Rena Detrixhe received her BFA in Expanded Media and Art History from the University of Kansas in 2013. Her contemplative work combines repetitive process and collected or scavenged materials to produce large-scale objects and installations. Often utilizing natural materials, a continuing objective in her practice is to investigate the relationship between art and environment. Her recent work includes a labor-intensive installation and performance with collaborator, Eli Gold, at La Esquina Gallery in Kansas City and a site-specific sculptural drawing made from thousands of individually formed resin droplets created for the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

She is the recipient of numerous awards including a scholarship to attend the prestigious art school at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, the Brosseau Award from the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas, and a studio residency with Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. Detrixhe is one of twelve artists selected for the inaugural year of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship and is currently living and working in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

My work is a poetic response to my preoccupation with what it means to be human and to interact with the natural world. In the last two years, I have focused on the concept of domestication, which is the ways that wild creatures and plants evolve over many generations of interacting with humans, eventually becoming so differentiated that they are separate species specially adapted to live lives dependent on our husbandry. In my art, I use the objects of domestic life–vessels, combs, embroidery patterns, etc.–and imagine what would happen if they were living beings returning to the wild and had to defend and propagate on their own.

In my latest body of work, I reach even further back in time and deeper into the land to the fossils that are evidence of a world without humans. Embedded in hard stone, fossils are visible remnants of motion and life, of an ecosystem that was here before us.  In the swirl of modern humanity, our politics, our internet, our conflicts, our passionate entertainments, my work is in part a reminder of the constancy of the processes of the natural world, which continue despite our inattention to it. This work is also about the landscape that, as an agricultural person from the Great Plains, holds great emotional weight for me.  Through my work and materials, I explore forms, textures, and colors that mimic the landscape and sky that I know so well.

In my expression of ideas, paper pulp has been my most important, although not only, material. I have been relentless in trying new ways of using it–pushing it into plaster molds, shaping it with my hands, impregnating it with pigments, iron filings, and saw dust. It is like clay in that it is malleable, but unlike clay, it shrinks and warps as it dries.  It can be like glue, holding together threads in a gossamer matrix. It can be restrained, but in that case, if it is a thick layer, it will often tear. Holes made intentionally and strategically will help prevent that. I have considered evaporation rates, varieties of fibers, and time in the beater, figuring out what will happen under different conditions and then using that to purposefully create objects. The work is as much about understanding the materials and the labor of using them as it is about any particular subject.

Maura Garcia is a dance artist who collaborates within communities to create stories of identity and place. Originally from North Carolina, Maura is an Indigenous woman (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet) who brings her own mixed-blood southern story to all of her work. Concerns about the perpetuation of Cherokee life-ways, the environment and social justice underlie her creations. She uses her art to empower, to form connections, to uplift Indigenous cultural values and to explore the rhythms of the natural world.

Maura specializes in multi-sensory shows blurring the line between audience and performer.  Her repertoire includes solos, group performances incorporating local dancers from the host community and site-specific work incorporating passersby.  She also engages the community in the creative process via interactive arts projects and experiential workshops. To realize community programs, she has partnered with different organizations including the  Charleston Library Society(SC), Creative Arts in Public & Private Schools (NC), Haskell Indian Nations University (KS), imagiNATIONS Activity Center (DC), Kansas City Indian Center(MO), Lawrence Arts Center (KS) and the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MO).

To craft performances Maura works with core collaborators: sound artist MarkGabriel Little, dance artist Olivia C. Davies (Metis, Anishnawbe, Welsh) and musician/composer Amado Espinoza (Quechua from Bolivia). Maura is dedicated to engaging artists from diverse backgrounds and has formed project-basedcollectives with mixed-media artist Alyssa Hinton (Tuscarora/ Osage), Bharata Natyam dancer Anjali Tata Hudson, Ethiopian singer/activist Chachi Tadese, poet/musician Chico Sierra, video artist Robert Parker(Comanche/Kiowa/Athabascan /Tlingit/ Dakota) and multi-media artist Soumitra Dasgupta, among others. She is fascinated by stories that have been hidden and the unexpected connections that arise when they are rediscovered.

