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MIAD Creativity Series

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 6 p.m.

Cas Holman – “The Power of Play: How We Can Use Imagination and Curiosity to Change the World”
MIAD, 273 E. Erie St. Milwaukee

Free admission. Tickets are required for this event due to limited seating. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

We are excited to share that MIAD’s Creativity Series with Cas Holman has SOLD OUT.
If your plans have changed and you will no longer be able to attend, please email to allow our waitlisted guests the opportunity to attend.

About the presentation

Award-winning toy designer and educator Cas Holman illustrates how play is a fundamental element of creativity. Using her own design work and decades of observing and facilitating play, Holman explains how play inspires unexpected outcomes and allows for new discoveries.

Holman is founder and principal at toy company Heroes will Rise, and the designer of the world-renowned RIGAMAJIG. Her work can be seen at

Generously sponsored by the Ruth Foundation for the Arts.

“Through the MIAD Creativity Series, the college will bring distinctive and internationally renowned creatives to Milwaukee from a broad spectrum of the visual arts to enrich the experiences of MIAD students while engaging the community in new ways of thinking about, and appreciating, the arts and the world of design.”

MIAD Past Board Chair Madeleine Kelly Lubar

 Click on a bar to find out more about previous visiting creatives.
Want to relive a past Creativity Series visit? Listen to the available podcasts.
vanessa german presents "citizen artist" | November 10, 2022

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6 p.m.
vanessa german presents “citizen artist”
MIAD, 273 E. Erie St. Milwaukee

Free admission. Tickets are required for this event due to limited seating. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

This event is generously supported by Bert L. and Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust.

About the presentation

Sculptor, painter, writer, activist, performer, poet and visual storyteller, vanessa german is known for her sculptural assemblages or “Power Figures.” german will offer an intimate, interactive talk that journeys through the worlds of her practice as a visual and performance artist.

In conjunction with Then as Now: Woodland Pattern 1980-2022 exhibition on view through December 3, 2022.

Note: No audio recording, video recording or photography is permitted during this event.

About vanessa german
(b. Milwaukee, WI 1976)

vanessa german is a self-taught citizen artist working across sculpture, performance, communal rituals, immersive installation, and photography, in order to repair and reshape disrupted systems, spaces, and connections. The artist’s practice proposes new models for social healing, utilizing creativity and tenderness as vital forces to reckon with the historical and ongoing catastrophes of structural racism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, resource extraction, and misogynoir.

A visual storyteller, german utilizes assemblage and mixed media, combining locally found objects to build protective ritualistic structures known as her power figures or tar babies. Modeled on Congolese Nkisi sculptures and drawing on folk art practices, they are embellished with materials including beading, glass, fabric, and sculpted wood, and come into existence at the axis on which Black power, spirituality, mysticism and feminism converge.

german’s artistic practice is intertwined with and inextricable from her dedicated role in activism and community leadership. In 2011, german founded the Love Front Porch, an arts initiative for the women, children, and families of the local neighborhood that began after she moved her studio practice onto the front steps of her home. Three years later, in 2014, german opened the ARThouse, which combines a community studio, a large garden, an outdoor theatre, and an artist residency.

german has been awarded the 2015 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, the 2017 Jacob Lawrence Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2018 United States Artist Grant and, most recently, the 2018 Don Tyson Prize from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Her work is held in private and public collections including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Akron Art Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, High Museum of Art, Montclair Art Museum, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Everson Museum of Art, Figge Art Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Titus Kaphar - Making Space for Black History: Amending the Landscape of American Art | February 5, 2020

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 6 p.m.

Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar presents “Making Space for Black History: Amending the Landscape of American Art”
MIAD’s 4th Floor Raw Space. Free admission. .

Generous support by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s African American Art Alliance and the Layton Visiting Artist Fund.

About the presentation

Titus Kaphar confronts history and the canon of Western art head on – exposing troubling histories of our nation’s past and amplifying the voices of those who cannot speak for themselves.

