Protected: Selected Artists for “Ain’t I a Woman?”

Anika Kowalik

Anika Kowalik bore roots in Milwaukee, WI and completed a BFA in Printmaking at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2017. Kowalik’s current practice channels personal experiences as a young black femme to explore the depths of institutionalized racist ideology, ancestry and the coming of age to create works that record their own history. As a person who is a part of a marginalized group, it is vital to unpack the truth through many facets of documentation. Kowalik finds it easier to communicate these personal experiences through materiality, expanding beyond the physical body we commonly search for. Kowalik recently completed their first Artist-In-Residence at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in April 2021.

Ariana Vaeth

Ariana Vaeth is a Baltimore raised artist focused on contemporary personal narative through the self portrait. Graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, she completed an exchange program at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Vaeth has exhibited at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend and at Abel Contemporary Gallery in Stoughton, holding solo exhibitions at the Miller Art Museum in Door County, the Lynden in River Hills, and the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee. She has shown in Baltimore at Terrault Gallery and Chicago at Woman Made Gallery and the Museum of Science and Industry for Black Creativity. Vaeth is a 2017 Mary L Nohl Fellow in the Emerging Artist category. She was a recipient of Gener8tor.Art creative entrepreneurs grant and excelerator program the following year. Vaeth received a 2020 Wisconsin Visual Art Achievement Award. Leading up to her sophomore appearance in the Wisconsin Triennial, she includes a painted rendition of a soft sculpture constructed at the Al and Mickey Quinlan Artist in Residence located on the Door Peninsula. Vaeth based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Blanche Brown

Blanche Brown’s stepfather Robert Bonner was a talented artist and graphic designer. Only after his death did she realize that art was a valuable vehicle for dealing with loss, giving her a very tangible connection to memory and experience. Brown is an art therapist and marriage and family therapist who believes in the power of art to heal. Brown is an art and community activist whose work addresses social injustices and the psychological and psychosocial impact these issues have on undeserved and underrepresented groups. Her artwork provides a forum for youth, women, minorities, and diverse individuals to openly discuss the challenges they encounter. As a professional artist for over 20 years, Brown has exhibited both locally and nationally and has been a guest artist and artist-in-residence at several schools and community programs. Brown is a certified Yoga instructor who incorporates mindfulness and meditation to encourage a grounded perspective and lifestyle. She is also a public speaker and workshop presenter.

Chrystal Denise Gillon

Chrystal is a visual artist who grew up in a creative and resourceful home where she was encouraged to use her innate ability to “make things”. Two of her earliest memories involving art came when she was quite young. The first was when, over the loud speaker, her name was called to come out of the audience to the stage during a magic show at the local social center. She was assisted on to the stage because she was just a tiny 4 year-old. The magician asked her to draw a picture of a rabbit on the front of his small chalk slate. She drew her version of a rabbit, at which the audience laughed; however, she thought it was pretty good. He drew his version of a rabbit on the back of the slate and placed the slate, with both drawings, into a slot on the top of a closed box, tapped it with his wand and said the magic word, “Abracadabra”. He then opened the box and voilá! Chrystal had a pet rabbit to take home – to the shock of her mother! To this day, she does not know why she was chosen and called to come up and make her rabbit drawing.

The second memory was being in the first grade and “making art”. She, along with the entire class, made drawings of Purple People Eaters after the class had listened to the 1950’s song with that name. Everyone raved about her drawing as it hung there for the entire world to see! Her heart was proud and warm. Both memories most likely created the artist path to her heart.

Her formal art training began at Alverno College, where she received her Bachelor of Art degree in art education. Years later, and with a bit more maturity, she returned to art school – The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design for her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Here she found herself at home feeling with a greater passion for creating art. Chrystal couples her fine arts training with self-taught skills. Besides creating art, she worked and held a number of positions while working with adults with disabilities at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin., spending her last eight years there as the Art Facilitator of the Artistic Enhancement Program assisting clients with creating beautiful, sale-able fine art.

