earned her Master of Music and Bachelor’s degrees with Distinction from the University of Michigan School of Music and was honored to become a member of the select Ryan Opera Center’s Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago. Cares is recognized as well for her growing contributions in the visual arts. She is creator of Tulip Time Color & Fun Book. Her public sculptural works were selected for exhibition by the Krasl Museum’s Biennial Sculpture Invitational. For five consecutive years she has been invited to exhibit her artwork at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids for ArtPrize.

“In contrast to my work as a performing artist which emanates from the depths of emotion, my sensibilities as a visual artist spring forth with playful vitality and buoyancy. Drawings and sketches take shape as free-spirited animate forms, radiating a sense of happiness, warmth, and comfort, while inspiring narrative,” said Martha Cares. Cares is the creator of My Rescue, the highly popular iconic Red Dog, recognized on a national level as a symbol of Rescue, and inspired by the adoption of Poppy, the artist’s beloved rescue.

Opening reception for Animali e Natura will be held at ARS on April 30 th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. The reception will be a timed event to ensure the safety of patrons and exhibiting artists. Reserve your 30-minute spot to view the exhibit and talk with the artists by registering below. The gallery is located at 147 5th Street in the Benton Harbor Arts District.

RSPV to the Opening Reception

Previously In the Gallery (Feb 2021 - Mar 2021)

"My Color is Beautiful"
Closing Reception, Spring Art Hop in March

February is Black History Month! In honor of the many great accomplishments of African American men and women, allow us to introduce local, emerging artist, Jessica Hightower as our Featured Artist.

Our Virtual Gallery link is now live. To schedule in-person viewing of the exhibit, please email: arsarts.culture@gmail.com. We will host a closing reception in March during Spring Art Hop in the Benton Harbor Arts District. Stay tuned for the date!

Jessica Hightower art

Jessica Hightower is an artist and professional graphic designer born and raised in Benton Harbor, MI. Jessica has been painting for many years, but she turned to this art form in 2020 to express herself boldly with the “My Color is Beautiful” collection. Her paintings reflect the beauty of people of color—not just the tones of their skin but the expression of their auras.

For this series, Jessica paints the colors first, then the outlines of the hands and faces emerge. African textiles inspired the bold colors, while comic books influenced the stylized faces in each painting, and a splatter of graffiti art can be found in the backgrounds. This is Jessica’s first gallery collection, and she is honored to display it in her hometown and place of residence.

Shop Our "Virtual Gallery"

Previously In the Gallery (Oct 23, 2020 - Jan 20, 2021)

"You Won't Part with Yours, Either"
- Robert Perine and the Fender Guitar, 1957-1969

Opening reception during art hop October 23, 2020

Robert Perine and Fender Guitars - You won't part with yours either

The Fall exhibition in the ARS Gallery is “You Won't Part with Yours Either” the art of Robert Perine and the Fender Guitar, 1957-1969. Robert Perine designed and produced almost single-handedly the advertising for Fender Sales, Inc., the Santa Ana-based distribution arm of the Fullerton factory, His ads - which always included photographs and clever copy - graced music trade publications and magazines. His highly successful “You Won’t Part With Yours Either” campaign depicted people carrying Fender guitars and amplifiers in a host of unlikely to outrageous settings—while scuba diving, surfing, skydiving, skiing and other adventurous situations.

In Fender guitar literatures of the 1960s, attractive, guitar-toting teenagers were posed with surfboards and Perine's classic Thunderbird convertible at local beachside settings, firmly integrating Fender into the surfin’/hot rod/sports car culture of Southern California celebrated by the Beach Boys, beach movies, and surf music. The campaign ran for years and rather than use a casting agency for actors, Perine saved money by having his daughters scout out local kids with modeling talent. The coolness of Laguna kids was a factor in the growing success of Fender guitars in the era of surf music, and rock and roll.

Robert Perine skate decks

While this exhibition at ARS Gallery details Perine's role creating the iconic advertising image of Fender guitars, which has become well known throughout the world, it will also highlight Perine's art and design career. His trained, detailed approach was unique in the music industry and set standards as Fender grew to dominate musical instrument manufacturing and sales and was a major influence in creating Surf Culture.

Perine died of a heart attack in 2004, while working to revive the Chouinard Art Institute. He believed in this creation of Nelbert Chouinard, and late in life wrote the retrospective book “Chouinard, An Art Vision Betrayed.” He also provided the design for a book on his biggest client, “Fender: The Sound Heard Round the World,” in which an aging Fender makes a thoughtful comment: “What’s the use of living if you don’t leave something behind that makes the world a better place, something people will remember you for?”

Previously In the Gallery (June 3, 2020 - July 30, 2020)

"The Magical World of Dave Smykal"
(Virtual) Opening Reception, Friday, June 19, from 6-9 pm

Fun, witty, and charming, Dave invites us to his colorful world for a bit of comic relief. We invite you to enjoy sidewalk-viewing any time through our large corner windows! Feel free to make an appointment for private viewing of the show inside the gallery. For the first time we now have select paintings available on our web shop's "Virtual Gallery".

Dave Smykal art

Previously In the Gallery (Feb 14, 2020 - Mar 25, 2020)

Opening Reception, Friday, February 14, from 6-8 pm

Join us for live music, rock posters, guitars, small bites, beer, wine, and refreshments, and have your photo taken in front of the wall of albums!

ARS Gallery, in collaboration with 3 Pillars Music located in the Benton Harbor Arts District, will exhibit over 150 album covers in a new show titled COVER, opening February 14. The vinyl record covers, ranging from the 1950's to the 1990's rock, surf and jazz are an expansive array of album designs from Tom Ives’ store, 3 Pillars Music, and Anna's own personal collection.

Anna Russo-Sieber and a wall of vinyl record cover art.

Previously In the Gallery (Nov 22, 2019 - Feb 11, 2020)

"Palimpsest"- Scott Elliott
Opening Reception, Friday, November 22, from 6-8 pm

On Friday, November 22, from 6 to 8 p.m., ARS Gallery in Benton Harbor will host an opening reception for “Palimpsest,” a new exhibition of paintings by Scott Elliott. The reception will also celebrate the grand re-opening of ARS Gallery following renovations to the space over the past several weeks. The event will include small bites, wine, live music, and a chance to meet the artist.

Scott Elliott art

According to Elliott, the title of the exhibition, “Palimpsest,” refers to something with diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface, such as a work of art on which traces of the original image remain even after it has been scraped or rubbed.

“I sometimes paint over old canvases that are unfinished or otherwise unsatisfactory, and traces of the original image may be notable,” Elliott said. “I have no idea what they will look like, or what people will think of them 50 years from now, if any of them survive at all. It seems to me that I have lived my life in a similar fashion.”

A native of Downers Grove, Illinois, Elliott has had a long and colorful career in the art world, studying as a painter before moving on to curating shows at major museums and running his own art galleries in New York, London, and Chicago.

In Southwest Michigan, Elliott and his wife, Eileen Cropley, were among the pioneers of the Benton Harbor Arts District when they bought and restored two buildings; one was Elliott’s gallery, which is now the site of the OutCenter of Southwest Michigan, and the other was Cropley’s dance school, now the Citadel Dance and Music Center.

“I spent about 50 years of my life selling and exhibiting the work of other artists, many of them world-famous,” Elliott said. “Now I’m adding yet another layer to my biography, trying to make up for lost time, picking up my brushes where I left off more than a half-century ago.”

Previously In the Gallery (Aug 2, 2019 - Sep 20, 2019)

"Subliminal" - Emma Neuser
Opening Reception, Friday, Auguts 2, from 6-8 pm

Emma Neuser will be showcasing her work on August 2nd at ARS Gallery. This will be the first solo show for this young, accomplished artist.

Emma Neuser art

Previously In the Gallery (May 10, 2019 -)

Shanna Shearer
Opening Reception, Friday, June 21, from 6-9 pm

ARS Gallery is proud to exhibit the works of Shanna Shearer! Join us for our opening reception on Friday, June 21, 6-9pm. Meet the artist and enjoy small bites & refreshments.

Shanna Shearer art

This series turns toward the formalities and synchronicity of painting and seeing to focus on light, shape, color, and brushwork. These paintings reference domestic environments and objects to create expressive and dramatic vignettes that represent quiet moments of the everyday. My time in the studio with this work was silent and focused, concentrated on finding moments of interest that often border on abstraction.

This emphasis on engaging with the act of painting in a way that requires focused visual and mental definition parallels my interest in representing the clarity that comes with finding the significance in the mundane. This way of painting signifies an important shift from seeing a painting as a narrative to seeing it as a spatial and tonal story, told less by the subject and more by the paint itself.

Shanna Shearer received her BFA with an emphasis in painting from Grand Valley State University in December 2004. Shanna lives on her farm in Pullman, Michigan where she has her painting studio. Shanna worked at Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, MI for the past 15 years- 10 of those as Campus Director- before leaving in November of 2018 to begin Hinterland Farm and Kitchen with her partner, Mikey Henderberg.

Shanna has been a three-time Visiting Artist and a Guest Speaker for GVSU's Department of Visual and Media Arts, and has juried two exhibitions at Southwestern Michigan University. She has been published in Studio Visit Magazine and has been a part of numerous group and two-person exhibitions. Her work is in the art collections of Grand Valley State University, Southwestern Michigan College, the private collection of Todd Knight and Michael Leonard, and various other private collections.

Previously In the Gallery (Feb 15, 2019 -)

"All You Need Is Love" - A Faculty Exhibit
Opening Reception, Friday, February 15 from 6-8 pm

Join us to celebrate our teaching artists at ARS Gallery/Arts & Culture Center. Faculty artists include: Meredith Schmidt, Susan Henshaw, Josh Mason, Kimberly Wood, Robert Williams, Meaghan Burritt, Anna Russo Sieber, John Sauve, and Cara Ronk. Each artist will exhibit one to two pieces for a diverse perspective. Meet our faculty and enjoy small bites and vino. Celebrate with us! #NotHeartArt

ARS Faculty art

Previously In the Gallery (Nov 9, 2018 – Jan 15, 2019)

"Artwork & Inspiration" - Jerry Catania
Opening Reception, Friday, Nov 9 from 6-8 pm

On Friday, November 9, ARS Gallery will host an opening reception for "Jerry Catania: Artwork & Inspiration," an exhibition and art book featuring mixed media sculptures that combine cast glass with found objects. The event will include small bites, wine, and live music. Come meet the artist and arts educator, Jerry Catania!

