KIA Art School Welcomes Residents

Posted: September 1, 2015

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KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Kirk Newman Art School at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will welcome five artists September 8 for a seven-month post-baccalaureate residency program designed to strengthen their practice, technique, and development.

The residents -- Maleeha Elsadr, Tamara Hirzel, Abbie Nelson, Sarah Mueller, and Jenna Para -- were selected by art school faculty, based on their past training and a portfolio of their work.

"These artists were chosen for their talent, commitment, and discipline, " said art school director Denise Lisiecki. "They will take classes, work independently in our professional studio facilities, and enjoy mentoring and support by school faculty and other students."

Elsadr and Nelson, both from Kalamazoo, work in ceramics, and will be mentored by department chair Brian Hirt. Nelson, from St. Charles, Illinois, and Para, from Grand Rapids, will work in printmaking with department head Vicki Van Ameyden. Mueller, from Kalamazoo, will study painting with Denise Lisiecki.

"We are thrilled to welcome these artists for our first-ever residency program," says KIA executive director Belinda Tate. "We know they will grow and learn in the supportive community of the art school."

Tate conceived of the residency program after working many years at Winston-Salem State University, and understanding the needs of recent graduates in the arts, and credits the generosity of donors who made the program possible.

"Developing artists need a landing place after graduation - time to hone their ideas and further master their craft -- and we want to be that place. As the most comprehensive community arts school in the region -- with a faculty who are university practitioners and award-winning regional artists -- we want to guide young people to the next level of their careers."

"Access to mentors, studios, and equipment will help them prepare a body of work towards a master's program or to launch their careers as professional artists. This is yet another way we demonstrate our commitment to helping as many young people as possible get a successful start in life through the arts."

The residents, all of whom hold bachelor's degrees in art and are working towards careers in art, will have the opportunity to participate the KIA's annual holiday art sale in December, and art fair in June, providing them professional development experiences for marketing and selling their work.

For more information, contact the Kirk Newman Art School at (269) 349-7775, ext. 3101.