Appleton Career Academy art students curate professional art exhibition

img_0780Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet the students who have been working with Appleton art teacher Elyse Lucas on the DIY Gallery: A Deeper Look Into the 365 Artists 365 Days Project. About two years ago, Elyse attended one of my presentations at the Wisconsin Art Education Association Conference in Appleton, Wisconsin. The intent of the presentation was to create a sense of awareness about this project and all of the amazing artists Zina, Rachel, and I worked with. 

Elyse loved the idea, but felt that she wanted to introduce it in another way. A way that would be more relevant to her students. So she designed a curriculum based on the project. The curriculum walks her students through various stages of researching, collaborating, communicating, curating, and presenting their thematic ideas for organizing an exhibition. What I found to be interesting was the fact that her students created mock up galleries of what the exhibition would look like. 

As you know, plans change. Especially when you are in the physical space with real obstacles like installing actual works, gallery walls, lighting, etc. Regardless, I could sense excitement, nervousness, and ownership coming from these students. This exhibition is student-curated, which features 6 Wisconsin artists who have been featured in the 365 Artists 365 Days Project. They are Daniel Fleming, Erica Huntzinger, Tonia Klein, Melissa Dorn Richards, Sara Risley, and Sara Willadsen

Installation Day at Global Arts Gallery

If you go:

Location: Global Arts Gallery, 702 York Street, Manitowoc, Wisconsin 54220

Reception: February 11 from 1-4pm

Exhibition runs from January 30 – February 25, 2017.

– written by Frank Juarez, art educator/founder of the 365 Artists 365 Days Project


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First Run of the DIY Gallery: A Deeper Look Into the 365 Artists 365 Days Project in La Crosse, Wis.

On October 20, 365 Artists 365 Days Project founder Frank Juarez and Appleton art teacher, Elyse Lucas presented at the Wisconsin Art Education Association fall conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Elyse is a high school art teacher who attended last year’s presentation on this project at the WAEA conference in Appleton. Being introduced to this project resulted in her using the artist databases to inspire her students to create a series of mock up galleries using the artists’ artworks from this project. This was a great opportunity to work together and share the importance of bringing contemporary art inside the art classroom and providing her students with real life experiences. 

March 2-4, 2017 Frank and Elyse will be presenting the conclusion of this experience resulting in a student-led art exhibition at Global Arts in Manitowoc, Wisconsin (February 2017). This final presentation will take place in New York during the 2017 National Art Education Association Convention.

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We are happy to announce that Frank Juarez, founder, will be presenting on the 365 Artists 365 Days Project this fall and upcoming spring. What started as a one-year project grew into a two-year project ending in 2015. Since then we were unsure what direction this project would take us. Juarez knew that this project has potential and was fortunate to present on this project at the National Art Education Association 2015 Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana and the 2015 Wisconsin Art Education Association Fall Conference in Appleton, Wisconsin. Most recently, he will be co-presenting with Elyse Lucas, Appleton art educator at the upcoming 2016 WAEA Fall Conference in LaCrosse, Wisconsin as well as the 2017 NAEA Convention in New York in March. Elyse attended one of his past sessions on this project and have used the artists’ database from this project with her high school art students. Below is a description of their presentation. 

L to R: Zina Mussman, Rachel Quirk, and Frank Juarez

This session shares a story of how a Wisconsin art teacher created a very unique art lesson by implementing the 365 Artists 365 Days Project into her curriculum. The DIY Gallery: A Deeper Look into the 365 Artists 365 Days Project inspired her high school art students to research, collaborate, and to design their own mock up art galleries. Their journey led them to organize and curate a real exhibition in North East Wisconsin with artists from this project. This presentation will discuss how the idea of creating a DIY Gallery started, how it brought two arts professional into the conversation, importance of educating students on the logistics of putting together a successful exhibition, how to work with artists, and to network with local businesses/gallery owners to determine a possible venue for a student led art exhibition. The 365 Artists 365 Days Project highlights contemporary artists from across the globe through an online interview platform. Since its inception in 2014, it has introduced artist on a daily basis via online and social media. To date, it has featured over 700+ artists working in various media, processes, and studio practices. The session will be set up as a two­-person presentation; the Wisconsin art teacher and the founder of the 365 Artists 365 Days Project. A PowerPoint will be shared with the audience containing student testimonials, video, examples of students’ promotional designs, and Q & A. In addition to the project’s website, excerpts from Edward Winkleman’s How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery will be implemented into the student led DIY Gallery lesson plan.


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A Creative Perspective: Art gets real at Career Academy in Appleton, The Post Cresent

Appleton art teacher, Elyse Lucas collaborated with Kate Mothes of Young Space inspires high school art students to research, collaborate, and design their own gallery. The 365 Artists 365 Days Project provided students with a list of artists whose works were explored for the curation of the exhibitions that were organized within their own galleries. 

It is such a rewarding experience to see this project inspire students to look at the [art] world through a different lens. 

Below is the article that was published on April 11, 2016 by The Post Crescent. 

