Please sign in:
or sign up

Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

No Results

No Results

No Results

No Results


2016/2017 MARN Mentors




Portia Cobb is a video artist and producer of short experimental documentary whose videos and installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Although trained as a filmmaker, she began using video because of its accessibility and immediacy in the field. Her work often investigates the politics of place and identity. Through her continuing documentation of urban and rural communities in America and West Africa, she draws upon memory and history "as a means of confronting forced movement and forgetting." Portia serves as director of the Community Media Project, an arts outreach program of the Film Department, teaching video production workshops for at-risk teens and media literacy for high school teachers. She also curates and administers two public screening programs: "Africa Beyond," and the "Producers’ Forum."





Raoul Deal is an artist and educator who often works collaboratively in community settings. He is Coordinator for the Community Arts track of the BA program at UWM’s PSOA, Department of Art and Design, and is Artist-in-Residence for UWM’s Cultures and Communities Program.  He completed a 2-year residency as a mentor artist with REDLine Milwaukee in 2011, and enjoys working in close cooperation with young artists.  His most recent project, “Ni de aquí, ni de allá/ From neither here nor there” is based on conversations carried out with Latino families on Milwaukee’s near south side. Deal enjoys interacting with people from different backgrounds, and this is integral to his practice as an artist.  “As I move between boundaries, I frequently think about the following two questions: 'What happens to art when community matters?' -and- 'What happens to communities when art matters?'"


Della Wells is a self-taught artist who began drawing and painting in earnest at the age of 42. Della's work is about story telling. Her work ranges from collage and pastels to quilting. She has exhibited all over the United States and aboard. Her creative process stems primarily from her personal experiences embellished through the art of storytelling into visual work. Wells' work has been written about and has appeared in several publications including Betty-Carol Sellen's and Cynthia J. Johnson's book, '' Self Taught, Outsider and Folk Art, A Guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources, 2000 ed. and one of her images appears in a children's book published by National Geographic. In 2011, an award winning play which was inspired by her life, '' Don't Tell Me I Can't Fly'', debuted in Milwaukee. The play was commissioned by Milwaukee First Stage Children 's Theatre and written by Y York. In 2010, the play was selected to be read at the Kennedy Center in Washington D. C., for its New Visions, New Voices Festival. Since its debut in Milwaukee, the play has been produced in Nashville, Tennessee and in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wells' work is in over one hundred private and public collections. She has exhibited in various galleries, museums and art festivals all over the United States, Italy and British Columbia. She has been a feature artist at the Kentuck Festival of Arts, the largest art festival which features folk, self-taught and outsider art in the United States.




Jason S. Yi works across artistic disciplines: drawing, photography, video, sculpture, site-specific and interactive installations. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in places such as New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Italy and Austria. His awards include Joan Mitchell Foundations Painters and Sculptors Grant 2014, Mary L. Nohl Foundations Fellowship in the established artist category and Kamiyama Artist in Residence Fellowship, supported by the Japan Foundation.  He was selected as the Milwaukee Artist of the Year, 2006 by the Milwaukee Arts Board. Among other places, he has participated in exhibitions at the Inside-Out Art Museum and Platform China in Beijing, China, Asian American Art Center in NYC, Moran Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea, Kamiyama Art Museum in Kamiyama, Japan, Hotel Pupik in Schrattenberg, Austria, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Milwaukee Art Museum. His photo series “Yellow Mountains” has been reviewed in the Artforum Magazine’s Critic’s Pick’s by Lori Waxman. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Kamiyama Museum of Art in Japan, Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles and the Edward F. Albee Foundation in New York.  Jason S. Yi lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in United States.


Mutópe J. Johnson received his MFA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts Department of Art & Design. Johnson also earned a BFA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Arts and Communications Department. Mutópe’s recent accomplishments include being selected one of four University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 Inclusive Excellence Program Scholars, a distinguished 2013–2014 Imagining America P.A.G.E. Scholar (Publicly Active Graduate in Education) and a 2014 Dedalus Foundation Award-Nominee. Johnson’s’ visual art has been included in exhibitions at the Overture Center Fine Arts Gallery Madison, WI, the Charles Allis Fine Arts Museum, Northern Kentucky University Fine Arts Gallery, the Charles A. Wustum Fine Arts Museum, Racine WI, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Juxtaposition Gallery Minneapolis, MN, Susan Woodson’s Gallery Chicago, Ill, and many others. Mutópe’s professional background and broad range of experiences have included positions at large and small graphic design companies, advertising agencies and marketing communications firms. Johnson served in positions such as Chief Creative Officer, Global Marketing Brands Manager, Creative Director and Art Director while concurrently painting for more than 15 years as a professional visual artist. Mutópe was co-founder of the former Strive Media Institute, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit training ground for teens in TV, communications and journalism. Johnson’s current research and visual arts practice has lead him to consider his role as an artist and how the arts can help shape the current state of African-American culture and it’s rich history. More importantly how the arts has enriched all of our lives. Johnson states; “This becomes my own personal way of establishing a working method that uses the power of the arts to help influence public opinion. As artists we can open up new avenues of critical thinking that serve as creative strategies that help to inform and educate others through the visual arts.”