About Titus Kaphar

A painter, sculptor and activist, Kaphar’s work is in public collections worldwide and his numerous accolades include:

  • 2018 MacArthur Fellow
  • 2018 Art for Justice Fund grantee
  • 2018 Rappaport Prize winner
  • 2016 Robert R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist
  • 2015 Creative Capital grantee

Kaphar’s artworks capture the spirit of social justice and change in America today (exemplified in his TIME cover portrait of the Ferguson protests).

The public presentation for the MIAD Creativity Series is part of a short residency at MIAD, during which Kaphar will engage with MIAD students in the classroom as well as with Milwaukee Public School students.

Strange Fire Collective - Institutional Questions/Questioning Institutions | October 25, 2019
Strange Fire Collective

Strange Fire Collective founding members (clockwise from top left): Hamidah Glasgow, Jess T. Dugan, Rafael Soldi and Zora J Murff

Friday, October 25, 2019, 6 p.m.

Presented by the four founding members of the Strange Fire Collective – Jess T. Dugan, Rafael Soldi, Zora J Murff and Hamidah Glasgow
MIAD’s 4th Floor Raw Space
Free admission. Seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

About the presentation

The Strange Fire artist collective founders address three topics – policing bodies, political action and access to power – through the works and words of artists, curators and writers from unique and diverse perspectives.

About Strange Fire Collective

The Strange Fire artist collective, formed in 2015 by Jess T. Dugan, Rafael Soldi, Zora J Murff and Hamidah Glasgow, is a group of interdisciplinary artists, curators and writers focused on work that engages with current social and political forces. They seek to create a venue for work that critically questions the dominant social hierarchy and are dedicated to highlighting work made by women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.

Their collective practice is centered around increasing the visibility of meaningful work and creating dialogue and community through publications, exhibitions and events. They are committed to making their projects accessible, affordable and socially relevant.

The public presentation for the MIAD Creativity Series is part of a short residency at MIAD, during which the Strange Fire Collective members will engage with students in the classroom.

Related Exhibitions

Strange Fire Collective’s “In this body of mine” exhibition is on view October 18 – December 7, 2019 in MIAD’s Frederick Layton Gallery. The exhibition is generously supported in part by the Mary L. Nohl Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The exhibition features works of 14 Strange Fire Collective artists and questions what it means to occupy a body – and how bodies are policed – through an intersectional lens spanning gender, sexuality, race and representation. MIAD’s galleries are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

In addition, works by Strange Fire foundation members will be on display in MIAD’s Perspectives Gallery in Room 299 at MIAD from October 18 – December 7, 2019.

Michael DelGuadio - Design++: Living at the Intersection of People and Technology | February 13, 2019

Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 6 p.m.

Michael DelGaudio presents “Design++: Living at the Intersection of People and Technology”
MIAD’s 4th Floor Raw Space

Michael DelGaudio shares the critical role designers play in shaping how we experience new products, environments, brands and the world around us.

The MIAD Creativity Series is generously sponsored by the Bert L. & Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by Angela Colbert, Russ Jankowski and Deborah Sova.

Michael DelGaudio

Michael DelGaudio, UX Design Lead, Google

About Michael DelGaudio

Michael DelGaudio is the UX Design Lead at Google, where he leads user experience teams for Android TV and Internet of Things. His teams develop strategy and design for Google’s new and emerging products. His belief is that all products can be made better by understanding people and how they use technology.

Prior to Google, DelGaudio was Creative Director at Frog Design New York where he reinvented innovation services and worked on products, design systems and user interfaces for companies such as GE, Verizon, United Nations and Ernst & Young. He holds multiple design patents and is a frequent speaker at design and technology conferences worldwide.

DelGaudio received an undergraduate degree from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in Communication Design and a graduate degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. He formerly taught at the School of Visual Arts and currently serves on the Milwaukee School of Engineering industrial advisory committee. He resides in California where he enjoys sunshine, rock climbing, and running marathons.

DelGaudio’s public presentation for the MIAD Creativity Series is part of a short residency at MIAD, during which he will engage with students in the classroom.


LaToya Ruby Frazier - Art as Transformation: Using Photography for Social Change | November 14, 2018

November 14, 2018, 6 p.m.

