Richard Saxton is the founder and director of M12. The M12 Collective is known for groundbreaking and award-winning creative projects that explore the aesthetics of rural cultures and landscapes M12 is an interdisciplinary group based in Colorado on the American High Plains that create context-based art works, research projects, and education programs. Working in the fields of art and design, we favor projects that are centered in rural areas and which can be developed through dialogical and collaborative approaches. Our projects explore community identity and the value of often under-represented rural communities and their surrounding landscapes. We strive to be stewards of effective local and global creative problem solving, and a community resource for evolutionary thinking and innovative communication. We have a holistic organizational philosophy that fuses creative practice, cultural institutionality, and education.

Casey Whittier is a ceramicist and installation artist. Her practice explores the visceral qualities of clay, elements from nature, and the power of shared experience. Whittier currently teaches ceramics and social practice at the Kansas City Art Institute. Questions of legacy, sense of place, longing and an invested interest in non-human ecosystems are central to her artistic investigation. Often working with multiple clay bodies in any given piece, Whittier seeks the inherent variations in surface and texture, its ability to mimic, to be thick, thin, ephemeral or seemingly permanent.

Over the last three years, I have been exploring sense of place in visual and poetic investigations catalyzed by professional development opportunities at summer educator colloquiums and studio courses at Santa Fe Prep, Santa Fe Community College and its Center for the Book. Santa Fe Prep has offered weeklong intensives on the “palette of place” and “poetry of place” that have rekindled and supported my visual studies as I begin as a new or renewed artist. Experiencing narratives here in Santa Fe, as interpreted too by guest lecturers of the Story of Place Institute, I have been able to reflect on my personal experience returning to the Southwest, my sense of genus loci, and reconsider the kind of research that I was drawn to in graduate studies, when studied different Native understandings of place and built environments as mapping cosmologies and ontology. These experiences inform my path in visual expression using mixed media and the book arts.

My work is concerned with how the effects of purposeful human actions, alongside uncontrollable factors of time and nature, alter both the current landscape and human agency within that landscape. The accrual of our past modifications in combination with what evolves over those remnants leaves us with physical traces of past lives. It provides a history of the land and our interactions within and upon it that can be read and evaluated through careful observation. My recent work is specifically concerned with the landscapes, communities, development practices and environmental concerns prevalent throughout the Midwest. By reacting directly to the landscapes and environments I am currently living in, my work examines and critiques place.

Rachel Kauff is a visual artist working in print media, sculpture, and installation. She was the 2014 Iowa Arts Fellow, a 2012 intern-in-residence at the Women’s Studio Workshop and a 2010 Gordon Arts Fellow. She is an MFA candidate in printmaking and sculpture at the University of Iowa.

Brittany graduated from Texas Tech University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resources Management and minor in Fine Arts Photography. Her focus revolves primarily around botany and botanical illustration by means of digital media. Currently living in the Texas Panhandle region, she advocates for conservation of prairie ecosystems in both her work and photography. Brittany is looking to expand her portfolio and show current work.

Lisa Grossman is a painter and printmaker based in Lawrence, Kansas, whose work focuses on the open spaces and prairies of Eastern Kansas and the Kansas River Valley. Grossman has had over twenty solo shows around the Midwest and on either coast. Her work is included in the collections of the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, and the Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University, as well as in numerous public and private collections. She is a 2009 recipient of the Kansas Arts Commission’s Mid-Career Fellowship.

Ahram Park has spent years photographing the prairie and looking beyond the obvious in the landscape. He graduated from Kansas State University and is the gallery manager of the Bill Brady Gallery in Kansas City.

Lexi Janezic acknowledges that the development and settlement of the western United States is directly related to her own sense of self, as her ancestors contributed to the now diminished state of the Tallgrass Prairie in their efforts to survive. She creates work which stresses the close relationship between the local, the global, and the personal, displaying how the layered environment of the Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem is also of the layered global environment.

Mary Gordon is a painter + printmaker based out of Manhattan, KS. In her work she fuses rescued scraps and fragments of prints through collage to represent her environment, everyday interactions and overlooked happenings. While Mary typically works in monotype, collage, and painting, she took a liking to silkscreen during her time at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, and recently encaustic while working at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts. When she’s not in the studio, you may find Mary running through prairies or baking things.