Jerry Catania art

The sculptures in this exhibit are mixed media works that combine cast glass with found objects. The process used to create the glass is open-faced sand casting. I approach the moId making process as a sketch – a direct and spontaneous creative act. The molds are simple: a collection of ready-made objects and shapes, pressed into the sand, not unlike the depression of a footprint on the beach. Molten glass is poured from a ladle into the void. The cast glass piece is removed from the mold and placed into an annealing oven for a controlled cooling period.

I use found metal objects to anchor the glass. The metal is a repurposed ‘ready-made’ that encourages a spontaneous response from the glass. The challenge of marrying these disparate objects into a meaningful composition energizes my artistic curiosity.

The pieces in this show reference my interest in the underlying source of an artistic creation. In my search, I look to artists whose motivation is unaffected, natural, and unschooled. This includes the imagery and form of prehistoric art, tribal art, children’s art and cultural symbolism as well as the many early modern artists, who were also inspired by artwork that comes from these authentic, intuitive and subconscious sources.

The paradox of glass as a material – its fragility and transparency juxtaposed with its hardness and density, finds its way into my work as metaphors: ambiguity, irony, symbolism and insight. The metaphors are points of departure from which I compose visual narratives that express these themes - in both realistic and abstract forms.
I follow a tradition of reducing the figure to an artistic symbol as a way of understand the unknown and to influence future events. Many of the pieces in this exhibit are abstractions of the human form made up of symbolic parts to form the whole. The transparency of the glass becomes a look into the human psyche; its fragility refers to the state of nature and human nature.

The scope of the show includes imagery representing both male and female figures, spirits, collaged found object panels, boats and vessel forms.

Previously In the Gallery (Aug 17, 2018 - Nov 2, 2018)

"fleurs et poulets" - Meredith Schmidt
Opening Reception, Friday, Aug 17 from 6-8pm

ARS Gallery is proud to exhibit the works of Meredith Schmidt, titled “fleurs et poulets.” Join us for our opening reception on Friday, August 17 from 6-8 pm, and meet the artist! Enjoy French small bites & wine.

Meredith Schmidt art

Meredith lives in beautiful St. Joseph, Michigan with her husband Jeff. She is a nurse, and also has a certification in drawing from the School of Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois. Meredith has a studio at the Box Factory for the Arts and is a teaching artist at ARS Gallery.

“As a child, I lived with my family in a small rural village in Alsace-Lorraine, France, surrounded by cherry trees and fields of lavender and poppies. My art comes from my love of beautiful color, shapes, and textures. I respond to the emotion and beauty of organic subjects through the use of color, composition, and line. Although I work in acrylic, watercolor, and pastel, I prefer the sensuous feel of oil paint as it spreads on the canvas by hand or palette knife.

I believe that all of life experiences and relationships have been, and are, in preparation for the work I enjoy.”

Previously In the Gallery (May 18, 2018 )

"Fearless" - Kimberly Wood
Opening Reception, Friday, May 18 from 6-8pm

ARS Gallery is proud to exhibit the work of Kimberly Wood, titled "Fearless." Join us for our opening reception on Friday, May 18 from 6-8 pm, and meet the artist! Enjoy small bites, libations & live music.

Kimberly Wood art

Kimberly Wood is best known for her slight obsession with detail, whether in graphite on paper or chalk on pavement. From a young age, she has always been inspired by nature and its ephemeral moments, especially in the various trips throughout the US, exploring new landscapes and indigenous animals of the region, or simply exploring her own backyard.

This love inspired her to create highly detailed pieces of animals and people in her high school art classes, ultimately leading her to pursue a Bachelors in Art Education & Bachelor of Fine Arts in Oil Painting from Grand Valley State University. Upon graduation, she was pulled back to the lake and her native roots in Saint Joseph.

Kimberly is a full-time Commercial Art Instructor at the Van Buren Technology Center to high school students and a freelance artist / dog adopter on the side. Today, Kimberly works in almost every medium: graphite, colored pencil, pastel, chalk, oil paint, watercolor and photography. No matter the medium, she strives to bring a sense of wonder and appreciation for our surroundings.

Previously In the Gallery (March 16 - April 23, 2018)

Robert Williams
Opening Reception, Friday, March 16 from 6-9 pm

ARS Gallery is excited to share the works of Robert Williams. Come join us for our opening reception during ArtHop, March 16 from 6-9 pm, and meet the artist! Enjoy small bites, libations & live music.

Robert Williams painting

Robert R. Williams specializes in portraits in pastel and oil and is known for the realistic yet vibrant skin tones he achieves in his pastels. He has completed hundreds of charcoal portraits done on location at street fairs and art fairs throughout the mid-west and has completed many commissioned pastels and oils from his studio in the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, MI where he has been teaching portrait drawing and painting for the last 20 years.

He has also taught pastel workshops at the Buchanan Art Center at 17 West Front Street in Buchanan, Michigan (in 2006) and Studio Arts Center at 807 Lincoln Way West in South Bend, Indiana (in 2006). Besides teaching at the Box Factory, Robert also has taught portrait classes at the Studio Arts Center and the Southern Shores Art Association in Michigan City in charcoal, pastel, and oil.

Previously In the Gallery (December 8, 2017 – February 28, 2018)

"Monkey Mind + an Alterant" - Susan Henshaw
Opening Reception Friday, December 8 from 6-9 pm

ARS is excited, once again, to share the works of Matt Kasewurm. Matt was one of the first to exhibit at ARS Gallery in September 2010. Please join us for our opening reception and meet this amazing artist! Enjoy small bites, vino, and live music.

Susan Henshaw painting

For me the act of creating a piece of art starts with multiple questions.

Most importantly, what will I paint, why am I painting it and how will I proceed. This is where the racing thoughts referred to as Monkey Mind, the act of flitting from one random idea to another, come into play. It is my job to recognize and capture the Monkey Mind’s best idea and put it into action.

Thoughts of this and that, floated in and out. Weak ideas died and others were tabled. Each miscellaneous thought is scrawled in the notebook I use to contain quotes, personal revelations, light bulb moments , check lists and grocery lists. Random acts of Monkey Mind.

I explored all the dark corners of the studio for clues and light bulbs and then focused on the photography I had collected over the years. I felt they were no longer serving me, lying hidden in a box, unappreciated. What could it hurt? I wanted to give them a second life while exploring a new mode of expression. The “old” is always the foundation for something new. These photographs would literally be the foundation. I was taking a static image and altering it. Most of the images are nature based and nature is never static so the act seemed appropriate.

The concept is change. So what Alterant would be the best expression for that modification?

After many failed experiments, I found that using multiple layers acrylic paint on top of the photos would get the result I was looking for.

I used both transparent glazes of color and opaque acrylic. The question is always - what is the next mark that will make sense out of the previous mark. It is a process of thinking a step ahead while looking behind.

I proceeded to scratch and incise marks into the wet paint to reveal the original image below . Some marks even went deep enough to cut through to the white foundation of photo paper and the photo emulsion scrapped in the process added texture to the surface. Some remnants of the original photos remain while others are completely obliterated.

During the process a new series in the making emerged. I randomly scrawled the word “Unlimited” on an image originally named “And Natalie Floated to the Moon”. It required three pages of notes in the Monkey Mind notebook. Let me just say ,YEP. I love the combination of my Monkey Mind + an Alterant. You never know where it will lead.

Previously In the Gallery (August 4, 2017 – September 20, 2017)

"The Space Between" - Matt Kasewurm
Opening Reception Friday, August 4 from 6-8 pm

ARS is excited, once again, to share the works of Matt Kasewurm. Matt was one of the first to exhibit at ARS Gallery in September 2010. Please join us for our opening reception and meet this amazing artist! Enjoy small bites, vino, and live music.

Matt Kasewurm steel sculpture

Artist Matthew Kasewurm has been working with metal for more than 20 years. Growing up in his family machine shop made metal a natural fit when he started creating. Using the experience as a trained machinist, welder and fabricator, those skills are now translated into his industrial artwork.

While originally from Southwest Michigan, the five years he spent in Chicago added photography and painting to his creative process, while he continued to do commissioned metal pieces. This will be his first show in 6 years with the focus being on new works of steel.

The Space Between represents our lives and how we interpret the space between lyrics of a song, sentences in a book, or the silence in conversations.

Previously In the Gallery (June 16, 2017 – July 2017)

Africa: Richard Hunt Collection
Special Opening Reception Friday, June 16th, 5-6 pm; Art Hop 6-8pm

Special Opening Reception for Richard Hunt's Private African Collection & Book Signing @ ARS Gallery from 5-6pm.

$50 donation, 100% of proceeds support our kids at-risk in Benton Harbor.

We are honored to exhibit some of Richard Hunt’s private African art collection. We have a special opening fundraiser Friday, June 16th from 5-6pm to support at-risk youth in Benton Harbor. The cost of this event is $50 and includes a copy of Richard Hunt’s art book published by ARS Gallery/Arts & Culture Center. Come meet Mr. Hunt, get a signed book copy, and enjoy small bites with champagne refreshments

Art Hop immediately follows from 6-8pm and is open to the public.

Africa: Richard Hunt Collection

Born in Chicago in 1935, Hunt developed an interest in art from an early age. From seventh grade on he attended the Junior School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He went on to study there at the college level, receiving a B.A.E. in 1957. A traveling fellowship from the School of the Art Institute took him to England, France, Spain and Italy the following year. While still a student at SAIC, he began exhibiting his sculpture nationwide and during his Junior year one of his pieces, “Arachne,” was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1962, he was the youngest artist to exhibit at Seattle’s World Fair.