LaToya Ruby Frazier presents “Art as Transformation: Using Photography for Social Change”
MIAD’s 4th Floor Raw Space
Free admission. Seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

About LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier (Image: Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine MacArthur Foundation)

For LaToya Ruby Frazier, art is a weapon—a catalyst for social justice. Her photographs and videos document today’s America: post-industrial cities riven by poverty, racism, healthcare inequality, and environmental toxicity. Bridging the personal with the social, her gorgeous work amplifies the voices of the vulnerable and transforms our sense of place and self.

Frazier was chosen by Ebony as one of its 100+ Most Powerful Women of All Time, and is a visual artist and TED Fellow. Her first book The Notion of Family received the International Center for Photography Infinity Award. Frazier has received the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

Frazier’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and internationally, with solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Seattle Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Her most recent exhibit, “On the Making of Steel Genesis,” is a profile of artist and archivist of black working-class life, Sarah Gould Ford. In The Atlantic’s Martin Luther King Jr. issue, Frazier utilized a helicopter and aerial photography techniques to capture how Memphis, Baltimore and Chicago have responded to decades of oppression.

Frazier holds a BFA in applied media arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in art photography from Syracuse University. She has studied under the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow for visual arts at the American Academy in Berlin. She is an Associate Professor of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has previously held academic and curatorial positions at Yale University School of Art, Rutgers University and Syracuse University.

Frazier’s public presentation for the MIAD Creativity Series is part of a two-day residency at MIAD, during which she will engage with students in the classroom.

Jaime Hayon - Form Follows Function, and Then What? | February 13, 2018

Jaime Hayon, an iconic international artist-designer, joins the MIAD Creativity Series February 13-14, 2018. He gives a public presentation, “Form Follows Function, and Then What?,” February 13, 2018 at 6 p.m. in MIAD’s 4th Floor Raw Space. 

Generously supported by the Bert L. & Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust. Additional support provided by Tim & Sue Frautschi.

Hayon’s visit is co-hosted with the Milwaukee Art Museum. Hayon’s current exhibition, “Jaime Hayon: Technicolor,” is on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum through March 25, 2018. The museum will host an Artist Gallery Talk February 14 at 2 p.m.

jaimehayonwebAbout Jaime Hayon

With his installation projects Mediterranean Digital Baroque (2003) and Mon Cirque (2006), Jaime Hayon emerged as an artist-designer at the forefront of a new wave in contemporary design. He participated in London’s Design Week 2009 and had his first survey exhibition, Funtastico, at the Groninger Museum, in the Netherlands, in 2013.

Wallpaper magazine included Hayon in its Design Power List, featuring one hundred of the world’s most powerful players; Time magazine also lauded him as a “visionary” and one of the “most creative icons.”

Hayon has designed furniture, accessories, lighting fixtures, footwear, menswear and more for iconic brands such as Baccarat, Fritz Hansen, & Tradition, Magis, Swarovski, Whittman, Cassina and Arflex.

Photo courtesy of Hayonstudio. Portrait by Klunderbie. 

Rob Schrab - Embrace the Dumb: The Rob Schrab Experience | November 16, 2017

The MIAD Creativity Series welcomes Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated writer and director Rob Schrab November 14-16, 2017. He gives a public presentation titled “Embrace the Dumb: The Rob Schrab Experience” on Wednesday, November 15 at 6 p.m. in MIAD’s 4th Floor Raw Space. 

ArgosyFoundation Logo Black1Generously sponsored by the Argosy Foundation.

About Rob Schrab

robschrabheadshot1Schrab is a MIAD alumnus (’92 Illustration). He has made his mark in Hollywood writing the Oscar-nominated animated film “Monster House,” co-writing an Emmy-winning musical opening for Hugh Jackman at the “81st Academy Awards,” and co-creating the critically acclaimed “The Sarah Silverman Program” for Comedy Central. Most recently, Schrab served as Consultant Producer of FOX’s “Ghosted.”

