Tag Archives: DTSF

AN EDUCATOR INTERVIEW: MERCEDES MALTESE

As a fellow employee of the Washington Pavilion, I have had the chance to meet Mercedes before interviewing her for JAM’s Educator Interview. We meet regularly at the Pavilion to go over future lesson plans, and she is there to help other teachers understand the more artistic processes with children. Mercedes leaves quite the great impression! She’s wonderful at creating a fantastic learning experience, even with adults. She especially cares enough to make sure every child understands, and is having fun with the projects. It was amazing to have that student to teacher base impression of her before sitting down and chatting.

-Hannah

Clay Castles camp. In the first one Mercedes about to load a student’s castle into the kiln.

Where/what do you teach and what ages? 

I teach at the Washington Pavilion, ages pre-k through seniors. I teach drawing, painting sculpture and ceramics. I teach outreach to youth at risk at Juvenile detention center, Multicultural Center, Bowden Youth Center, and other afterschool programs funded by grants in the Action Arts and Science Program (AASP).
I teach private lessons, home school lessons, art smarts (primarily school field trips to the Pavilion) OLLI classes, and pottery classes like ‘Wine on the Wheel’.

Clay castle

What inspired you to begin your teaching career? Was the goal always teaching?

I knew I wanted to be an art teacher in 3rd grade. I had great art teachers in middle and high school that encouraged me to stay in the arts. Lori Boldt, Maureen Kaul and Sara Winterscheidt to name a few.

Is there a specific rule of thumb, style, or method that you like to follow when you teach?

Practice every day! Work those art muscles! Step out of one’s comfort zone. If one always draws the same thing, they’ll get really great at drawing that thing. One should try to draw other things, too! For example, I try to push people away from the classic “corner sunshine” composition and ask them if there is another way to put the sun in their picture. In my opinion, art is 90% problem solving and 10% skill.

8-9 year old students working in the Rogers Clay studio at the Pavilion.

What are your favorite aspects about teaching?

Watching the self-discovery, and winning the students over. Sometimes they come into the room and see the project we will be working on, and the first thing out of their mouth is, “We’re making that? I can’t do that.” Then when class is over they are usually pretty impressed with themselves. 

Paper strip sculpture from a sculpture class with Mercedes.

Is there anything that you would want to change about teaching?

Not now. I taught in the public school system for a few years in Georgia, and grading art for 600 students was a challenge. I also felt I didn’t get to know my students very well. Now I teach in an informal setting at the Pavilion where there are no grades; only learning and exploration and discovery without pressure to make the grade. My students are in my classes because they choose to be, and that feels awesome!

Would you give us a glimpse into your hobbies and interests? What are some of your favorite pass times?

My 15 year old daughter and I like to sing and play a few instruments. I like to play in my garden and I love to feed people delicious food. I do Henna tattoos as a side business, When I get a chance to do art for myself, I like to make drums out of clay and cover them with goat skin. Then I do custom Henna designs on the skins of the drums.

Dr. Seuss style landscapes created by JDC students, through the AASP program for earth day.

Thinking about the future, what is a larger-than-life goal that you might have?

I would love to travel the world. I was able to visit Europe for the first time last year. Ireland was such a grand experience that it wet my appetite for more traveling.

Are you part of, or are you planning any big events with the public?

Well, we do a lot of outreach through the Pavilion at special events like the Pride Festival, Down Town Riverfest and Jazz Fest. It’s usually easy to find our table. Just look for all the kids having fun!

Mercedes teaching the wheel.

Can anyone sign up for classes with you?

Yes. Anyone. You’ll find most of the classes I teach at Washingtonpavilion.org. I’ve done private and semi-private lessons with students from 4 to 94.

Using three words how would you describe yourself and style of teaching?
Passionate, creative and FUN!

Mercedes teaching the wheel, time to paint.

 

Mercedes creating a henna design.

ANNOUNCEMENT: JAM Art and Supplies will be having Mercedes Maltese create henna body art both July and August First Fridays 7-8:30 pm. We’ll be open late till 9 pm.

Henna done by Mercedes.
Henna done by Mercedes.

