Tag Archives: art

meet marta: using art to save chicago’s strays

Marta Kenar, MCP Rescue and Outreach, People with Panache

Marta’s best advice: “Just keep going forward, and work hard for what you believe in. It seems so cliché, but I’ve been doing it, and it’s working, and it feels amazing.”

The summer before 6th grade, I got bit by a cocker spaniel. I saw him wandering around our cul de sac and thought he must be lost. I remembered that when you meet a dog for the first time, you’re supposed to build trust by letting it sniff your hand. At 11 years old, I was feeling brave and worried for the curly haired pup, so I knelt down and extended my right hand. It turns out that dog wasn’t interested in sniffing and took a big ol’ bite instead. I had to have surgery, wore a sling for the first few weeks of junior high, and still have a huge scar on my hand to this day.

My relationship to animals definitely changed after that. Instead of the curious innocence and blind infatuation of a child every time they see a cute, furry being, I became more cautious; I needed to trust the animal before I could fully love it.

It’s not that I stopped loving animals—there are some I love very much, including childhood pets—it’s just that now the danger of a strange beast that communicates purely in loud noise and quick movement is always in my subconscious. And the proof of the danger is permanently on my right hand.

On the other hand, I do believe that some people truly have a gift for understanding another species. Marta Kenar is one of those people. From my stepmom Karen who is obsessed with animals and has allowed every kind of pet you can imagine into our home (dogs, cats, rabbits, fish, turtle, snake, various rodents) to my best friend and PWP co-founder Alysse who truly cares about the wellbeing of every living thing on earth from butterflies to exotic wild animals to her very own new brood of chickens, you’d think I wouldn’t know anyone who could love animals more than them. But Marta may be the exception. As founder of MCP Rescue and Outreach, Marta hopes to instill compassion for animals, involve as many people as possible in rescuing dogs, and use art and music to bring youth into her mission. Continue reading

meet carrie: supporting sick kids in chicago through art

Carrie Spitler, Snow City Arts, People with Panache

Carrie with movie posters made for some of the kids’ films. In addition to executive director of Snow City Arts, Carrie is a community gardener, a beekeeper and a baker!

“Doctors find the illness, we find the artist.”

I’ve watched enough medical shows to feel those pangs in my heart, imagining just how strenuous and sad it must be to have a child—or be a child—experiencing an illness, especially a serious one. Snow City Arts takes an approach that I wouldn’t have expected to help sick kids stay on track with school while getting better: This nonprofit deploys a team of artists at hospitals in Chicago to work with kids on artistic, educational projects while they stay for extended treatment.

I first heard about this beautiful endeavor because of my boyfriend, Jim. Bringing his passion for music to a whole new dimension, he has served on the auxiliary board of Snow City Arts for about a year now. In support, we attended their annual Gallery Night last fall. Originally I partially agreed so I had an excuse to wear a fabulous dress, but once we got there, I was awestruck. Gallery Night showcased all of the artwork that the kids in the hospitals produce, from visual art including painting to 3D art to creative writing, video and music. All by artists under 18 years of age, the work was not only professional, it was impressive and smart, beautiful and funny and creative. I was completely blown away by the level of talent these kids have. We both were. These weren’t just kid “art projects.” Continue reading

femfest 2016: meet yessica, illustrator

“Art is how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time.”

Riverwest FemFest combined both. Atop Company Brewing on Saturday and Sunday of FemFest, 20+ artists and activists came together in a pop-up gallery space to share their heart-fueled and purposeful paintings, drawings, 3D works, video installations, and more.

Among them was Yessica Jimenez, the Milwaukee born and raised artist behind Xeroine Illustration. For FemFest, she created a series of five portraits featuring Milwaukee musicians Fivy, Siren, Zed Kenzo, Queen Tut, and Chakara Blu. We met up before FemFest began, and I can hardly believe after an empowering, love-filled, authentic, weird, wonderful weekend that it’s already over. The support and significant ripple effects will go on—especially since FemFest ended up raising $10,000 for Date Rape Awareness Milwaukee!

This piece was one of five in Yessica's FemFest series. Contact her to purchase a print, and check out our Q&A with Zed Kenzo here.

This piece was one of five in Yessica’s FemFest series. Contact her to purchase a print, and check out our Q&A with Zed Kenzo here.

People With Panache: How do you feel making your first FemFest series? What do you get out of this? Continue reading

femfest 2016: meet melissa, artist and poster creator

Melissa Johnson and I met at 88Nine/Stone Creek Coffee and were able to find a corner tucked away from the 414 Music Live session with Allen Coté. (After the interview, I stayed to hear Jack Garratt’s live recording in the 414 Room; it was incredible!) Today, Melissa had her “last first day” at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). She’s in her final semester as an integrated studio arts major, which, I learned, means she isn’t limited to just one medium.Melissa Johnson

Here’s her little slice of Riverwest FemFest 2016: Continue reading

meet heidi: wisconsin-native painter goes west

Heidi Keyes on People With Panache

Heidi sometimes took small canvases with her on flight attendant trips and made 8x8s in her hotel rooms—though that meant she could only fit one pair of shoes, and one less sweater.

“My parents run a petting farm in East Troy, Wis., and my first job was as a pony walker there,” says Heidi Keyes.

I’m reasonably certain Heidi had many 12-year-old girls’ dream job at a very young age. Continue reading

meet andrea: milwaukee artist and author

Andrea Skyberg on People with Panache

Andrea and her husband, Michael, started their marriage off living in Nigeria. (Andrea was on a Fulbright scholarship for sculpture!) When she returned with beautiful African clothes, she used the vibrant fabrics in her art.

When I set out to go to college, get internships and find a job, I don’t think I processed the prospect of spending 40 hours a week in a cornflower-blue cubicle. That’s a lot of time to literally be thinking inside the box. Continue reading

meet leslie: ambitious figurative artist in minneapolis

"My friends call me an art snob all the time," Leslie says. "I would say good art is something that has a great concept and makes you linger. I also love color, and really good workmanship."

“I would say good art is something that has a great concept and makes you linger,” Leslie says. “I also love color, and really good workmanship.”

“Being able to put painting ahead of everything is a huge accomplishment for me—to mentally be able to let go,” says Leslie Barlow, 23.

“Anyone who is passionate about something is always going to put that thing first.” Continue reading

meet elyse: chicago jewelry artist

Elyse Marie Vieni modeling one of her creations. "I find it fun," Elyse says about jewelry design. "It’s something I’m passionate about, and it’s my outlet."

Elyse Marie Vieni modeling one of her creations. “I find it fun,” Elyse says about jewelry design. “It’s something I’m passionate about, and it’s my outlet.”

I’ve always adored high fashion, but when it comes down to it, I fall somewhere in the middle. I was voted “Best Dressed” in high school, but I’ll never forget the harsh, judgey looks I got from my co-workers during a summer internship I did at Versace. Continue reading