Recently, I visited Sheboygan Falls-based artist, Sara Willadsen, at the new addition to the Peninsula School of Art campus. Talk about being at the right place and at the right time, huh? Actually, we happened to be in Door County that weekend and I noticed on Instagram that she was participating in this new artist-in-residence program. This was not only an opportunity to catch up with Willadsen, but to see this new facility, which I have only seen snippets on social media.
Willadsen greeted us outside of the Guenzel Gallery and walked us through the current exhibition, To the Letter: Text to Art, leading to the back of the gallery were the new facility was located. As we entered the main door, we walked into somewhat of a communal space, which led to an open concept space where there artists set up their makeshift studios. From what I learned, the school invited 6 artists for 6-week residencies equipped with the necessary space to create new works. The only thing that separated both artists was a room divider on wheels.
The last time I saw Willadsen with white walls doing a residency was at my former art gallery. Let just say that the walls were covered with her creative mark makings and planning process. I loved seeing this. Luckily here she had a blue sheet of paper that would protect the new white walls.
The invited artists were to provide feedback to the school for future residencies. The artists were provided with a space to work and a place to stay. A place to stay is always a major benefit. After a series of unplanned questions, I did inquire about professional development opportunities. It appeared not to be many available, but that is okay. Artists have different needs. For many, the opportunity to create with no distractions is always a priority.
When you enter this space, you really get what you see – a big space, white walls, a sink, a bathroom, and 24/7 access. What more do you want?
About the artist
Sara Willadsen (b. 1987) received her Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Northern Illinois University in 2014 and her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Graphic Arts from Lakeland University in 2010. Working mainly with paint and various collage elements, Willadsen’s work explores concepts of abstract spaces and objects guided by her surroundings. She has had work featured in New American Paintings and shows frequently in regional and national exhibitions. Willadsen currently works as a visual artist and graphic designer in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
She makes pictures that satisfy her curiosity in aesthetics and found materials. Combining these articles with reappropriations of her own work allows her to employ past patterns and marks as prompts for new structures and environments. The aggressive process used to construct these secretive spaces is kept in balance with the consciousness to know when to stop.
About the Peninsula School of Art
Peninsula School of Art provides enriching, educational experiences to participants of all ages and abilities that broaden individual perspectives, and fosters a community dedicated to the transformative power of the visual arts. Website.