Openings at the close

May 29, 2018

Visual arts seniors celebrated the culmination of their studies at Interlochen Arts Academy by presenting Thesis III and IV.

Sofia Fraccarolli, Quinlan Lewis-Mussa, Xinyi Pan, Mikolai Stasiulewicz and Anne Van Maanen presented Thesis III on April 27.

Lewis-Mussa’s work explored the fetishization of “otherness” when ethnic minorities are referred to as “exotic.”

Pan’s exhibit featured scale models of her home. When asked why the baseboards of the gallery were adorned with lifesize ceramic mushrooms Pan explained that when she returned home to Beijing last summer that very phenomenon had occurred at her home (albeit with organic mushrooms).

Stasiulewicz’s paintings explored the artists efforts to compartmentalize their own memories; fragments end up distorted, embellished or missing.

Much of Van Maanen’s exhibit focused on coping mechanisms she adopted nearing the end of her parents marriage. During the gallery opening, a large red Solo cup sculpture was intentionally knocked over much to the dismay of onlookers. Van Maanen’s sculpture and actions explored the temporality and fragility of existience.

Hanging from the center of the gallery was a soft pink fabric sculpture that resembled human intestines by artist Sofia Fraccarolli. Fraccarolli’s work displayed her own efforts to confront the reality of her own gastrointestinal condition.

Ivy Hart, Silas Holbrook, Caroline Bell, Leo Gottfried and Sam Keshishian presented the final thesis presentation of the academic year, Thesis IV, on May 11.

Hart, who plans to attend Pacific Northwest College of Art, explored the importance of cultivating familial relationships through her work.

Holbrook reflected on their 14-year experience in the Mormon faith, revisiting their spirituality through a series of monochromatic works.

Bell, inspired by her studies in the Aesthetics of Health class, explored the effects of autism through her art.

Gottfried confronted the feelings of “rootlessness” caused by his frequent relocations as a child. Gottfried’s works embraced “home” as a mental rather than physical space and the feeling of belonging he found in nature.

Keshishian presented a graphic novel, in which he grappled with his grief over his father’s death through a humanoid character, Jim.

Aesthetics of Health project approved for NEA grant

May 10, 2018

The Interlochen Arts Academy Visual Arts Division has been approved for a $20,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The grant will support the ongoing partnership between Traverse City’s Munson Medical Center and the Interlochen Arts Academy Aesthetics of Health course. The Aesthetics of Health course explores the nexus of arts and medicine. Students in the course make regular visits to the Cowell Family Cancer Center, where they speak with patients, make art and volunteer their time.

The Aesthetics of Health class recently curated and installed an exhibition at the Center, titled “Every Single Day: Experiences in Illness and Health.” The students are also creating a mural in the quarter-mile-long tunnel used to transport patients between the Cowell Family Cancer Center and Munson Medical Center.

Art as a reflection of self

April 19, 2018

On April 13, five visual arts seniors presented their capstone exhibition, Thesis II.

During the afternoon gallery talk, the five students introduced the themes they have been studying through their work.

Ning Jiang, who hopes to pursue a degree in illustration, exhibited a series of illustrations and sculptures depicting her experience of emotions. In the illustrations, Jiang used bright colors and a character that represented her to describe her feelings.

Elaina Yip presented a diverse portfolio that included sculpture, illustration, drawings and video as vessels for her theme. Yip’s work explored the causes and effects of events in her personal life.

Four-year senior Sean Cheng showcased a series of metalworks, including rings, goggles and a chainmail gauntlet. In his metal works, Cheng seeks to create “wearable sculptures” that have function or give the wearer an imposing presence by enhancing their style.

Alia Bringas-Brand presented her award-winning portfolio, “Ephemeral Works,” which is made entirely out of sugar. Bringas-Brand developed the technique by accidentally overcooking sugar. Bringas-Brand hopes to convey enthusiasm and excitement through the fragile medium. Bringas-Brand also received a Gold Portfolio Award from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for “Ephemeral Works.”

Yoon Sung Hur exhibited a collection of abstract, monochromatic paintings. Hur intentionally paints with a combination of paint and turpentine that breaks down the varnish applied to the canvas. Hur’s work conveys a message about breaking the boundary of what is considered right and wrong, and serves as a bridge between Hur and the world.

Blindfolds, unity and AI

March 13, 2018

On March 9, three visual arts students presented the first thesis showcase of the 2017-18 academic year.

Visual arts thesis presentations are the culmination of a one-to-two year exploration of a particular idea through art. They are also the culmination of a student’s experience at Interlochen Arts Academy.

Each student was given several minutes to speak about their work. After the presentations, the floor was opened to questions from their peers, instructors and guests.

Fourth-year senior Ruoyu “Ron” Gong showcased a series of portraits as his thesis project. While at Interlochen, Gong made an effort to create works that were more personal and self-reflective, with the goal of telling his story and making his voice heard. In his thesis paintings, his close friends held a red blindfold as a metaphor for how our ego and emotions can prevent us from seeing the world rationally.

Fellow fourth-year senior Hao “Ashley” Zhang presented a series of ceramic works. Zhang’s first two works depicted classroom scenes from her childhood in China. Zhang’s work was influenced by the ideals taught to young Chinese students, particularly centering on the idea of unity. Zhang also included a series of ceramic cacti in her thesis presentation.

Grayson Hou presented a multimedia project about the rise and potential pitfalls of artificial intelligence (AI). Hou spoke about his childhood, during which his two seemingly incompatible interests were computers and art. At Interlochen, Hou first began combining his two passions to create digital art. Hou’s work explores the culture’s struggle to keep up with technology, and encourages the viewers to reconsider their own relationship with smartphones, social media and AI.

The gallery remained open until March 16. Thesis I is the first of four shows to be held in the gallery before the end of the Academy year.

Bringing the outside inside

  • A woodburned tree stump was one of the pieces shown in the "Catalyst" exhibition.

  • Gallery visitors chat with friends under the shadows of one of the installations.

  • Two students admire the art while seated beneath an installation.

  • A group of students examine some of the works in the gallery.

  • A small-scale model of one of the installations.

February 20, 2018

On Feb. 9, students in the Art of Ecology course showcased their work in the Dow Center for the Visual Arts gallery.

The exhibition, “Catalyst,” featured works by Art of Ecology students and guest artists Mary O’Brien and Daniel McCormick. The gallery documented the current progress of the installation at the Riley Road site, including plans for the woods, maps of the area, photographs of class activities, original drawings and sculptures. Also featured were photos of past works by O’Brien and McCormick.

