We ARE Here: More Than Just a Number
We Are Here: More Than Just a Number
Exhibition featuring artists 55+ as they examine how ageism has affected their role in the art community
April 7 - May 26, 2023
'We ARE Here: More Than Just a Number'
A call, shared nationally, invited artists only over the age of 55+ to share their work. Through this, 11 artists were selected by the Cultivate Curatorial Board. This group exhibition features artists that share their art, as well as a statement on how ageism has affected their professional practice. 'We ARE Here: More than Just a Number' features a variety of mediums including sculpture, painting, bead work, photography, and digital collage. It will run from April 7th - May 24th, 2023 with an opening reception on April 7th from 5pm - 9pm.
Exhibition Statement written by Bettina Cousineau, a Curator at Cultivate, and artist:
"When artists first emerge from learning institutions of varying levels, they are allowed to immerse themselves in their art for a few exciting and productive years before they inevitably are forced to stumble into a career, often at the expense of their art.
Decades stack up as they pass their 30s and 40s, with time that once was for the studio now consumed by work, family, friends, and other seemingly endless obligations. Gallery exhibitions - when they are able to visit - are full of beautiful pieces by people who remind them of younger version of themselves.
Cultivate acknowledges that ageism is built into the systems of galleries and museums, evident by the opportunities that forgo their experience and work in favor of younger artists. There is no annual list of “50 over 50” artists to watch. Some galleries unabashedly seek artists under 35 with seemingly no self-awareness of the blatant discrimination. Older artists are forced into a difficult situation. Do they edit their portfolio to remove the shows that their past selves celebrated as accomplishments in order to seem younger than they are? Do they lie about their age in hopes for better opportunities?
During their 50s, many artists re-emerge from a heads-down focus of family and career to take stock in themselves thus far. Some have held onto art making all along. Some realign their lives so they can rediscover themselves and their studios once more."
Installation photos will be coming soon.
Opening Reception Photos
About the Artists
Born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1962, Richard Barnett’s first artistic influences came from the figures and depictions of movement found in the comic books of the 1970s, He was fascinated with how the artists, of that genre, could influence and enhance the stories found within the pages through their work. Growing up just outside Washington DC his first exposure to Fine Art occurred in the halls of the Smithsonian, where the painting Stag at Sharkey’s by George Bellows was on display. This one painting allowed him to see, on canvas, the same dynamism he grew up admiring in his beloved comics. His opening world view exposed him to the French Impressionists, where he fell in love with new ways to use color, light and brushstrokes to tell the stories found in life. He was inspired by the gestural brilliance seen in the figurative paintings of John Singer Sargent, where he saw realism could have a beautiful soul and portraiture could come alive.
Richard has developed a style that acknowledges his influences, while remaining truly his own, describing his work as a kind of “Stylized Realism”. In his most recent, award winning, works he portrays large crowds and the circumstances that caused those gatherings. His complex works explore the personality of each crowd as a whole, and the nuances found in the individuals within.
Richard’s formal education in painting took place at Roanoke College in Salem Virginia, and the School of Visual Arts in NYC. His work has been shown in galleries in Maine, Virginia, and California and currently his work can be seen in various national and international shows, on his website and in his growing social media presence.
Richard now resides in Thousand Oaks, CA.
Raised in India, Boisali Biswas is a studio artist who works in mixed-media fibers. Her formative years during her BFA were spent at Visva-Bharati University, founded by Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. The profound experience through her educational journey has stayed with her, and continues to influence her work. She completed her MFA at Bowling Green State University. Living in this country for over three decades, and adapting to Western styles and inspirations in concert with her background has made her Art into a cauldron of multicultural assemblages that are a unique feast for the eyes.
W.S. Cranmore’s artworks are known for their distinctive geometric patterns, bold lines and borders, and nontraditional composition. At the intersection of Expressionism, Geometric Abstraction and Pop Art, W.S. Cranmore’s artworks meld early modernist with later post-modernist influences. His art invites subjective interpretation, emotional introspection and personal appreciation, telling personal stories and re-imagining memories in a uniquely unconventional way.
But it would be incorrect to say these artworks are created with a specific goal in mind. Instead, Cranmore focuses on the process, letting the paintings imagine themselves into being along a creative journey that starts and ends with music.