In 1967, Hunt’s career in sculpture began to take him outside the studio with his first large scale public sculpture commission, “Play” (the first sculpture commissioned by the State of Illinois’ Public Art Program). This piece marked the beginning of what Hunt refers to as “his second career,” a career that gave him the opportunity to work on sculpture that responded to the specifics of architectural or other designed spaces and the dynamics of diverse communities and interests. Since that time he has created over one hundred and fifty commissioned works. Many of them are in the Chicago area. Among them are “Jacob’s Ladder” at the Carter G. Woodson Library at 9525 S Halsted, “Freeform” on the exterior facade of the State of Illinois Center at 160 N LaSalle, “Flight Forms” at Midway Airport on the corner of 59th and Cicero, and “We Will” at the Heritage building on the corner of Randolph and Garland Court.

Hunt has received accolades and recognition throughout his career and was the first African-American sculptor to have a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work can be found in numerous museums as well as both public and private collections, including the Art institute of Chicago, the National Gallery and National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1968 he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as one of the first artists to serve on the National Council on the Arts, the governing board of the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received many fellowships, prizes and awards and holds fifteen honorary degrees from universities all over the country. In 2009, Hunt was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Center.

Previously In the Gallery (February 17, 2017 – May 2017)

Ara Lucia
Opening Reception Friday, February 17th, 6-8 PM

ARS Gallery is excited to share the works of Ara Lucia. Come join us for our opening reception and meet this amazing artist! Enjoy small bites, vino, and live music by Jimmy Fastiggi.

Ara Lucia painting

My artistic journey began when my grandmother, a photographer, involved me in her projects. She encouraged me as I went on to explore theatre and directing in my teens and choreography at Mills College in my twenties. I circled back to photography in my thirties and studied Fine Art at Texas Woman's University. Between 2007 and 2009 I created two large-scale photographic works, Tala & Louison and We Vow in which special dresses I created inspired characters for a photo-fable. The latter received recognition in Curve, SheWired, and CherryGrrl, as well as many blogs and articles.

“The dress” has been a theme throughout my career as an artist. So it was natural to bring that to my practice as an abstract painter. Most recently I have begun to explore my lifelong obsession with the color blue. Using fashion throughout history as inspiration, I make high-energy, multi-layered acrylic paintings. Through this work, I explore feminism, class and identity.

The initial impetus for each of my paintings is a dress from a particular designer in a particular historical time. As I was growing up I caught glimpses of high fashion in magazines, but clothes for personal expression were inaccessible to me.

By abstracting these gowns and creating paintings that embody the gowns energetically -- I take them in. I become them. I cross all the barriers that made the dresses once unattainable. With this process, I can own any gown or become anyone, in any time. The process creates a soul alchemy - the filtering through the midnight blue lens of my identity mingles the elements internally. Then, on the canvas, this new, more primal image emerges.

I am a former student of Fine Art, Dance and Choreography. As a reflection of these combined studies, my process is both performative and reflective; I move back and forth between mark-making and editing in order to reach a final composition. Many layers are applied over a highly textured surface. The chosen marks remain and edited marks are folded hidden into the layers.

Previously In the Gallery (September 30, 2016 – November 13, 2016)

"Hundoland" - FUDD
Opening Reception September 30, 6-8pmFUDD

FUDD, is an artist from Brooklyn, NY, who has a story to tell through his paintings. The title of the show is Hundoland, based on the gritty pre-teens from the belly of Brooklyn in the 90's. This decade was a very creative time in pop culture... A year of ground breaking Hip Hop... An introduction to first loves, heartaches, and life ever changing moments. FUDD states: "Come along with us, as I illustrate through my paintings, a group of NY adolescent friends stumble through misadventures of NY life. Welcome to Hundoland", which is the title of the exhibit and represents a Cartoon Dramady, based on pre-teens from Brooklyn in the 90's! FUDD"S medium is mixed with, Acrylic, glue.and spray paint, on canvas and wood panel.

FUDD was born in 1986 in Brooklyn, NY, and is a self taught artist, which began as his way of illustrating his life experiences. From a young age Fudd was interested in many genres of art, from rapper,to director/videographerand for the past few years, painting. As the youngest of 3 boys, there was never a dull moment or a shortage of love. Influenced by the strong women in his family the name "FUDD", is used in honor of his grandmother. This exhibit will be up through November! During that time he will be speaking to our I Am The Greatest teens about his life in Brooklyn!

Previously In the Gallery (July 22, 2016 – September 14, 2016)

Foster Willey
Opening Reception July 22, 6-8pm

Foster Willey sculpture

Foster Willey, a former local resident of the well-known Willey family, will be exhibiting once again at ARS Gallery. He will be exhibiting small bronze sculptures, including abstract and figurative work, along with examples of his other public art projects. The focus will be on recent transit projects for the Metropolitan Council in Minnesota. Willey will also be sharing his recently completed Green Line installation by way of his designs. He will also have a series of panels related to his recent project, Ascent Fountain, that will show the fabrication process. There will also be framed photos of Hamline and Victoria Stations with details. Foster Willey is a highly esteemed regional artist and we are very excited to exhibit his works!

Previously In the Gallery (May 13, 2016 – July 11, 2016)

“The Renaissance Man” - John D. Wilson
Opening Reception May 13, 6-8pm

Join us as we celebrate a living legend, John D. Wilson, with a special reception, exhibiting some of the most stunning prints & posters to represent the renowned, Art Expositions in Chicago. Posters: by Motherwell, Paschke, and some of the famed artists representing the art scene, from 1980-1994.

John Wilson

John Wilson staged his first art fair in 1980 and ended up with one of the hottest art happenings in the world. The Chicago Art Exposition known for its contemporary art and International perspective was the beginning of one of the most prestigious art shows in the world.

A couple of years into the EXPO John’s team included a gala benefit for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, held at the historical Navy Pier, a massive lakefront structure the city of Chicago kept open exclusively for Mr. Wilson”s art and antique fair.

With over 160 dealers sharing their works of about 2,000 artists from around the world, including for the very first time, the Soviet Union. The Art Exposition went from a novice art fair to the standard by which the grandfather of European art fairs at Art Basel, Switzerland are judged.

This was the EXPO the world’s major art dealers, galleries, and collectors dare not miss. The Chicago International Art EXPO was called “The Nation’s leading fair, second only to Art Basel in Switzerland in global importance & recognition.” Mr. Wilson stated, “The world is coming to Chicago now!”

John Wilson, began as a printmaker and founder of the Lakeside Group, (and the EXPO’s umbrella organization), and sold prints in the early days for the Baltimore Art Gallery and traveled the country selling fine art. His home base was at Lakeside Inn, Gallery, and Studios. John ultimately became known as an international print dealer.

Early on Mr. Wilson brought in the likes of Richard Hunt, Ed Paschke, and Roger Brown, all Chicago artists. Mr. Wilson has accomplished great things in the art world throughout his life, and leaves a template and legacy for others to create and build similar off springs of the original.

This exhibit is about the renaissance man behind the Chicago International Art Exposition. Join us as we celebrate a living legend, John D. Wilson.

Previously In the Gallery (Dec 11, 2015- Feb 23, 2016)

"Impressions" - Bob Gottlieb
Reception: Friday, Dec 11, 2015, 6-9pm during ArtHop with live music.

Jimmy Fastiggi will be crooning his Sinatra style tunes, re-creating a time of elegant music and style (you have to hear this very talented guy) throughout the evening. Festive small bites, wine and refreshments will be served.

Row Boat Tied by Bob Gottlieb

ARS Gallery presents the works of Bob Gottlieb, titled "Impressions". You will see several examples of Gottlieb's impressionistic oil paintings of local St. Joseph, Michigan beach sites as well as paintings of beach scenes, children playing or of beautiful landscapes on the water. Gottlieb uses a pallet of brilliant pastels in creating his Impressionistic works. His style is reministic of Van Gogh, Monet and Potthast. His style is bold and his palette is bright with many pastels and the use of cobalt blue. ARS curator Anna states: "Bobs work is magical, you will think you have stepped into the past, seeing the very best of the Impressionists from a time gone by. I am elated to have such a lovely and colorful exhibit at the gallery". Gottlieb displays his works at his studio at the Box Factory of the Arts in St. Joseph, Mi.

Previously In the Gallery (June 19, 2015, 6-9pm During Art Hop)

"Light and Shadow" - Brett Maniscalco and Andrew Sawyer
Live music, small bites, and refreshments

Trust Me by Brett Maniscalco

Brett Maniscalco is a fine art photographer, watercolorist and graphic artist from St. Joseph, MI currently living in New Buffalo. He attended Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI and has taught at the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, MI. His award winning fine art photography has been shown in several galleries and shows, and in 2012 he was a judge for the Michiana Annual Arts Competition (MAAC) show at the Box Factory in St.Joseph, MI.

His work is currently on permanent exhibit at The Inn at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, MI; The Courtyard Gallery in New Buffalo, MI; The Lazy Perch in New Buffalo, MI; Nido Bianco Gallery in Three Oaks, MI; and The Shady Creek Winery on Tryon Rd. in Michigan City, IN. It can also be viewed and purchased online: www.fotoblur.com/portfolio/lblrleltltl


Behind That Door by Andy Sawyer

Andy Sawyer picked up his first camera at the age of 6 and began a lifelong fascination with photography. His work has encompassed freelance work, photojournalism, portraits, event and location shoots, and fine art photography. He is an instructor at The Krasl Art Center where he teaches traditional silver based black and white photography. Inexpensive photography is a passion and he builds and uses pinhole cameras, thrift store finds, and “Toy” cameras on a regular basis.

In addition to photography Andy is an avid botanist, tree researcher, and amateur explorer. Much of his work reflects this love for the natural world with featured images from Alaska, The Yukon Territory, Montana, and Canada. His Found Botany Project uses 130 to 180 year old plant samples found in antiquarian Botany text books as the source for photographic images. Andy and his wife Nita live in St. Joseph.