ELEMENTS AND OTHER APRIL REVIEWS

ELEMENTS: WORK FROM USD’S SCULPTURE CULTURE
by Emma Johnson

Friday, April 14, I had the pleasure of witnessing something that doesn’t happen too often in the art world – an exhibit comprised entirely of student work. The show, titled Elements: work from USD’s Sculpture Culture, featured artworks from both undergraduate and graduate sculpture students at the University of South Dakota. The exciting display highlighted the array of mediums and techniques that USD sculpture students are utilizing in their art making.       -Emma

Close up of Mikayla Tuttle’s “Cairn,” 2105, wood and steel

Third year sculpture student Courtney LaVallie’s piece immediately caught my attention as it seemed to be floating in the corner of the room. The work, titled “Unraveling Universe and Her Tears,” appeared as nest of wood strips tangled into an impossible egg shape. Upon closer inspection an opening in the front of the “egg” revealed a web of beaded droplets inside. LaVallie said she is most drawn to sculpture because of its versatility – “I can use any material I want, anything I can find can be made into a piece of art.” LaVallie is primarily interested in processes such as wood carving and metal casting.

Liela Ghasempor, “Rage,” 2016, Stoneware clay

In addition to wood working, the exhibit featured pieces of cast iron as well as ceramic works, such as graduate student Amy Fill’s series of porcelain cups titled, “Dynasty”. These ironically elegant forms resemble tin cans covered in soft, rusty orange and blue flowers. “Dynasty” highlights sculpture’s ability to include countless mediums and techniques in order to create a three dimensional piece. Fill works consistently with found-objects, ready-mades, and industrial materials.

Amy Fill, “Dynasty,” Wood and salt-fired, slip cast porcelain, commercial stencils

A particularly charming piece was Beckett Smith’s “Silhouette”. This one-legged stool defied gravity in the center of the gallery, while its shadow (a thin piece of wood painted black and laid out on the floor) revealed all four legs! This work not only made some great art historical references (Duchamp anyone?), but added a sense of humor and whimsy to the exhibit.

Ben Powers, “Container,” 2017, wood

The back gallery at Exposure featured USD student, Leila Ghasempor’s solo show. Ghasempor was the winner of Exposure’s Solo Show award at the annual Stilwell Juried Art Show that occurred this past January. A quick look around the room made it quite evident why Ghasempor received this award. The artist chose to display a series of striking ceramic busts that she created last summer. Each face was carefully twisted and molded into fantastic facial expressions that reveal Ghasempor’s anti-war advocacy. Although her solo show contained only ceramic works, Ghasempor utilizes a number of mediums; one of which is performance. The piece that Ghasempor performed at the opening of her solo show further emphasized the anti-war theme that runs through much of her work.

Leila Ghasempor, “Terrified,” 2016, Stoneware clay

Students such as Cody Robinson (a senior sculptor) feel that Sculpture Culture is a term used to define the sense of community that sculpture students have formed with one another. Robinson has stated that he enjoys being a part of a group that he can share his ideas with.

Dani Backer, “Blanket,” 2016, wood

The Sculpture Culture show brought to light the sensational student work that all too often remains in the studio as opposed to the gallery. While this group of student artists agree upon the importance of Sculpture Culture, LaVallie has pointed out the importance and necessity of student-led exhibits. LaVallie believes these “are important for students because it gives [them] an opportunity to see [their] work outside of the studio.” Student-led shows also allow young artists to make necessary connections with their audience and other artists working in their community.

 

APRIL FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW 
by Hannah Wendt

With the days getting longer and the sunset guiding my footsteps, where do I go on April’s First Friday night? Downtown Sioux Falls!

Taking the hands of my 7-year-old sister and 4-year-old niece, our first destination is one of our top favorite places in Sioux Falls, the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center. March’s First Friday event hosted several new exhibits, so April’s was a continuation of most of the same works. However, twice visited is great for the younger, or the younger at heart, as the building continually offers a fun learning environment.

