If you’ve paid attention to upcoming events at the Peninsula School of Art (PenArt), you may have noticed a common theme: printmaking. The first exhibit of 2019 is Midwest Made: Contemporary Print Invitational, and the first fundraiser of the year is Winter Print.
When asked about the focus on printmaking, PenArt Executive Director Catherine Hoke said, “The reason is twofold: There’s been a resurgence nationally in printmaking as an art form, and as a school we’ve invested in a new, more complete program.”
The investment was in new printmaking equipment. On Thursdays from November to April, 5:30-8:30 pm, PenArt opens its studios to artists of all levels who would like to work independently on life drawing, painting, ceramics, metals or printmaking. In the printmaking studio, there’s an etching press for monotype, collagraph and relief, as well as an exposure unit for screen printing. No instruction is provided, but a staff member is available to answer questions regarding the proper handling of the equipment and materials.
With the new equipment and open-studio opportunities, printmaking was a fitting subject for the opening exhibit of the new year. Hoke said the Midwest Made exhibit “will show people what is possible” when it comes to printmaking, and she’s hoping it “shines a light on that aspect of the school.”
Midwest Made, running Jan. 18 to March 2, includes the creations of a diverse group of artists whose work showcases the range of possibilities in printmaking – both in technique and subject matter. Hoke said of the selection of artists, “We were looking for artists showcasing a breadth of technique, both traditional and nontraditional … and who were leading in terms of education and quality of work.”
The artists who met that criteria are Brian Borchardt, April Katz, Melissa Wagner-Lawler, Jeffrey Morin, Yoonmi Nam, Gail Panske, Miguel Rivera, Andy Rubin and Josh Winkler. Along with being printmakers, these artists are all based in the Midwest, and many are in a teaching position at a university or college.
Rivera, Rubin and Wagner-Lawler will be at the exhibit’s opening reception and gallery talk on Jan. 18, 4-6 pm. Wagner-Lawler, a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, may be familiar to PenArt goers since she has taught at the school before and will teach there again.
In advance of the exhibit opening, Rivera, an associate professor and chair of printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute, will hold a “How It’s Made” lecture and demonstration on contemporary printmaking on Jan. 17, 5-6 pm. Then, on Jan. 19, 9 am – noon, Rubin, of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Tandem Press, will be the guest artist at PenArt’s regularly scheduled Family Art Day. He will also present a “How It’s Made” talk about and demo of screen printing geared toward children and families. Attendees can then create their own hand-printed Valentine’s Day cards.
If Midwest Made and the guest artists provide the expected inspiration, then Winter Print will offer another opportunity for people to be creative. The fundraiser, held 10 am – 2 pm on Feb. 2, will replace the SOUP! benefit that ran for 12 years, and, according to Hoke, it will be more hands-on than the traditional format. People will be able to pull their own screens on T-shirts, color a pre-printed T-shirt or create a block print on a T-shirt or tote bag. And if you’re thinking you’ll miss the food component, Peninsula Preschool volunteers will serve food during the event.
All events will be held at Peninsula School of Art, 3900 Cty F in Fish Creek. The opening reception, gallery talk, Family Art Day and demonstration are free and open to the public. For more information about open studios and Winter Print, go to peninsulaschoolofart.com or call 920.868.3455.