Schrab also directed 19 episodes of “The Sarah Silverman Program,” as well as episodes of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and “Community,” Spike’s “Blue Mountain State,” Adult Swim’s “Childrens Hospital,” and “The Mindy Project” for Hulu, among other projects.

He conceptualized the trippy brainwashing sequence for the movie “Zoolander,” wrote/directed the internet promotion for “Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny,” produced VH1’s “Acceptable.TV” series, animated a segment for “Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show” and directed the “Crooked Teeth” music video for Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans album.

His Hollywood career launched in 1997 when the popularity of his cult comic book Scud: The Disposable Assassin was optioned by Oliver Stone and made into two video games. In 2003, Schrab co-founded Channel 101, a competitive digital festival that spawned talent such as The Lonely Island, Tim & Eric and Human Giant.

Schrab continues to write, direct and animate feature film, television and digital media. He is originally from Mayville, Wis., and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Guerrilla Girls - Feminist Activist Artists | February 22, 2017

cs guerrilla 1

They could be anyone. They could be anywhere. And after decades, the Guerrilla Girls are more relevant than ever.


Nationally-recognized feminist activist artists the Guerrilla Girls join the MIAD Creativity Series February 22 – 23, 2017, with a public presentation Wednesday, February 22, 6 p.m.

Their visit is generously sponsored by Katie Heil, Madeleine Lubar and the Bert L. and Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. RSVP preferred but not required to

“The work of the Guerrilla Girls elevates cage bar rattling to fine art.”
The New York Times

“Their material remains true, outrageous and provocative.”

From the Guerrilla Girls website:

The Guerrilla Girls are feminist activist artists. Over 55 people have been members over the years, some for weeks, some for decades. Our anonymity keeps the focus on the issues, and away from who we might be.

We wear gorilla masks in public and use facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture. We undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked and the downright unfair.

We believe in an intersectional feminism that fights discrimination and supports human rights for all people and all genders. We have done over 100 street projects, posters and stickers all over the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Mexico City, Istanbul, London, Bilbao, Rotterdam and Shanghai, to name just a few.

We also do projects and exhibitions at museums, attacking them for their bad behavior and discriminatory practices right on their own walls, including our 2015 stealth projection about income inequality and the super rich hijacking art on the façade of the Whitney Museum in New York. Our retrospectives in Bilbao and Madrid, Guerrilla Girls 1985-2015, and our U.S. traveling exhibition “Guerrilla Girls: Not Ready To Make Nice” have attracted thousands.

More info on the Guerrilla Girls.
Watch them on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Asher Israelow - Furniture Designer | November 16, 2016
CS asher web 2Asher Israelow is the next visiting creative for the MIAD Creativity Series, Wednesday, November 16, 6 p.m.
Furniture and building designer Asher Israelow joins the MIAD Creativity Series November 15 – 17. A public presentation, “Asher Israelow: Craft and Lore,” is Wednesday, November 16, 6 p.m.
Israelow says his talk will “be an exhibition of my studio process and projects where inlay, mapping and storytelling are major components of the work.”
“I am attracted to most art forms and have a hard time distinguishing art from design. I think when design is done well, it becomes art.”
Asher Israelow

CS asher israelow headshotAbout Asher Israelow
Asher Israelow was born in New York City and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with degrees in fine arts and architecture. Back in New York, he currently works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, designing buildings and building furniture.
Drawing on his training as an architect and a love of lore, Asher designs work for the modern explorer. All the materials are ethically and locally sourced, building upon the importance of origins.

CS asher jewel table

Each piece narrates the story of its materials, with an honest approach to joinery and a touch of conceit. The studio produces all original and small batch pieces designed to last for generations. The work emphasizes a handcrafted and emergent vision of contemporary culture.

Israelow was named a 30 under 30 Designer by Forbes Art & Style in 2012.