After our adventure cravings were filled by the Pavilion, we decided to walk (more like skip) across the street to the Sioux Falls Design Center. For the last while, popping into the Design Center to see what they are all about was on one of my priority lists. I led my two companions through the door, and, wowza, I’m glad the three of us stopped in during Free First Friday! They were demonstrating how to complete your own screen printing…with Easter designs on cards! We followed a helpful individual to a table set up with colored card stock, and already prepared screen printing boxes. The process of pulling a squeegee across an ink covered screen onto the paper underneath to produce something entirely new fascinated anyone inexperienced with printing. So, for my little sister and niece, it was the equivalent of finding a treasure chest in a never before discovered cave.

Eight-thirty rolled by, and signs of tiring feet, tiring eyes, and tiring minds appeared. Our First Friday trio called it a night. Moreover, it would be a challenge to contain our excitement for the fun that was set to be had the next morning. We looked forward to exploring new ways of doing origami at JAM Art and Supplies with local artist, Reina Okawa, who will be putting the origami pieces together into a full scale installation at the Washington Pavilion. Oh, what great things Sioux Falls is holding for us in the near future!

 

ARTability
by Tana Zwart

The Sioux Falls Mayor’s Disability Awareness Commission hosted their 7th annual ARTability reception at the Museum of Visual Materials on April First Friday. Roughly 60 local artists with disabilities displayed limitless creativity in a wide range of mediums; even needlepoint and macrame. Melodies from local flautist, Vicki Kerkvliet, provided ambience while over 130 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, and perused the large exhibition.

The transforming and therapeutic nature of art seemed to be a prevalent, collective undertone. One artist noted a drastic evolution in her paintings from when she initially started creating. The angry stark blacks and piercing reds she described of her first works compared to the prominently more colorful, abstract pieces she had displayed that night, was a testament to an internal shift that can come from finding an outlet that fits.

The exhibition was a one-night event, as opposed to previous years where the art hung in the museum for a month prior to the reception. Many of the pieces were available for purchase, with all of the funds going directly back to the artist.

It would be wonderful to see more faces of the art community at next year’s event. Keep it on your radar. I promise, you won’t want to miss it!

 

 

FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: FEBRUARY

Two for Fargo, please.” With tickets safely in my breast pocket, I leave the DTSF office and the Shriver Building to greet the morning’s piercing sky. Smiling, I think about my hopes for tonight: The Museum of Visual Materials for Tara Barney’s interactive art project, the Pavilion for art receptions, and the State Theatre’s showing of Fargo. Fargo. How appropriate; I realize I’m not at all dressed for this cold, so I stuff my hands in my pockets and run the block to the car. Glad I don’t live in Fargo…

Continue reading FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW: FEBRUARY

First Friday Review: December

With a piece of downtown missing, and in the aftermath of road closures and some temporary business closings, a rescheduled First Friday hoped to draw people back to the area, spread cheer, as well as raise funds for the families affected by the building collapse.

Countless times over the last week people have commented how Sioux Falls is like a small town community in a big city. I can definitely attest to that, as someone who grew up in a town of 1000. The way people show up for each other, give to those in need, and work together is pretty fantastic; living downtown feels like home.

The art community seems to reflect that in ways, as well. So many creative minds work hard to make opportunities for each other, and work together to advocate for local art. It is really growing and developing into an amazing and unique scene. It is exciting to be around, and watch happen.

Seriously. Get out and experience a First Friday, attend some of the excellent events we have year round, and really see the beautiful things that come out of where we live. And as someone who hates winter more than you, don’t let the weather be an excuse.

Support small businesses, support local, support art.

Continue reading First Friday Review: December

Let’s Celebrate Jordan Thornton’s Artist Residency

Landing an artist residency is a big deal. So when an artist does, it’s cause for celebration.

One of JAM’s favorite artists, Jordan Thornton, has “nailed” down her first artist residency!

It happens to be in Vermont, and there happen to be fees and costs that come along with that, so the Sioux Falls community has the awesome chance to help Jordan in her journey.

But before I get to that, here’s a little more information about Jordan.

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She’s a printmaker with a deeply-rooted love of nature, which you can easily see in her work. Handpulled and hand-printed woodcut prints, often displayed in shadowboxes (that she usually makes herself) are her forte.