Stephanie Barenz is an artist who makes mixed media work about place, sojourning, and storytelling.  She received her MFA in Visual Arts from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009 and spent a year studying at Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Her studio is currently located in the Fifth Ward in Milwaukee, WI. Barenz has completed artist residencies through the Students Artist League of New York, the Pfister Hotel AiR program in Milwaukee, and at the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative.  Her work has been acquired by notable public collectors, such as Northwestern Mutual and Alverno College and has private collectors across the United States and in Europe. Her paintings have been exhibited at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Dean Jensen Gallery, the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Expo 72 in Chicago, and more. Barenz's work has been featured in The Artist's Magazine, the Journal Sentinel, MPTV, Milwaukee Magazine, the Huffington Post, among others. To learn more please


Aryn Kresol is a museum woman. Midwest born and raised, aryn studied and practiced art at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, earning a BFA in photography in 2011, following a formal education in liberal arts. Since 2009, aryn has electively curated numerous exhibitions in Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York, working independently and collaboratively with artists of all disciplines. She has worked locally for the Haggerty Museum of Art, The Pitch Project Gallery & Artists Studios, and RedLine Milwaukee, and nationally for the Rockford Art Museum and Dia Art Foundation at Dia:Beacon in New York. aryn currently works at the Milwaukee Art Museum as Curatorial Assistant to the Chief Curator, and is the co-founder and editor of Generous magazine.


Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer, Fulbright and NSF grantee and professor, interventionist and public citizen. He has produced and collaborated on projects ranging from ecological, participatory and online interventions, interactive, immersive and mixed reality environments, to prints, sculptures, videos, performances and hybrid forms. His book, Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body as Performance, takes a close look at the stakes for interactive and digital art, and his ongoing work in industry has helped launch dozens of new businesses, products and ideas. Stern has been featured in the likes of the Wall Street Journal, Guardian UK, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Daily News, BBC’s Today show, WIRED, Boing Boing, Gizmodo, PetaPixel, M Magazine, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, Scientific American, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Leonardo Journal of Art, Science and Technology, Rhizome, Furtherfield, Turbulence, and more. According to Chicago’s widely popular Bad at Sports art podcast, Stern has “the most varied and strange bio of maybe anyone ever on the show,” and South Africa’s Live Out Loud magazine calls him a “prolific scholar” as well as artist, whose work is “quite possibly some of the most relevant around.” “Technological, thought-provoking and unexpected” (NPR) he’s been dubbed one of Milwaukee’s “avant-garde” (Journal Sentinel), called ”an interesting and prolific fixture” ( behind many “multimedia experiments” (, “accessible and abstract simultaneously” (Art and Electronic Media web site), someone “with starry, starry eyes” ( who “makes an obscene amount of work in an obscene amount of ways” (Bad at Sports) – both “bizarre and beautiful” (Gizmodo). According to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing, Stern makes “beautiful, glitched out art-images,” and Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American says Stern’s art is “tremendous fun” but also “fascinating” in how it is “investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art.”


Phyllis Bankier is a photographer. Capturing moments and freezing time in her images, whether shooting an urban landscape, the countryside, people, food or nature, she is inspired. Her photography is for sharing color and excitement. It is rooted in the deep love of bringing out the beauty and sensuality that nature has given us. Photography has always been part of her life. In an undergraduate college art class, she was given an assignment to use a camera. Immediately, she knew the camera was something special. She continues to compose the world through the camera lens to capture those distinctive moments and scenes. Her work has been accepted into many juried exhibitions as well as winning many first places and honorable mentions. For more information:


Lee Golden is the owner and creator of GT Creative which specializes in innovative marketing and PR. He holds a degree from Lousiana State University. 


Melissa Dorn Richards works between painting and sculpture. She draws from common everyday objects, things often over-looked or past by, as subject matter and infuses them with humor and expressive color. Dorn Richards is a Milwaukee-based artist, who holds a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. A practicing artist for 20 years, she is represented by Frank Juarez Gallery. Her work can be found in many corporate collections including Tax-Air, Northwestern Mutual, Mandel Group, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, Littler Mendelson and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Select exhibitions include: Detroit Biennale, Museum of New Art; Wisconsin Artists Biennial, Museum of Wisconsin Art; Preservatif, Stockholm Gallery; Forward 2014, Charles Allis Art Museum; Up, Down!, River Edge Gallery; Moving Mountains, Frank Juarez Gallery; Schematic, UW-Sheboygan; Eight Counties, John Michael Kohler Arts Center; Art Chicago and Aqua Art Miami, Hotcakes Gallery. Dorn Richards is also active in the local arts community through her work co-chairing the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) advisory council and as a board director and previous lead artist for Artworks for Milwaukee. Her newest adventure is as co-managing director of Material Studios + Gallery, a space for artists to create, produce and develop their entrepreneurial practice.