Selected publications include:

Image: Jewel Table; American Black Walnut, Solid Brass Details; 109 x 42 x 30″

Amos Kennedy - Print Artist | November 11, 2015

Amos Kennedy joined the MIAD Creativity Series Wednesday, November 11, 6 p.m.

cs kennedy coffee black web

Kennedy left his corporate job at the age of 40 to pursue his passion for printing and continues to redefine the rules of printmaking everyday. In 2008, a critically acclaimed documentary, “Proceed and Be Bold!,” was produced about him by BrownFinch Films.

image | MIADDuring his week-long visit to MIAD beginning Monday, November 9, Kennedy was an artist in action. The community was invited to witness him printing in public spaces and view his variety of prints that tiled the walls of MIAD and were for sale during the public presentation. Kennedy’s talk discussed the nature of printmaking and the content of his work.

Kennedy enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study under Walter Hamady, a legendary book designer and papermaker, and earned an MFA in 1997. He later taught graphic design at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts at Indiana Universiry, before heading back home to the Deep South and dedicating himself to printing full time.

Kennedy’s Talk on November 11

Robert Sabuda - Pop-up book artist | February 15, 2015

sabuda-headshotWith generous sponsorship by Eileen and Barry Mandel, Robert Sabuda joined the MIAD Creativity Series as the seventh visiting creative on Wednesday, February 25, 6 p.m.

Sabuda’s public presentation, “The Science and Art of Paper Engineering,” was from 6 – 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A moderated by Bonnie North, WUWM Lake Effect Producer and Co-Host. A reception and Boswell Book Company hosted book signing was from 7:15 – 8 p.m.

The presentation, reception and book signing were on MIAD’s Fourth Floor, 273 E. Erie Street.

MIAD Professor Christiane Grauert says, “Robert Sabuda persistently pushes the boundaries of what is feasible within pop-up design. He will provide an insight into his challenging negotiation of artistic vision and engineering considerations.”

About Robert Sabuda:
Robert Sabuda is a #1 New York Times best-selling children’s book creator, leading children’s pop-up book artist and paper engineer. Sabuda’s recent books, such as those depicting the stories of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan have received wide popular and critical acclaim.


He is a two-time recipient of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award and has over five million books in print. He is the co-creator of the Encyclopedia Prehistorica pop-up trilogy, which has been translated into over 25 languages worldwide.

Sabuda appears regularly on the television programs The Today ShowGood Morning America and Martha Stewart where he shares his enthusiasm for creativity, children’s book art and literature. He has also been an associate professor at Pratt, where he began a program in Paper Engineering that continues to encourage the next generation of paper artists.

He lives and works in New York. Arrangements for the appearance of Robert Sabuda made through Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau, New York, NY.


bbc-logo-webSpecial information about the book signing, hosted by Boswell Book Company:
A variety of Robert Sabuda’s books were available for purchase to have signed, including his newest release, The Dragon & The Knight: A Pop-Up Misadventure. Book prices range from $18-35.

Event attendees were able to bring their own books to be signed. Boswell pre-ordered books were available at the event by ordering form through

RSVP preferred, but not required to

Watch a video of Sabuda’s work.
More information on Robert Sabuda.

Mark Dziersk - Managing Director, LUNAR Design | November 12, 2014

November 12 – 13: Mark Dziersk, Managing Director at LUNAR Design

“Design Thinking, Creativity & Risk” 

Wednesday, November 12, 6 p.m.
dziersk-headshotMIAD’s Fourth Floor
Sponsored in part by the Bert L. & Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust

Mark Dziersk is the Managing Director at LUNAR Design, based in Chicago. He is a recognized expert in industrial design and brand management, and has worked for a large range of clients including Hewlett Packard, Unilever, Dell and Nestle. Dziersk is also a sought-after contributor to Fast Company magazine, holds more than 100 patents and has won numerous awards, including IDEA Gold and ID Magazine Best of Category. He is past president of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), and the current editor of Innovation Magazine for IDSA.

Fast facts:

  • cs-dziersk-speakerKnown for reinventing and revitalizing brands through the use of design
  • Designed Dove’s award-winning “Real Beauty” campaign
  • Fast Company’s blogger for “Design Finds You”

Recent articles by Dziersk include:
Head Before Hands: When Design Meets Strategy
Brand Bloodlines

More information on Mark Dziersk.

