5 Months of Meeting Awesome Local Artists

Art: What is it? Can photography qualify as art…? We won’t go into the definition of art right now, but yes, of course photography CAN be art. Is it always fine art…? No. Anywho, those things aside, we’d love to share with you our art experiences in the last year, especially artists we’ve met in the past 5 months!

As some of you may or may not know, Jenny finished up the last of her Master’s in Fine Art Photography from the premiere photo school Brooks Institute of Santa Barbara back in the first week of September of 2015. At that point we were driving across the country from California to Michiana (Michigan/ Indiana border) for 8 days. We hadn’t expected it, but she had to edit her 60 page document (thesis) and book as we each drove separate cars, a UHaul, and put in at least 5 hour on the road per day before she could publish it.

After working with her committee (the people who have the power to pass/ fail you and critique you) for over a year and finishing her final body of work The Visual Indoctrination of the Bigot, she had to create all of her own marketing materials (including Press Releases for the newspapers, magazines, etc), put together her own solo art show and opening reception in July for her body of work (no small feat), passed her defense in July (yay!), talked to reporters, and 2 newspapers wrote stories about her work. Those stories were published in the Santa Barbara News Press and The Independent around the beginning of August 2015 prior to her graduation and her own book publishing. Though she’s been showing art in galleries and venues in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio for 5 years, taking the art and work to another level showed both of us exactly what it takes to work your ass off for what you love to possibly make no money (at first).

When we moved to the Midwest, Jenny already knew what to expect since she was born & raised in South Bend, Indiana for 18 years and had lived for 7 years in Ohio. Since Jenny was more familiar with the art scene of Ohio, in October she took us there for a little over a week. While we were there we happened upon a duo art show called White Noise. The respected 18 year old gallery had just moved to the main street in the Short North arts district of Columbus, Ohio and we talked to the curator about the women and their work. (Unrelated to the White Noise show: Since it was the monthly Gallery Hop at that time, Jason even even bought his first art nearby at a boutique featuring local artists!)

Laura Alexander, one of the young artists, has an MFA in Fibers and creates amazingly intricate, complicated (yet straight-forward) paper art pieces. We found her use of light and reflection to be absolutely amazing and the work itself to be stunningly enthralling. You can check out her work at:

Andrea Myers, the other young artist and professor, also has an MFA in Fiber & Material Studies, but approaches her work a bit more organically. Myers’ work that we saw included undulating waves of fabric, ripped paper art, and a large, colorful vortex of a papermache/ wire piece. Her plethora of diverse work can be seen at:

Below is a link about their past fall art show and we’ve also included a video of the women speaking about their work.

Although we visited the South Bend Museum of Art during their monthly First Friday art event (a couple photos below) and made our own photo collages there during a children activity, we like to talk to local artists and artisans, so we’ve been taking monthly trips to the makerspace of MAKE. We’ve been able to view some cool, local artisans in South Bend, Indiana at MAKE South Bend. We most like to attend their monthly artisan market, and one fun one was the December Christmas market. Not only did we get our families cool gifts, but we met some awesome artists including Rhonda Whiteledge.

Rhonda is a hilarious, blunt artist who creates humorous and fantastical sculptures. For example, at the market in December Jenny bought a pinecone with a face and beard and Jason bought a peanut with fierce teeth. Some of Rhonda’s work can be found at: and at the makers market next week on March 17th.

MAKE’s not our only favorite places to see (affordable, creative) art, but now so is the South Bend Farmer’s Market! We had already befriended a local lapel pin vendor (Cecilia!) and been obsessed with food, but this past weekend we happened to stumble upon an awesome ceramic booth. We stopped because 1) The ceramic work included a ceramic fake bomb covered in corn, a ceramic McDonald’s meal, and ceramic anatomical hearts and 2) Because I was with a high school friend of 15 years and the ceramics teacher from our high school was the one whose booth it was! Not only that, but he had his videographer buddy with him who we got to meet/ who Jason plans on collaborating with.

Paul Kuharic is a ceramicist, artist, and teacher. I’ve tried to find any website for him, but have failed. He made the beer mugs for South Bend Brew Werks and has also participated in art shows around town. Please enjoy photos of his awesome work and the video!

Chuck Fry is an awesome videographer. Really awesome. He made the recent South Bend promo video (view below!) and has a lot more cool work on his Vimeo page:

Speaking of high school teachers, Jenny totally forgot to go during our visit back in May, but the high school teacher Jack Kapsa who TAUGHT her how to use and develop black and white film and photos had an art show last summer at the Museum of Art. Attached is an article about his most recent body of work! Feel free to scroll through the photos and check it out!

Even though we like venturing out, we have been uploading a photo a day to our Instagram page ( ) and have found a some cool local artists on there as well! We recently stumbled upon Sacred Legacy Arts which is a local woman artist who creates beautiful DNA jewelry out of mothers’ breastmilk, childrens’ hair, and umbilical cords! It sounds off-putting to some, but we love it and the materials are actually subtle and unnoticeable to anyone not in “the know.” Her website: , the Facebook page: , and the instagram page:

Luckily we get to see Sacred Legacy Arts, see Rhonda and her crazy cool small sculptures again, and meet new artists next week! Next Thursday March 17th MAKE is holding another Maker’s Market of oddity-type goods! Yippee! We are so excited to see the DNA art up close & personal as well as meet the artist behind La Grotesquerie- the taxidermy artist ( There will also be the artist Dorothy Jean Carter, gear punk sculptures by Gears on Acid, and 8-bit art by Pixel Pix. Please join us next Thursday March 17th at 6 pm! Here's the link to the event"           (**Yes, it’s St. Patty’s Day- no we don’t care because we won’t have had a drop of booze in 1 month at that point and booze isn’t a huge priority.)

We hope you liked hearing about some of the local artists we’ve encountered and really enjoyed in the past 5 months and we hope you’ve also been supporting your local artists! While health professions and others are helpful in their own ways, the arts help us open dialogues, point out political injustices, entertain us, and really help society like none other. We believe that working with your hands and hearts is of utmost importance and we can’t wait to teach photo workshops this summer!