Previously In the Gallery (Apr 8 - May 8, 2015)

"A Man in Detroit" - John Sauvé
Reception: Thursday, April 23, 2015, 6-8pm; gallery talk by artist at 6pm

A Man in Detroit by John Sauve

Michigan artist John Sauve has developed an exciting public art project called "Man in the City". The project places 43-inch flat stylized orange metal men on the rooftops of buildings. Sauve explains his goal as follows: "To activate the skyline, and encourage people to look around. In the process of looking and finding, one re-assesses one's own position in the world and becomes aware of one's scale within the very fabric of the city. The 'Man in the City' project creates a metaphor for urban life and all the contradictory associations - alienation, ambition, anonymity, and fame."

"Man in the City" is as much about the sculpture as it is about the people and the locations involved in the project. Each sculpture location is selected based on the architecture of the building upon which the piece has been recommended for installation, the building's significance and the relationship to other sculpture locations in the project.

The project will take place with thirty pieces installed in Detroit and five pieces or more installed in Windsor and on display for a two-year time frame. The two projects running simultaneously will provide opportunities for cross-border exchange of artistic and cultural exchanges and possible programming activities.

The works he is exhibiting at ARS are limited edition images from the "Man in the City" project in Detroit, along with posters, tee’s, and maquettes (mini sculptures) of the MAN and more, all commemorating the great efforts this artist has gone through to help with the growth and development of the city of Detroit. We are very excited to feature a gallery talk by Mr. Sauve’ to share all the great things happening in Detroit and how public art changes a community.

Previously In the Gallery (Feb 6 - Mar 17, 2015)

"Little League Made Me Who I Am" - Nathan Margoni
Opening reception: Friday, February 6, 2015, 6-8pm

Gatorade by Nathan Margoni

Nathan Margoni was born in St. Joseph, MI in 1984. Much of his work deals with growing up in this small community. By depicting scenes of mischief and folly in a style associated with children's book illustration, Margoni hints at repressed emotions and human nature. His characters contradict the good, wholesome and innocent style they are rendered in. Nathan completed his MFA in sculpture from SUNY Purchase College in 2009 and his BFA in Painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2007. He has shown his work at SPACE Gallery in Pittsburgh, Carl Berg Projects in Los Angeles, and the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph.

Previously In the Gallery (Dec 5, 2014 - Jan 27, 2015)

"Exploring Light and Color" - Kristin Hosbein
Opening reception: Friday, September 19, 2014, 6-8pm
Gallery talk: January 24, 11-noon

Neverending by Kristin Hosbein

Kristin Hosbein’s paintings are recognized by her gestural brushwork, innovative use of color, and thoughtful composition. She began her painting career in Northeast Florida, where she exhibited in several galleries in St. Augustine and Jacksonville, and won numerous awards.

The messages within Kristin’s paintings are simple and singular: a moment, a memory, a look, a subject. She is fascinated with the way light plays on and around forms. Her style of painting is contemporary realism, with roots in impressionism, working mostly in oil. Her plein air paintings, worked with a conservation of brushstrokes, are painted outdoors on location. Larger studio paintings are created in her studio, and are often more experimental, often using different mediums and drawing tools.

Her work captures the essence of “life in the moment” with brushstrokes of color. “There is an amazing process that happens when painting from life...one sees the interaction of light on form...the artwork becomes poetic; reducing the values and colors to the notes necessary to tell the story. Much of my work is plein air or ala prima. Working wet on wet, on site, out of doors, the paintings are completed within a few hours before the light shifts.

My studio paintings are created from these studies or from sketches and photos. The intention of my work is to provide a visual respite, a healing moment; to remind the viewer to take the time to be thankful for this still beautiful world that we live in.”

Kristin is an official U.S. Coast Guard Artist, with two works accepted in 2011, and another in the 2014 collection, which will be shown through-out the US in 2014. She won an Award of Excellence at the Oil Painters of American 1st Annual Salon Plein Air Paint-Out in Petosky, MI in 2013. She had two one-woman shows in 2014, the first at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, and the second in the Gallery at the INN at Harbor Shores, in St Joseph, MI.

Kristin has studied with notable contemporary masters, including Milton Glaser, David Leffel, Clayton Beck III, Marc Hanson, Larry Moore, Ron Monsma, Romel de la Torre, Leonard Wren, and Richard Weaver While painting is her passion, Kristin completed a 155 page book for the St. Joseph River Yacht Club in 2013. She is an avid traveler, photographer, sailor, and a member of the Chicago Yacht Club Race Committee, where she is a timer/radio operator for major races, including the longest freshwater sailing race in the world, “The Race to Mackinac”.

Previously In the Gallery (Sep 19 - Nov 15, 2014)

Quincy B. Owens
Opening reception: Friday, September 19, 2014, 6-8pm

painting by Quincy Owens

Quincy B. Owens holds Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Indianapolis, and a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Indianapolis. He has exhibited his work in many fine art galleries in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, and has collections in various Universities, Hospitals, and National Banks throughout the US. Quincy has also participated in many artist residencies throughout the US and India.

As an artist I explore materials and concepts. I make work that is autobiographical, exploratory and based deeply in process. I see my work as a visual connection between what I am, what my beliefs and curiosities are, where I am going and how the path I am on intersects with the world around me. I feel deeply connected to place, people and the relationships between them.

I grew up in a region of Indiana where flat rural land transitions sharply to rolling hills. This transition from one dynamic to another has fascinated me ever since and the majority of all of my major works originates from the concept of shifting, corresponding and contradicting systems. One can consistently find a marriage of chaos and order in my work that is carefully fashioned to remind the viewer of this tension. My end goal is to create work that is honest. At times I hope it is also considered beautiful.

This is all true and good but it doesn’t capture the energy, the playfulness and spirit embodied by my work. My paintings are fluid. Colors are vibrant and rich. Movement is vital. My sculptural works can be rigid and geometric or organic and soft. I play with sounds and experiment with lights. I am a husband and father of five children. I love having the curiosity of my children and the passion of a spouse. I love opening my studio door every day, walking in and making something from nothing.

Previously In the Gallery (Jul 18 - Aug 30, 2014)

"Wabi's Greener Earth" - Michael Fels
Opening reception: Friday, July 18, 2014, 6-8pm

mixed media by Michael Fels

A mixed-media artist, Michael D. Fels received his M.F.A. in printmaking. His art has been shown in places ranging from Taiwan, New Zealand, Chicago, DC and New York City. An upcoming show at the ARS gallery will be an exhibition of both 2 and 3 dimensional works in materials ranging from steel, wood, glass, concrete and more. Primarily a site-specific installation-artist, this exhibit will represent a combination of Fels work. Interests of wabi-sabi and the inculcation of material syntax, the juxtaposition of varying materials, direct the work.

Michael D. Fels taught for ten years at The Pennsylvania State University before joining the faculty at Elon University 12 years ago. Department Chair, Head of the Foundations area, and Exhibition Coordinator at Elon, Fels continues his exploration of art and its physical boundaries through both his teaching and his artmaking.

Previously In the Gallery (May 16 - Jul 11, 2014)

"Oil, Water & Glass" - Susan Henshaw & Jerry Catania
Opening reception: Friday, May 16, 2014, 6-8 pm

Susan Henshaw will be showing her large canvas titled, OIL & WATER, a series of oil paintings with the subject of water. Jerry Catania will be exhibiting his renowned glasswork in the form of stunning luminescent colorful vessels. Susan has exhibited her large paintings in the Harbor Shores restaurant “The Grille”, and Jerry is well know for his collaborative work with Josh Andres, creating the sculpture Tee markers on the Harbor Shores Golf Course. Join us for a free small bites and wine reception as we take a look at their new works of art.

Susan Henshaw

Susan Henshaw

How many of us have thrown a pebble in a pond and watched as the patterns on the surface rippled away? Since childhood I have done this hundreds of times, each time, mesmerized, watching and waiting for the surface to become still, so I could throw the next pebble. I still spend many hours by the water’s edge these days, but instead of throwing a pebble I seek the transient effects made by nature’s movement and light. Habitats such as creeks and rivers may have tree- lined banks that reflect patterns of color or cast daunting spider-like shadows. Elements such as sharp bends create whirlpools as rocks and fallen branches cause surface patterns to dance with light. Open or calm water acts as a fun-house mirror reflecting and refracting the world around it, distorting the view.

My images are first captured with a Nikon D200 SLR camera. The continuous movement of water has resulted in a collection of thousands of photographs over the years. The images I have chosen are ones that I feel contain the some of the most magical combinations of elements. Some covered a visual field of several yards, while others, only a few inches. The decision to paint them on canvas add’s yet another layer of light and movement to these abstract microcosms. While some images are recognizable as water, the reflections they contain still leave the viewer room to question.

Jerry Catania

glass by Jerry Catania

As for most people, I am enlivened by the medium of glass - both in its glowing molten state and its striking optical splendor. The blowing and sand-casting processes inspire my creative process. The very physical process of blowing and casting fit my creative concepts and energetic temperament - forcing me to be more intuitive and react more spontaneously. Glass as a material takes on a meaning beyond its optical beauty. Its reflections, distortions, and ‘solid yet transparent’ properties - for me, are metaphors for illusion, paradox, insight, allusion and deception. It can represent a vision, a spirit, an illusion, a memory, a mirage or an ephemeral moment in time.

I began working in glass in 1972 as a part of the experimental beginnings of the Pilchuck Workshop glass school in Washington State. I was accepted to be one of 30 students that summer to work and study glass under the direction of Dale Chihuly and Fritz Dreisbach. In 1985 I started the glass studio at Ox-Bow - the summer school for The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and in 1991 I opened my own studio in nearby Glenn, Michigan, until 2004 when I moved the studio to Benton Harbor, MI and started “Water Street Glassworks“ - a not-for-profit school of the glass arts.

Previously In the Gallery (Jan 31 - Mar 25, 2014)

ARS Faculty Exhibit curated by Gideon Douglas and Joshua Nowicki
Opening reception: Friday, February 14, 2014, 5:30-7:30 pm

photograph by Joshua Nowicki

Some of our faculty are public school art teachers, museum curators, special program teachers, art center artists, and special education teachers, and come highly qualified in their teaching. These teachers are also studio and professional artists in their own right, and this is the galleries opportunity to share their work, and pay homage to such great and talented teachers. Faculty with work on display includes:

Susan Henshaw - Susan has been a professional artist for over a decade, and exhibits her work in various galleries, and art centers throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. She has a studio in her home, as well as The Box Factory and works very prolifically in them creating pastels, drawing, oils, photography, and acrylic. Susan teaches adult painting classes of all kinds at ARS.

