The SAMA Education Committee has curated one of our most inspirational Featured Presentation series in the 13 year history of this conference. Over the course of two days, attendees will meet mosaic art makers, community builders, collaborative super stars, and a couple of TEDx Alumni, many based in, or have strong connections to the Houston art community. The series will conclude with an intimate chat with an American contemporary mosaic art movement icon and one of SAMA’s founding members, Sonia King. Spending two days with these visionaries is sure to open the eyes, hearts and minds of any artist at any level of development or career stage!
in order of appearance…
Collective Creativity with Reginald C. Adams and Rhonda Adams
Friday, May 2, 2014 1:30pm, Imperial East, 3rd Floor, Hyatt Regency Houston
The public sphere is, in effect, ‘museum’ for the art projects that Reginald and Rhonda create. They are on a mission to use public art and creativity as tools for social awareness and community development. The goal of this presentation is to highlight and inform the role that the arts and creativity play in social health & wellness, in community engagement, and in urban revitalization. Reginald and Rhonda are pleased to share the tried and true methods of integrating art and creativity into specific facets of society. They will present a collection of case studies for collaborative public art projects that reflect the culture and history of those communities, including schools, community organizations, health care environments, and public/private businesses.
Through the case studies they hope to reveal the role that attendees can play in implementing similar projects in their own communities. Adams sees public art as way to serve both artists and future generations. (Every artist wants to leave a mark, after all.) He thinks public art should be durable and permanent, like the mosaics he creates.
Rhonda Radford Adams, RDH, is a native Houstonian and life-trained artist. Acquainted with working in a variety of mixed media using fabric designs, mosaic tiles, painting, and hand-made wallpaper, several of her original art works are in public and private collections nationally and internationally. Rhonda’s passion for promoting social wellness through community creativity lead to the collective vision with husband and creative partner Reginald C. Adams, as co-founders of the not-for-profit Museum of Cultural Arts Houston (MOCAH) in 1999. Rhonda is the director for the Art Angels Healing Arts Program that provides art as a tool to promote social wellness. Rhonda has worked extensively with community based service organizations, hospitals, and schools to provide opportunities for creative interaction with many. Artrra.com
Reginald C. Adams is an award winning public artist, social entrepreneur, and community developer. He is best known for mosaic murals and sculptures, which are strategically located in communities across Houston. A cornerstone to his creative process is engaging the public in the design, production, and celebration of his work.
For 14 years he served as President and CEO of MOCAH. During that time he facilitated the design, coordination, and production over 180 public art projects. These projects were co-created with the involvement of over 25,000 youth, 95 international and local artists, and hundreds of community stakeholders. In 2014 Reginald phased out the MOCAH art organization and began a new stage of his art career with the creation of Reginald C. Adams, LLC. ReginaldAdams.com
Large-Scale Collaborations with Dixie Friend Gay and Saskia Siebrand
Friday, May 2, 2014 2:30pm, Imperial East, 3rd Floor, Hyatt Regency Houston
The presentation is an introduction to the collaborative process of Dixie Friend Gay (artist) and Saskia Siebrand, (founder of Mosaika Art & design). This involves a walk-through slide presentation of several large-scale public and private commissions since 2006. Dixie is a well recognized Houston based artist who works in a variety of mediums. Her introduction to large-scale mosaics goes back to 1998 when she collaborated with (Kolorines) of Mexico to produce a 1500 sq ft undulating mural and columns for the Houston IAH Airport. Saskia has been making mosaics for over 20 years and founded the company Mosaika in 1998. Mosaika specializes in the fabrication of large-scale mosaics in a variety of materials. To date, they have realized over 100 site-specific artworks in collaboration with artists in the US and Canada.
Dixie Friend Gay is a nationally acclaimed artist whose prolific career spans more than three decades. The remarkable breadth of her artistic production encompasses public art, sculpture, painting, and drawing. She is perhaps best known for her numerous public art commissions, including those at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Port of Miami, Indianapolis International Airport, Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M Galveston. Whether large scale architectural projects or intimate paintings, Friend Gay’s work is fueled by awareness of the natural world and its ability to induce altered states.