The exhibition also incorporated logs, wood chips and other natural elements to create an indoor reproduction of the forest’s ambiance. The gallery was also incorporated into one of the Visual Arts Division’s Winterlochen programs, Happy Habitats, in which Art of Ecology students helped local children build mock habitats for native species of insects, birds and mammals.

Opportunity and outreach

  • The visual arts students and their instructors pose for a group photo in New York City.

  • Visual arts students touring the campus of the Pratt Institute.

  • Students fill out applications to the Pratt Institute during their visit to campus.

  • Three visual artists interact with a piece during a tour of an art gallery.

  • Students explore The New School during their campus visit.

December 11, 2017

Visual artists participated in a variety of regional and long-distance trips.

At the end of November, several Visual Arts students participated in the division’s annual tour of New York City. Young artists spent several days exploring the city, visiting several colleges and museums.

On Dec. 1, members of the Aesthetics of Health class returned to the Cowell Family Cancer Center in Traverse City to introduce some special guests to the Center’s patients and staff: the cast of Interlochen Arts Academy’s production of The Nutcracker. While the visual arts students took their places to document the proceedings, their peers performed selections from the classic holiday ballet.

Just before the start of our winter break, visual artists will again gave back to the Traverse City community with a trip to the Great Lakes Children’s Museum to help area kids create their own “ugly” holiday t-shirts on Dec. 16.

Trading spaces

  • A large dragon soars in one of the installations.

  • Another of the installations.

November 15, 2017

Interlochen’s small, freestanding practice huts, known as “S-huts,” are a staple of the Camp experience for hundreds of musicians each summer.

On Oct. 18, however, Arts Academy visual artists filled several of the “S-huts” with a different kind of art.

The students set up four small-scale, pop-up art installations in huts three through six. Each hut had its own installation and theme. The evening’s festivities also included refreshments for all who attended.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles designers present at Interlochen

  • Arts Academy students share their thougths while examining one of the vehicles.

  • Head of Design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Ralph Gilles gives a presentation to visual arts students in the DeRoy Center for Film Studies.

  • Fiat Chrysler Automobile Asia Pacific Chief Designer and Interlochen Board Member Bill Zheng shares his experiences with students.

November 15, 2017

On Oct. 20, 2017, Head of Design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ralph Gilles, and Fiat Chrysler Automobile Asia Pacific Chief Designer and Interlochen Board Member, Bill Zheng (IAC 91, IAA 92-96), made the trek from Detroit to Interlochen for a special presentation.

Speaking to a crowd of visual arts majors in the DeRoy Center for Film Studies lobby, Gilles and Zheng shared their respective backstories, design ethos and insight on the journey of concept car creation.

Gilles presented first, and spoke at length about the process of designing the Chrysler Portal—an all-electric, self-driving minivan concept. Toward the end, Gilles opened the floor to questions from the audience. The artists in the room asked very few design-specific questions, but instead focused on the larger themes of zero-waste production, safety and technology.

Zheng’s presentation connected the dots from being a young artist in China, to his years at Interlochen, and then through college to how his career ultimately took him back to China. Zheng’s lecture showed his early work as an Interlochen visual artist, and transitioned into some of his current projects with Fiat Chrysler—including the Jeep Yunta (a Chinese concept vehicle). Zheng projected several early sketches and walked the audience through their development into renderings and prototypes. One animatic in particular drew an audible response from the crowd. During an animated demo of the Yunta, a drone lifted from the rear of the vehicle causing the audience to murmur and awe.

Zheng reiterated the importance of balancing design that is true to a brand’s DNA, but also thoughtfully pushes the boundaries and notions of what a car should be.

As the lecture ended, Gilles and Zheng invited students to explore the vehicles that they drove up from Detroit. Crowds eagerly examined and photographed the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and Jeep Grand Cherokee parked outside of DeRoy.

You can find more images from this event on SmugMug.

College reps offer information and advice

November 13, 2017

On Oct. 30, visual artists had the opportunity to speak with representatives from several fine arts colleges during the annual Portfolio Review Day.

Nearly 30 colleges were in attendance at the three-hour event. Each student was given their own exhibition area, and signed up for meeting times with representatives from the colleges of their choice. Senior and postgraduate students met with representatives in the Herlitz Building, while underclassmen set up their spaces in the drawing and painting studios in Dow.

Most of the conversations in Herlitz revolved around the programs and offerings of the colleges the guests represented. In Dow, the reps who met with underclassmen offered suggestions and encouragement to the young artists.

Several of the representatives complimented the students on their artistic vision. “You can teach a skill, but you can’t teach ideas,” one of the reps said. Other representatives followed up their compliments with suggestions of courses that the students could take at Interlochen to enhance their artistic growth.

Others suggested diversifying subject matter. “Keep experimenting and find ways to incorporate different things,” another representative said.

Overall, one piece of feedback from the college representatives was universal: keep making art.

Artists at ArtPrize

  • The Visual Arts and Comparative Arts divisions assemble for a group photo in downtown Grand Rapids.

  • Students pose with a bear statue - the "sister" of Interlochen's statue - in Grand Rapids.

  • Students take a selfie with a work of art for a class project.

October 17, 2017

On Sept. 27, the entire Visual Arts and Comparative Arts divisions took a day trip to the ninth annual ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids.

The students began their day at the Frederik Meijer Gardens before moving on to the Grand Rapids Art Museum. After leaving the museum, the students visited several of the smaller venues in downtown Grand Rapids. The students spent the day enjoying the art and snapping selfies with their favorite works as part of a class project.

ArtPrize is an independent competition open to any artist of any medium and from any nation. Each year, the competition awards over $500,000 prizes, including two first-place, $200,000 awards for the winners of the popular vote and the professional judging.

Visual Arts collaborates with ecology in Interlochen's pine plantations

  • Instructor of Visual Arts Johnson Hunt makes biodegradable art with students.

  • A student plans her contribution to the art installation.

  • Director of the R.B. Annis Math and Science Division Mary Ellen Newport explains the ecological factors of the site.

October 17, 2017

This year, students at Interlochen Arts Academy have the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary project hosted by the visual arts and math and science divisions. The project aims to create biodegradable art while selectively harvesting the red pine plantation at the northern edge of Interlochen’s property.

Students from all majors were invited to enroll in the projects two core classes: “The Art of Ecology,” taught by Visual Arts instructor Johnson Hunt, and “The Ecology of Art,” taught by R.B. Annis Math and Science Division chair Mary Ellen Newport. In the two courses, students will learn about ecological concerns surrounding the plantation -- such as carbon dioxide release, impact on native species and sustainability -- while developing environmental art on the site.

Since the beginning of the academic year students and faculty members have made several site visits to the property. During those trips, students began creating their own small, environmentally-friendly art installations. The students then returned to the site to present their ideas. These ideas will be refined throughout the semester, and the resulting projects will be built during Inter*mester.