Toni Smith - Toni works in art therapy helping others through art. She works in a variety of media and creates not just stunning works in mosaics, but also paintings, and mixed media. Toni has taught youth at ARS from the Boys & Girls Club, as well as teaching adult mosaic classes.

Josh Mason - Josh is exhibit curator at The Discovery Zone, Curious Kids Museum, and his degree in art helps with his job at the museum. Josh is also a multimedia artist creating paintings, installations and sounds. Josh is a wonderful painter and expresses himself on very large board using latex, acrylic or oils. Josh teaches the I Am The Greatest Project, film education, the summer camp program, and more at the ARS.

Ashley Seymour - Ashley has a degree in art and is the gallery assistant at ARS, and also teaches classes. She has worked with The Boys and Girls Club, the summer camp program, and much more. Ashley paints various subject matter in acrylic, works in photography, and drawing. She has a growing interest in teaching but her passion is painting..

Gideon Douglas - Gideon earned a BFA from Michigan state university in painting and drawing. Currently teaching mixed medias at ARS gallery.

Morgan Ingle - Morgan is an artist, teacher and professional musician with the band Slim Gypse Baggage. Morgan teaches the I Am The Greatest Project, the summer camp program, and more at the ARS.

Dirk Sorrells - Dirk has spent many years involved in the arts at a variety of levels including, painting, photography and tattooing. Dirk is also an avid Great Lakes surfer. At ARS, Dirk has taught and volunteered with the I Am The Greatest Project.

Kim Wood is a Commercial Art Instructor at the Van Buren Technology Center with a Bachelors in Art Education and Masters in CTE, while also working freelance in all areas of art including photography, painting, drawing, digital illustration, and graphic design. She has worked at ARS in the summer camp program as an art teacher and assistant.

Joshua Nowicki - Joshua specializes in nature and landscape, event and food photography along with graphic design and social media marketing. At ARS, Joshua has assisted with marketing, taught a photography class and photographed a variety of programs at the center.

Previously In the Gallery (Nov 22, 2013 - Jan 14, 2014)

"Inside-Out, Upside-Down or Sideways" - Will Hafeman
Opening reception: Friday, Nov 22, 2013: 6-9 pm

Las Mariposas by Will Hafeman

This body of work, made through a process of chance and deconstruction, fills the void created by black tar paper, an empty piece of glass or other surfaces. It also, by it's very nature, creates space. There is no initial plan to the pieces, just processes and materials from which the paintings emerge. The various operations some chance, some conscious; and the materials, some found and some purchased, become guides to the completed work. The only decisions to be made are in response to what the operations and the materials provide, and when to stop.

Through pouring, throwing, dripping and smearing paint, less control is available and the materials do what they will. By deconstructing the original and building it again new, paintings are made that couldn't be worked out ahead of time.

The work may be inside-out, upside-down, sideways or totally reordered from where it began. Not knowing the outcome ahead of time is one of the reasons for making this work. When a piece is finished it becomes clear, but it's never known when that will happen -- until it does.

Previously In the Gallery (Aug 30 - Nov 15, 2013)

"Molten Anomalies" - Margie Mattice and Eli Zilke
Opening reception: Friday, Aug 30, 2013: 6-8 pm

glaas by Margie Mattice and Eli Zilke

Margie Mattice

As far back as I can remember art has been a part of my life. However my focus on glass began approximately nine years ago when I moved to Benton Harbor and discovered Water Street Glassworks. A transition I will cherish for a lifetime!

What I love about glass is that one can never say “I have arrived!” There is always something new to learn and developing your skills! I draw my inspiration from the beautiful world in which I live. The fluidity of glass fits my personality because I tend to be the type of person who goes with the flow!

Broadening my horizon into metal working has opened a whole new dimension by incorporating metal with glass. As I watch a project come alive from a basic sketch to a 3 D piece of art it is fascinating and rewarding.

My recent collaboration with Eli Zilke began 2 years ago when we created a glass piece for a fundraiser using the jellyfish form that I had been perfecting and his expertise in blowing incredibly beautiful vessels. This proved to be a successful mix and thus our “Aquatic Series” was born! We found that working together was delightful and that our two styles compliment each other.

My goal as an artist is to grow in my skill, to search out new techniques and to share my enthusiasm for glass and metal with the world around me.

Eli Zilke

Eli Zilke's love for glass started early in life. His first encounter with the hot goo came at the age of eight when his parents chose Venice, Italy as one of the destinations for a family vacation, it was love at first sight! Eli started working with glass at the age of eleven making glass beads in the kitchen of his childhood home and then at twelve he joined the Fired Up program at WaterStreet Glass Works in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Eli is now a teacher in the Fired Up after school program, where he was trained.

In his most recent work he aims to give the illusion of light when none is present, he does so using color applications. He also enjoys creating micro environments grouping cane and murini to reflect the essence of life on a glass canvas. Eli aims to be a detail oriented craftsman before being an artist and enjoys working in collaboration with other artists to develop bodies of work. Eli Zilke is now Co-owner/ operator of Twin City Glass Studios where he will spend his time further developing his work.

Previously In the Gallery (May 31 - Jul 12, 2013)

"Landscape and Memory" - Josh Mason
Opening reception: Friday, May 31, 2013: 6-8 pm

painting by Josh Mason

Local artist Josh Mason creates a world of texture, shadow, light and movement through abstract painting. Trained in fine arts and animation, with experience as a painter, installation artist and museum professional Joshua Mason draws on a depth of experience in creating fascinating abstract landscapes.

Josh’s formal art education started in animation with ACME VTN through Warner Brothers Feature Animation and continued in fine art at Gwen Frostic School of Art. Josh brings his eye for artistry into his career in the museum field as the Exhibits Manager at Curious Kids Museum in Saint Joseph, Michigan. In this position he designs and fabricates exhibit, installs traveling exhibits and paints murals. His murals can be found at Curious Kids' Discovery Zone and at Silver Beach Center.

Josh is also a teacher and entrepreneur. He teaches painting at the Krasl Art Center in Saint Joseph, Michigan and is highly involved as a teaching artist in the I Am The Greatest Project, film education, and summer arts education at ARS Gallery. "Josh connects with students on a very personal level, sharing his insights, struggles as an artist and his deep understanding of art theory. It is a pleasure to see the excitement he shares with the students and it is wonderful how assessable he makes art." Anna Russo-Sieber. Beyond teaching and the museum, Josh is the co-founder of a special-events company, Polygon, which creates installations and stage-design to accompany bands and live performances.

Josh finds inspiration in music, philosophy, history and conversations with artists and his wife Brittany, who is also an artist. His new work, which will be on view at ARS Gallery, focuses on the concept of landscape and memory and how myth intersects with place.

Be sure to visit ARS Gallery on Friday June 21 from 6-9 pm during the New Territory Arts Association's Summer Art Hop. In addition to Josh's work we are excited to be featuring art and decorative objects from Custom Imports of New Buffalo, MI that where hand selected from Tahiti and Thailand. These items will be exhibited from June 21 until June 30.

Previously In the Gallery (Apr 5 - May 20, 2013)

Opening reception: Friday, April 5, 6-8 pm.
Photography - Joshua Nowicki

photograph by Joshua Nowicki

Joshua Nowicki grew up in the Grand Rapids area, and as a child spent a lot of his time camping, fishing and enjoying the nature and beauty of Michigan. He began his career in museums, at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum while working on his MA in Anthropology at Western Michigan University. After graduating, Joshua moved to the Metro-Detroit area where he was Employed for six years at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He held a variety of positions at this organization Including: archivist, systems analyst, and administrator as well as a graphic designer. It was at the Holocaust museum where Joshua initially began to developed his interest in photography; photographing the museum's architecture, exhibits, and events for publication and marketing purposes. At this time, Joshua used a camera that had been donated to the museum... and as a result his photography primarily focused on the

In 2011, Joshua took at job at our own Krasl Art Center in Saint Joseph, Michigan as the director of community relations. In this position, he oversaw the marketing and graphic design for the organization- along with staff and project management including the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff, gift shop, visitor services and volunteers.

It was after moving to Saint Joseph and working at the Krasl Art Center that Joshua's interested in photography expanded beyond the walls of museums. "Working in an art museum coupled with living in such a gorgeous setting was absolutely inspiring." Until February of 2012, the only camera that Joshua had to use was a small six megapixel point-and-shoot camera. "In February, my parents came to visit me . . . we went out shopping and my father told me that we were not going to leave the store until I picked out a better camera . . . I went home with a Nikon D5100." The new camera challenged Joshua to continue to strive to improve. Within a short time, one of his photos was requested by

Joshua now spends his time as an outdoor photographer capturing raw nature at its best. His images have appeared on both local and national news because of their sheer impact and beauty. Moreover, his images have been used by both St. Joseph Today and the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council. Several of his photos have been highlighted on the Pure Michigan Facebook page and in blog posts.

The exhibit that is planned for ARS Gallery will cover a retrospect (the last year of photography) of Josh’s work in Michigan's Great Southwest. His photography captures moments in time that are so dramatic in their beauty, and are so well executed, they are simply breath taking.

Josh is also very involved in his community as a board member for The New Territory Arts Association, The Michigan Museum Association, and as a member of The Stewards of Southwest Michigan planning committee.

Previously In the Gallery (Jan 25 - Mar 27, 2013)

Covering the process of "The I Am The Greatest" Project - exhibit and short film by filmmaker and photographer Doug Clark.

Opening reception: Friday, January 25, 6-8pm.

Doug Clark

Doug has been filming the process of the "I Am the Greatest" project as well as taking stunning photos of the entire project since early 2012. Doug has captured the heart of this collaboration between artist, gallery, and city, which includes public art inspired by Muhammad Ali, and created by sculptor John Sauve, gallery owner, and workshop creator, Anna Russo Sieber, and the Benton Harbor Arts District. Doug's photography will be exhibited through the end of March. He will also be sharing a short promotional film piece created around the "I Am The Greatest" project. Please join us for wine and small bites as we celebrate these works created in Benton Harbor.

