2019 Speakers

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Letitia Huckaby
Huckaby Studio

Letitia Huckaby, a photographer at heart, considers her work—focused on faith, family, and legacy—“a time capsule for the African-American experience.” Huckaby starts each piece with an image and progresses from there, pushing the boundaries of photography. Using a traditional practice in an untraditional way, she hopes to create a new visual language. Always looking at how the past relates to the present and whether things have changed or remain the same, Huckaby builds a history into her pieces, whether through process or actual materials, such as heirloom fabrics and the juxtaposition of familiar settings and subjects framed in fresh, unfamiliar ways. Mrs. Huckaby holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, a B.F.A. in photography from the Art Institute of Boston in photography, and a master’s degree from the University of North Texas. She has been privileged to exhibit at the Dallas Contemporary, the Galveston Arts Center, Renaissance Fine Art in Harlem, the McKenna Museum in New Orleans, the Camden Palace Hotel in Cork City, Ireland, and the Texas Biennial at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. Her work is also included in several prestigious collections, including the Library of Congress, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia, and the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection at Scripps College in Claremont, California.  Letitia is represented by the Liliana Bloch Gallery in Dallas and the Anzenberger Gallery in Vienna, Austria.

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Sedrick Huckaby
Huckaby Studio

Sedrick Huckaby began painting quilts as backdrops for portraits. Over time, quilts became the focus—artful messengers telling stories of family, ancestral legacy, and spirituality via draping folds and connected patches. Huckaby’s current work features monumental scale, heavy paint layers, interplay of light and shadow, and a textural softness that defies the hardness of the thick impasto on canvas. Huckaby's recent series, The 99%, comprises more than 100 lithographic portraits created during a residency at the Brandywine Print Workshop in Philadelphia. As director of the List Gallery at Swarthmore College, Andrea Packard, said, “Huckaby's ongoing series focuses . . . on the process of affirming people who might otherwise remain unseen or unimportant. Huckaby often asks his subjects to share a few words about what is most important to them and sometimes includes their words in his compositions. Connecting through both word and image, he makes each portrait session an opportunity to exchange empathy and build community. . . . The 99% affirms the ongoing ability of art to affirm and extend our common humanity.” Mr. Huckaby is the recipient of numerous awards, and his work is on exhibit in several public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Art Institute of Chicago, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, American Embassy in Namibia, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and Yale University Art Gallery. Mr. Huckaby teaches at The University of Texas at Arlington and is represented by Valley House Gallery in Dallas. He and his wife Letitia are parents to three creative children:  Rising Sun-13, Halle Lujah-10, and Rhema Rain-2.

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Lyz Wendland
Augsburg University

Lyz Wendland is a visual artist living and working in Stillwater, Minnesota. She received her MFA from The Minneapolis College of Art and Design and her BFA in drawing, painting and art history from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her work has been exhibited nationally in galleries such as the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND and The Berkeley Art Center in Berkeley, CA. Lyz has been the recipient of a Jerome Foundation Project Grant through the Textile Center (2009) and a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant (2016). She has received numerous faculty development grants and awards for her research on improving participation, critical thinking and motivation relating to art critiques in studio courses. Currently, Lyz is Assistant Professor of Art at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota teaching drawing, painting and design.

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Cara Megan Lewis
Bridge Projects

Photo by: Gloria Araya

Cara Megan Lewis is an artist, artist advocate, and curator. Currently based in Los Angeles, she is involved in launching an exhibition space - Bridge Projects - that will open in Fall 2019. Cara began her supporting role in the arts at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco in 2002 and was a Director at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago between 2012-2016.
Upon receiving her Master's degree in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in 2007, Cara co-founded the Kansas City art gallery, Cara and Cabezas Contemporary. During the gallery's four years of operation, Cara developed an exhibition program that explored socio-political themes and fostered a residency program that hosted artists from Central America and the Caribbean. As a practicing artist, Cara collaborates with her husband under the moniker of Díaz Lewis. On Wednesday mornings, you can find her working as a volunteer in the Bonsai Department at Huntington Gardens.

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Jamie Bennett
ArtPlace America

Jamie Bennett is the executive director of ArtPlace America, a ten-year fund that supports enlisting artists as allies in building equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities. To date, ArtPlace has invested over $100 million to support projects in rural, suburban, tribal, and urban communities of all sizes across the United States, as well as in sharing knowledge from that work in ways that are both useful and actually used by practitioners.  ArtPlace convenes and connects people who are committed to this work in order to help build a strong and ongoing field of practice. Previously, Jamie worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Agnes Gund Foundation, Columbia University, The Museum of Modern Art, and the New York Philharmonic. He lives, works, worships, and plays in Brooklyn, NY and has been sober since 2009.