Dana Arnett - Founding Principal & CEO, VSA Partners | March 25, 2014

The MIAD Creativity Series returned Tuesday, March 25, 6 p.m. with Dana Arnett for “Change is Possible.

dana-arnett-cs-headshotThe event, which was free and open to the public, was held on MIAD’s Third Floor, with a reception following.

Chicago-based Dana Arnett, founding principal and CEO at VSA Partners, propelled the fifth installment of the Creativity Series with his leadership in international branding, design and enterprise.

In a Design Thinking Out Loud video series, Arnett says, “You have to have a creative mindset to solve today’s complex business problems.”

“The work of VSA Partners doesn’t stop at amazing answers. Instead their work creates strategic advantages and takes a leadership position for not only shaping external perceptions, but building and strengthening internal culture from a renewed self understanding. Clients of VSA often learn something profoundly exciting and rewarding that they didn’t realize about themselves and what their true potential is!”
Michael Davidson, MIAD Chair of Fine Arts

Arnett is a founding Principal and CEO of the internationally recognized firm of VSA Partners, headquartered in Chicago, with offices in New York City and Detroit. Arnett and his colleagues are known for creating award-winning design programs, digital and interactive initiatives, and brand marketing solutions for a diverse roster of clients including: Harley-Davidson, IBM, General Electric, Coca-Cola, Thomas Reuters and Nike.

Over the course of his 30 years in the field, Arnett and the firm have been globally recognized by over 60 competitions and designations including: Communication Arts, AIGA, Graphis, ID, The LA Film Festival, the AR100 and the American Marketing Association. Arnett was a 1999 inductee into the Alliance Graphique Internationale, and holds the honor of being named to the ID40 – who has cited him as one of the 40 most important people shaping design internationally. He was recently announced as the 2014 recipient of the AIGA Medal, the highest honor of the design profession.

Arnett is a former member of the AIGA National Board of Directors and he currently serves as a board member of the Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is also active as an advisor and member of the business development and venture capital group, Cueball Collective, who fund and incubate consumer and socially driven ventures.





Image courtesy of Dana Arnett.
Watch a video about VSA Partners, “Dana Arnett: Beyond Design.”


Nicola López & Gandalf Gaván - International Artists | November 12 - 15, 2013

International artists Nicola López and Gandalf Gaván engaged the MIAD and Milwaukee communities November 12 – 15 during the continuation of the MIAD Creativity Series.

The two world-traveled and exhibiting artists visited classes and studios of foundations students to seniors. On Thursday, November 14, 6 – 7:30 p.m. at MIAD, they participated in public Artist Talks and a Community Conversation moderated by Bonnie North, Arts Producer/Co-Host of Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect (WUWM 89.7).

lopezheadshotNicola López
Born in Santa Fe, Nicola López currently lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. Through her work in installation, drawing and printmaking, she describes and reconfigures our contemporary – primarily urban – landscape.

cs-lopez-closed-systemsLópez’s focus on describing “place” stems from an interest in urban planning, architecture and anthropology, fueled by time spent working and traveling in different landscapes. her site-specific work, Un-building Things is on view at the Balcony Lounge at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Watch Nicola López creating the site-specific installation for the Balcony Lounge at the Met.

Click here to view more of her works, bio, artist’s statement and exhibitions.
Click here to see López’s 2013 exhibition, Land of Illusion, at New York’s Pace Prints. Watch her create prints for this exhibition.

gavanheadshotGandalf Gaván

Gandalf Gaván was born in Berlin, Germany, and raised between Germany and New Mexico. He has lived and worked extensively in Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Morocco and Germany; currently residing in Brooklyn.

Among his extensive exhibitions and accomplishments, he is the first non-Mexican artist to exhibit work at the National Museum of Fine Art in Mexico City. Re(a)prendido was on view from December 10, 2012 – February 28, 2013. Read about the artist and exhibit here.

cs-gavan-reaprenAccording to the October Gallery in London, where in 2011 Gaván exhibited Knots, “the artist’s works [created in his studio in Oaxaca, Mexico] are rendered through a prolific use of media – painting, drawing, glass, neon, anamorphic mirror, photography, ceramics and weaving … projecting a dazzling energy.”