"The Expressionists"

The Expressionists is a film that follows several artists and educators as they use art to enrich the lives of under privileged children in an environment that has devalued the importance of art. The story is as much about the artists who forge ahead with little or no support as it is about the children who’s lives are enriched by the efforts of their mentors. “For as long as I can remember we have been told how students in the United States lag behind other developed countries in math and science. While I don’t dispute this fact I believe we have lost our way of discovering who we are as human beings and that we have overlooked the ability of art to connect with each other and to discover who we are as individuals,” says the filmmaker, Douglas Clark.

The film’s story begins with John Sauvé, an artist from Brighten, Michigan. Sauvé’ created, the I Am The Greatest sculpture – public art exhibited throughout Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, Michigan. The orange sculptures portray Mohammad Ali, posing as Saint Sebastian, on the cover of Esquire magazine in April of 1968. Saint Sebastian was a Roman soldier that converted to Christianity and survived being tied to a tree and shot with arrows because of his conversion. Like this Roman soldier, Ali paid a high price for standing up for his beliefs. He was stripped of his heavy weight title and spent five years in jail because he was a conscientious objector who refused the draft.

When Anna Russo-Sieber exhibited the works of John Sauvé, The I Am The Greatest sculpture throughout the Benton Harbor Arts District, she and John immediately collaborated on how she could incorporate the theme into an art workshop to encourage underprivileged children to believe in themselves and to overcome adversity. With Sauvé’s encouragement and the cooperation of the Benton Harbor Boys and Girls Club & other groups, Anna, created a workshop based on the I Am The Greatest Project. The workshops will continue through 2013.

There are also other local artists and programs that will be followed in the film.

Previously In the Gallery (Nov 16, 2012 - Jan 22, 2012)

Floyd Gompf and Linda Hoffhines
Opening reception: Friday, November 16, 5:30-7:30pm.

furniture by Floyd Gompf, teapot by Linda Hoffhines

ARS Gallery present the work of Michigan-based artists Floyd Gompf and Linda Hoffhines. Gompf's dynamic hand-crafted pieces of furniture, made from salvaged wood and metal, are extensions of his early work as a sculptor and painter. Hoffhines’ wall-mounted mosaics and textured pots add color and whimsy, creating a playful atmosphere sure to inspire creativity.

Ohio native Floyd Gompf's education was at Miami University, Kansas State and The Art Institute of Chicago. A ceramist for 15 years, Gompf began creating one-of-a-kind whimsical and colorful tables and cabinets from discarded or salvaged wood, distressed metals and antique hardware.

Linda Hoffhines states: "I am interested in various pottery forms such as cups, vases, bowls and teapots and the sculptural elements they possess. I like exploring the pottery vessel's natural associations with function by distorting the forms and altering their scale, surface, and proportion. A succesful piece, or one that works for me, says something about both pottery and sculpture."

Previously In the Gallery (Oct 5 - Nov 13, 2012)

"Remembering Marilyn: boats, piers, & beaches" - Marilyn O'Bryant
Opening reception: Friday, October 5, 6-8pm.

painting by Marilyn O'Bryant

Marilyn O'Bryant will be featured in the ARS Gallery with a reception on October 5, which is free and open to public. Her friends in the art world are gathering together to put this exhibit & reception together to remember her, and her beautiful work. Sadly, Marilyn lost her fight with MS earlier this year, and we want to remember what a difference she made.

Marilyn O'Bryant earned her Bachelor of Fine arts degree at the University of Buffalo. Since that time she has been involved in commercial as well as fine arts, concentrating in watercolor but she has also created drawings, pastels and collages. Her subject matter reflects her interest in the natural world as well as that created by man. Her style is realistic yet her distinctive style comes through with some simplification of the forms. She is fascinated by shadows and reflections so an interest in bodies of water is apparent. She observes the world of southwest Michigan and yet ventures to New York and Florida on occasion. Come take a look! You'll see some familiar sights as well as some you may not yet have noticed.

Previously In the Gallery (Aug 24 - Oct 2, 2012)

"Small Sculpture & Abstract Paintings" - Robert Winslow
Opening reception: Friday, August 24, 5:30-7:30pm.

Aqua Azul by Rober Winslow

If Beauty is the goal, your sunk, dead. This goal can be only a preconditioned, rigid expression of consciousness. One falls into the trap of 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder', a justification often used by lazy, fearful, unaware individuals when they see something they do not understand, are not willing to understand and not willing to stretch their mind a tiny bit to understand. If Beauty be the goal and not a consequence of doing than stab the eye, pierce and blind it and kill beauty quick. Cut into the unconscious heart of your conception of beauty and hack it out, otherwise, beauty will turn into Medusa and your consciousness turned to stone.

There is an aspect of validity to the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This 'eye' an unconscious response of which few are aware, that being The Golden Mean, the Divine proportion. A mathematical proportion which is inherent and intrinsic in nature, the ratio of 1 : 1.618. The Greeks used this proportion in their masterpieces of architecture and sculpture. Almost all art which has withstood the test of time for the last 100,000 years has this proportion hidden within its form or composition. Its seems to be in our DNA and can be found in spiral galaxies, ripe sunflowers, pea plants and the genetic spirals in our cells.

I spent several months confirming the above statements, I poured through art books, art history books and science books. Measuring height to width, witdth to height, over all image or parts relating to the whole. This proportion was repeated again and again and again. From cave paintings and sculpture of Cro-Magnum to Sung dynasty pottery, Asian temples, the old masters and contemporary masterpieces, this proportion prevalent.

This prevalence of the Golden Mean was very unsatisfactory, imprisioned so by unconscious nature. I decided to find another proportion in nature, one not recognized often if ever and use that one in my art. This was before the advent of the personal computer and weeks were spent in the university library. I set about measuring images of lessor known expressions of natural phenomena; solar flares, bacterial cultures, tree growth rings, anything that seemed to be regular and observable in some manner. I found nothing.

One day I came across an astronomy book which contained schematics of radio signals from deep space. They resembled in some ways solar flares in their organic expressions but only an obsevation of the eye and no mathematical proportional relationship. The graphs of the radio waves did seem interesting however and I set about measuring and comparing over all to part, part to part and part to overall. I ended up finding a proportion, it occured regularly enough to satisfy me; 1 : 1.39. So again I set about measuring art, over and over and over again, and could not find this proportion anywhere.

One day I was looking at out of print art books at Powell's Bookstore on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. The room was full of very expensive wonderful books on art. I came upon a book on the art of Easter Island, black and white photography, a very large treatise. It was in German but I was only interested in the photographs. Every single articfact and art work on the entire island and works in any all museums were recorded in this book. The most interesting images were the petroglyphs in the rocks along the sea clifts and the islanders wood carvings. These strange, unusual expressions, foreign to any art I had seen before drew me in. I purchased the book and set about measuring the imaged, expecting to find the usual Golden Mean.

Then it happened, I stumbled upon the other proportion in their strange, mystical wood carvings and petroglyphs, 1 to 1.39. This proportion repeated was repeated many times. I thought I had discovered something unique, new, an unknown proportion in nature. I began using it in my art and then one day my smug arrogance of discovery was shattered. I stumbled upon information concerning the Knights Templar and their building of the cathedrals in Europe. Their proportion, their sacred Holy porportion, 1:1.414. Iit seems we cannot excape the constraints of nature, we are nature. However, this taught me to be conscious, think, consider, be aware of my expressions and observations. To be open to that which is beyond ones knowledge and preconception and to be ware of unconscious conditional functioning: Stab the eye, kill beauty.

Previously In the Gallery (Jul 21 - Aug 21, 2012)

"My India" - KV Rathnam
Opening reception: Saturday, July 21 from 5-7 p.m.

photographs by KV Ratnam

ARS Gallery is proud and excited to exhibit a selection of 8 pieces of the work by KV Rathnam. KV is a well-known name among the Maryland and Midwestern Indian community. KV was born on July 16, 1945 in Nuzvid, Andhra Pradesh, India. After completely high school he spent a year studying industrial arts at Spicer Memorial College in Pune, Maharastra. KV enrolled in the School of Nursing at Giffard Memorial Hospital in Nuzvid to get involved in a line of study that would prepare him to help others.

Both in high school and in nursing school, KV was much sought after for his artistic talents: drawing, painting and photography. KV and his wife were lead to the United States in 1972. While working as a psychiatric nurse and Sumathi as an OB/GYN nurse in St. Joseph, Michigan, KV was involved in promoting Indian Culture and art in his community. KV opted for an early retirement to help orphans in Nuzid, India. He founded Let's Get Involved, a non-profit entity to create AIDS awareness and to provide formal education for orphan children.

Previously In the Gallery (May 25 - Jul 7, 2012)

Opening reception: Friday, May 25, 2012, 6-8pm

"I am the Greatest" - John Sauve

rooftop sculpture by John Sauve

Well-known sculptor John Sauve, Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery and the New Territory Arts Association in the Benton Harbor Arts District are bringing 16 Muhammad Ali-inspired sculptures to Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, Mich., for a free public art exhibit titled, "I Am the Greatest" These 5-foot-8-inch sculptures, created by Sauve, will be seen on pathways, sidewalks and rooftops throughout the Benton Harbor Arts District and three St. Joseph locations, from May 2012 through the end of 2013.

The goals of the project are to bring public art to the Benton Harbor Arts District and to celebrate the life of Muhammad Ali, world heavyweight boxing champion, philanthropist and social activist, as well as introduce him to a new generation of young people. During the exhibit, Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery will host workshops for local youth to teach them about Ali as well as offer them an opportunity to create their own Ali-inspired sculptures for display in the exhibit. More info

"Wild Vines" - Susan M. Henshaw

Wild Vines by Susan Henshaw

It is a mixed argument as to whether Wild Grapevines are an invasive species. Some view them as a beautiful part of the forest - climbing, looping and reaching toward the heavens. Others view them as a destructive force that, if left unchecked, can topple whole forests with the weight of their desire for light.

