letting go, to seed

Keep up-to-date on time-lapse shots of Jessica Witte’s outdoor installation by following her blog: http://www.jessicawitte.com/.

Jessica Witte's outdoor installation, "letting go, to seed," on the Schmidt Family Garden Patio

Jessica Witte’s outdoor installation, “letting go, to seed,” on the Schmidt Family Garden Patio

New Exhibitions

Ron Isom's "Codex Isom"

Ron Isom’s “Codex Isom”

New exhibitions by Stewart Halperin, Ron Isom, Jessica Witte, and Florin Hategan are now open through October 15th.


Jessica Witte’s “letting go, to seed” (detail)

For more information, visit: http://www.swic.edu/theschmidt/current-exhibitions/

Florin Hategan's "Vertical Series"

Florin Hategan’s “Vertical Series”

Stewart Halperin's "A Moment in Time"

Stewart Halperin’s “A Moment in Time”

Happy Birthday, Calder!

Have you ever wondered who invented those mobiles that hang from baby cribs? Alexander Calder is to thank for that, and you know what else? It’s his birthday today, too! He was born on this day in 1898. But who is Alexander Calder? Let us take a brief look into the life and times of the great Calder.

Born to two artists, it would be safe to assume that Calder would be pushed into the arts, too. However, both parents led him away from art thinking he could not make a living out of it. Instead, Calder grew interested in the field of engineering, but he did not give up on art all together. Calder found a hobby of creating figurines out of copper wire with a pair of pliers. After visiting a circus one day, he set out to create his own live action circus out of small, wire figures and other found objects. Through this, he learned that both art and engineering could be fused together to create something entirely new.

Example of Derriere miroir - Calder

An example from the Schmidt’s permanent collection, Alexander Calder’s print for “Derriere le Miroir” Magazine

By the early 1930s, Calder had created the world’s first movable sculpture, which became known as a “mobile” due to its suspended hanging parts. His training in engineering came in handy when counterbalancing the various parts to pivot with the air currents in a rhythmic way. Through his accomplishment, Calder achieved great success and was commissioned to create more throughout the world. To compliment his work, he invented the “stabile,” which was essentially a sculpture that did not have moving parts and remained stable.

Calder did not limit himself to just mobile and stabile sculptures. Throughout his life, he also created paintings, studied printmaking, created jewelry from wire, illustrated books, produced stage sets for plays, and even painted four airplanes. By the time of his death in 1976, it was estimated that Calder had completed more than 20,000 works in his 78 years. Alexander Calder has left behind a legacy that many artists look to for inspiration.

To learn more about Calder, visit the Calder Foundation.

Post by Schmidt student worker Ryan Kemp.

Fall Arts Classes are Returning!


Have a child or teen who loves art? The Schmidt offers affordable, engaging classes for ages kindergarten through high school.

Our popular High School Student Series, 6th-8th Grade After-School Series, and Creative Kids classes are all returning this fall! For a full list of classes and topics, visit our Education Page.


Sneak Peek: June 4 – July 30 Exhibitions

Please join us for the opening reception of exhibitions by Brian D. Smith, Leandra Spangler, and Adam West on June 4th, 6 – 8pm. Shows are open through July 30th.

Brian D. Smith: Passage and Occurrence
Paintings that process memory through the metaphorical arrangement of color, texture, and shape

Brian D. Smith's "Evora" (detail)

Brian D. Smith’s “Evora” (detail)

The act of painting is a vital experience. I create from an intuitive base to develop a particular logic that will make a painting whole.

I see my paintings as a document of memory and the painting process that produces a view into an imagined space. Their meaning is derived from specific feelings I have about nature as well as my reactions to the art that inspires me.

The resulting arrangements of colors, marks, textures, and shapes are fundamental characteristics of my art that should be understood metaphorically. They are integrated to convey a dazzling optical effect and a spirited emotional quality. The sensuous qualities of paint make these aspects conspicuous and the images themselves abstract.

To learn more about Brian and his work, visit briandavidsmith.com.

Leandra Spangler: Voyage
Paper sculptural forms inspired by the rich tones, textures, and forms of the natural world

Leandra Spangler's "Tanit" (detail)

Leandra Spangler’s “Tanit” (detail)

Deeply rooted in the Midwest, my world is rolling hills, woodlands, creeks, and fields where beauty is found, not in grand vistas but within arm’s reach. My inspiration comes from the rich tones, textures, and forms of the natural world.  Although I admire and appreciate the garden in its entirety, I treasure the seed pod and pebble found on the path. Observing at arm’s length or even closer, I focus on detail, connections, striations, patterns, and the play of light and shadow.

In the same way, I enjoy creating sculptural forms, but find creating the tactile surface with highly textured handmade paper most gratifying. Enhancing the play of light and shadow of the surface with layers of color is magical.