W.S. Cranmore lives in Milwaukie, Oregon. Of Irish heritage, he (who used to own and operate a Celtic Music promotion company ‘67 Music’) is also an Irish Language enthusiast. When not painting, the Artist enjoys spending time with his family, and “watching his daughters grow into independent human beings.”
Elaine has been creating art since she was a child, where she was surrounded by the 1950’s modernist paintings that her parents exhibited in their home gallery, and she has never quit. Today, her work is represented in corporate, public and private collections throughout the US and abroad.
Elaine received her BA in 1974 (Thomas Jefferson College / GVSU) and her MFA in 1989 (Western Michigan University). She taught art in the Grand Rapids Public Schools for 34 years, where she received numerous awards and honors. Elaine has always painted, taught and exhibited her work. Her first solo show (1980) was at the now-closed Grand Rapids Gallery for Women’s Art, just blocks from where Cultivate Grand Rapids now stands! She received the YWCA Tribute Award for the Arts in 2012, as well as the On-the-Town (M-Live) People’s Choice Award for Artist of the Year. Elaine has shown her work extensively in galleries, museums and community exhibition spaces throughout Michigan and beyond.
Elaine is a founding member of Tanglefoot Building Artists, where she has grown her studio practice since 1988, and where she continues to paint, exhibit her work, and teach.
Maureen Janson Heintz
Accomplished multi-hyphenate artist, (photographer, jewelry maker, theatre artist and former dancer) Maureen Janson Heintz creates unique images through the exploration of long exposure photography. Her work has appeared on the CD cover for Karen Olivo's, Leave, as illustrations in Getting Started in Ballet by Anna Paskevska, and on the cover of Acting the Song by Tracey Moore. She was recently an artist-in-residence at the Glen Arbor Arts Center in Northern Michigan where her work has also been featured in two GAAC SMALL WORKS shows as well as in the recent juried You Are T/Here show. In Madison, Wisconsin, she has been a part of the Forward Art Prize show, Forge at Madison Brass Works, and After the End of the World at Overture Center for the Arts, among others. Maureen is the photographer for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dance Department, enjoys head-shot photography in Madison, WI, Chicago and Los Angeles, and continues to work as a choreographer for theatre and concert dance.
Judith Hopkins (she/her)
Judith Hopkins is a multi-media artist and writer. She came west to attend graduate school at California Institute of the Arts. After receiving her MFA, she has taught art at community centers, community colleges throughout Southern California and the California Youth Authority. After completing two community art projects funded by grants from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, she co-founded and established a nonprofit girls’ empowerment project that used horses to introduce girls to the arts and sciences. Judith believes art has the power to transform our lives by giving us the room to creatively explore visual perceptions thereby widening our world. Her work, though not always autobiographical, is often informed by her own biography.
Madeline Kaczmarczyk is an award winning Michigan artist known for her mixed media teapots incorporating thousands of glass seed beads on the surface of her hand built clay teapots. She studied at Michigan State University with an art degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI as well as advanced studies at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit, MI. She worked for many years as an Adjunct Professor of Art in Ceramics at Aquinas College and has taught in a number of Michigan colleges and art centers. Her numerous commissions and collections include the Hyatt Regency World Headquarters in Chicago, and the Racine Art Museum along with many national groups and solo exhibits. Awards include the Grand Rapids Festival Regional shows in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 as well as the 91st Contemporary Art Exhibit at the Muskegon Art Museum in Michigan in 2019.
Leon Lou was born and raised in Shanghai, China. When he was a teenager, he dreamed of becoming an artist and spent many after-school hours on drawing and painting under the tutelage of art teachers who were influenced by the French and Russian academic traditions before the disastrous cultural revolution. However, life has its own logic. Decades later he became a tenured professor of psychology at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He did not pick up paint brushes again until about ten years ago, when he felt the irrepressible urge to do what he loved to do in his teenage years.
He loves to draw and paint from life whatever that appeals to him aesthetically. He loves to depict strong and interesting forms of human face and figure, plants, and landscapes. He loves mood-suggesting colors and forms. He has tried various painting media and drawing tools, including watercolor, acrylics, gouache, oil, soft and hard pastels, oil pastel, and wax-based pastel. Drawing and painting from life has also provided him with a playground for testing psychological theories of depiction and artful visions that he has been working on for years on as a cognitive psychologist.