Chrystal has been working in collage, mixed media and assemblage for a number of years. In her visual work, she uses a variety of mediums mixed with found and recycled objects as she explores a number of themes from the perspective and experiences of an African-American woman; as a follower of Jesus and as expressions of the nostalgia she hold for the time periods of the Victorian Age, the “Gay Nineties”’ the Harlem Renaissance; and her childhood years of the 50′ and 60’s.

Chrystal resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has participated in local and out of state exhibitions. She has artwork in both corporate and private collections in the Midwest area. She won honorable mention in Milwaukee’s first summer Art and Funk Music Festival. She spent one year as an artist in resident in the Mandel Creative Group Plaid Tuba Art Studio, in Milwaukee’s Third Ward and was honored as one of the recipients of the Sister’ of Creativity for 2018. Currently, she occupies a small studio space in the Third Ward Marshall Building – Materials, Studios + Gallery. Chrystal has become a soap maker.

Della Wells

Della Wells is a self-taught artist who began drawing and painting in earnest at the age of 42 and her creative process stems primarily from her personal experiences embellished through the art of storytelling into visual work. Wells’ work has been written about and has appeared in several publications including Betty-Carol Sellen’s and Cynthia J. Johanson’s book, Self Taught, Outsider and Folk Art, A Guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources, 2000 and 2016 ed. and one of her images appears in a children’s book The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders: Favorite Adventures, Stories,Poems and Songs For Making Lasting Memories, published by National Geographic and written by Susan Magsamen.

In 2011, an award winning play which was written, inspired by her life, Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Fly, debuted in Milwaukee. The play was commissioned by Milwaukee First Stage Children ‘s Theatre and written by Y York. In 2010, the play was selected to be read at the Kennedy Center in Washington D. C., for its New Visions, New Voices Festival. Since its debut in Milwaukee, the play has been produced in Nashville, Tennessee and in Charlotte, North Carolina. The play is published by Dramatic Publishing Company and is included in an analogy of Y York’s plays, Don’Tell Me I Can’t Fly: 10 Plays For Children and Families published in 2016. She illustrated a children’s book The Electric Train by Nanci Mortimer. Other books Black Collagists by Teri Henderson, A Creative Place: The History of Wisconsin Art by Tom Lidtke and Annemarie Sawkins and the upcoming book BEYOND 70: The Lives of Creative Women by Stacy Russo.

She has exhibited in various galleries, museums, art fairs and art festivals all over the United States, Italy and British Columbia. Venues include the The Hickory Museum of Art, Hurn Museum of Contemporary Folk Art, The Milwaukee Art Museum, John Michael Kohler Center For the Arts, Milwaukee Art Institute of Design, The Appleton Art Center, Kentuck Festival of Arts, Huntsville Museum of Art, The Loyola Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin in Madison, University of Wisconsin in Whitewater, University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Alverno College, Costal Museum, Mark Woolley Gallery, 5 Points Art Gallery and Studios, Wright Museum of Art, Clayton Gallery, The Warehouse, The Penn Center, The Cedarburg Art Museum, David Barnett Gallery, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, The Charles Allis Museum, the Outsider Art Fair in New York , Folkfest and Miami’s Art Basel.

Her dolls, cards and collages are currently sold at The Smithsonian ‘s National African Museum of History and Culture in Washington DC. Inuit Center For Outsider Art in Chicago sells her dolls and cards. She has been a featured artist at the Kentuck Festival of Arts, the largest art festival which features folk, self-taught and outsider art in the United States. Her work is in over 100 private, corporate and museum collections including North Western Mutual Insurance, Milwaukee Bucks and The Wright Museum of Art. Wells is represented by the Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee, Main Street Gallery in Clayton, Georgia , Mason Fine Art In Atlanta, Georgia and Marcia Webber Art Objects in Montgomery, Alabama.

Photo by Stephanie Bartz.

Emily Leach

Emily Leach’s creative practice and research focuses on blackness, bodies, (re)production, growth and language. Leach studies glass to consider the philosophies and strategies of optics. She is currently based in Somerville, MA.