IMG_20160421_0004 IMG_20160421_0003 IMG_20160421_0002

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Year 2: 365 Artists 365 Days Project Artist Database now available

IMG_2466The 365 Artists 365 Days Project is pleased to announce that it has made its 2014 and 2015 Artist Database available for download. These databases lists all of our featured artists from all over the world. 

The purpose of this project is to introduce its readership to a diverse collection of art that is being produced at the local, national and international level. The goal is to engage the public with content regarding a wide array of creative processes, studio practices, and the successes and challenges that artists face from day to day. Frank Juarez, Zina Mussman, and Rachel Quirk hope that this project can become a source for exploring and experiencing contemporary art in all its forms. 

We encourage you to share this project with students, educators, and professors. Anyone you think would be interested in Contemporary Art. 

Our database:

  • lists all of our featured artists in alphabetical order by last name,
  • lists the city, state or country of each featured artist, 
  • provides artists’ websites, 
  • and categorizes our artists working in a specific medium/a within our database.

Please note: the downloadable file(s) are Excel spreadsheets. We categorized all of the artists’ work based on the type of work they submitted to our project. 

To download our 2014 Artist Database click here.

To download our 2015 Artist Database click here.

Questions can be directed to Frank Juarez at

Courtesy of the 365 Artists 365 Days Project

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Zina Mussmann – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Precautionary Measures III, Mixed Media on Paper, 9X12", 2015

Precautionary Measures III, Mixed Media on Paper, 9X12″, 2015

Briefly describe the work you do.

My studio practice revolves around confronting issues of safety, vulnerability, and perceptions of danger and anxiety. I make mixed media drawings that reflect the unease of contemporary existence and my own state of mind. In these drawings, I depict figures who are dressed in protective clothing in an environment that contains no discernable hazard. Lately I have been incorporating abstract floral shapes derived from my research into plants that are toxic to humans, some of which were often used in Victorian art to symbolize impending doom or a threating situation.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I come from a very loving family who were also prone to worry and often overcautious and guarded as a general way of life. I grew up believing that there was danger lurking around every corner. This upbringing, combined with what I believe is a biological “nervous disposition” in myself, has turned me into a pathologically anxious individual. I have come to realize that this way of seeing the world is more common that I once thought. I believe that this constant state of fear is the way that we as a society have come to conceptualize our own existence.

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

My studio practice consists of research, which can be conducted anywhere from my couch to simply walking down the street and observing. However, I value every moment I can spend within the walls of my studio; it has become a place where I can retreat, think and mostly importantly focus.

Precautionary Measures IV, Mixed Media on Paper, 9X12", 2015

Precautionary Measures IV, Mixed Media on Paper, 9X12″, 2015

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I never thought I would run a gallery. In 2011, Rachel Quirk and I rented a space that we intended to be a studio. We started to have open studio events and eventually renovated half of it into a formal exhibition space. We now show local and national artists.

I didn’t picture myself teaching because I have always considered myself somewhat of an introvert. When I’m in the classroom, however, I become extremely extroverted. I love working out ideas with students and helping them realize their goals.

Co-directing a gallery and teaching have made me grow and flourish as an artist. All three of these things inform and strengthen one another and I feel very lucky to be able to do them all.

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

I used to make art whenever my crazy schedule would allow. Recently, I have decided that it is important to me to set aside specific times and days just for studio work.

Precautionary Measures I, Mixed Media on Paper, 9X12", 2015

Precautionary Measures I, Mixed Media on Paper, 9X12″, 2015

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

This work started out by me passing time while waiting for some painting surfaces I had prepared to dry. I used to paint with oils and was very particular about my surfaces, so I would devote entire days to just getting things ready. I had some photos and started playing around by drawing from them, using inks and watercolors that were laying around in the studio. Painting has fallen by the wayside, and my practice is entirely mixed media. I also feel that I have gotten mixed- media to work better conceptually than I ever could with painting. I am now incorporating cut-out elements into the work, which is something I experimented with early on, but could not get to function the way I wanted to. It is my experience that my work evolves when it is ready, and I think it seems ready for this.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

The work of the writer Samuel Beckett has had a direct influence on the work. I started drawing on gray paper specifically because of reading Endgame. There is a part where one of the characters looks out of a telescope and reports all that he sees is gray. “Light black. From pole to pole.”

The Existential philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard’s themes of dread, anxiety, alienation, individuality and subjectivity has also had an impact on my life and work.

I’m always drawn to people that see the absurdity of the human condition.

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

I have many interests such as philosophy, literature, psychology and science, but I see them as a way of informing my artistic practice. Early on, I thought I wanted to be an experimental psychologist, then a criminal profiler (brought on by watching too much X-files in the 90s), then a photojournalist. But art was always something that I kept coming back to and I decided to commit to it.


