ARTISTS / PRESENTERS
Mel Chin - Artist & Presenter, Keynote
sponsored in part by the University of Toledo Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities
Alchemy, botany, and ecology are but a few of the disciplines that intersect in Mel Chin's work. He insinuates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. Unconventional and politically engaged, his projects also challenge the idea of the artist as the exclusive creative force behind an artwork. Chin arrives in Toledo on the heels of All Over the Place, a New York-based exhibition spanning nearly four decades of his wide-ranging approach to artistic practice. From April to August 2018, major manifestations of his work, including four newly commissioned works, appear in multiple exhibition sites throughout the city, including the Queens Museum, Times Square, and the Broadway-Lafayette subway station. [more about Mel Chin]
Laurie Jo Reynolds - Presenter, Keynote
Laurie Jo Reynolds is a policy advocate and artist who challenges the demonization, warehousing, and social exclusion of people in the criminal legal system, often long-term efforts at the margins of political viability. Focusing on the retributive extremes of solitary confinement and public conviction registries, Reynolds collaborates with justice advocates, state officials, cultural workers, and people directly affected by violence and incarceration to encourage policies that truly prevent victimization and restore and rehabilitate, rather than damage, people in the justice system. Reynolds has been a Creative Capital grantee, a Soros Justice Fellow, a United States Artists Fellow, an Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute Fellow, and the recipient of Creative Time Foundation’s Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change. She is currently a Soros Artist Fellow, an Art for Justice Fund grantee, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ann Albano - Presenter
Ann Albano has been The Sculpture Center’s Executive Director + Chief Curator since late 2006. She has close to 40 years of managerial experience in major American museums, and an expertise in contemporary art and the development of early career artist exhibitions. She has strong connections with educational and other cultural institutions across the region. Among other appointments, Ann previously served as Director of Exhibitions and Registrar at MOCA Cleveland (1997-2006), Supervisory Paper Conservator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), and Assistant Paper Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY). She holds a MA and Advanced Certificate in Art Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Ann Albano is Executive Director and Curator of the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio .
Lisa Austin - Presenter
In 2003, after exhibiting installations in NYC, Washington DC, Baltimore, Richmond and Pittsburgh, Lisa Austin began collaborating with architects on public art proposals. In 2004 she co-founded the CIVITAS social-sculpture collaborative which has established a range of community groups including Preservation Erie (2007), Innovation Erie (2008), and All Aboard Erie (2009). PE is a 501c3 educating the public about the need for protective legislation for historic structures that encourages viable reuse options. IE is an economic development group that hosts an annual product design competition at the Erie Art Museum. AAE is a 501c3 that works to improve bus and rail options in Erie County. Her visibility as an advocate for urban design, led to her appointment to Erie’s Zoning Hearing Board (2007-2014). Austin maintains a weekly office hour in Erie’s Masonic Temple Building where she meets with community leaders and drafts Considering the City, a monthly column for the Erie Reader. Austin is Professor of Art at Edinboro University. She earned her earned a BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Marc Folk - Presenter
Marc D. Folk is completing his 20th year of employment with The Arts Commission. Under his Executive leadership, The Arts Commission has instituted initiatives bridging economic and community development with the arts. Marc has represented The Arts Commission on numerous Toledo area, statewide and national committees to advocate for and promote the development of the arts and served for three years as the president of the Ohio Citizens for the Arts. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Toledo Area Cultural Leaders (TACL) and is a member of the United States Urban Arts Federation. He has served as a grants panelist for the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Arts and Science Council of Charlotte, Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Folk is a 1998 graduate of the University of Toledo, with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in Printmaking.
Erin Garber - Pearson - Artist
Erin Garber-Pearson is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, and educator. Her interests and skills encompass metal fabrication, video editing, costuming, and a range of circus arts. She has given up trying to categorize.Garber-Pearson received her Masters in Sculpture from the University of Arizona and is a former Instructor of Foundations Art at Bowling Green State University. Erin completed the Aloft Full Time Training program in Chicago where she specialized in Tightwire and Aerial Rope.
In 2012 Erin founded the Birds Eye View Circus studio in her current home, Toledo, Ohio. She teaches various circus arts to youth and adults, while directing, choreographing, and producing full length shows in the beautiful domed theater of the Collingwood Art Center.
James Kuehnle - Presenter
Jimmy Kuehnle is a Cleveland-based artist known for his interactive inflatables, site-specific installations and public performances. His work has featured public performance art treks through rural and urban cities in the United States including Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Houston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Antonio, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Kansas and New York state, as well as performances in Japan, Italy and Finland. In 2014 Kuehnle was one of 102 artists included in the national survey exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In 2016 he exhibited his first solo museum show Jimmy Kuehnle: Tongue in Cheek at the Hudson River Museum that included inflatable suits and site-specific illuminated inflatable sculptures. In 2016 he had a solo exhibition at the Akron Art Museum titled Wiggle, Giggle, Jiggle. Kuehnle is currently on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Kate Levy - Artist & Presenter
Kate Levy is a documentary, lens-based artist and organizer whose work elucidates systems, shares power, and supports social justice work. She received her Master in Fine Arts from International Center of Photography-Bard College in 2013. She has exhibited her lens-based work and screened films internationally. Levy's work has been featured on Democracy Now: The War and Peace Report, Al Jazeera, Fusion, AllDef Music and CNN. In 2015 she worked with investigative journalist Curt Guyette and the ACLU of Michigan to bring light to the Flint Water Crisis. She is a 2018 MacDowell Fellow.