It struck a chord with me how we, as a species, parallel the nature of the Wild Vines. Each tendril of the vine and each human being grasp, climb and reach toward some sort of Holy Grail. Wild Vines and humans use a host on which to grow. Whether it is a tree or shrub for the Wild Vines or the Earth or another being for us humans, over zealousness kills the host and we sometimes crumble our own foundations.

"Glass Art" - Becky Wehmer

glass globe by Becky Wehmer

My interest in glass began when I was a child and would visit my grandparents in Elmira, NY each summer. They would take us to Corning Glass Museum and I sat in awe of the Stuben Glassblowers. I entered the Undergraduate Program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993 where my studies were interdisciplinary, but mostly craft-based including clay and fiber. Soon, I discovered Ox-Bow Summer School of Art, an affiliate of the Art Institute where glassblowing classes were taught.

In 1994, I headed to Ox-Bow for my first glassblowing class with Jerry and Kathy Catania. The awe I felt as a child for glass was rejuvenated. I moved to Southwestern Michigan in 1999 and worked as a studio assistant at Blue Star Pottery, which kept my hands in clay, thinking about material and form.

In January 2004 the furnace was lit at Water Street Glassworks in the Benton Harbor Arts District. This is where I have landed as an artist and resident. I am allowed the luxury of access to its glassblowing studio to make my own functional and sculptural work and I also teach and manage the studios. I feel very fortunate to have discovered and become part of the supportive community that exists in Benton Harbor.

Previously In the Gallery (Feb 17 - Apr 21, 2012)

"A Not So Ordinary Faculty Exhibit"
Opening reception: Friday, February 17, 2012, 6-8pm

painting by Ashlery Seymour

Mary Broccolo Derr, painting - Mary has been teaching art in public schools, art centers, and in colleges for over 20 years. She considers herself a painter rather than artist, and a teacher above all. Mary teaches almost all of the summer programs at ARS Gallery.

Susan Henshaw, drawings - Susan has been a professional artist for over a decade, and exhibits her work in many gallery's, and art centers throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. She has a studio in her home, as well as The Box Factory and works very prolifically in them creating pastels, drawing, oils, photography, and acrylic. Susan teaches adult painting classes of all kinds at ARS Gallery.

Toni Smith, mixed media - Toni works in art therapy helping others through art. She works in a variety of media and creates not just stunning works in mosaics, but also paintings, and works in mixed media. Toni is a member of Chartreuse co-op Gallery, and also works with The Boys & Girls Club students at the ARS Gallery as well as teaching adult mosaic classes.

Carolyn O’Hearn, glass - Carolyn is a glass and mosaic artist who shares a professional glass studio with a fellow artist, and exhibits her work, She teaches at Water Street Glass, and ARS Gallery in the summer camp programs and adult mosaic's. Carolyn finds a balance between arting and teaching, and is fantastic at both.

Josh Mason, paintings - Josh is exhibit curator at The Discovery Zone, Curious Kids Museum, and his degree in art helps with his job at the museum. Josh is a wonderful painter and expresses himself on very large canvas using acrylic or oils. Josh teaches Boys and Girls Club, film education, architecture, the summer camp program, and more at the ARS Gallery.

Donna Moynihan, painting - Donna has painted and exhibited her work for many years. She is an interior designer by trade, and a personal chef, and her love of food is also a big part of her life as a caterer, as well as a personal chef. Donna offers "The Art of Entertaining" class a small bites and wine pairing class to help folks learn about what wines to pair with what foods at ARS Gallery. She is a great talent!

Meaghan Burritt, mixed media installation - Meaghan has a graduate degree in arts education and teaches at schools and art centers in Chicago, where she lives, as well as ARS Gallery. She is on the TAD board and is an active artist installing sight specific installations in Chicago, at ARS Gallery, as well as other galleries. Meaghan has taught film education, mixed media, painting, print-making, and Boys and Girls Club at ARS Gallery. Meaghan has a bright future in the world of art!

Ashley Seymour, paintings - Ashley has a degree in art and is the gallery assistant at ARS Gallery, and also teaches classes. She has worked with The Boys and Girls Club, the summer camp program, and much more. Ashley paints various subject in acrylic, works in photography, and drawing. She has a growing interest in teaching but her passion is painting.

Lucia Liano Button, photography - Lucia teaches the Italian language at the gallery for adults, The Boys and Girls Club, as well as Italian for children. She was born and raised in southern Italy and moved north of Venice when she married, where she raised her children. Lucia also prepares beautiful Italian foods for our classes, and takes photo's of her beautiful Italy when she visits, which is at least once a year. Lucia has been instrumental in the gallery from the beginning. A very big part of what we do is Italian based, and we couldn't do it without her.

Some of our faculty are public school art teachers, museum curators, special program teachers, art center artists, and special education teachers, and come highly qualified in their teaching. These teachers are also studio and professional artists in their own right, and this is the galleries opportunity to share their work, and pay homage to such great and talented teachers.

Previously In the Gallery (Nov 18, 2011 - Jan 18, 2012)

"La Beauty en Toutes Choses" - Meredith Schmidt
Opening reception: Friday, November 18, 2011, 6-8pm

painting by Meredith Schmidt

Meredith Schmidt has a studio at The Box Factory for the Arts, and you can find her painting there most days. Micki as her friends call her, has that rare ability to add light into every piece she touches - you see the saturation of color and brilliance in each piece. In her artist statement, Micki says:

"Each artist has a different view of the world, and this is reflected in the way ideas are expressed.

My art, visual abstraction, comes from my love of beautiful color, shapes and texture. I respond to the emotion and beauty in organic subjects through the use of color, composition and line. Although I also work in the mediums of acrylic and watercolor, I prefer the soft, sensuous feel and intense color of oil paint as it spreads on the canvas, whether by brush, hand or palette knife.

Color and abstract qualities are distinctive features in all of my paintings, but my work is never entirely abstract—it falls between the two extremes of abstraction and realism, with an emphasis on the elements of shape, color and texture rather than the subject matter.

From the ages of ten to twelve, I lived with my family in a small rural village in Alsace-Lorraine, surrounded by cherry trees and fields of lavender and poppies. My work, which is introspective and emotional, is heavily influenced by the landscape and culture of southern France but I believe that all of my life experiences and relationships have been - and are - in preparation for the work I enjoy."

Previously In the Gallery (Sep 23 - Nov 11, 2011)

Opening reception: Friday, September 23, 2011, 6-8pm
"Places of Stone" - Dave Wilkinson

stone sculpture by Dave Wilkinson

Dave Wilkinson has that natural ability to take a large piece of stone and create wondrous things from it. The process of staring at a large un-carved, raw piece of stone that Dave states, “ I love the notion, as I carve, that I am the first living thing to touch this part of the stone”, and as a sculptor, using Michigan sandstone, and Indiana limestone as his canvas… the sky as they say is the limit. He started sculpting in stone quite some time ago, and also works in encaustic, drawing and painting.

Dave was born in Jackson, Michigan and moved to Benton Harbor in 1997, and he works in his outdoor studio most days under a large shade-tree next to Brammall Supply. Dave states:  “I have created art for almost 30 years but have focused on sculpture for the last 13. I am completely self-taught, and my work reflects a passion for the ancient ruinous, and is very figurative. Not having the opportunity to travel yet to these places of stone, I create my own. I hope to evoke a feeling of incompleteness, a fragment of a larger whole piece.”

His work is all hand carved, and as Dave has said it holds an ancient, fragmented quality in its style and asthetics. These sculptures are stunning, as if from another time and place folks have said as they view his work while visiting in his outdoor studio.

Dave is also a teacher and works at Blossomland Learning Center, making a huge difference in folks lives there, as well as in the community around us. He also volunteers at The Bronson Hill house helping out as an art teacher. Remember, when you drive by his outdoor studio, you see him working proliphically, and always with a smile.

Previously In the Gallery (Aug 12 - Sep 20, 2011)

"Concrete and Clay" - Lynne Tan & Matt Sieber
Wine reception: Friday, August 26, 2011, 6-8pm
ARS Gallery is also celebrating it's one year anniversary!

Lynne Tan and Matt Sieber decided to put on a two-person show at the Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery before they had even seen each other's work. They were sure their pieces would complement each other perfectly because of their shared love for modern design - simple elegance in form, and a sensitivity to the material and its function.

Lynne Tan

ceramics by Lynne Tan

Lynne Tan is the clay artist. Her studio is in the Box Factory for the Arts in St Joseph. She has shown her functional pottery regionally at art fairs, juried competitions, and galleries. In addition to place settings, teapot sets, and vases, the ARS show is an opportunity for Lynne to show her table-top and wall sculptures.

Growing up in cosmopolitan Singapore, Lynne's aesthetics remain influenced by the big city, but her inspiration is the natural beauty of her adopted land. Being from the earth, clay is the perfect material for taking on the organic forms of Lynne's imagination - so that the essence of nature can also be enjoyed inside the home.

Lynne says "My life is put on hold when I play with clay...it is the one activity that engages me so totally my thoughts are simply unable to wander. I dream a shape...and I have to make it. I start most of my pieces by throwing on the potter’s wheel, and then alter them to create the organic forms. Although my work can be described as sculptural, most of my pots are functional too. Beauty, for me, lies in undecorated simplicity."

Matt Sieber

Matt Sieber

Matt Sieber is the concrete artist. Matt started his interest in design at an early age like many artists. In middle school he had a huge interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects, and their sense of style and use of materials.  It was looking as if Matt were heading for architectural school once he reach high school, but he changed his focus to Business and Marketing which is perfect for his current business as co-owner of a contracting co., Estrella Enterprise inc. 

Matt studied in New Zealand his third year of college staying there for 6 months, and revisited his love of architecture when exploring the style of New Zealand design. With its minimalist structures and uncluttered architecture, he also focused on the N Z interior which drew him in with stainless and concrete surfaces as well as the simple approach to furniture design. 