My earliest art work using handmade paper explored textured papers and their edges, investigating with the way light and shadow identifies the raised, indented, and wrinkled surface. Twenty-five years later, I am still creating surfaces, which allow light to dance over impressed textures creating highlights and shadows.  Recognizing a subtle shift in my thinking – from “sculptural basketry” to “sculptural forms with openings”— this change in approach opened new opportunities, as the forms were no longer “required” to have an opening at the top or to stand up straight.

To learn more about Leandra and her work, visit bearcreekpaperworks.com.

Adam West: Fauxtographs
Photographs of fabricated scenes that create a playful conversation about reality and imagination

Adam West's "Lunar Fog" (detail)

Adam West’s “Lunar Fog” (detail)

This body of work is made up of two halves. The imagery consists of small fabricated scenes using toys, found objects, and things I build. I complement those images with landscapes that are photographed in a way so they appear miniature to create a playful conversation about reality and the imagination.

To learn more about Adam and his artwork, visit awestcreative.com.

Schmidt Art Center Student Workers Interview #2

Hannah Bernardini, one of the Schmidt’s current student workers and all-around cool cat, was kind enough to answer my questions. See her award-winning piece up now at the SWIC Student Art Show.

Hannah in front of her award-winning piece, "A Tasty Treat"

Hannah in front of her award-winning piece, “A Tasty Treat”

1) How long have you been working at the Schmidt?
HB: A little over two years – simultaneously too long to be a student worker at a two year college and not nearly long enough.

2) What is the strangest question you’ve been asked while working at the Schmidt?
HB: Someone once came into the Schmidt for the sole purpose of having his friend record him singing a cappella (we have great acoustics). Then, he asked me if I knew how to play simple chords on the piano so he could have musical accompaniment. I do, but I politely declined, promising to play music with him in the future. It never happened.

3) What is your go-to media?
HB: Soft pastel.

4) You’re put in charge for a week, who do you hire and why?
HB: I’d hire Neil Gaiman because he could tell us stories and, frankly, him being obligated to be in the same room as me would be awesome. But, in all seriousness, I would assemble a team of everyone who’s ever been a part of the Schmidt family, because they are the greatest people I’ve ever worked with, and probably ever will.

5) What has been your favorite exhibition?
HB: Dan Rule, Tammie Rubin, and Terri Shay. No competition.

6) What’s your favorite media to exhibit?
HB: I like installing anything that’s unconventional. Installing a bunch of 2-D work on the walls can get tedious after a while.

7) If you could demand to have one artist show at the Schmidt, who would it be and why?
HB: Can the artist be dead? Because I would choose to have an exhibition of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s artwork just so I could stare at it for weeks. I think “The Swing” would look quite nice in the Marsh Gallery.

8) Where do you hope to go with your art?
HB: For myself, I just want to keep making it. I want to keep growing as an artist and keep being inspired no matter where I am or what I’m doing. But, even more than that, I want to constantly facilitate other people’s art making in whatever way I can.

9) Possibly the most important question: What music do you listen to when you’re working on your art?
HB: Oh, lord. It depends. Most of the time I prefer music that’s soft, melodic, and a little unpredictable. When I’m making work, though, I prefer to listen to something upbeat that I can dance and/or sing along to. Most of my artwork is born out of snappy, jazzy tunes with smoky female vocals. I don’t read too much into that, though.

Schmidt Art Center Student Workers Interview #1

The SWIC Student Show is currently up at the Schmidt, so  what better way to celebrate than to force our student interns into answering our interview questions?

We start out with Lorraine Cange.

Lorraine Cange_Human Rituals

Lorraine in front of her award-winning photograph triptych, “Human Rituals,” now on view in the SWIC Student Show.

1) How long have you been working at the Schmidt?
LC: Since fall 2014.

2) What is the strangest question you’ve been asked while working at the Schmidt?
LC:  Where’s the bathroom?

3) What is your go-to media?
LC: PHOTOGRAPHY…3D ART…decisions…decisions!!!

4) You’re put in charge for a week, who do you hire and why?
LC: My Drawing II classmates!!!

5) What has been your favorite exhibition?
LC: The SWIC Student Show!

6) What’s your favorite media to exhibit?
LC: That’s a tough call!  I enjoy exhibiting anything I can produce successfully!

7) If you could demand to have one artist show at the Schmidt, who would it be and why?
LC: WOW!  Good question.  Wassily Kandinsky would have to be close to the top of my list.  The incorporation of hard and soft imagery in his work is inspirational to me.

8) Where do you hope to go with your art?
LC:  I hope to be a successful working artist.  But [I] may also like to teach at the high school or university level.

9) Possibly the most important question: What music do you listen
to when you’re working on your art?
LC: I have close to 10,000 songs in my iTunes collection.  Somedays it’s Motown.  Other days it’s Radiohead.