Jova Lynne - Artist & Presenter
Jova Lynne is a transdisciplinary artist and curator of Jamaican and Colombian heritage based out of Detroit, Michigan. Born and raised in New York City in a household of artists and musicians, Jova graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Video Art and Education and earned her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art . She has worked at the Museum of Moving Image in Queens, NY as well as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA where she first discovered her passion for curation. Jova is a grantee of the Astraea Foundation's Global Arts Fund, which has supported her work on media based projects in Kingston, Jamaica and Berlin, Germany in addition to her work in Detroit. As a co-founder of Black Artists Meet Up-Detroit, Jova is dedicated to creating space for artists to offer each other support, and address their needs. Jova moved to Detroit in 2015 and is currently the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Ford Curatorial Fellow.
Shanna Merola - Artist & Presenter
Shanna Merola is a visual artist, photojournalist and activist legal worker. In addition to her studio practice, she has been a human rights observer during political uprisings across the country . She currently lives in Detroit, MI where she facilitates Know-Your-Rights workshops on best practices during police encounters, and coordinates legal support for grassroots organizations through the Michigan Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Merola has been a lecturer and visiting artist at the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, Cranbrook Academy of Art, the University of Richmond Department of Art and Art History, and the School of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Toledo. Her work has been published by the Humble Arts Foundation, Art 21 Magazine, Wayne State University Press and Nat.Brut. Her artwork has been exhibited both nationally and abroad. Merola holds an MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Photo and Film from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Gallery Director at Bowling Green State University since 1985, Jacqueline Nathan has curated more than 60 thematic and one-person exhibitions, and organized hundreds more. She has brought such artists as Faith Ringgold, Peter Gourfain, Carrie Mae Weems, Mark Dion, Sandy Skoglund, Nick Cave, Carol Jacobsen, Betsy Damon, Johnny Coleman and Patrick Dougherty to campus for installations, presentations and interactions with students and community members. Nathan has served as a panelist for the Ohio Arts Council, as a juror for many regional exhibitions and has received project and organizational grants from national, state and regional organizations. A co-founder of the Black Swamp Arts Festival, and current chair of the Bowling Green Arts Council, she has worked with community and campus groups, including the local humane society, for many years. She has a BA in art from Northern Illinois University and an MA in arts administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Halona Norton-Westbrook - Presenter
As director of curatorial affairs at the Toledo Museum of Art, Norton-Westbrook oversees the Curatorial, Exhibitions, and Conservation departments; she is also the Associate Curator of Contemporary Art. She received her B.A. from Mills College, her M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and her Ph.D. from the University of Manchester. Norton-Westbrook’s expertise is a distinctive intersection between art history and museum studies; her doctoral research centered on the history of collecting in American and British art museums and the development of the curatorial profession.
Saul Ostrow - Curator & Presenter
Saul Ostrow is an American art critic and art curator. He has taught at Pratt Institute, Cleveland Institute of Art, Syracuse University, Parsons The New School for Design, School of the Visual Arts and was acting head of MFA studio program at New York University, Director of the Center for Visual Art and Culture at The University of Connecticut, and Chair of Visual Arts and Technologies, The Cleveland Institute of Art. Since 1985, Ostrow has curated over 60 exhibitions in the US and abroad . Ostrow was the editor of the book series Critical Voices in Art, Theory and Culture published by Routledge London and was Co-Editor of Lusitania Press from 1996 to 2004. He is currently the Art Editor at Lodge for Bomb Magazine and is the President and Founder of Critical Practices, Inc., established in 2010 to support the emergence and development of new practices within the field of critical cultural production. In a 2011 interview with Brian Sherwin for FineArtViews, Ostrow declared that art criticism is important because it helps to establish the concept of the "selfpleasure" while addressing the "contradictions and dichotomies inherent in our social and cultural lives".
Lauren Sammon - Presenter
Lauren Sammon is a conceptual artist and educator whose work evokes participants to communicate, evaluate and take action. Her art presents information on current social and political climates and problems as well as possible solutions, while leaving room for participant interpretation and deviation. She holds a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in sculpture. She has exhibited work in galleries including the Reinburger Gallery, Heights Arts, The Morgan Conservatory, Zygote Press and Mandel School for Applied Social Sciences. Her interactive installations have been shown in Rooms To Let and Ingenuity Fest. She is currently an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme art instructor at Campus International, part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.