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Caroline Kent
University of Illinois - Chicago

Caroline Kent is a Chicago based visual artist that explores the relationship between language, translation and abstraction through her expanded painting practice. Kent speculates in both the potential and the limitations of language, and ultimately questions the modernist canon of abstraction. Working from paper to canvas and spanning from sculpture to performance, Kent asserts that painting is not a means to an end but a medium through which one can freely consider how producing new images in the world can potentially operate. Caroline Kent studied at Illinois State University for her undergraduate degree in art (1998) and attended the University of Minnesota for her Masters of Fine Art (2008). Kent has exhibited nationally at The Flag Art Foundation, NY, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, NY, The California African American Museum, LA, The Suburban, Chicago, Company Projects, Minneapolis and The Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha. Most recently she was included in Out of Easy Reach, an exhibition highlighting the contemporary and conceptual expansion of abstraction by American, female-identifying artists from the Black and Latina Diasporas. Kent has received grants from the McKnight Foundation, The Pollock Krasner Foundation and The Jerome Foundation. In 2018, she was a fellow at Paint School, a New York based program of Shandaken Projects. Last year she was also invited as a guest visiting artist to Ox-bow, an artist residency program in Saugatuk, MI. Kent currently teaches at The University of Illinois at Chicago and resides in the city.

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Linnea Spransy
Bridge Projects

Photo by: Anja Spransy

Linnea Spransy's images are generated using rules which are distillations of emergent and chaos theory, the resiliency of natural systems and the metaphysical tension of scientific determinism and free-will. Her work has been exhibited at academic institutions including Princeton University, commercial and non-profit galleries such as White Flag and Rhona Hoffman Gallery. Her collaborations and performances have taken place in NYC, London, and in Dundee, Scotland. She is currently living and working in LA where she co-directs an exhibition space called BridgeProjects.
The name Linnéa is derived from the Latin root for 'line,' which invites speculation that Linnéa Spransy may have had little choice in her vocation or the kind of work she produces. After all, line is her favored tool in satisfying a deep curiosity about the nature of systems and pattern - their diversity, intelligence and disintegration. Having begun her education in a one-room schoolhouse, she finished it at Yale University, with every imaginable form of education in between. Her curiosity about science, philosophy and ultimate questions opened territory she has been exploring ever since.


Rico Gatson

Rico Gatson is a Brooklyn-based artist who received his B.A. from Bethel University and M.F.A. from Yale University. His work addresses identity politics, the history of race, entertainment and spirituality. He has presented solo exhibitions at Pierogi (Brooklyn, NY), Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (New York, NY), Steve Turner Contemporary (Los Angeles, CA), and Exit Art (New York, NY). His works have been included in group exhibitions including The List Visual Arts Center at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston, MA), The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, NY), The Tang Teaching Museum (Saratoga Springs, NY), The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain), Prospect.1 New Orleans (New Orleans, LA), Greater New York at MoMA PS 1 (New York, NY), and the Essl Museum (Vienna, Austria), among other national and international institutions. He is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Art in New York City.

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Chris Larson
Chris Larson Studio

Photo by: Daniel del Castillo

Chris Larson is a multi-media artist and an Associate Professor of Art and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Minnesota. Since receiving his BFA from Bethel College and his MFA from Yale University, Larson has received numerous awards including a New Work Project Grant from The Harpo Foundation, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and most recently a 2018 McKnight Artist Fellowship and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Katonah Museum of Art, and had work was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial in NYC. Larson’s work was included in the 11th Bienal do Mercosul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and he had a solo 10-year survey exhibition at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, OH. Larson is the publisher of INREVIEW, a print publication presenting critical responses to art in the Twin Cities. He and his wife Kristine Zulkosky, founded Second Shift Studio Space of St. Paul, a nonprofit residency program and gallery serving female creatives.

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Catherine Prescott

Catherine Prescott is a portrait artist and educator whose work has been commissioned and exhibited across the country. Prescott was recently honored to have been one of the nine artists invited by Principle Gallery to exhibit portraits of the Charleston Nine. She was also privileged in 2018 to be commissioned to paint Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s official portrait. The recipient of multiple prestigious awards, Prescott has had her art and writing featured in The Huffington Post, Image Journal, CIVA Seen, American Arts Quarterly, The Art of The Portrait, and American Art Collector and was most recently honored with one-person shows at North Park University and Long Island Academy of Fine Art. Her work can also be found in public collections at the governor’s offices of the Pennsylvania State Capitol, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Messiah College, Fulton Bank in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and York College. Prescott taught painting and drawing for 20 years at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where she and her husband still live and work.

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Joanna Taft
Harrison Center

Joanna Taft is a cultural entrepreneur who serves as Founding Executive Director of the Harrison Center and Founder and Board Chair Emerita of Herron High School. She is a leader in creative placemaking and cultural development. For these endeavors, Taft has received the Indianapolis Business Journal Women of Influence Award, the Girls Inc. Touchstone Award, Arts Council of Indianapolis ARTI Award, Jefferson Award, and two Cultural Vision awards. She is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Class XXXII, was a 2012 Creative Renewal Fellow, and Covenant College. She also serves as chair of the Marion County Board of Zoning Appeals and on the boards of the Indianapolis Library Foundation and the Katharine B. Sutphin Foundation (President).