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New artists welcomed to Artisan Residency Program at NWTC

By Janelle Fisher
Staff Writer

The Artisan and Business Center Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) recently welcomed a new cohort of artists into its Artisan Residency Program.

Artists Michelle Diedrich, Amber Hendricks, Carlie Petersen, Chue Lo and Christie Van Sickle will be provided with educational opportunities and experiences to grow their businesses through the program, including extra studio time, access to seminars and classes at the Artisan Center, professional artwork photos and the opportunity to be featured online, in marketing materials and at local events.

At the end of their residency, an exhibition will be held displaying the work of the five artists.
Get to know some of this year’s program participants by reading their answers to the questions below.

What type of art do you do?

Petersen: Currently I am focusing on exploring various methods of watercolor painting and fiber art. I enjoy blending my technical skills in multiple mediums with my love of observation and storytelling to educate and emphasize an appreciation of relationships and the world around us.

Van Sickle: Mixed media artwork. I incorporate acrylics, airbrushing, acrylic inks, charcoal, colored pencil, pastels, and paper into my works.

Diederich: I’m an abstract oil painter. I love working with bright colors, and many of my pieces have a stained glass appearance.

Van Sickle

How long have you been creating art? What got you started?

Petersen: I have been creating art for others for over 20 years. I grew up in a family of artists and art lovers so crafting and tinkering was a regular part of my childhood. In 2006 I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a double major in Art Education and Fiber Art, and went on to teach intermittently before deciding to lean into a career as a freelance artist.

Van Sickle: Since high school, but not seriously until 2016.

Diedrich: I have been creating art since I was a child, and it was one of my majors in college. After college, I stopped for a time while I was working a corporate job. In 2019, I started to get back into art and started thinking about making it my profession.

What inspires your art now?

Petersen: Much of my artwork today is inspired by natural beauty, being, and using art to educate. My favorite pieces to design are still those that are meant to reach, encourage, celebrate, and aid — art inspired by someone in mind or to inspire someone’s mind.

Van Sickle: Most of my art is inspired by nature, movies and folklore/fantasy.

Diedrich: One of the things that got me back into painting was the idea of painting to look like stained glass. Recently I’ve been attracted to the idea of joy and incorporating joyful elements into my artwork.
What drew you to the Artist in Residency Program? What are you looking forward to/what do you hope to get out of it?

Petersen: During the time I spent working as an office assistant at NWTC Artisan and Business Center, I had a front row seat to observe the first two cohorts of the Artisan Residency Program.

Seeing other artists find success in starting or growing their arts-based businesses inspired me to apply and work toward developing my own. I am looking forward to receiving customized guidance through the process of building a business model that works for me.

I hope to expand my network and establish all processes of a professional arts-based business so I can feel more confident in my career as an artist.

Van Sickle: I had a few acquaintances go through it and it seemed like it would be a good fit for my goals. I’m looking to learn new ways to grow my business, network, and obtain some new skills.

Diedrich: I had friends who participated in the Artisan Residency Program last year and encouraged me to look into it. I am excited to be in a cohort of other artists and to learn from our mentors. I feel like this will help push me to the next level in my art business.

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