Great art, Great Lakes and great memories

May 9, 2017

Visual arts students are wrapping up a busy year with their final exhibitions and outreach projects.

On May 4, 2017, the students participated in an informal pop-up exhibition and sound show at faculty member Johnson Hunt’s home. Four days later, on May 8, three selected students attended a reception for participants in the Oliver Art Center’s 2017 Regional Student Exhibition, which included special music by the Interlochen Arts Academy Choir. The Aesthetics of Health class celebrated the opening of their gallery at the Cowell Family Cancer Center with patients and medical staff on May 19.

On campus, several more seniors participated in the final thesis exhibition of the academic year, Thesis IV. Visual artists wrapped up the year with the Festival Exhibition during the last week of classes.

Despite the busy schedule of openings, students still found time to give back to the local Grand Traverse community. On April 26 and May 3, students visited the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, where they painted fruits and vegetables on exterior structures and created art pieces to hang from the museum’s ceiling.

Presentations and preservation in visual arts

April 17, 2017

Senior visual artists presentations were held throughout the day on April 14, 2017. After the presentations, “Thesis II” held its opening in the Dow Center for Visual Arts Gallery including work by seniors: Nicholas Winstead, Whitney Yuen, Andrew Little and Sendra Uebele.

On April 19, several students traveled to the nearby Michigan Legacy Art Park for a community outreach project. For several hours, the students and faculty members cleaned and restored the 40 sculptures scattered throughout the outdoor sculpture park.

An opening reception for the next show, "Thesis III", will be held on April 28, 2017 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Dow Center for Visual Arts lobby.

Visual artists demonstrate command of media

March 13, 2017

In late February, visual arts students participated in Command Z, a juried, digital-only art exhibition hosted at Interlochen. The exhibition was open to not only Interlochen students, but also students of other arts high schools across the nation. Acceptable media included animation, videos, GIFs, sound art, digital paintings and more. Selected works were displayed using projectors, tablets and computers. The exhibit opened on Feb. 20 and ran through March 3.

March also marks the beginning of senior thesis exhibitions. The first group of seniors presented their thesis works on March 3; the students presented their work to the faculty in the afternoon and hosted their gallery reception in the evening. Thesis exhibitions will continue throughout the months of March, April and May.

Juried exhibitions and community outreach

Melissa Luby
February 14, 2017

Visual arts students participated in several juried exhibitions in late January and early February. The first exhibition was open to Interlochen visual arts students of all ages and media. The second exhibition featured digitally-created work by students from both Interlochen and other arts schools around the country. Off campus, many visual arts students submitted works to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards; several students had their award-winning works displayed at Kendall College of Art and Design.

Later this month, visual arts students will be participating in Interlochen’s annual winter festival, Winterlochen. Students will lead free workshops for Winterlochen patrons, including Felting for Fun, Mural Madness, live figure drawing demonstrations, Old Time Photography and make-your-own necklaces.

In the classroom, senior visual arts students continued to prepare for their thesis exhibitions, which will begin on March 1.

NYC and generosity

December 14, 2016

Before traveling home for Thanksgiving break, 27 visual arts students traveled to New York City for a jam-packed four-day visit. The students visited four colleges for campus tours and portfolio reviews. In the evenings, students had a chance to visit four major art museums and numerous art galleries. Students also explored Chinatown and watched Waitress featuring alumna Kimiko Glenn on Broadway.

After break, visual artists continued their yearlong outreach program. On Dec. 7, ceramics students hosted “A Day with Clay” for local veterans. The event featured a four-hour afternoon workshop in the ceramics studio followed by dinner in Stone Cafeteria and exclusive access to a dress rehearsal of The Sleeping Beauty.

Mark Gilbert shares expertise with Aesthetics of Health class

December 14, 2016

During the last week of November, students in the Aesthetics of Health class were joined by guest artist Mark Gilbert. Gilbert began painting clinical portraits in 2001, when maxillofacial surgeon Iain Hutchison invited him to portray his patients. What began as a statement of the efficacy of facial reconstructive surgery became Gilbert’s passion.

Since then, Gilbert has continued to study the relationship of art and medicine and to paint portraits of medical patients. In 2014, Gilbert was awarded his Ph.D in Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area (MSIA) program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“It takes a good deal of courage, at the best of times, to have your portrait painted,” he told the students during his opening lecture. Gilbert spent a full week at Interlochen, teaching workshops and giving lectures in both art and biology classes. Gilbert also joined the Aesthetics of Health class on their most recent visit to the Cowell Family Cancer Center. Before the visit, he offered a few words of advice from his own experience. “We’re all going to be patients and caregivers at some point in our lives,” he said. “It’s a truism that we all have to embrace, and it’s not necessarily a negative thing.”

Gilbert also reminded the students of the powerful impact that their art can have both on patients and on their audiences. “Paintings allow people to work their way in,” he said. “It’s a very accessible way of communicating something inaccessible.”

College reps peruse portfolios

November 16, 2016

Visual Arts seniors had the opportunity to showcase their work and meet with college representatives in the annual Portfolio Review Day. Representatives from 31 of the nation’s leading arts colleges were in attendance. Prior to the portfolio review time, several colleges gave presentations to the students.

Each senior was given their own space to set up their best work. In the afternoon, students selected the colleges that interested them and signed up for portfolio reviews with representatives from their top choices. Several students received scholarship offers from representatives on the spot.

Each college also had a table to display information about their programs, giving younger students the opportunity to begin exploring college options and networking with recruiters as well.

Visual Arts hosts MAEA conference visitors

November 16, 2016

Interlochen’s Visual Arts department hosted the Michigan Art Education Association’s (MAEA) annual fall conference on October 27-30.

Many Visual Arts students helped with various aspects of the events. Some students helped with set-up at the Grand Traverse Resort, including the student artwork that was on display at the reception. Other students assisted with workshops on campus at the Dow Center for the Visual Arts, with selections including digital arts, metals, ceramics, printmaking and fashion.

The visiting arts teachers also had the opportunity to tour campus and hear a brief address by Interlochen President Jeffrey Kimpton. 

Art and the body

September 29, 2016

As we age we become well aware of our own bodies and how our day-to-day usage has an impact on our quality of life. Unlike dancers or musicians, visual artists are not always trained to be conscious of the importance of their physical health. Unaddressed repetitive motion, strain and poor posture can eventually have a devastating impact on the quality of your work.

With that in mind, Assistant Director of Wellness and Recreation Brad Giglio recently visited one of our drawing classes to discuss and demonstrate key stretches and behaviors to help our young artists avoid injury.