Leach has exhibited locally and nationally, and her work has been published in New Glass Review and Gumbo Magazine. She has been a semi-finalist for the Forward Art Prize for visual artists in Dane County in 2019 and 2020. She was also recognized as one of the Madison Bridge Work Emerging Artists (2019-20) through Arts + Literature Laboratory.

Gabrielle Tesfaye

Gabrielle Tesfaye is an interdisciplinary artist versed in painting, film and animation. Her work is rooted in ancient art traditions and cultural storytelling from her Jamaican and Ethiopian background. Outside of exhibiting painting works, she expands her art in the animation studio, creating personal and cultural narrative films. Tesfaye obtained her Bachelor of Fine Art from the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tesfaye has been recognized in publications such as Vogue, AFROPUNK, and Majestic Disorder Magazine. Her work has screened and exhibited internationally including London, Germany, Ethiopia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil and Sweden. She is the recipient of the Milwaukee Film Brico Forward Fund, and Mary Nohl Suitcase Export Fund. She is currently based in Doha, Qatar.

Joya Jean

Joya Jean is a Chicago, IL native. Raised in a house with five other women, including her grandmother, had a major impact in her creative drive and embedded distinguished images of beauty, pride, and solidarity with Black women that she reflects in her practice. Joya’s been practicing art since the womb, a natural talent that she uses to express her innermost thoughts and uplift those around her. With fine art and braiding both being a passion for Joya, she began to experiment with incorporating hair as a medium in her practice. Integrating braided material quickly became more of a ritual, adding new meaning in her work. Joya graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, with a Bachelors in Fine Arts and minor in Interior Architecture Design. Throughout her time as a student, she dabbled in numerous different mediums and materials of interest including wood/furniture making, interior designing, sculpture work, and painting.

Kierston Ghaznavi

Kierston Ghaznavi is a traditional and digital illustrator and artist who lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her vibrantly colored articulated paper and wooden dolls depict the beauty and unique personalities of black women today as well as black pop culture, afro centric themes, natural hair, affirmations of self-love and plus size body appreciation.

Kierston earned her BFA in Graphic Design in May of 2012 from the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Kierston’s work has been in numerous exhibitions in Southeastern Wisconsin since 2015. Including the “Represent” exhibition at the Racine Art Museum, the “This is America” Exhibition at 5 Points Art Gallery, and the 2018 30x30x30 Exhibition at Var Gallery in Milwaukee.

LaNia Sproles

LaNia Sproles lives and works in the segregated city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she also graduated with a BFA from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2017. Her body of work spans several disciplines including: printmaking, drawing and collage. The philosophies of self-perception, queer and feminist theories, and inherent racial dogmas are essential to Sproles’s work. She examines the works’ of feminist artists and writers such as Octavia Butler, Kara Walker and Rebecca Morgan.

In 2020, she completed her year as a 2019 Mary L. Nohl fellow, continued as a teaching artist-in-residence at the Lynden Sculpture Garden and guest curated an exhibition hosted by NADA art fair with Green Gallery. Most recently, she created an illustration of Art Preserve artists for the west wall in the Social STUDIO, which will be on view February through December.

Lilada Gee

Lilada Gee is an artist, muralist, healer, preacher, author, international inspirational speaker and podcast host. Drawing upon her experiences as a survivor of both childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence, Lilada founded a non-profit organization—Defending Black Girlhood—that specializes in advocating for Black girls being safe in their homes, schools and communities to live, learn and be loved. Via her Black Woman Heal Collective, she has sparked an international healing movement throughout the African Diaspora that empowers Black women to create safe places for themselves and Black girls to heal. For more information, please visit Lilada.org.

Lilada is a life-long Madison, Wisconsin resident and mother of two awesome adult children–Alexandra and Christian.