Her public art has been recognized by Americans for the Arts “Public Art Year in Review” and has received multiple Craftsmanship Awards. Friend Gay was recognized as Texas Artist of the Year in 2003 by the Texas Commission for the Arts. Her studio art can be found in the collections of the Federal Reserve Bank in Houston Texas, Rice University, the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston among many others. DixieFriendGay.com
Saskia Siebrand is co-founder of Mosaika Art & Design. She is the Creative & Technical Director at the company’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada. Mosaika consists of a tile-placement workshop, ceramic-glaze studio, and design space. They have handled the interpretation of fine art paintings into beautifully complex and nuanced mosaic artworks. The business is a design & manufacturing company with a fresh new take on the ancient art of mosaic making. “We approach all of our mosaics as unique works of art, paying attention to the smalled of details so that we can position ourselves at the top of our field. We believe in constant innovation both creatively and technically. The emphasis of our company is ‘art & design’ combining a modern aesthetic with exquisite craftsmanship.” Mosaika.com
The Barefoot Artist with Lily Yeh
Friday, May 2, 2014 3:30pm, Imperial East, 3rd Floor, Hyatt Regency Houston
Lily Yeh is rather a peculiar kind of artist. She doesn’t have a studio and you won’t find her work in galleries. You will find it on the walls and in the streets of some of the world’s most challenged and traumatized places. Her mission is to bring beauty to the “broken places” in the world that beckon her. There, she creates art with people. Abandoned places are her canvases; people’s stories form a part of her palette. People’s talent and imagination become the tools in her collaborative creative art-making process, through which healing and transformation take place. In this presentation, Lily will talk about her most important projects in various countries. But more, she wants to share the forces and moments in her life that shaped her and pushed her to do her transformative work in the world.
A documentary that traces Lily’s evolution as an artist, “The Barefoot Artist”, will be screened. The film, by Glenn Holsten and Daniel Traub, explores two sides of Lily’s life that are connected parts of the same journey: her international ventures helping to heal weakened spirits in communities in North America, Africa, China, and India, and a personal journey within, to repair her own fractured family.
Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist whose work has taken her to communities throughout the world. As founder and executive director of the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia from 1968 to 2004, she helped create a national model of community building through the arts. In 2002, Yeh pursued her work internationally, founding Barefoot Artists, Inc., to bring the transformative power of art to impoverished communities around the globe through participatory, multifaceted projects that foster community empowerment, improve the physical environment, promote economic development and preserve indigenous art and culture. In addition to the States, she has carried out projects in multiple countries including Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Rwanda, China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Syria, Republic of Georgia, Haiti, and Palestine. BarefootArtist.org
Powered by Pecha Kucha: A Mosaic Conversation with Kim Emerson, Bonnie Fitzgerald & Kelley Knickerbocker, moderated by Nancy Giere
Saturday, May 3, 2014 1:30pm, Imperial East, 3rd Floor, Hyatt Regency Houston
Pecha Kucha is a worldwide presentation phenomenon devised in 2003 in Tokyo around the Japanese concept of “conversation.” At SAMA we can become a part of this worldwide movement that provides a lively and focused framework for sharing ideas and experiences. Originating in the design field, “Powered by Pecha Kucha” events have to date occurred in over 200 cities around the world in countless areas of interest. The Pecha Kucha format is simple: 20 images in just over six minutes. That’s just 20 seconds per slide. The presenter speaks to each image, and the images are automatically advanced. If the presenter runs out of time on an image it advances anyway, which keeps the presentations concise and on point. The audience will be astounded at the amount of information and insight that occurs in so few minutes! Our objective for this presentation at the SAMA conference is to use humor and this fast format to bring three current member stories to life in a way that interests, entertains, informs and inspires conference attendees.
Each presenter brings a different history, work style, philosophy and contribution to SAMA and the larger mosaic community, and will be asked to select images that speak to their inspirations, breakthroughs and current area of focus . The Pecha Kucha presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A session.