Zina 365 headshotZina Mussmann received a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2002 and an MFA from Northern Illinois University in 2008. She has exhibited her work regionally and nationally. Her work has been featured in the Manifest International Painting Annual, The Alchemy Magazine of Literature and Art and Lunch Ticket Magazine. Zina is the co-founder of Greymatter, an artist-run space dedicated to showing conceptually driven and challenging work by local and national artists; and the curator of 365 Artists 365 Days. She is also a faculty member at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design where she teaches in the Foundations Department.

Zina in Studio

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.


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Rachel Quirk – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Engulfed II (detail from series of 25 prints) Photo transfer on fabric 10x10” 2015

Engulfed II (detail from series of 25 prints)
Photo transfer on fabric

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My photo transfer work is about the complexity of stillness. When I think about what it means to be still and just be in your surroundings, there can be an uneasy feeling or conversely a tranquil feeling as well. I appreciate the subtlety of this experience and want to investigate it in my work. I keep the work within a vast open space and focus on one dense area to push the idea of stillness. The stillness can also be seen as isolation.

I enjoy the photo transfer process and the unpredictable nature of it. I can have an idea of how the image will turn out and inevitably I will be way off.    

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I’m a sculptor at heart, but have been making 2d work most recently. My grad-work was object/installation-based, where I would incorporate video. That was definitely a point of departure for me. My videos were short loops of small actions repeating, like a head turning or a hand writing the same sentence over and over. I continue to be interested in small moments and the impacts and possibilities of them.

While on a trip with my mom I noticed we were going through a lot of tunnels. These were enormous tunnels that went through the sides of mountains. I took a number of photos as we went through them and as we exited. There was something very exciting to me about the possibilities that existed on other side of the tunnels. Would there be danger? Excitement? Beauty? Tragedy?

I brought these images with me into the studio and started to produce photo transfers—a process that is in itself unpredictable. The resulting images are abstract dark spaces in a vast open white space where the uncertainty of a moment is frozen in time.

IV (The Road Series) Photo transfer on fabric 20x16” 2015

IV (The Road Series)
Photo transfer on fabric

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

My studio practice is chaotic, I tend to work in bursts as the ideas come. I don’t have a typical set schedule for when I work in the studio, rather I’m working on ideas, filming and photographing when an idea strikes.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I don’t think I would’ve ever imagined I’d have an artist-run gallery space or be part of a project like 365. I have loved every minute of it. When my partner, Zina Mussmann, and I first rented our studio space it was not our intention to transform it into a gallery space. The building that we are in has a number of galleries and artist studios. We were asked to participate in an open studio event the building was having, and after taking part in a couple of these, we saw the possibility the space could have. We decided to reimagine the space and open it up for other artists to show. We now keep our studio practice in the back room and reserve the exhibition space for local and national artists. It has been a tremendously rewarding experience that I’m very glad we’ve taken on.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

A little bit of both, I have some set time in the studio. But, I mostly work as time allows. For a couple of years, my schedule has been erratic so I had to fit in time when I was able. This year I am freeing up more time so I can actually have a set studio schedule. That’s at least the plan for now.

V (The Road Series) Photo transfer on fabric 20x16” 2015

V (The Road Series)
Photo transfer on fabric

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

My work over the past five years has become more refined and minimalist. When I first start working with a different format or concept I tend to keep adding additional layers. It can be hard to pare down and just stop and edit a piece to only the essentials. I’ve decided I can say much more with empty space. Conceptually, I think I’m still working in the much the same direction. My work is still concerned with navigating the space between small actions. For example, a recent series of mine was filming a candle burning. At the time, I was so busy and being pulled in many different directions that I felt I really needed to just stop and not be distracted by anything. So, I filmed a candle burning from beginning to end. I forced myself to spend the time watching the flame flicker down the wick. It was a calming experience that I needed at the time. The resulting images that I produced are transfers from stills of the video. When you see the images, you only get the brief moments that I share, but there is so much that happens in the space between each image. It is these in-between spaces and the stillness that accompanies these experiences that interest me.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

My biggest influence would be my partner. We guide each other in right direction and help one another every step of the way. And since she’s also an artist she never sugar coats things for me, which I appreciate. Being part of the 365 project with Zina and Frank has been amazing. Seeing so much great work has had a profound impact on me as an artist.

I think the biggest influence on me is just living and letting life happen. It’s when I’m not expecting an idea to come, or stressing over what I’m working on that my best ideas will come to me. And, I listen to a lot of Morrissey, and I’m sure has an impact on my work! Maybe that’s why the work has become more somber and sedate?

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?

Funny story about that. During high school, I procrastinated on deciding a theme for my studio art class that I had to explore for the entire year. When the time came to pick something I panicked and chose chairs. Well after spending a year making small metal chairs, I thought I might like to be a furniture designer. I’ve used chairs a bunch in my work and still continue to, but I never fulfilled that dream of becoming the next great furniture designer. Maybe someday I suppose, there’s still time.


Quirk-headshotRachel Quirk is an artist and co-directs the artist-run space, Greymatter Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her Bachelors degree in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her Masters in Fine Arts-Sculpture from Northern Illinois University. She has exhibited nationally and is busy working on a new series.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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