Following the demonstration our visual artists used their full range of motion to paint and draw on life size canvases. Driving home the point that their own bodies are not just a means to an end in creation, but intrinsically linked as well.

Visual Arts students workshop with Robbie Conal

Tess Tobolic
May 5, 2016

American street poster artist Robbie Conal visited Interlochen Center for the Arts May 3-4.

Conal is noted for his controversial depictions of U.S. political figures, which he is known for distributing throughout a city overnight using his "volunteer guerrilla postering army." His work has been featured on “CBS This Morning,” “Charlie Rose” and in TimeNewsweekThe New York Times, the LA TimesThe Wall Street JournalVanity FairPeople MagazineInterview, and the Washington Post. 

During Conal's workshop at Interlochen, Visual Arts students were to design a propaganda poster of their own reflecting their personal views.

For more information on Conal and to view his work, visit his website at

Visual Arts students paint fresh look on Great Lakes Children's Museum

Tess Tobolic
May 2, 2016

Students from the Interlochen's Visual Arts program stepped out into the community and collaborated with the Great Lakes Children's Museum to paint a mural along the side of the building. A mini Mackinac Bridge art installation was constructed in front of the building and Interlochen students helped bring it to life by painting a mural behind it. The end result symbolizes the Upper Peninsula on the left and the Lower Peninsula on the right, with imagery designed by the Visual Arts students with help from some of the Visual Arts faculty members.

The experience was an opportunity for students to take their work beyond the classroom setting and become involved with the community. Check out this story on the project, featured in Up North Live.

New Visual Arts collaboration with local oncology unit to pilot this fall

Megan Hildebrandt
April 6, 2016

The Aesthetics of Health Course: Look for an exciting new arts outreach course for VA majors this fall!

Interlochen Arts Academy will partner with the Cowell Family Cancer Center at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan, to explore the intersection of arts education and health care through three ongoing activities:

  1. The Art of Looking: Visual Storytelling and Observational Skills

  2. Arts at the Cowell

  3. Production of a Collaborative, Interactive Work of Art

“The Art of Looking” will be a series of observation training workshops for health care staff and caregivers. Visual arts instructors and students will lead these programs at least twice per semester. Topics will include: visual storytelling/looking; listening; empathy; arts-based research; experience of portraiture in a clinical setting; and medical humanities.

“Arts at the Cowell” will be a monthly art-making group for oncology patients and their caregivers and families. Visual arts instructors and students will co-lead this project, with occasional help from Great Lakes Children’s Museum staff. These will be drop-in activities, as these parties sometimes wait for eight hours or more in sterile hospitals with little engagement.

“Production of a Collaborative, Interactive Work of Art” is central to cementing and growing Interlochen’s collaborative relationship with the Cowell. Visual arts students and the Cowell community will create a large-scale installation at least once during this partnership. The Cowell and the Great Lakes Children’s Museum will each exhibit the piece. Open to all ages, these projects will be abstract, but intuitive; not skills based; interactive and durable; and educational—not just distracting. The artwork will engage the body as a whole and be accessible to those with disabilities.

Visual Artists receive national honors in Scholastic Awards

March 25, 2016

Three current Interlochen Arts Academy Visual Arts program students have received national honors in the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in photography, drawing & illustration, painting and sculpture. From the nearly 320,000 works of art and writing submitted to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, only the top 1 percent end up recognized on the national level.

National award recipients included visual artists: Katherine Craymer (senior), Yanka Kostova (junior) and Isabelle Perchaluk (senior). A complete list of their works and honors can be found at the bottom of this story.

Congratulations to all of our national recipients and to the dozens of students who brought home regional honors earlier this year.

Katherine Craymer, Brainy Bride, Gold Medal (Photography)
Katherine Craymer, Entering the Fantastic, Gold Medal (Photography)
Yanka Kostova, Warm Prison, Silver Medal (Drawing and Illustration)
Yanka Kostova, Resilience, Silver Medal (Painting)
Yanka Kostova, Autopilot, Silver Medal (Painting)
Isabelle Perchaluk, Untitled, Gold Medal (Sculpture)

Guest Artists Emilie Gossiaux and Nathan Abbe

Kaleigh James
March 10, 2016

Collaborators Emilie Gossiaux and Nathan Abbe took a multisensory approach to Interlochen Arts Academy's annual theme of light to create their unique recent exhibition Unfixtures.  They challenged the visual artists to take a similar approach to their own work in a weeklong multisensory workshop here on campus.

In February the Arts Academy Visual Arts department played host to visiting artists and collaborators Emilie Gossiaux and Nathan Abbe, who came to campus to install their exhibition Unfixtures and to work with the Visual Arts students in a series of workshops over the course of the week. Emilie, who has been the focus of two RadioLab interviews as well as a featured New York Times artist, has limited hearing due to a degenerative condition, and lost her sight in a terrible accident during her undergraduate studies at The Cooper Union in New York City. Emilie, a lifelong artist who attended high school at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, was forced by her life experiences to rethink her approach to visual arts in order to continue her studio practice. As a result, she embraced ceramics and three-dimensional media as a way to experience artworks through senses beyond sight: touch, smell, sound, taste. This multisensory approach to the visual arts informs her current practice and was the driving force behind her workshops for students here on campus.

Emilie and Nathan Abbe, whose formal training is in architecture, share studio space in New York and worked together to create 14 wax "lamp" sculptures for their collaborative exhibition, Unfixtures, currently on display in the Dow Center for Visual Arts gallery space here on campus. In their artist lecture, Nathan said he challenged Emilie to work in a larger scale than she was accustomed to, and the two said they would consider future collaborations as well.  The sculptures, installed on custom pedestals, are each under a heat lamp designed to melt the wax throughout the show and slowly expose a metal core within each. The show has a unique approach to light - the only light comes from the heat lamps, so the light is both seen as a red glow and felt as soon as a viewer enters the gallery. The smell of the parafin wax is also stimulating to the senses, "like crayons melting in the sun" as Nathan observed at the artist lecture given here on campus.

Throughout the week of their visit (Feb. 19-27) Emilie and Nathan and Emilie's guide dog London—worked with Arts Academy students in a series of workshops.

These included:

  • A two day art history workshop where students were required to describe paintings in great detail using their senses to extrapolate on smell, taste, touch, wonder, etc.
  • A weeklong blind contour drawing workshop where students were blindfolded and given an object which they had to draw without seeing, subsequently turning their drawings into three-dimensional sculptures.
  • A weeklong multisensory workshop where students were asked to create works that were experienced using more than one sense.