Elise Kirk is a photographic artist, visual storyteller and Assistant Professor of Photo Media at the University of Kansas. She completed her MFA in photography at Rhode Island School of Design (’15), investigated representations of the family in Spanish cinema on a Fulbright grant in Madrid (’01), and studied documentary film at Columbia College Chicago (BA ’00).

Elise is from the Midwest, though she can’t quite tell you what qualities make her a Midwesterner, or even where the borders of the Midwest lie. She is based in Lawrence, Kansas and on the road, where she also produces nonfiction television stories when she’s not making pictures. Her personal work gravitates towards familial connections (inherited and constructed), mythologies of place, liminal states, and the impermanence of all of the above.

Matthew Dehaemers received his BFA from Creighton University and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin. His national public art commissions include the recent work Confluence of Place and Time for Casper, Wyoming as well as Patterns of Energy commissioned by the Missouri Department of Transportation. Matt is embarking on a new body of personal work inaugurated with the sculptural work Descendants. Dehaemers has also continued to produce unique issue focused installations for various art center such as Project Reclamation for the Leedy-Voulkos Arts Center, Watered Down for the Creighton University Lied Center and (402)Disconnect/Reconnect for the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art among others.  He has been awarded the Kansas Arts Commission Fellowship Award, the Joan Mitchell Fellowship, four Public Art Network Recognitions, an NAACP Community Contribution Award as well as numerous residencies.

Levi Robb’s work explores the entanglement of person and context — time and atmosphere. With a focus on the formal objectivity of place, the work is influenced by human interface with environment, landscape, and artifact. Through acts of printmaking, sculpture, installation and an interaction with locality the work emerges, a visual interpretation and record of an act in context.

The emanation of the work embodies a dichotomy between permanent and impermanent objects and mark making. Human relationship with site based artifacts, and the interrelationship between the material and immaterial, are often common underlying themes throughout his work. Through the analysis, manipulation and reinterpretation of latent items and specific spatial conditions the work takes on a continual timeline with an inherent connection to the past. This process yields a unique body of formal objects that concretize the idea of contemporary relics.

His work has been exhibited in New York City and throughout the Midwest, and is in both public and private collections.

Cyan Meeks is a digital artist who takes a transdisciplinary approach to her collaborative practice, blending installation, performance, filmmaking, sonic design, curation and media study. Both her collaborative and solo works have been exhibited internationally, including at the Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/ New Films Festival at MoMA, Deuxieme Manifestation International Video et Art Electronique and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She has received first place awards from the American Film Institute and the New York Film Festival and received a grant from the National Park Service. Her commercial work within the music industry has received accolades by NME and Spin magazines. Meeks received her B.F.A. degree in new media from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1995, studied for her M.F.A. degree at the California Institute of the Arts in 1997 and completed her M.F.A. degree in media studies at the State University of New York in 2003.

Dr. Susan Mayo has been part of the musical landscape of Kansas for over 30 years. Active not only in the classical world, playing with the Wichita Symphony, she also performs in a variety of unique groups. She can be seen with the WC Quartet, one of the only improvising string quartets in town, Poke Salad Orchestra, a string trio firmly rooted in American traditions of old-time, country and early popular music, and the 21 Century Projects collective, a creative collaborative of musicians, visual artists, and dancers.

Also interested in composing, she has collaborated on a variety of projects writing works for the WC String Quartet. She pursued her undergraduate degree at the University of the Pacific (BM: Cello Performance) as well as doing graduate work at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Wichita State University (BME in Special Music Education) and the University of Kansas (DMA in Cello Performance).

Mayo is currently on the faculty of Friends University in Wichita, KS and is music director for both Symphony in the Flint Hills fall event Woodfest, and the Wichita Pop-Up Concert series VIBRANTICT. She is passionate about putting interesting music in interesting places.