Martina Patterson

Martina Patterson is a Master Naturalist, Arts and Nature Educator. Through her art, fiber and mixed media, she attempts to explore, share, and emanate the loops and patterns that define connections with the intent to grow, inspire, and educate. For over 7 years, Martina has served as a volunteer, artist, and community organizer for FLOW; a rural, urban consortium of artists, farmers, and creatives who seek to highlight and grow the connections between rural and urban spaces through culture, art, agriculture, food, soil, and water. Some of the most recent collaborative art works can be viewed on The Great Sauk State Trail and Baraboo Middle School.(Links below) Recent Nature projects include: trail building and future land restoration in Milwaukee, WI located at the intersection of 35th and Hopkins Streets; planting Apple Trees from Sauk County – Maa Wakacak (Ho-Chunk Sacred Earth) near Baraboo, WI into Havenwoods State Forest in Milwaukee, WI. To view more of Martina’s art and learn more about Nature please follow @jupiter_allen for art and @herbsnflowers.stemsnroots for all things Nature.

Maxime Banks

Maxime Banks is an award-winning, interdisciplinary artist, a time traveller of the Black American Diaspora with Chicago, Louisiana, Mississippi roots. A child of immigrants of the American Great Migration from the rural South to the urban North, she is affected by intergenerational anxiety of place through spacetime gravity.

Her praxis intersects science, visual art, technology and design with otherness sensations across afrofuture anamnesis, collage, writing, poetry, textiles and painting.

Quantum physics, space travel and cosmology inspire Maxime’s image making, research and imagination in creating an Afro-galactic archive; autoethnography of Black portraiture, the Universe, writing, the Black woman body, quantum poetics creating thematic metaphors of hybridity, artefact, fragment.

She composes self-portraits as documentary constellations of her journey as a Black American woman emigrant to Europe and then to the Southern Antipodes. She translates quantum entanglement, quantum tunnelling and subatomic particle ghosts as metaphors of Black alienation, Blackness ontology and Black Joy.

Maxime is a filmmaker transmuting sound and memory, the cosmos, found images, archives and Mama Nature as forms of time travel.

She is exploring experimental, avant-garde filmmaking techniques to construct counter-narrative documentary expanding the contemporary cultural conversation of Black beingness futures, autobiography and personal archive.

Maxime received BS and BFS (Honours) from universities in the USA and Paris, France. She studied painting, drawing, biology, biochemistry, fashion design and philosophy. MFA postgraduate research study at the University of New South Wales/UNSW Art & Design, Sydney, Australia. Maxime won a University of WIsconsin-Milwaukee/UWM academic art scholarship to voyage throughout southern France for artistic research and development. She initiated and planned travel throughout the Australian Outback Red Centre and the Northern Territory to explore her interest in Aboriginal rock and cave paintings.

Maxime lives and creates on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung sovereign peoples of the Kulin nation in Melbourne/Naarm Australia.

Nakeysha Roberts Washington

Nakeysha is a performance and literary artist, who has been published in Routledge, various literary journals, and anthologies. She was honored with having a monologue performed in Brooklyn, New York, at the Billie Holiday Theater as part of a showcase entitled 50 in 50: What Place Do We Have in this Movement? This work interrogated Black women’s experiences at the height of the Me Too movement. Around the same time, a work of creative nonfiction entitled, “No Cream” was published in Wisconsin’s Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction. Nakeysha is one-third owner of Circle RP, an educational publishing and consulting agency. Because of her work in education and in the arts, Nakeysha was invited to become a board member for Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee, WI. 13 years of experience as an educator in secondary and post secondary institutions working in areas of Literature and Writing, and Curriculum and Instruction.

Nakeysha presented at the Modern Language Association’s 2019 International Symposium in Lisbon, Portugal as part of a panel to discuss culturally responsive pedagogy in relation to the teaching of writing in urban education. She presented in Baltimore, MD at the National Council of Teachers of English where she collaboratively presented Accessing Culturally Responsive Practice through Onsite National Writing Project Institutes. She was also co-presented/ co-facilitated with the Story Collider team for Biology Leadership Community Virtual Summit.

Nakeysha Roberts Washington, M.S. Ed is the owner and Creative Director of Genre: Urban Arts (GUA). Through Genre: Urban Arts’ platform, creatives can grow their skills through workshops and courses, become published on its site or in one of its print publications, showcase art and multidisciplinary works through exhibitions curated and designed by the GUA team, and flex one’s performance skills at organized pop-up events. GUA is now a playground for 2500+ creatives, all who have their own medium in which they create— Their own Genre.