The resulting projects included installations of balloons filled with perfume in a darkened room where viewers walked around with pins for popping, drawings in slabs of clay where the lines could be felt by observers, and wind chimes made of orange peels and cafeteria forks that could be both smelt and heard.

We were honored and privileged to have Emilie and Nathan on campus. Their work and coaching forced the students to consider their own artistic creations in a new context, and to consider all art objects from a sensory standpoint.  We are grateful for their guidance and mentorship with the students, and for their wonderful installation in the gallery

You can listen to Emilie's first RadioLab, about her accident, here.  A follow-up RadioLab story about her experiences with the brainport device can be found here.  You can also check out this online feature about Emile's experiences, as well as her recent feature in the New York Times.  Emile's website with image of her work can be found here, Nathan's website is available here.

New Transmissions traveling exhibition

  • New Transmissions — A traveling exhibition of student works from Idyllwild Arts Academy, Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Interlochen Center for the Arts.

  • Se Los Llevaron Vivos, Paulina Otero (Idyllwild Arts Academy)

  • Untitled, Emily O'Grady (Walnut Hill School for the Arts)

February 16, 2016

Visual arts students from the nation's top three fine arts boarding academies have teamed up to create traveling exhibition comprised entirely of their work. Students from Idyllwild Arts Academy, Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Interlochen Center for the Arts each provided eight pieces for New Transmissions. The 24-piece collection is currently on display in The Dow Center for Visual Arts rotunda through Feb. 19 before heading to California and Boston.

Student Juried Exhibition Through Feb. 20

  • Madonna and Child, by Nicholas Winstead, won the President's Art Award at the exhibition opening, as well as an Outstanding Achievement in Two-Dimensional Media chosen by the Visual Arts faculty.

  • The Voices, by Sam Thiele, won by the President's Recognition Award as well as the Best in Show award chosen by the Visual Arts faculty.

  • Nicole Bellemore's Untitled ceramics piece won both a President's Honorable Mention and an Outstanding Achievement in Three-Dimensional Media from the Visual Arts faculty.

  • Cover, by Yu-Cheng Yeh, was awarded an President's Honorable Mention.  Other Honorable Mentions include Still Life by Ruoyu Gong and Follow by Cornelia Rubenson (in collaboration with Colter Fellows).

  • Self After, by Sam Thiele, was recognized as an Outstanding Achievement in Two-Dimensional Media.

  • Isabel Schuler's Moving Burden won an Outstanding Achievement in Three-Dimensional Media.

  • Tsz Kwan Yeung's Untitled fashion piece won an Outstanding Achievement in Three-Dimensional Media.

  • Duiarak Padungvichean's Enjoy won an Outstanding Achievement in Three-Dimensional Media.

  • Katherine Craymer's Brainy Bride was awarded an Outstanding Achievement in Four-Dimensional Media.

Kaleigh James
February 4, 2016

Our 2016 Student Juried Exhibition opened at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.  The show will remain on display until Feb. 20.

The 2016 Student Juried Exhibition opening was a great success! The event was well attended, and the reception included light refreshments, a live musical performance by singer-songwriter Tess Considine and an awards ceremony. 

Our students are the driving force behind these exhibitions. The annual show has a unique formula: peer-jurors are nominated and elected from the visual arts student body. The five jurors then review all submissions and make joint decisions about which works are accepted to the final exhibition, independently from any staff or faculty oversight. This year, our jurors were Angelica Bohanan (freshman), Tsz Kwan Yeung (sophomore), Nicholas Winstead (junior), Sam Thiele (junior), and Katherine Craymer (senior). The Curatorial class was also heavily involved in the layout and installation of the show. The exhibition is truly an accomplishment for each and every student in the department.

Awards were given by both President Kimpton and by the Visual Arts faculty:

Best in Show:

The Voices, Sam Thiele

Outstanding Achievement in Two-Dimensional Media:

Madonna and Child, Nicholas Winstead

Self After, Sam Thiele

Outstanding Achievement in Three-Dimensional Media:

Moving Burden, Isabel Schuler

Untitled, Tsz Kwan Yeung

Enjoy, Duairak Padungvichean

Untitled, Nicole Bellemore

Outstanding Achievement in Four-Dimensional Media:

Brainy Bride, Katherine Craymer

Untitled, Sophie Henslee

President's Art Award:

Madonna and Child, Nicholas Winstead

Visual Arts Faculty Member Megan Hildebrandt with Solo Exhibition in Lansing at MICA Gallery

February 4, 2016


Artist Statement

My large and medium scale works on paper examine autobiography via repetition, ritual, and daily performance. I am interested in creating proof of my existence on paper. A litany of marks that monitor moments and months, a year of cutting paper by hand, daily records of a toddler’slinguistics I mark time in this work. In How Many Days Until Something is a Habit , I chronicle my pregnancy and early motherhood through abstraction. Each eyelet in the handcut paper is a mark of the energy I give my daughter; as she grows, the pile of cutouts gets higher, the piece of paper becomes more fragile yet still holds strong. I never run out of paper. In Daily Disappearance, I chart the sunset for three months. In ONE NEW DAY, I document the process of teaching my child to speak, recording her first phrases with pencil and paper. Palm and Birch examines the ebb and flow of human relationships through two large trees, found in opposite climates.


Visual arts in the Scholastic awards

January 28, 2016

Interlochen visual artists make big impression at Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Interlochen Arts Academy visual arts students earned numerous honors at the recent midwest regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Visual arts students won 42 Gold Key awards, 32 Silver Key awards, and 38 honorable mentions—and one young artist was singled out for the prestigious American Vision Award.

One Gold Key-winning work from the regional competition was nominated for an American Vision Award as the Western Central Michigan Region's "Best in Show." Only five works are selected from all the Gold Key works as the “Best in Show” for the entire region; Samantha Thiele’s photo “The Woman” will be in competition for the American Visions and Voices Award at the national level.

Gold Key awards are the highest level of achievement on the regional level. Approximately 7-10 percent of all regional submissions are recognized with Gold Key Awards and all are considered for national-level recognition. Ten to 15 percent are recognized with Silver Key awards, and honorable mentions recognize students with artistic potential. Only 15-20 percent of all regional submissions receive honorable mention awards.

“We are honored to be recognized with so many regional Scholastic awards again this year,” said Mindy Zacher Ronayne, director of Visual Arts at Interlochen. “Our students put a tremendous amount of work into their pieces. These awards help to motivate our students to continue working hard and to get their artwork out in public through other competitions and exhibitions.”

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity and talent of the nation's youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. The Awards are presented by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarship.

Interlochen Arts Academy is very proud of all of these award-winning students, and congratulates them.

VA Students visit Boston!