Jordan describes her current work as having a focus “on plant imagery, primarily the roots. The visual part of these pieces is of the physical plant, while the thought behind the work focuses on our own roots: what holds us to a place, a person, a pursuit.”

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If that’s not enough info about her craft, check out our Inspired Interview of Jordan.

She’s been honing her craft for years. And she’s also been applying for residencies for years. And then the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT offered her an artist-in-residence spot for the upcoming month of August.

Here’s the catch: getting to Vermont isn’t free.

So that’s where you come in.

Jordan’s got a Kickstarter campaign that’ll cover the remainder of her residency fee and travel costs. But, most importantly, this campaign puts her art into the hands of the people investing in it.

To kick off the campaign, Coffea Downtown is hosting a launch party which doubles as the artist reception for Jordan’s three month show at Coffea. The party’s going down on May 6th from 6-8pm.

If you can’t be there to high five her and join the fun in person, you can still join the fun online:

Five Reasons You Should Buy Local Art

If you are not buying art, you should be. Art can be exciting, inciting, and stimulating, plain and simple. But, if you are looking for more specific reasons, here are 5 great ones, starting off with a perfect one for this time of year.

1. Art can be a meaningful gift
The gift of art can be very meaningful and timeless. You’ll be giving the recipient something they can appreciate for years instead of something that they might throw in a drawer or on a closet shelf. Art is the gift that keeps on giving. A piece of art is something that they can look at, interpret, re-interpret, and enjoy for a lifetime. Plus, it makes you look good. Taking the time to pick a piece unique to the person on your list shows thoughtfulness. Never be accused of having a Continue reading Five Reasons You Should Buy Local Art

Art Show Etiquette

When attending an art show, there’s a slight chance that you’ll walk through the door and be a little lost. There’s a lot of excitement, conversation, and usually loads of free beer. Mix that all together and it can get rather confusing. Do I try to compliment the artist and their work? Do I fix my gaze on the art and block out the rest?

Steve_Bormes_Sweet_Art_Show_Sculpture

Continue reading Art Show Etiquette

First Friday Review: September 4th, 2015

This past First Friday held an abundant offering of exhibits, and judging by the packed streets of downtown, you could tell that everyone was trying to enjoy the last fleeting days of summer. Art receptions for the evening included:

Frislie’s First Friday Art in the Alleyway, “Art of Colloquialism” at Eastbank Gallery, “No Deck Pics” at Vishnu Bunny Tattoo’s Third Eye Gallery, “The Annual Recovery Art Show” led by Tallgrass Recovery at Exposure Gallery and Studios, “The Annual Portfolio Show” at Rehfeld’s, as well as DTSF’s Chalk the Walk and the Downtown Block Party on the Eastbank. Whew. Continue reading First Friday Review: September 4th, 2015

First Friday Review: August 7, 2015

August can be a bittersweet month. It’s summer, but school is creeping up in a matter of weeks. We’re wearing shorts and tank tops, but planning an autumn wardrobe. There’s no snow, but it’s so hot and humid that simply taking a shower seems fruitless most days. Thankfully, First Friday comes with beer, wine, snacks, and an intellectual feast of the artistic variety to cool us off as we jump into the end of summer.

Continue reading First Friday Review: August 7, 2015

KEVIN CARAWAY: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW

lance-3I’ve always envied quiet people. The type of people that absorb rather than spew, the seemingly solemn ingestion of everything around them. There is a thoughtfulness that surrounds the eyes, a focused energy that scoops in every detail provided. Don’t get me wrong, quiet people are not emotionless zombies–quite the contrary. They display a marriage of curiosity and wisdom, the silence attached to thought. 

Kevin Caraway is this special kind of quiet. He embodies the stillness that comes with observation and continuous thought. He has a soft articulation with his words, and speaks in such a way that you find yourself leaning closer, wanting to catch every word. We sat down with Kevin and discussed where he draws his technique from, the artists that inspire him, and how Sioux Falls could continue to grow. Take this time to reflect on how you approach your own learning, and the impression you leave behind. ~Amy

Continue reading KEVIN CARAWAY: AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW