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Andy Evansen interest in art started in childhood, as he can’t recall a time when he wasn’t drawing.  He decided to pursue a career in art and attended the University of Minnesota’s commercial illustration program.  He was hired as a medical illustrator in Minneapolis, creating artwork for medical device companies, textbooks and surgeons.  Once that industry became dependent on digital art, he longed for a return to fine art and began watercolor painting. 

Choosing a ‘style’ was not difficult, as Andy was always inspired by the watercolor paintings of British artists Trevor Chamberlain, David Curtis, Ed Seago and John Yardley, among others.  He found himself attempting to capture the landscape with the same economy of brushstroke, taking advantage of the luminosity of watercolors done in just a few washes.  In addition, he was impressed with the way those artists seemed to capture everyday scenes in such a way that revealed a hidden beauty, subjects that many would simply pass by.  This appealed to Andy as he grew up in the rural Midwest of the United States, far from the large, bustling cities of the east coast or the drama of the Pacific on the west coast.  His familiarity and love of simple farm scenes and small towns is evident in his work today. 

His work gained recognition after winning an international watercolor competition through American Artist magazine, appearing on their cover in 2005.  He’s been featured in numerous other publications since, and has become a sought-after workshop instructor who paints and teaches internationally.  He became a signature member of the prestigious Plein Air Painters of America (PAPA) in 2012 and was elected their President in 2015. 

His paintings have won numerous awards, including the Bronze Medal of Honor at the 2012 American Watercolor Society Exhibition, and in 2015 he received the High Winds Medal and his signature status from the American Watercolor Society.

His love of painting on location also led to him being a featured presenter at the 2014 and 2016 Plein Air Conventions and inclusion in the 2017 Qingdao International Masters Watercolor Plein Air Event.

Andy has been asked to jury several exhibitions, including the Hoosier Salon in 2016 and the New England Watercolor Society, Philadelphia Watercolor Society and Red River Watercolor Society National Exhibitions in 2017.

You can view his work at www.EvansenArtStudio.com.  

Aryn Bergsven has taught art for 15 years in the Duluth area. Her background includes studying art at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and painting in Aix-en-Provence, France in the Post-Impressionist style of Paul Cezanne. She has 2 active young children and a busy musician husband.  Aryn enjoys painting in her studio and exploring the natural world with her family. She currently teaches high school art at Harbor City International School in Duluth.

Sarah Brokke Erickson grew up in Grand Forks, ND, and received her BFA in Pre-Graduate Studio Art from UMD.  During that time she studied abroad in Birmingham, England.  She received her MFA through a joint program between Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy and Bowling Green State in Bowling Green, Ohio.  She returned to Duluth in 2004 where she has since taught Painting and Drawing (focusing on Portraiture and the Figure) at the Duluth Art Institute, and Art and Art History at the College of St. Scholastica.  Sarah's artwork is manifested primarily in paintings, with a focus on the figure.  Thematically, her work explores gender roles and traditions, relationships, and identity. She has exhibited at many venues locally, as well as nationally and internationally.   A recent interview of her working in her studio can be found here.


Rebecca Layman

Art has always been a huge part of my life. I became a visual art educator because I discovered at a young age the value and connection that I had with art to the world.  I learned that I could express and say things through art that I couldn't say any other way.  My goal as a visual art teacher, is to provide instruction, guidance, and an environment where students can find their own voice through art.

Rebecca Layman has taught art in the summers at the Duluth Art Institute for the last eleven years. Rebecca says she looks forward to teaching art camp at the DAI as something different than a regular school setting. She started her teaching career teacher elementary art at Bagley Elementary school for six years. Five years ago Rebecca decided to switch from teaching elementary students to teaching high school students. This is her fifth year of teaching art at Lincoln High School and says, "I am loving every minute of it".

Karen Owsley Nease is a painter working with contemporary landscapes and pattern abstraction. Originally from the Kansas City area, she relocated to Duluth in 2013 to be near Lake Superior and the north woods. A lifelong painter with a concurrent interest in design, she has a BFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute and two architectural degrees from the University of Kansas. She was co-owner of the acclaimed contemporary Joseph Nease Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri. She has exhibited extensively and recently had a solo exhibition of paintings in the Morrison Gallery at the Duluth Art Institute. Her work is in corporate, museum and private collections in Missouri, Kansas and Minnesota.  She is represented in Duluth by Lizzard's Gallery.

Karen has great passion and enthusiasm for art, especially painting.  She loves sharing her deep knowledge of various painting media, techniques, and styles. She is particularly excited to work with students to develop their strengths around their specific interests and motivations as painters.  Her website is karennease.com.

Ann Price is a visual artist, art educator, and art therapist who recently retired after 20 years from teaching art in the Duluth Public Schools. She was born and raised in Massachusetts and and lived in NYC and received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. On a post college hiatus she visited a friend in Duluth and forever fell in love with Lake Superior. Like so many she moved here. She met her husband Jack, raised three sons, completed her Masters in Art Therapy while enjoying a teaching career. While skilled in many mediums her attention is always on drawing and graphite working both abstractly and realistically. Working intuitively has always been most important in her creative process. Collage became another means. She personally uses collage to unveil the power of her own wisdom as a personal guide into life’s journey. She has led many others in this practic3

Pete Prudhomme

I started with clay as a prerequisite for my degree program in management from Lake Superior College, and graduated in 2003 with high honors.  In the past 13 years I’ve studied with Bob Husby, Dorian Beaulieu, Tonya Borgeson and Dave Lynas.  I’ve enjoyed working with porcelain and stoneware with the high fire results you can get from wood and gas fired pottery.  Recently, I taught kiln building classes at Guangzhou Acadamy of Fine Arts in Guangzhou, China  and have assisted in many Duluth Art Institute classes. My experience in ceramics includes kiln building and firing, high fire pottery, and Raku processes.


Sheila Staubus

Sheila Staubus, assistant manager of the DAI ceramics studio, also teaches Beginning and Independent Study classes in clay.  “Teaching others forces me to think about how and why I do things a certain way, and what new (or old) techniques I want to try.  I also meet many wonderful and creative people.”

Sheila first learned the art of ceramics under the instruction of Dave Lynas at the DAI in 2001.  Since then she has studied under many instructors of local, national and international renown.  She loves the rhythm and line of Moorish architecture, the intricacy of Indian stone and woodcarving, the soft brushstrokes of Oriental watercolor and the color and swirl of Rosemaling.  “I like to celebrate the ordinary. . .vines, birds, snowflakes, things I see out my window, things that make me laugh.”

Adam Stevenson was born and raised in Hamden, Connecticut.  He has lived in Duluth since 1994 with his wife and two children.  He has a B.S. and an M.A in Communication Sciences and Disorders and has worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist for 20 years in the Duluth/Superior area.  His attraction to clay started in high school and has been a source of great pleasure ever since.  Adam loves to experiment with all phases of the creative process and loves to try new things “just to see what happens”. He enjoys working with/teaching/learning from with other clay enthusiasts and derives satisfaction from both the process and the product!


Adam Swanson

"In my work I deconstruct the ideas that are part of our childhood and adult culture. My work also addresses the future, fragility of the human presence, perseverance of nature and underlying threads of danger that underpin societies. I use my work to encourage thought and interest in science.

I received my BFA at U of MN Duluth and have painted and studied in Europe, Asia, South America and the South Pacific. After three years in New York and a couple stints in Antarctica, I have called Duluth, MN home since 2008. I paint full-time, am married and a father of two. More of my work can be seen on my website www.adamswanson.com."

Chrissy Valento
moved to Duluth in 1986 and never looked back.  She always wanted to live by that great, big Lake Superior and she feels very lucky to call Duluth home.

She is married to Rick, has two children, two bunnies, and one big yellow lab named Max.  Chrissy has been teaching in the Duluth Public Schools for 18 years, and enjoys it immensely.  She has also been teaching at the Duluth Art Institute for the past 10+ years and feels fortunate to meet such amazingly talented kiddos year after year.  Chrissy considers herself a life-long learner, and is always willing to try new art forms.  She most enjoys felting, glass fusing, and watching others get excited about being creative.

Liz Vandersteen

After working in education for many years, I returned to school to receive my Masters of Art Education from University of Wisconsin, Superior. Since
then, I have continued teaching within the community through a number of venues. For me, learning and teaching are one in the same. I am always interested in putting together new curriculum that integrates the visual arts with math and science, connecting it to the world around us. As a visual
artist I feel a responsibility to not only create my own artwork but to also encourage, engage and educate others in their continued exploration of the
creative process. I’m extremely thankful to live in a community that shows such a strong appreciation of and commitment to the visual arts!


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