That approach to design has stuck with him in his own pursuit of style/design, whether it is building a home or creating furniture, Matt keeps his focus on keeping it simple.
Matt builds planters, concrete tables, and unique benches, pieces he may not find in a store, he just creates himself.  This has evolved into furniture designs to give folks unique options with their interior and exterior design, adding unique and different pieces of furniture that are works of art.
Matt Sieber holds a bachelors degree in Business and Marketing.  He has been co-owner of Estrella Enterprise for the past 2 years, and volunteers for Young life with his wife Kaitlin, who is a children’s councilor at Freedom Counseling. 

Matt loves restoring older homes and bringing back the integrity of a building, he also likes surfing, wakeboarding, and anything that involve the beach or outdoors. 

Previously In the Gallery (Jun 24 - Aug 5, 2011)

"A Collection of Vacant Proximitie"s - Meaghan Burritt
Opening reception: Friday, June 24, 2011, 6-8pm

installation by Meaghan Burritt

A Collection of Vacant Proximities presents Chicago based artist and art educator Meaghan Burritt's visual investigation of her environment through sound, material, artifact, and installation. Burritt's work is often defined as interdisciplinary, site-specific, and autobiographical, as she seeks to engage in critical dialogue about place, culture, identity, and everyday living through the visual arts and arts education. Her background in archaeology reinforces her instinctual process to research sites through material collection, documentation, and audio recordings. This process helps her materialize the personal narratives she believes are hidden within rural and urban landscapes.

Burritt describes her hometown as the nascence that has influenced her relentless desire to understand the beautiful, yet harsh dichotomies of the places she has lived, which has no doubt influenced the direction of her work. Returning to the Midwest after a ten-year stay in Colorado, A Collection of Vacant Proximities is the beginning of a new installation series that reflects on the intersection of local place, memory, and the present moment. In this work, Burritt focuses on how her own personal history is influenced by the diverse social, political, and cultural aspects that surround her; and looks to invite histories other then her own into her work. This series can be described as an accumulation of life experience that continues to formulate and unravel as time moves on.

Burritt has developed and facilitated art projects at Chicago Public Schools and teaches with Hyde Park Art Center's Outreach Program and Pros Arts Studio in Chicago, IL. She also works with young artists from the Boys and Girls club at Anna Russo Seiber Studios in Benton Harbor, MI.

Previously In the Gallery (May 6 - Jun 22, 2011)

“Die Menschenerziehung (The Education of Man)” - John Sauve
Opening reception: Friday, May 6, 2011, 6-9pm

Hand of Fate by John Sauve

We are all bodies in space, but where we fit into the scheme of things at large is still an open question. The cumulative effect of seeing the everyday elevated or in a new frame, It is the sense of discovering the same body in different circumstances, so it is less about the subject and more about the content. It has to do with questioning both the status of art and the nature of our built environment. In a time of rising financial and environmental awareness it asks the questions where does the human being fit into the scheme of things, more importantly, who we are and who we have to be.

John Sauve prompted the creation of the Brighton Mayor's Commission on Art in Public Places in Brighton, and served as its chairperson. Under Sauve's guidance, the Commission developed the Brighton Biennial Sculpture Exhibit, which installed 28 pieces of large scale public art in the City of Brighton. As a result of the Brighton Biennial, Sauve was asked to curate the City of Birmingham Cityscapes Sculpture Exhibit in which he included the works of Artists Mark di Suvero and Dennis Oppenheim into the show. John Sauve conceived the development of the Green Oak Village Place Sculpture Park, a new outdoor life-style shopping center in Green Oak, Michigan. In 2008 the American Institute of Architects recognized his Design of the Green Oak Village Place Sculpture Park with the Merit Award. Sauve is presently overseeing the sculpture installation in the Stone Ridge Sculpture Park just outside Manhattan in Upstate New York. Sauve is also curating the Blue Water International Sculpture Exhibit between Canada and the United States. Sauve's own work was installed on New York City's newest City park, the Highline, in the summer of 2010. Previously, he served as Executive Assistant to the founder and Director of the Michigan Council for Arts, E. Ray Scott, with responsibility for the Michigan Commission on Art in Public Places.

Photography by well known fashion photographer, James Moritz: James Moritz is a fashion photographer known for his famous photo shoots of Kate Moss, and celebrities such as Victoria and David Beckham, he also does photography for Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Calvin as in Klein. He is based out of New York, and travels the world over with his photography. James did all the photos for the John Sauve exhibit currently on display at The ARS Gallery. They were of a public art install John did in NYC with a little help from a local group of high school students. James has captured some stunning photos with the students and John's incredible work.

Learn more about the Sauve Art Foundation founded by John Sauve.

Previously In the Gallery (Mar 11 - Apr 30, 2011)

"Synthesis: Public Art" - Foster Willey Jr.
Opening reception: Friday, March 11, 2011, 6-9pm
Gallery talk: Sunday, March 13, 2011, 3-4 pm

public art by Foster Willey Jr

Public Art is a synthesis of artistic vision, architectural design, and communal interests. It is my desire to create meaningful forms of expression that embrace a communal vision. My commissions include works in bronze, welded steel, cast stone, wood, stone and terra cotta. I have participated in numerous design settings including large-scale projects for various municipalities.

Integration of Site and Art through Metaphor, Abstraction, Symbolism and Representation - For all public art projects, I begin with an assessment of the various themes presented for the project and I consider the setting for which the artwork is intended. In my previous work I have utilized several conceptual ideas as a starting point for making public art. These have included the use of metaphor and abstraction, symbolism and representation, and pictorial narrative. One of my primary concerns has been to address the setting or themes presented in a way that is original, accessible, and aesthetically interesting. Finally, in order to fulfill the desired objectives of the project, I have always emphasized collaboration and dialogue with the parties involved.

Creating Public Art That Enhances the Quality of Urban Living - "The Bee Way" is a sculptural plaza that is carefully integrated into the site. It offers interactive elements to the viewer, including kinetic sculptural forms and a playful bench. "Centrifuge" expresses a certain timeless quality, borrowing from the tradition of large-scale bronze sculpture and also representing a very contemporary sensibility. "Central Avenue Stelae" tell the story of the Central neighborhood through a series of stylized motifs and sculptural forms. These forms along with paving and benches define a gathering space.

I am very interested in the built environment. Public Art is an exciting field because of its range of expression and impact on our surroundings and daily lives. I am committed to the role of public art as a synthesis of artistic vision, architectural design and communal interests. Foster Willey's website.

Previously In the Gallery (Jan 24 - Mar 5, 2011)

"Crossing the line...Piece by Piece" - a compilation of mosaic art curated by Carolyn O'Hearn

Mosaic by Karen Grayson

Carolyn O'Hearn is artist and teacher from Australia. Her approach to creating beautiful mosaics is incorporating the use of line, design, and color, using tile and glass that establish these inspiring works. Line is the driving force of the piece, but together the elements of art come into play very well in Carolyns work. She began working in stained glass over 15 years ago, & has also blown glass for several years. Carolyn has been creating and teaching mosaics, glass-fusing, and sandblasting for the past several years as well, at Water St. Glassworks and more recently, mosaics at the ARS gallery. She states "Working in mosaic has confirmed my appreciation of line, design & composition that first attracted me to stained glass. I will do this forever; I am committed to it, and am passionate about what I do."

Karen Grayson has worked in art since high school and taken courses at LMC..she first feel in love with mosaics when she was helping her daughter with an art project. Karen's "My Windy City" was inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"..this is the piece folks are talking about that is posted here on the site of a wavy city scape..she has created some very unique and thought provoking pieces which include the yardglobes covered in mirror.

Greta Hurst has studied at The Chicago Mosaic School (an exclusive "not for profit", the only one in North America) and is the owner of Tabula Rasa Mosaic's. Greta is putting all her artistic efforts these days into creating mosaics, & her use of light & value along with her techniques to cut & shape the glass are all incorporated into her found objects, which could be a vintage mirror or other antique pieces. Her home studio can be found in the rolling hills & vineyards of Southwest Michigan in a refurbished chicken coop, which is an inspiring place to create. Greta has taught and exhibited her work throughout Michigan & the Chicago area.

Terri Cummings has worked with Stained glass for over 20 years. She became interested in mosaics 6 years ago when noticing a concrete/mosaic sculpture at an exhibit while traveling. She then enrolled at Chicago Mosaic School where she has been a student since 2006. Using a wide variety of tessera, including stained glass, vitreous glass, stones, marble, slate, shells, and more she creates mosaics in her Michigan studio. She is a member of SAMA (society for American Mosaic Artists).

Cynthia Alton Fielding, now a resident of Stevensville has most recently been focusing on fused mosaic & stained glass pieces. She states "The botanicals express my love of nature in the world around us" . Cynthia also incorporates light, creating shape & shadow, form & texture into her works. Her goal is to create up-lifting, peaceful, & calming pieces for folks to enjoy. Cynthia holds a BFA from the Chicago Art Institute, and has taught in Chicago and Water Street Glassworks.

Don Fielding, yes married to Cynthia has caught the mosaic fire over the years and creates work that combines a variety of materials. This gives the viewer an opportunity to look at ordinary objects in a new way. He enjoys creating pieces that extend the range of esthetic sensibility. He states "That which is worth doing at all; is worth over doing."

Previously In the Gallery (Nov 19, 2010 - Jan 10, 2011)

"In the Spirit of Renaissance" - Matt Payovich

painting by Matt Payovich

Matt has been working on painted panels, and tile relief installations for various churches in the area for the past several years. He is also known for his still life, portraiture, as well as views of the St. Joseph River and lake, in water color, in his 30 plus years as an artist. He has been teaching at Lake Michigan College, in drawing and painting for the past several years as well as teaching special needs adults for over 20 years.

Matt has exhibited his work throughout Berrien County in various galleries, art centers, and also created many public murals in various businesses throughout the community. He is also known for creating many commission pieces, including paintings on panels and walls, throughout homes in the area. The works he will be exhibiting at the ARS Gallery is a collection/compellation of art he has been developing and working on in recent years titled "In the Spirit of Renaissance".

147 Fifth St, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 • 269-363-4740, 269-208-4409 • arsarts.culture@gmail.com
Winter Gallery Hrs: Thu-Sat 11a.m. - 4 p.m. Also open during evening classes.

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