Art Cafes have been focal gathering places for artists for centuries.  A place where they could emerge from the isolation of their studios to exchange ideas, inspiration and find connection between their creative process within the context of current events. For 2017, we have a selection of presenters that will share intimate stories of their discoveries both in and outside the studio as well as legal guidance for protecting intellectual property.  Attendance will be open to all registered attendees for this series of intimate conversations with professional artists and advocates. The Evening concludes with a presentation of the Mosaic Arts International: Site-Specific Exhibition.

Cathleen Newsham

New York City’s Underground Art Museum with Cathleen Newsham

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center

Join mosaic artist Cathleen Newsham, owner of Modern Mosaic Arts, Danbury, CT, as she brings to life the exquisite beauty and historical significance of New York City’s subway mosaics in this 30-minute PowerPoint presentation. In 2011, after being awarded a project based on New York City’s subway mosaics, Newsham began an exhaustive study of the city’s more than 250 underground works of art. In this presentation, Newsham will feature images of the subway mosaics that have influenced her own work and detail the residential mosaic installation which resulted from her studies. She will share images of the various stages of her design and fabrication of the project, which will be of particular interest to mosaic artists interested in starting their own architectural mosaic business. A question and answer period will follow the presentation.

Cathleen Newsham has been designing, fabricating and installing architectural mosaics for 17 years. With degrees in graphic design and fine art, Newsham started her career in 1993 as a broadcast designer, but once she discovered mosaics in 1999, she was smitten. Between architectural and graphic design projects, you will find Cathleen traveling throughout the US, teaching the art and business of mosaic as well as conducting private tours of the NYC subway mosaics. A member of SAMA since 2003, and a founding member and Webmaster for The New England Mosaic Society, she will be the keynote speaker at the society’s annual meeting on November 5th at Holy Cross University in Worcester, MA.

“Flip the system (Amplified change)” by Julie Sperling

The Medium as the Message: Mosaic as a Call to Action with Julie Sperling

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center

Mosaicists around the world are increasingly using our medium to tackle the big issues of our time. Julie Sperling has been speaking out about climate change for several years and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Accompanied by images from her Fiddling While Rome Burns series, Julie will take you inside her process and this ever-growing body of work, and will share her personal philosophy about activist mosaic. Learn about where she finds her inspiration, how she navigates the choices involved in creating art that communicates a message, and how and why she complements her art with writing. She’ll also reflect on the lessons she has learned along the way and the strategies she is using as she looks to the future and navigates this long-term undertaking. By delving into the what, how, and why of Julie’s own brand of activist mosaic, this talk will be a call to arms (or hammers!) to use mosaic as a powerful tool for social change. Audience members will have a chance to ask questions at the end.
Julie Sperling is a Canadian mosaicist camped out at the intersection of art, environment, science, and policy. Since 2014, she has been engaged almost exclusively in creating an ongoing series of mosaics about climate change. The majority of the series resides in private collections in Canada and the US, and one mosaic from the series—Dialogue (The Burden of the Message)—received a Juror’s Choice award in MAI 2016. An avid blogger and seasoned civil servant on the environment file, Julie brings a unique perspective to activist mosaic. She firmly believes in the important role that artists have to play as advocates, activists, and change-makers.

Kelley Knickerbocker

Bringing Sexy Back (to Your Art Practice)! with Kelley Knickerbocker

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center

Being an artist isn’t just having mind-blowing ideas, exhilarating in-the-zone all-nighters, and getting sought out by dream clients. It’s also waiting, isolation, mistakes, housecleaning, choice paralysis, self-doubt, tedium, and other unsexy aspects that can be serious creativity buzzkills. In this lively, fun presentation, Kelley offers a raft of practical tips, exercises and strategies to re-spark confidence and creativity and keep you in touch with your passion for your practice.

Visual artist Kelley Knickerbocker began studying mosaic in 2005 with various artists around the US, then left a 22-year administrative career at the University of Washington in 2006 to found a mosaic studio (Rivenworks Mosaics, Seattle) and begin designing/ fabricating/installing mosaic artwork for public, commercial, residential and gallery environments. Kelley’s ruggedly dimensional mosaic artworks—in natural materials, machined materials, found objects, sometimes even the waste of the studio process itself, such as paper towels and hardened cement mortar—are a textural distillation of her fascination with contrast and material properties, and garnered her SAMA’s Innovation in Contemporary Mosaic Award in 2015. Kelley travels extensively—speaking, collaborating, and teaching in-depth workshops on mosaic style and technique.

Catherine Dobrowitski

Top Ten Things Artists Need to Know about Intellectual Property with Catherine Dobrowitsky

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center

The goal of the presentation is to provide the audience with an easy-to-understand list of ten general rules about intellectual property law. Artists should be aware of these general principles, each of which can affect their ability to obtain, license, and enforce their intellectual property rights. The audience will gain an understanding of what rights they have, what the extent of those rights can be, and common pitfalls to avoid. There will be a question-and-answer session at the end, but no active audience participation. The presentation will be guided by a PowerPoint slide presentation (or equivalent) to illustrate the points of the lecture. The presenter will speak generally, but cannot offer specific attendees legal advice.

Catherine T. Dobrowitsky is the founding member and president of Rivenoak Law, a boutique law firm focused on intellectual property protection, agreements, and enforcement. Her practice includes intellectual property counseling and litigation involving trademarks, copyrights, patents, false advertising, unfair competition, counterfeiting, and domain names. In 2013, 2014, and 2016, dBusiness magazine named Ms. Dobrowitsky a “Top Lawyer” for intellectual property. Ms. Dobrowitsky also serves on multiple nonprofit boards and is currently Board Chair of the Pewabic Society, Inc.—one of few remaining potteries founded during the Arts and Crafts movement. Ms. Dobrowitsky received her B.A. from the Residential College at the University of Michigan, where she received the Senior Campus Leadership Award and earned Class Honors. She received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. Following graduation, she served as a Law Clerk to the Hon. John Feikens, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. After her federal clerkship, she joined the commercial litigation group of a large Michigan-based international law firm. She launched Rivenoak Law in 2012.

Presentation of the Mosaic Arts International – Site-Specific Exhibition 


The Mosaic Arts International Site-Specific Exhibition will be presented through images featured in the 2017 Mosaic Arts International Catalog, in a dedicated image gallery on the SAMA Website and discussed during this presentation.