Megan Hildebrandt
December 8, 2015

Visual Arts Majors visit Museums and Schools in Boston and Providence

VA Majors Nick Winstead and Whitney Yuen both sat down recently to discuss their trip to Boston:

Nick: "The Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum was my favorite part of the trip. It was unlike any other museum I have ever been to- such a personal portrait of the collector (Gardner herself). I also really enjoyed our school tour of the School of the Museum of Fine Art Boston. SMFA seemed like a place designed by and for artists- the curriculum is so self driven, it was exciting to see." 

Whitney: "The free time at we had at museums surrounded by contemporary art was my favorite part of the trip- particularly the Institute of Contemporary Art. Personally, I loved the Rhode Island School of Art and Design tour. Their facilities and student work were great- I can't believe they have glassblowing!"

College representatives visit campus for Visual Arts Portfolio Review Day

Kaleigh James
November 3, 2015

Visitors from 26 schools traveled to campus to meet with Interlochen Visual Arts students this fall

On Oct. 26, Interlochen's Visual Arts department welcomed representatives from twenty six prestigious colleges to our third annual Portfolio Review Day. Participating schools sent one or two members of their admissions staff to Interlochen to present information about their various programs, and also to meet with our students individually to review their current portfolio pieces and offer constructive criticism, insight, and feedback. Participating schools included the School of Visual Arts, College for Creative Studies, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Pratt Institute, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Institute of Art, Maryland Institute College of Art, Cornish College of the Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design, Ringling College of Art and Design, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, PrattMWP College of Art and Design, San Francisco Art Institute, The Glasgow School of Art, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Washington University in St. Louis, OCAD University, University of the Arts London, Paris College of Art, Kendall College of Art and Design, Kansas City Art Institute, Western Michigan University, and the Fashion Institute of Techonology.

The day began early as Visual Arts faculty and staff welcomed college representatives to our building. Throughout the morning, the representatives gave thirty minute presentations about their various available majors and programs. Students were able to sit in on information sessions for up to five different schools.

The event continued with college representatives attending a buffet luncheon in our gallery space, where they could chat with one another and also with Interlochen's Visual Arts faculty and staff. Interlochen's Academic and College Counseling staff were also in attendance to network with the college representatives and ask questions that will facilitate their work with Interlochen students as they ready college applications over the coming months.

After lunch, students began their scheduled individual portfolio reviews.  The seniors' work was displayed in the Hertliz building, which functions as senior studio space. The underclassmen took over the entire top floor of the Dow Center for Visual Arts to display their works. Students had scheduled reviews with their chosen schools, and were able to receive direct feedback from representatives about developing and/or finalizing their portfolios.

Junior Bin Quan had five reviews, but his favorites were with the University of the Arts London and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bin, who is considering Fashion Design or Ceramics as possible concentrations in college, said he received "really good critique[s] on my thesis concept, related to my personal cultural background and family. I want to represent this through figurative works." While preparing for the event, Bin considered which works to display based on "the pieces that I liked and personal feelings," as well as pieces that received strong critiques from his instructors here at Interlochen. His portfolio display this year included mostly figural drawings, some ceramics, one sculpture, and two fibers pieces. When asked about his favorite part of Portfolio Review Day, Bin replied, "having interviews with colleges, talking about my portfolio and what I should do for next year and how I can improve it."

Our students received excellent reviews from the college representatives, many of whom commented on the strength of the work and on the level of preparedness exhibited by Interlochen students. We are very proud of the students' participation, the quality of their work, and their willingness to be open to feedback and constructive critique. The event was an important experience for all students in preparing for the college admissions process, and especially in learning to articulate the issues of their work in a formal review process.  

Interlochen Visual Arts hosts guest artist Conor Fagan

  • Artist Conor Fagan discussion his artwork with Interlochen Arts Academy Visual Arts student Erza Durr.

Kaleigh James
September 28, 2015

Conor Fagan's show, Emergent, opened Sept. 11 and will run through Oct. 2.

The Visual Arts department is currently host to the exhibition Emergent, a curation of recent works for an upcoming exhibition in New York by artist Conor Fagan. The show includes paintings, prints, soft scuptures intended for viewer interaction, and a video installation. The works can be viewed in the Dow Center for Visual Arts on the Interlochen campus in the main gallery. Fagan also delivered an artist lecture to the Visual Arts students and faculty on Sept. 10, discussing his personal evolution as an artist from his days as an undergraduate student through his current working methods.

Of his exhibition, Fagan writes, "The work in this room is a contemplation on the nature of change and the intangible. Conversely, it is also an attempt to create a kind of impossible homeostasis, and to achieve an uncanny harmony."

During the creation of a painting, video, sculpture, or drawing, there is an attempt to keep the decisionmaking simple, clear, and basic. Thoughts such as: “What is this?” or “What is this doing?” or “Why is this doing it?” are negated. Interests become simplified. The mind begins to ponder things such as color, objecthood, space, and environment. Within these basic concerns, and resting somewhere between the abstract and the real, a language of the preconscious emerges."

Fagan was born in Baltimore, Md., and obtained his Master of Fine Arts at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the spring of 2014. After graduating he was one of 12 international artists selected to participate in the International Symposium of Contemporary Art, in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec in August of 2014. He has works in numerous public and private collections including the Waterton - Global corporate collection and the Museum of Modern Art in Baie-Saint-Paul, and will be having a solo show at Gitler& ________, in New York City after Emergent here at Interlochen.

Fagan has also taught drawing and painting to both high school and intermediate campers at Interlochen Arts Camp for the last two summers.

** Hours for the Visual Arts gallery are Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. **

Visual Arts Year in Review

  • Photo shoot with Guest Artist Photographer Brian Burkhardt

  • Photo shoot with Guest Artist Photographer Brian Burkhardt

  • Senior Thesis Presentations

  • Senior Thesis Presentations

  • Trip to NYC

  • Discussion with Guest Artist Sangram Majumdar

Mindy Zacher Ronayne
May 18, 2015

Celebrating Successes

With the end of the school year approaching, it is important to take time to reflect upon and celebrate the successes of our students in the Visual Arts department.  From the four outstanding thesis shows, to the off-campus opportunities students experienced this semester, to the small every day achievements in the various arts studios, our students have much to be proud of.

The most recent exciting news within the department is the announcement that senior Oonagh Davis is a 2015 Presidential Scholar in the Arts.  Oonagh is the first Visual Arts student to receive this award at Interlochen since 1983!  This year there are a total of 141 Presidential Scholars nationwide (in all areas, both academic and arts related).   Notably, Oonagh is also the first student to ever be named a Presidential Scholar in Design Arts, a new category this year.  Congratulations!

