Category Archives: Art

Assistant Professor Lisa Gordillo Named Distinguished Teaching Award Finalist

Congratulations to Visual and Performing Arts Assistant Professor, Lisa Gordillo, who was named as a finalist for this years Distinguished Teaching Award.

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University. Based on more than 50,000 student ratings of instruction responses, ten finalists have been identified for the 2019 awards. The selection committee has solicited comments from students, staff, faculty and alumni to aid in deliberation.

The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their spring classes. The selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients. The 2019 Distinguished Teaching Awards will be formally announced in May.



Closing Reception for Salon!

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rozsa Center invite you to join local and regional creative thinkers for a conversation on art, literature and other ideas.

This “salon-style conversation” will take place in the Rozsa lobby before Friday’s (April 12) performance of Tech Theatre’s production of “Sunday in the Park with George,” a musical based on the creative life of Georges Seurat.

This event is part of the gallery exhibit, Salon!, bringing together the spring musical and the spring gallery exhibit in a public conversation.

Salon Conversation, with guest speakers, 5:30-6:30pm in the Rozsa Lobby; Gallery Reception, 6:30-7:30pm, Rozsa Gallery A-Space

Edzordzi Agbozo, poetry

Jared Andersonon arts and collaboration

Linda King Ferguson and Dr. Tomas Co, on painting 

Libby Meyer, music

M. Bartley Seigelpoetry

Dana Van Kooyon plantations, colonialism, art, and literature

With music throughout by Mike Christianson and Superior Wind Symphony students.


Dean’s Showcase

Lisa GordilloFor the Deans’ Teaching Showcase, Dean David Hemmer has selected Lisa Gordillo, assistant professor in Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).

Gordillo was nominated by VPA Chair Jared Anderson, who applauded the many interdisciplinary collaborations she has initiated to publicly exhibit student art, especially around campus.

Anderson highlighted a wide variety of projects,” ranging from artistic design for windows that would reduce bird-window collisions to carving and casting sculptures based on traditional models in partnership with the Materials Science and Engineering Department.”

Gordillo teaches a wide variety of courses including traditional sculpture, contemporary sculpture, art + design, scenic art and illustration, and advanced sculpture. All of these make important contributions to the general education program, the visual art minor and the major in theater and entertainment technology.

Lisa leads a very collaborative environment where students are encouraged to explore creative solutions to problems while creating beautiful art. Her curriculum uses gallery b in the Rozsa galleries as an interactive classroom space where students create art right where it will be installed for public exhibition.—Jared Anderson

In addition, barriletes (patterned after traditional Guatemalan barriletes) made by students in the Traditional Sculpture course are currently displayed in the Rozsa Center lobby.

Gordillo’s highly hands-on approach with a focus on exhibition is very popular with students as she was named a finalist for the 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award, her third time as a finalist in the last four years.

Gordillo also connects her teaching with a much broader artistic context in her role as director of the Rozsa Art Galleries.  Recently, the exhibition, Salon!, opened in Gallery A in the Rozsa Center. This show brought together work from more than 30 artists and writers from around the world. Gordillo worked with student painters to transform the gallery into a space that was inspired by the salons of the late 19th century.

Dean Hemmer summarizes Gordillo’s impact by saying,  “I am grateful to have colleagues like Lisa. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting two magnificent shows that she curated in the Rosza Art Gallery. For the many students involved in putting these together, learning extends far beyond the classroom. Faculty like Lisa enliven Tech every day.”

Gordillo will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.


Gordillo Captures Prize at Arts Festival

Lisa GordilloLisa Gordillo (VPA) received an award for “Best Three-Dimensional Work,” for her piece “Las Cordinada/The Coordinates,” as part of the 2019 North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival.

The piece, which was first developed on Michigan Tech’s campus as part of Gordillo’s 2017 Rozsa Gallery exhibit, “ChickenBus,” travelled through North Dakota during the human rights festival this spring. Gordillo’s sculpture commemorates 26 of the 440 Mayan villages that were destroyed during Guatemala’s 30-year genocide, which was partially funded by the United States.

Gordillo worked with her collaborator and partner Hugo Gordillo to develop the piece, which is composed of plaster casts of human hands, and a wall text that lists the villages destroyed and the actions taken to destroy them. The piece will be on display through March at the High Plains Fair Housing Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.


Artist Lisa Gordillo Receives ND Human Rights Festival Award

Assistant Professor Lisa Gordillo, Visual and Performing Arts, received an award for “Best Three-Dimensional Work” for her work of art, “Las Cordinadas/The Coordinates,” as part of the 2019 North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival. The work of art, which was first developed on Michigan Tech’s campus as part of Gordillo’s 2017 Rozsa Gallery exhibit, ChickenBus, traveled through North Dakota during the human rights festival this spring.
Gordillo’s sculpture commemorates 26 of the 440 Mayan villages that were destroyed during Guatemala’s 30-year genocide, which was partially funded by the United States. Gordillo worked with her collaborator and partner Hugo Gordillo to develop the piece, which is composed of plaster casts of human hands, and a wall text that lists the villages destroyed and the actions taken to destroy them. The piece will be on display through March in Grand Forks, ND at the High Plains Fair Housing Center.

Meditation Circuit: Join Anne Beffel for an Open Studios Event Today

Photo by Nat Seymour

Professor and public artist Anne Beffel (VPA) will hold an open studio event from 6 to 8 p.m. today (Nov. 28) in the Studio for Here and Now in the basement of Wadsworth Hall (G04W), across from WMTU.

At a 6:45 p.m. presentation, Beffel will discuss a public art and meditation walk in an urban forest she and the City Meditation Crew installed in Shoreline, Washington.

