News Bites: MFA Painting Alum Selected to Participate in Midwest Artist Studios Project

Posted March 24, 2016 in Art Education, News Bites, Alumni, Master of Fine Arts, Student

Recent Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) graduate Mellissa Redman (’15, MFA Painting) has been selected to participate in the Midwest Artist Studios™ Project (MAS).

student Mellissa RedmanMellissa Redman (image courtesy of Mellissa Redman)

Started in 2014 by Wisconsin high school art educator Frank Juarez, the initiative serves as a platform to provide K-12 art educators with a means of injecting new ideas and methods into their curricula. Juarez and his team have been connecting with contemporary visual artists who were significantly shaped by their own education in the arts. The team captures each artist’s process through interviews, photographs, and video footage. These materials are then compiled into a catalog and companion workbook, which serve as resources for art educators.

“One of the main purposes of this project is to expose secondary art classrooms to real live artists from all walks of life,” Redman says. “Having the opportunity to talk in depth about my processes was the most fun part. Typically artists give the "elevator pitch" version of everything encompassing their work from bio to statement. While I understand the need to be brief, there is still great purpose in being able to elucidate.”

Redman is one of eight artists selected for the second year of the project. The year-two group is made up of artists from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. According to Redman’s artist statement, her work deals with “the hidden external, to depict how swallowed fears and anxieties would appear if made tangible and visible.” Through layers of watercolor, screen-printing and resin, Redman is able to portray the many layers of human emotion. 

When asked how this experience has shaped her own teaching, Redman said, “It’s easy to grab a book on the old masters when I'm talking about painting. There's absolutely nothing wrong with teaching art history, there needs to be more of it in my opinion, but topics also need to be relevant to students. Beyond just learning about the art in the past, I want my students to learn about what is happening now in their own backyards. Artists are everywhere!”

Her own arts education inspired Redman to both work as an artist and to become a teacher herself. She is currently back at KCAD pursuing a certification in Art Education.

For more information on the Midwest Artist Studios Project, visit