We also had several National Scholastic Award winners this year, including Gold Medal awards for Suwan Kim, Ingrid Matison, George Spica, and Ryan Yale as well as Silver Medal awards for Oonagh Davis, Suwan Kim, Veronika Kostyuk, Hannah Mills, George Spica, Ryan Treadwell, and Ryan Yale.

Finally, we had several students recognized at the national level for YoungArts awards this past fall.  Finalists included Catalina Gonzalez, Su Wan Kim, Hannah Mills, Seyedalimohammad “Illya” Mousavijad, George Spica, and Ryan Yale; Madison Brownson received an Honorable Mention; and Merit awards were received by Zhuoyi Chen, Danielle Dinstman, Rachel Elfezouaty, Ingrid Matison, Anela Oh, Duairak Padungvichean, Doyun Park, and Ryan Treadwell.

Students were also able to work with several Guest Artists this year, including Theodora Plas, Sangram Majumdar, Brian Burkhardt, and collaborators Rita Crocker and Tracy Thomason. These visiting artists were each featured in a gallery exhibition, and each taught a workshop allowing the students to explore new ideas and working methods.  The department also hosted two Artists-in-Residence this year: Cathy Lu in Ceramics and Brian Schorn in Digital Arts and Photography.

In the fall, the Visual Arts students and faculty also had the opportunity to spend five days in New York City together.  During this trip students were able to tour college campuses and schedule interviews and portfolio reviews for admission.  Between these campus visits, faculty and students also visited several world-renowned museums and galleries to take advantage of the vibrant visual culture New York City.

As the year comes to a close, we will prepare for the large final Festival Exhibition, which will showcase work from all Visual Arts students.  This show will open on Thursday, May 28th from 6:00pm – 7:00pm and includes live music and refreshments.  The show will remain on display through the beginning of Interlochen Arts Camp.

As the year comes to a close, we are proud of the accomplishments of our seniors as they prepare to begin their college careers at a variety of prestigious institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Cooper Union, Maryland Institute College of Art, The Steinhardt School at NYU, Central Saint Martins in London, Kendall College of Art and Design, California Institute of the Arts, School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, Cornell University, Scripps College, Bard College, Vassar College, and Sarah Lawrence College.  We wish these graduating seniors all the best in their future endeavors, and also look forward to welcoming the underclassmen back in the fall!  Happy summer!

Exploring Work in New Genres

Johnson Hunt
April 9, 2015

New Genres Students explore new materials and prepare for project critiques: Junior Greta Schneider uses body-safe wax in a performance still. Junior Isabel Schuler installs a series of screen printed fabrics to create an ethereal environment. Senior Veronika Kostyuk uses found materials to create sculptures that discuss the implications of consumer culture.

Great News from the Scholastic Awards

Melinda Zacher Ronayne
March 16, 2015

We just learned that eight visual arts students received a total of 19 national awards from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Congratulations to all these students for their well-deserved recognition! 

Oonagh Davis, Silver Medal (Art Portfolio)
Kim Suwan, three Silver Medals and four Gold Medals (Sculpture, New Media)
Veronika Kostyuk, Silver Medal (Photography)
Ingrid Matison, Gold Medal (Printmaking) 
Hannah Mills, two Silver Medals (Sculpture, New Media)
George Spica, two Silver Medals and one Gold Medal (Mixed Media and Sculpture)
Ryan Treadwell, one Silver Medal (Art Portfolio)
Ryan Yale, two Silver Medals and one Gold Medal (Sculpture and Art Portfolio) 





Figure Drawing

Visual Arts
March 13, 2015

The figure drawing class is working on developing their skill with depicting the human figure. During this studio session the students worked on a compressed, foreshortened pose, which presents difficulties with how to compose dense areas and depicting dramatic spatial aspects of the figure moving back in space. The students have a strong sense of anatomy and an ability to adapt to different poses and situations.

Welcoming Sangram Majumdar

Patty Smith
February 19, 2015

Senior Oonagh Davis examines the artwork of visiting artist Sangram Majumdar. Davis, assisted in the installation of Majumdar's paintings in the Dow Center of Visual Arts Gallery. Visual Arts students gain hands on gallery experience through the community service program. We were thrilled to welcome Sangram to Interlochen for a special exhibition. Here is his biography: 

Born in Kolkata, India, Majumdar has an MFA from Indiana University and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally and has lectured on his work at numerous colleges including RISD, PAFA, SUNY-Purchase, Princeton University and the New York Studio School. Recent solo exhibitions include Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, NY; Rothschild Fine Art, Tel Aviv, Israel; the Jerusalem Studio School, Israel, and the Kresge Art Museum, MI. Recent selected group exhibition venues include Tracey WIlliams Ltd, NY; Alpha Gallery, MA; the 2010 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters, NY; US Embassy, Sierra Leone; the International School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, Montecastello di Vibio, Italy and the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, Japan. His awards include a MacDowell Fellowship, a residency at Yaddo, the 2009-10 Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Space Program Grant, a MICA Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching, two Maryland State Art Council Individual Grants in Painting, and two Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants. His work has been published in drawing textbooks: Drawing Essentials: A Guide to Drawing from Observation (Oxford University Press, 2008), Drawing: Structure and Vision, (Prentice Hall, 2008) and Exploring Life Drawing (Thompson Delmar Publishing, 2007). Majumdar lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2003 he has been teaching painting and drawing full time at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He is represented by Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, NY.

Sharing Some Good News

Melinda Zacher Ronayne
February 6, 2015

We just received this press release from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. It's full of lots of good news, so I thought I would share the whole thing. 


Grand Rapids, Mich. Feb. 4, 2015—When talking about talent in West Michigan, it’s easy to focus all of the attention on our region’s thriving community of creative professionals. In the 2015 West Central Michigan Region Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, however, it was the creative talents of tomorrow that were on full display.

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) once again played host for the Western Central Michigan Region of the storied national competition, which in its 90-year history has counted the likes of Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Ken Burns, and Richard Avedon among its award winners. Teens in grades 7-12 attending public, private, or home schools entered the competition in their region by submitting original work in a number of different mediums, including drawing, illustration, sculpture, and photography, among others.

This year, the Western Central Michigan Region drew participation from 1,067 students representing 101 schools. A total of 579 awards – 146 Gold Key Awards, 166 Silver Key Awards, and 267 Honorable Mentions – were given out. Those entries that received Gold Key awards at the regional level will advance to the national level to compete for sixteen $10,000 scholarships and a number of $1,000 scholarships.