Beffel says, “Meditation Circuit is a series of meditation stations along a pathway marked by public art work. Each station offers a mindfulness-oriented activity intended to support well-being. Explore: listening; walking; even using cell phones as tools for meditating on colors in an urban forest. Meditation Circuits demonstrate the power of meditation and the value of public art.”

Meditation Circuit is inspired in part by the City Meditation Crew project, “Many Colors of Green,” in fall 2017 at Hamlin Park in which community members walked meditatively and contemplated their park using their cell phones as tools for attentiveness.

More information is available online.



“Never Empty” artist Dylan Miner featured in Keweenaw Now

Dylan MinerHOUGHTON — Dylan Miner identifies strongly with his  Wiisaakodewinini, or Métis, ancestors — a people of mixed indigenous and European ancestry who have lived in both Canada and the United States. Since his own family ancestors lived on Drummond Island in Lake Huron, water, land and settler colonialism are important elements of his art, his activism and his scholarship and teaching.

Miner is Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies, and Associate Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. He sits on the Michigan Indian Education Council and is a founding member of the Justseeds artists collective. Miner holds a PhD from The University of New Mexico and has published more than sixty journal articles, book chapters, critical essays, and encyclopedia entries.

Presenting himself humbly as a learner of indigenous languages, Miner introduced himself to the audience at Michigan Tech in two of them.

In addition to expressing his environmental concerns, Miner demonstrated how he uses art on social media to call attention to socio-political injustices against indigenous people. He also displayed artwork created by one of his own Métis ancestors.

Bonnie Peterson, a local artist who attended Miner’s talk, was impressed by his use of art to communicate messages on social media.

“His work turns the patriarchial power establishment on its head,” Peterson said. “He reacts to current events by creating thoughtful, compelling images immediately, and freely distributing them on social media. His image ‘no pipelines in/under the great lakes’ is especially salient because of the threats to Great Lakes from oil spills, and also robbing the Great Lakes of water.”

Miner also mentioned how he altered some of his images after talking with people directly impacted by extractive industries. He noted as an example his discussions with Menominee tribal activists fighting Aquila’s Back 40 mining project, which could destroy indigenous sacred sites and impact the Menominee River. He changed his original design to include the Menominee ancestral bear and the sturgeon.

Collaboration is important in Miner’s work. He spoke about working with others to create projects that combine creative activities with environmental consciousness or stewardship, such as a traditional building of a birch bark canoe, an urban sugar bush, Native kids riding bikes and his recent Drummond Island reclamation project.

According to Lisa Gordillo, curator of the exhibit, “Miner’s work reimagines the landscape through digitally adjusted images that counterbalance cyanotype and contemporary processes. Cyanotype is an antiquated photographic method developed in 1842, the same year that the Treaty of La Pointe ceded Anishinaabeg Lands in the western Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin. The artist’s use of cyanotype builds a physical and conceptual connection to colonial Land expropriation, capitalist expansion, and the development of new image-making technologies. Our viewpoint is stirred as Miner distorts his original images, applying pigments, minerals, and smoke, shifting their size and scale.”

Local artist Joyce Koskenmaki, who attended Miner’s talk and visited the exhibit, commented on the cyanotype images.

“Dylan’s cyanotype images at the Rosza are beautiful,” Koskenmaki said. “His work and his talk speak to me about art for poor people: art that can be done with simple materials, and art with a message. I felt inspired.”

Miguel Levy, artist and Michigan Tech professor of physics, who is active in the local Indigenous Peoples’ Day Campaign group, said he was especially impressed by Miner’s connections between art and indigenous resistance.

Levy noted, “Regarding Dylan Miner’s talk, I found the connections he made during his talk quite illuminating: [between] the social and political dimensions of his art, between indigenous culture and resistance to environmental devastation, and between the revolutionary potential of the indigenous tradition and its points of coincidence with the anti-hierarchical and anti-capitalist traditions of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union.”

Emily Shaw, Michigan Tech PhD student in environmental engineering, who introduced Miner, told Keweenaw Now Miner’s stories and connections inspired her to ask herself questions.

“So often we view art and science as unrelated but making art and doing science are processes that require us to ask ourselves what do we know and what skills do I have that can contribute to our learning? Dylan opened with those questions and shared the story of his art, weaving connections between land abuses, indigenous rights, and labor unions. I left inspired to make such connections in my work as a scientist.”

Dylan Miner has also authored and edited several limited-edition books // booklets. His book Creating Aztlán: Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Lowriding Across Turtle Island was published in 2014 by the University of Arizona Press. In 2010, he was awarded an Artist Leadership Fellowship through the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He has been an artist-in-residence at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, École supérieure des beaux-arts in Nantes, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Rabbit Island, and The Santa Fe Art Institute.

Learn about Dylan Minor’s projects. Thanks to Bonnie Peterson for this link.

Learn more about Dylan Miner and the art he shares on justseeds.org.

By Michele Bourdieu
With videos and photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now


WW1CC Art & Warfare will run again next week

WW1CC logo with Quincy MineDue to popular demand, the “World War I & the Copper Country” exhibit, “Art & Warfare,” will run for four days next week in the Immersive Visualization Studio, EERC 510. There will be special hours:

  • 5-6 p.m. Monday (10/29)
  • 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday (10/30), Thursday and Friday (NOV. 1-2)

This exhibit features the sketches and paintings of the Official Artists of the American Expeditionary Forces, a group of eight accomplished artists sent to France to visually depict the war.

Their work is dramatically displayed on the Immersive Visualization Studio’s screen wall—twenty-four 48” screens supported by eight computers—and accompanied by jazz renditions of contemporary wartime popular songs arranged and performed by Bill Carrothers from his collection, “Armistice 1918.”

“Art & Warfare” realizes the integration of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) by facilitating multisensory reflections on aesthetics, technology and warfare.