Click here for his resume.
Click here to read his bio.

First image: Nicola López
Second image: Nicola López, Closed System II, woodcut on mylar, construction lights, zip ties, tape; 11 x 20 x 20′
Third image: Gandalf Gaván
Fourth image: Gandalf Gaván, re(aprendido), 2012, neon, glass, mirrors, paintings by Jose Juarez, 30 x 30 x 60′

View work from the artists on flickr. 

James Ludwig - Vice President of Global Design, Steelcase Inc. | April 23, 2013

series-ludwig-headshot-webIndustrial designer, architect and brand expert James Ludwig continued the MIAD Creativity Series with a public presentation and conversation – “Curiosity and Empathy as Essential to Design” – April 23, 6 – 7:15 p.m.

His visit was hosted in collaboration with Discovery World Center for Innovation, where the free, public presentation was held.

Ludwig is vice president of global design for Steelcase Inc., a global leader in the office furniture industry with a portfolio focusing on architecture, furniture and technology products.

series-ludwig-work-webIn a video interview for the Business Innovation Factory, Ludwig said of Steelcase, “We are as much concerned about what goes on around our products as the products themselves – broader social issues, cultural issues, anthropological issues, all those intertwined things.”

Before joining Steelcase in 1999, Ludwig was a founding partner of bold:architects.designers., an interdisciplinary design consultancy. There he promoted teams of architects and designers – both product and graphic – to realize diverse projects such as new buildings and renovations in the reconstruction of a reunited Berlin, furniture and office products, and graphic programs for international clients.

Madeleine Lubar said, “The college is honored to host an international designer of James Ludwig’s repute as the third ‘creative’ to participate in the MIAD Creativity Series.

series-ludwig-work-2-webBy joining artists Dana Schutz and Ryan Johnson, who visited MIAD in March, and Mark Rios, who visited in November of 2012, James Ludwig elevates the series’ mission of enriching the experiences of MIAD students while engaging the community in new ways of thinking about, and appreciating, the arts and the world of design.”

In addition to his April 23 evening presentation at Discovery World, Ludwig engaged with MIAD students on that day, and on April 24, when he participated in MIAD Define Day, an integral part of the 2013 Senior Exhibition encompassing campus-wide inquiry and discussion into the seniors’ journey and the MIAD experience.

Read James Ludwig’s bio.

View a series of 25-second videos with James Ludwig, including “Design is a full contact sport.”

Have 3 quick questions to ask James Ludwig about integrated design?

Dana Schutz & Ryan Johnson - Acclaimed New York-based artists | March 19 - 20, 2013

schutz-piano-webThe MIAD Creativity Series continues with the visit of acclaimed New York-based artists Dana Schutz and Ryan Johnson. In keeping with the mission of the Creativity Series, they will engage with MIAD students and with the general public. Their visit is generously supported by the Bert L. & Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust.

Schutz will give an Artist Talk on Tuesday, March 19, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

dana-schutz-headshotJohnson will give an Artist Talk on Wednesday, March 20, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

The talks, free and open to the public, will be held in MIAD’s painting studios.

Assistant Professor of Painting Kristopher Benedict, who was instrumental in bringing the artists to MIAD, said, “The artists create highly individualized work with an innovative use of fiction and a strong connections to art history.”

ryan-johnson-headshotHe described Dana Schutz “as one of the more internationally recognized and influential artists to emerge in the last decade. Full of color and pictorial invention, her paintings, drawings and prints depict narrative scenes ranging from the ecstatic to the grotesque to the unsettled everyday.”

Ryan Johnson’s sculptures, said Benedict, “blur the distinctions between the real and imagined and offer us a brilliant reflection on the process of representation. He works with a variety of approaches and materials, creating art imbued with a sense of play that is in turn personal and monumental.”


Schutz is represented by Petzel, New York, and Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin.