Lou's paintings have exhibited in various local and regional art exhibitions and venues, including Grand Valley Artists, ICCF, Biggby Coffee shop, Frames Unlimited, West Michigan Regional Art Competition, Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition at Muskegon, and ArtPrize, of which was publicized in an interview by local TV Channel 13 “On your side”. The project gained Lou the precious and rewarding experience of depicting and interacting with people of diverse backgrounds, age, genders, who came from all over the world.
Estelle Roberge grew up in Biddeford, Maine, the sixth of nine children, in a Franco-American Irish-Canadian household. After graduating from the nearby Portland School of Art in Printmaking and the University of Southern Maine in Art Education, she traveled west in search of employment. In 1990, she began a teaching career at Navajo Community College in Tsaile, Arizona, a college dedicated to the preservation of Navajo traditional life. Later, Roberge pursued an MFA at Idaho State University with a focus on wilderness desert landscapes in South Central Utah. After receiving a MFA degree in Painting, she taught in Maine and Utah for five years. Finally, she made a home in Magdalena, New Mexico where she continues to reside.
Roberge's teaching practice and interest in wilderness is interwoven in her daily artistic practice. Her work has focused on the interplay of memory, place and presence within wild terrains. Vast wilderness settings inspire her to abstract landscapes. Pre-Covid, she began to think and paint about those who are not in the wilderness by choice, but are forced to live there by climate emergencies, the refugees at various borders around the world. This emergency has occupied her mind for decades. During the Pandemic her painting practice was altered. The practice of collage became her way of coping with pandemic panic.
Her works have been included in the New Mexico Acclaimed Artist Initiative and the Eco Art Project, The Bristol Art Museum, and the Kolaj Festival in New Orleans. Currently, she is preparing for three upcoming solo exhibitions at the Sun Valley Museum of Art in Idaho, The Charles C. Thomas Gallery at Maine College of Art, as well as the Kind of a Small Array in Magdalena, New Mexico. Her work is also featured in several private collections in California, New Mexico, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Idaho, and Canada.
Dolores S. Slowinski, a long-time resident of Detroit, has a BFA in weaving and ceramics from Wayne State University.
Her work experience includes art writing for national, regional, and local print and electronic magazines as well as serving as arts administrator and resource person at the state and local level for over 40 years.
Slowinski returned to studio practice in 1999 and began showing her work in local, state, and regional galleries in 2005. She is among the first 100 World of Threads Festival Artist Interviews posted online at worldofthreadsfestival.com.
Most recently her work has been included in three international exhibitions: 23rd International Open, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL, 2020; Shifting Landscapes, Surface Design Association, juried, members exhibition at form & concept gallery in Santa Fe, NM, 2017; and World of Threads Festival 2016 in Oakville/Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Her work has also been published in national and international magazine, books, and zines.
Her art work explores the use of thread as line in the form of hand-stitched drawings on paper. Recently she has begun applying these drawings to re-cycled, industrial grade corrugate to create architectural statements about neighborhoods, urban decay, and gentrification.
During the COVID-19 pandemic she created a body of 80 miniature, stitched, friezes: Marking Time Series, that she sent to numerous friends and colleagues to subvert the tactile contact usually discouraged when viewing art but so necessary in human experience, especially during pandemic lockdowns.
Lynn Stephenson (she/her)
Lynn Stephenson was an “Army brat” born on a U.S. military base in Misawa, Japan. Luckily for her, Stephenson's father was also an accomplished artist. They were stationed in Japan, Washington DC, New York and eventually settled in Michigan, where she grew up. She has been drawing all her life, taking classes and private lessons up through high school, with published newspaper illustrations along the way. Despite all of her artistic training, interest and practice, Stephenson started her career at the University of Michigan’s School of Pharmacy. Pharmacy predictably proved a poor match for someone craving a creative outlet and while walking through Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design her eyes were opened to what she was missing. Inter-school transfers followed, eventually leading to an introduction to colored pencils, and to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
After graduation Stephenson worked in print advertising and product photography, married, and 4 years later started a family. Three kids took priority and she turned to free lancing, juried shows, and commissions. Now that her kids grown, she works full time as owner of Pencilmarks Studio in Traverse City, Michigan. Her subject matter comes from her favorite place to be, nature.