Because of Nakeysha’s long history in education, GUA received and accepted many invitations as an educational consultant group to develop literacy and arts workshops that centered upon culturally responsive practices, anti-racist/anti-biases philosophies, and social justice topics. Many of these workshops required website development and content creation for virtual exhibitions that showcase art and writing of the participants.

Nia Wilson

Nia Wilson is a multidisciplinary artist and storyteller based in Milwaukee, WI. She received her BA in Studio Art and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in spring of 2020. Her artistic explorations span from fibers, video, painting, photography, sculpture, poetry, and narrative forms. In 2018, she extended her studies abroad to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she took art courses at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. During her time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wilson received an internship at IPEAFRO- Institution of Afro-Brazilian Research and Studies, an institute aimed to preserve, research, and educate around the Afro-descendant culture in Brazil and keep the legacy of the late artist, Abdias Nascimento. Wilson has worked with Community Arts organizations within Milwaukee, such as Artist Working in Education. Currently, she has a fellowship at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in the Education Department. Wilson has exhibited her artwork in multiple venues throughout Milwaukee, including UWM Kenilworth Gallery, Redline MKE, COMB Gallery, Art is for Lovers Gallery and the Cocoon Room.

Portia Cobb

Portia Cobb is an inter-disciplinary artist deeply interested in telling stories that reflect the double consciousness of Black American identity, history, memory and forced forgetting. Her body of work and research has joined these themes within short-form documentary video, digital photography, field recordings, collaborative installation and community engaged performance art.

She teaches at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres.

Rhonda Gatlin-Hayes

Rhonda Gatlin-Hayes is a self-taught artist. As a child, she drew birds, butterflies, flowers, people, crocheted, and experimented with corrugated cardboard, fabrics, & found objects, to create something new and fun out of broken or discarded items.

Rhonda’s first major project as a was a three-story Victorian dollhouse made of cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, dollhouse miniatures, carpet & fabric scraps leftover from projects her mother had completed.

Upon her mother’s death, who was an avid seamstress, quilter, and crafter, she inherited lots of sewing notions, buttons, various types of fabrics, and many different crafting items. Inspired by the idea that broken, devalued, disregarded or unwanted items can be re-purposed and re-elevated by creating art from these inherited and found objects, Rhonda’s creativity re-emerged.

Rhonda’s detailed assemblages and collages depict whimsical but lifelike, playful works of art incorporating fabric, leather, beads, glass, wood, screws, nails, buttons, wire, metal, shells, rocks, minerals, bone, string, paper, feathers, nuts & bolts, uniting unlikely objects to show the beauty in their differences.

Celebrating the strength of the human spirit, these representational masks depict and carry the message that everyone has worth and that no one should be taken at face value, but that everyone should be looked at more closely, for what lies beneath. Fascinated by the uniqueness and the individuality of others Rhonda’s body of work is the result of instinctive creativity that is fueled by what is behind the “Masks We Wear.

Rosemary Ollison

Rosemary Ollison (b. 1942) is a self-taught artist who lives in Milwaukee, WI. When she was 16 years old she moved to the midwest from a plantation in Arkansas. She began making art in 1994 while healing from an abusive marriage and for the next 25 years has explored numerous media. Most of her work deals thematically with her identity as a black women and celebrates the power, individuality and mystique of other women. Besides drawing, Rosemary collects glass, leather, bracelets, beads, bones and jewelry and repurposes these materials into sculptural works. She has redesigned her small apartment with layers of pattern, duct tape sculptures, curtains of woven leather, crazy quilts and inventive drawings. She also designs clothing and writes poetry. Ollison says she creates in dialog with God: “When I am creating I am satisfied, I am free! I no longer just exist, I am alive!”

Portrait Society first presented her work in a major exhibition in 2016, which included a room-sized installation that was a recreation of her living room, with a four channel video (by Ted Brusubardis).