Johnson is represented by the Suzanne Geiss Company in New York.

View works from the artists (who are also a married couple) and read their bios.
View Schutz’ recent exhibition of paintings at the Denver Art Museum, and of prints and drawings at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.
Read about Johnson’s installation, Self Storage, in the New York Times.
Read the cover story about Schutz in Art in America Magazine.

Top image: Dana Schutz, “Piano in the Rain,” 2012, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York
Second image: Dana Schutz
Third image: Ryan Johnson
Fourth image: Dana Schutz, “Small Apartment,” 2012, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York
Fifth image: Ryan Johnson, “Rocking Horse,” 2012, cedar, plywood, acrylic paint; from Self Storage, Suzanne Geiss Company. Photo: Mattu Placek.

Mark Rios, FAIA, FASLA - Principal, Rios Clementi Hale Studios | November 13 - 16, 2012


“I’ve visited many art and design schools around the world and found an atmosphere and confidence at MIAD that are unique… Students have a clear and well-deserved sense of themselves and their work, and that is a rare thing.”

Mark Rios, FAIA, FASLA, founding principal of Rios Clementi Hale Studio, concluded with these thoughts during his visit to MIAD, which culminated in a Community Presentation attended by more than 200 members of the MIAD and Milwaukee communities.

During his visit to MIAD’s Third Ward campus from November 13 – 16 for the first MIAD Creativity Series, Rios engaged with students in classes, critiques and projects spanning the fine arts and design disciplines, and the GEHC + MIAD Compassion Project, and said, “There is diversity, passion, curiosity, confidence, nurturing and rigor here. Cherish your culture!”

Selected photos from Rios’ visit are available on flickr.

rios-lubars-web“Mark Rios is internationally renowned for redefining the boundaries of design innovation,” said newly elected Board of Trustees Chair Madeleine Lubar. “Words such as ‘culture,’ ‘the storytelling of place,’ ‘community,’ ‘urban responsibility,’ ‘joy’ and ‘iconic form making’ help describe him and his multidisciplinary talents, which will create a one-of-a-kind experience for the college and community.”

rios-collage-webAward-winning faculty joined Rios for the community event:

  • Jill Sebastian, installation, interdisciplinary and public artist, Professor of Sculpture at MIAD;
  • Eric Vogel, architect, designer and Layton Art Collection president, MIAD Chair of 3D Design and Professor of Interior Architecture and Design; and
  • Bonnie North, arts producer and co-host of Lake Effect, WUWM 89.7, moderated.

Members of both the Milwaukee and MIAD communities were intrigued and engaged, valuing Rios’ perspectives on design issues and solutions related to every community, including how to incorporate and represent community views and culture into design.

One student asked the panel about advice for a freshman, and a recent alum in the audience answered that the student already had 18 years of experience and all the tools needed to succeed, to which Rios added, “Be fearless.”

Throughout the visit, Rios drew on his and his studio’s award-winning reputation for collaboration across an unprecedented range of design disciplines: architecture, landscape, interiors, urban design, graphics, branding, planning and product design.

Clients include entertainment studios and venues, cultural institutions, schools and universities, city agencies and departments, retail and restaurant establishments and individuals. Commissions have ranged from the design of public parks – such as the new Grand Park in Los Angeles – plazas and streets, to private gardens, furniture and products. Get to know Mark Rios.


Read the news release to discover why Madeleine Lubar and her husband, David Lubar, provided a grant to found the MIAD Creativity Series.

Read about Art & Architecture Critic Mary Louise Schumacher’s Creativity Series experience in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

First image: Mark Rios, FAIA, FASLA; photo credit: Jim Simmons
Second image: Rios with Madeleine and David Lubar
Third image: Rios with Eric Vogel’s Senior Design Studio class; Rios with students in Will Pergl’s Senior Thesis Seminar; MIAD Creativity Series signage

In the inaugural year of the MIAD Creativity Series, renowned creatives Mark Rios, Dana Schutz & Ryan Johnson, and James Ludwig shared insights, participated in class critiques and gave presentations to the Milwaukee and MIAD communities.