The Susan Cooley-Gilliom Artist in Residence and Teaching (ART) Program is a lasting gift to the many artists, arts educators and students, and arts enthusiasts we are fortunate to have in our community. The program represents a significant part of Susan’s lasting legacy–as a beloved local artist and environmental advocate.
The ART program works to develop and enhance the visual arts through short-term residencies and workshops taught by nationally-established and highly reputable artists who create in a range of media. Past visiting artists include: Michelle Ross, Richard Notkin, Katherine Ace, Laura Ross Paul, Tip Toland, Sergei Isupov and Phoebe Toland.
2017 Visiting Artist: Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen
The Susan Cooley-Gilliom Artist in Residence and Teaching (ART) Program recipient for 2017 is glass sculptor Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen, a nationally recognized artist and the recipient of multiple awards. Willenbrink-Johnsen received her BFA in sculpture from Ohio University and she has taught and had residencies across the U.S. as well as internationally.
About the Artist
The pursuit of my craft as a glass sculptor is centered upon nature, as my encounters with ﬂora and fauna fuel the creative energy which drives me.
Light, color, and dimension in my work brings alive the passion and reverence I feel for the natural world. The energy of animals and plants is so beautiful and pervasive that it serves to ﬁll my spirit, and I am dedicated to sharing this essence with others. To capture a moment and its essential elements – animals, trees, rocks, light – is the distillation of what may have been a moment in time or a long period of study, and the expression that I yearn to share as an artist.
The process of bringing these inspirations to life can be likened to a hunt, as I work with my team to orchestrate the creative process into the capture of a living story. Being able to embrace nature, immerse myself in it, lend to it color, texture, form, and movement is the essence of my art.