Five Gold Key winning works from the regional competition were also nominated for an American Vision Award as the region’s “Best in Show.” One work from each regional competition will be given an American Visions and Voices Award at the national level. The Western Central Michigan Region nominees are as follows:

·       Addyson Ives, East Grand Rapids High School
·       Zhuoyi Chen, Interlochen Arts Academy
·       Eli Godchaux, Interlochen Arts Academy
·       Suwan Kim, Interlochen Arts Academy
·       Ryan Treadwell, Interlochen Arts Academy

To celebrate these students' tremendous accomplishments, an exhibition of the region’s award-winning work will be held in the Helen Miller Gallery inside KCAD’s 17 Fountain Street NW building from February 16-28. The exhibition will culminate in an awards ceremony for the winners, which will be held at 4pm on Saturday, February 28 at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. Immediately following the ceremony, there will be a reception at KCAD. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information on the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit

Juried Exhibition 2015

  • Ingrid Matson won Best in Show and the President's Art Award for her work that addressed ideas of consent and rejection of stereotypical gender roles. 

  • Anela Oh won the President's Recognition Award. Her work, "Rockweed," integrates her love of science and represents a coastal marine ecosystem in a way that it is viewed as precious.

  • Ryan Treadwell was recognized for oustanding achievement in fiber art for the work, "Domestication." 

  • Eli Godchaux was recognized for outstanding achievement in painting.  

Melinda Zacher Ronayne
January 30, 2015

Each year, we do one juried student show and this year, we tried something different from previous years. Instead of inviting a guest artist to jury the exhibition, our own students elected a jury of their peers. Jeffrey Kimpton, president of Interlochen Center for the Arts, visited the the exhibition to select winners of several awards including, the President’s Art Award, the President’s Recognition Award, and two honorable mentions. The visual arts department also presented several other awards.

Ingrid Matison won Best in Show and The President's Art Award. Anela Oh won the President's Recognition Award and George Spica won the Faculty Choice Award. We also recognized Eli Godchaux for outstanding achievement in painting and Ryan Treadwell for outstanding achievement in fibers.  

YoungArts in Miami

Melinda Zacher Ronayne
January 13, 2015

I had an opportunity to start my year at Arts Week in Miami. Around 170 YoungArts Finalists, from all arts disciplines are invited to participate each year, 24 of whom were visual artists. Six of these visual artists were from Interlochen: Illya Mousavijad, Catalina Gonzalez, Su Wan Kim, George Spica, Ryan Yale and Hannah Mills. 

While in Miami, they participated in guest artist workshops with artists including Carrie Mae Weems amd Jeff Koons. They also attended performances and had an exhibition of their work.



YoungArts Awards

Visual Arts
December 11, 2014
Congratulations to the 15 visual artists who received national recognition from YoungArts this fall! Students who were recognized as finalists will be invited to attend National YoungArts Week in January. From all the finalists across the country, twenty will be selected as Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for young artists.  
Catalina Gonzalez, Finalist
Su Wan Kim, Finalist
Hannah Mills, Finalist
Seyedalimohammad (Illya) Mousavijad, Finalist
George Spica, Finalist
Ryan Yale, Finalist
Madison Brownson, Honorable Mention
Zhuoyi Chen, Merit
Danielle Dinstman, Merit
Rachel Elfezouaty, Merit
Ingrid Matison, Merit
Anela Oh, Merit
Duairak Padungvichean, Merit
Doyun Park, Merit
Ryan Treadwell, Merit


Drawing Mr. Holland

John McKaig
November 11, 2014

Our regular and reliable student model Molly was joined by Interlochen viola instructor-emeritus David Holland in our most recent figure drawing class, posing for the students for two hours.  Mr. Holland played several pieces including Wagner operas and some solo baroque pieces, along with some pieces that he arranged.  It was a great opportunity for our students to work on a "real-life" situation - combining two figures in space, as well as being exposed to some great live classical music.

Making Duplicates of Yourself!

Cathy Lu
November 6, 2014

Ever wish there could be more of you?

In our Sculptural Forms: Ceramics class, students are learning how to make plaster molds to create multiples in clay. Sophomore Weiqi Shao (Vicky) is creating a mold of herself out of plaster strips. After she takes off the plaster, she can press clay onto the inside of the mold to make multiple self portraits. Good thing she has helpers!

Environmental Installations

Johnny Hunt
November 4, 2014

New Genres Class explores Interlochen's scenic campus by creating Environmental Installations

The New Genres course gives students the opportunity to explore new means of creating artwork. For this class's recent assignment, students were asked to select a site on campus and create an artwork that related to the location. Students experimented with materials, some students introduced new materials into the site while others choose to work with found materials from the site. After completion of theses installations we held our class critique outside at these locations. The emphasis of this assignment was to explore what it means when artworks are taken out of traditional spaces (ie galleries and museums).

Portfolio Review Day

Melinda Zacher Ronayne
October 28, 2014

The Visual arts Division hosted 24 colleges this year for our annual Portfolio Review Day. The day started at 10am with a series of presentations by the colleges that students could choose to attend. Students signed up with differnet colleges to have their portfolios reviewed by their representatives. All students were encouraged to get reviews, freshmen through seniors. The portfolio reviews are a great chance to get feedback on their work as well as a chance to get information about the schools. It was a very exciting day for everyone; I got tons of compliments about how talented and well spoken our students were in the reivews. The representatives thought they all had really strong foundational skills and moved seemlessly into conceptual and experiemental pieces. I'm so proud of all our students!

Guest Artist Theodora Plas

Mindy Ronayne
October 24, 2014

This week we welcomed guest artist Theodora Plas, a painter from the Netherlands. Several students participated in two workshops with Theodora about how to effectively use collage and color in their work. The week was concluded with a lecture from Theodora about her work and a reception in the gallery for her exhibition. 

ArtPrize Trip to Grand Rapids

Mindy Ronayne
October 6, 2014

This past Saturday, we took all of the Visual Arts and Comparative Arts students to Grand Rapids for the ArtPrize Competition. ArtPrize is an event that takes over the entire city with 1,537 entires in 174 different venues. The students were given a scavenger hunt to find artwork in response to several prompts within eight of the main museum venues. Despite the rain and chilly fall temperatures, the students had a great time exploring the city and taking creative selfies in front of the artwork they found.

Steamroller Prints

John McKaig
October 2, 2014

Because it's always fun to run over artwork!

The printmaking students have been working on woodblock prints since the beginning of the semester. Once they were finished, we asked the nice guys working at a construction site on campus to come over and help us print a large composite print of all the blocks by using the steamroller to act as a large printing press. Each block was supposed to depict a part of a larger "machine" (interpreted in any way the students wanted). The resulting composite print was inspired by a Rube Goldberg machine. It was a unique way to explore how to manipulate imagery and work collaboratively. The entire department watched and had a great time!