Kim Emerson has been designing and creating mosaics for private and public spaces since 1990. Her formal studies were in Fine Art, Art and Architectural History, and Historic Preservation of Architecture. Prior to establishing her own business, Kim Emerson Mosaics, LLC, Kim worked for Architect Milford Wayne Donaldson, F.A.I.A., and world-renowned artist James Hubbell. She also has extensive experience working with non-profit organizations, in construction, arts education, galleries, and museums. She is a past SAMA Board of Trustee Advisory Member, Mesa, AZ SAMA conference Mosaic Marathon artist, SAMA MAI award recipient, and the 2013 Robin Brett Memorial Scholarship recipient. KimEmersonMosaics.com
Bonnie Fitzgerald is the author of 300+ Mosaic Tips, Techniques, Templates and Trade Secrets. Her company, Maverick Mosaics, is dedicated to creating unique learning experiences. Over the past 15 years she has taught over 20 different art workshop topics to hundreds of students. Additionally, Bonnie designs and fabricates architectural mosaics for a wide variety of clients. Mentoring students and creating art are interdependent pursuits that shape Fitzgerald’s artistic voice every day. She is a past SAMA Board of Trustee Executive Committee Member and longtime SAMA member. MaverickMosaics.com
Visual artist Kelley Knickerbocker left a 22-yr administrative career at the University of Washington in 2006 to found a mosaic studio (Rivenworks Mosaics, Seattle) and direct her accumulated skills in project management and planning toward designing/fabricating/installing mosaic artwork for public, commercial, residential and gallery environments. Kelley’s ruggedly dimensional work, in a broad range of materials, broadcasts her fascination with contrast, material properties and the technical challenges of mosaic construction. Sharing that fascination and learning from other art makers are keys to the freshness of Kelley’s mosaic practice, and she travels extensively throughout North America speaking, collaborating and teaching in-depth workshops on mosaic style and technique. RivenworksMosaics.com
Our moderator Nancy Giere designs custom training experiences for organizations throughout the United States. She blends the pragmatic mind of a business person with the creative soul of an artist, running on the belief that the difference between good and great is The Creativity Component. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and has been studying stand up comedy with FD Productions in VA. Her routines tap into her Sicilian roots, artistic sensibilities and the joys of everyday life. NancyGiere.com
Legitimizing Trash and Gentrifying Minutiae with Dan Phillips
Saturday, May 3, 2014 2:40pm, Imperial East, 3rd Floor, Hyatt Regency Houston
Identifying the sources of artistic insight is useful to anyone, but especially artists. Through slides and philosophical commentary, Dan Phillips will pinpoint the primal sources that lead to artistic decisions, completely sanitized of cultural expectations and trendy strategies. Artistic selection emanates from the most sentient parts of ourselves, and the materials of the world parallel our experience with them. For tens of thousands of years humans have been using pieces to create wholes, relying on instincts, sensibilities and their marvelous ability to imagine what could be if they but had the nerve to try. Finding the strength to have a strident nerve, and proclaim your passions to the world is as easy as closing your eyes and touching your nose. Attendees will learn to identify these seminal resources, where they come from, and how cultural mindsets obscure the most precious thing we have–our humanity. Questions and answers will follow.
Dan Phillips, with his company, The Phoenix Commotion, builds houses from recycled materials, a model that helps the planet and society. To prevent the houses from appearing as slummy admixtures, principles of art and design must guide construction at every stage–with the design of each house growing from the materials that are available. The company has garnered substantial national and international recognition. He currently is the artistic director of Smither Park, a folk-art park just South of downtown Houston. He runs the company with his wife, Marsha, a retired art teacher. They have two children and four grandchildren. PhoenixCommotion.com.
One Tessera at a Time with Sonia King
Saturday, May 3, 2014 3:40pm, Imperial East, 3rd Floor, Hyatt Regency Houston
A mosaic, whether abstract or figurative, opens a creative dialogue between the artist and the viewer. A dialogue guided by the interplay of color, light and texture, the manipulation of scale, the discovery of the unknown potential of natural materials, the mastery of technique and the artist’s patient dedication to the process of picking up one tessera, placing it and choosing the piece that goes next to it.
Creating a career in the arts requires focus, tenacity and vision. Sonia King shares her life in mosaic, developed through a process of personal, artistic and historical exploration. Follow the journey as she develops her artistic voice, see the creation of the intuitive mosaic process, the installation of large-scale public art projects, learn from her mistakes and successes. Beginning with the hope of making a living in mosaic, Sonia’s story culminates with the inclusion of her mosaic, Depthfinder, in the permanent collection of the Museo d’Arte in Ravenna, Italy.
Sonia King’s award-winning art is exhibited internationally and represented in private, public and corporate collections. Depthfinder is the first American mosaic in the permanent collection of contemporary mosaic art at the Museo d’Arte della Città di Ravenna, Italy. Sonia is a founding member and President Emeritus of SAMA and a Vice President of the Associazione Internazionale Mosaicisti Contemporanei. Her work’s been featured on “Modern Masters” and in numerous books. Sonia is a Senior Tutor at West Dean College in England and teaches advanced workshops around the world. She is the author of the bestselling book “Mosaic Techniques & Traditions” from Sterling Publishing. Mosaicworks.com