PSG has presented her work at the Outsider Art Fair, New York, each year since 2017. She has also shown her work at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, the Saint Kate Art Hotel, Racine Art Museum (Racine, WI), Haggerty Museum of Art (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI) UWM Union Gallery, Milwaukee; Indianapolis Public Library; Walker’s Point Center for the Arts; Uihlein Peters Gallery; Cissy Peltz Gallery, Milwaukee; and Alphons Gallery. Her work is included in the collections of the Lynden Sculpture Garden, Northwester Mutual Insurance collection, Chipstone Foundation and the Milwaukee Art Museum. She is represented by Portrait Society Gallery.

Photo by Lois Bielefeld.

Rosy Petri

Rosy Petri is a mother, artist, and storyteller from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2021, Petri served as the inaugural Artist in Residence at the bell hooks center at Berea College. In 2020, she was selected as a Mary L Nohl Emerging Artist Fellow and a Mildred L. Harpole Artist of the Year from the City of Milwaukee Arts Board. In 2019, as the 11th Pfister Artist in Residence, Petri created a space to showcase her fabric portraits, record podcast interviews, and celebrate traditions of the African diaspora. Petri was a Milwaukee Artist Resource Network mentee under artist Della Wells. Petri’s work can be viewed in several prominent Milwaukee locations, including the Pfister Hotel, Northwestern Mutual’s Giving Gallery, and the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Petri’s art and fine craft can be found at www.thisisparadisehome.com.

Ruthie Joy

Ruthie Joy is a self taught visual artist, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1956 where she still resides. Joy graduated from Alverno College in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She grew up surrounded by family members who were talented artists in some respect. Her works are saturated with bright colors that flow across various mediums including canvas, paper, ceramic and glass. She experiments with used coffee grounds which when combined with acrylics paint allows her to create a heavy multi dimensional texture on her pieces. Joy uses her art to express the significant role of hair in defining the identities various cultures particularly, African Americans. She uses her own hair as an integral part of her art to add depth and authenticity.

Joy has exhibited in several juried shows and galleries. In 2019 she was accepted into MARN (Milwaukee Artist Resource Network) mentor program. She was also part of the Women of Creativity show at the Museum of Wisconsin Art 2020.

Sonji Yarbrough Hunt

Sonji Yarbrough Hunt has made things, makes things and will make more things.

Tanekeya Word

www.tanekeyaword.com

Tanekeya Word creates multimedia visual art: paintings, drawings, fine art prints and book art. She is an art educator, cultural arts organizer and scholar based in Milwaukee, WI. Word earned a BA in English and Afro-American Studies, 2006, from Howard University and studied Painting under James Phillips of AfriCOBRA. She has a MA in Arts Management, 2011, American University. Currently an Urban Education dissertator, with a specialization in Critical Race Theory in Art Education, Tanekeya Word’s forthcoming dissertation (2022) is entitled: Black Womanhood + Black Aesthetics in Art Education. She has participated in national exhibitions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koplin Del Rio Gallery and HighPoint Center for Printmaking. Her work is held in private and public collections: the Getty Research Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Smith College Museum of Art and Milwaukee Art Museum. Tanekeya Word is the owner and sole operator of Womanist Press Studio and the founder of Black Women of Print.

Sharon Kerry Harlan

Sharon Kerry-Harlan is known for her textile works, paper collages, and paintings. Her work explores elements of her ancestry while resonating with a clear understanding of both the chaos and the order of modern, metropolitan life. “As an artist, I have a sense of obligation to leave a mark behind—to let future generations know what is happening and how it’s happening. It’s important to preserve information from a variety of sources, not just those in power.

Kerry-Harlan grew up with extensive exposure to art from a young age, attending schools that emphasized fine arts and participating in art competitions and exhibits. She moved to the Midwest as an adult, where she graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University, married, started a family, and worked as an Academic Coordinator at Marquette University. She also taught textile and quilting courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At the same time, she began taking classes at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, developing her body of work alongside her professional career.

Now retired from the educational field and focused full-time on making art, Kerry-Harlan continues to create and experiment with fabric manipulation in her characteristic mixed-media and painted works. Her works have been collected and exhibited by museums across the country and internationally.

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