everyday artist spotlight

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Laura Monsreal

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We are pleased to introduce you to a talented, young, Latina artist, Laurel Monsreal.  Laura was born in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico and has been raised in the Chicago suburbs. She uses many art mediums, including painting, photography and film.  Laura’s commitment to pursing her passions: art, storytelling, women’s empowerment, wellness and spirituality is inspiring.  Continue reading to learn more about what inspires Laura’s art, what projects she is currently working on and how arts education has impacted her life!

 

 

Growing , Laura Monsreal

Growing, Laura Monsreal

Why is your art important to you?

Art to me is important because it helps me express myself, helps my mental health and helps me connect with community. 

 

What do you want your art to say?

I want my art to express the story that I am trying to express at that moment of my life.

 

What project are you working on now?

My current projects have been about connecting to the divine feminine energy, nature, and spirituality. 

 

The Blind Trick , Laura Monsreal

The Blind Trick, Laura Monsreal

What is your favorite artwork and/or artist?

Some of my favorite artists that have inspired me since 2017-2018 have been Vanja Vukelic, Pinot W. Ichwandardi, Abigail Halpin, Bella Kotak and Helen Dardik 

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

Art education has impacted my life in many ways. It has helped me express who I am as an individual, made me think about the world and how it works, and helped me learn new knowledge such as principles of design and elements of art. 

Follow Laura on Instagram and on Facebook.

Revealing Relief , Laura Monsreal

Revealing Relief, Laura Monsreal

Elephant Strength , Laura Monsreal

Elephant Strength, Laura Monsreal

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Biography: 

My name is Laura Monsreal. I am a Chicago-based Latina artist. Born in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico and raised in the Chicago suburbs. The relationship I have with art stems from the love of storytelling. I am a versatile artist, who enjoys working with painting, photography, and writing. Aside from art, holistic health and wellness are my other passions. Just like art, engaging in movement, mindful eating, and meditation has helped and nurtured my growth emotionally, spiritually and physically. I believe that we must treat our bodies as our own temples. One thing I believe helps in connecting the self to its higher truth is self-love. Incorporating self-love in to our lives is important because we must learn to love, and take care of ourselves first before we can love others. Living in society can feel like such a rush that we often lose ourselves. Through my art, I strive to spread awareness of the importance of self-love. Other themes I focus on are nature, women's empowerment, equality, identity, and spirituality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Leslie Cannata Nance

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We are thrilled to introduce you to music educator extraordinaire, Leslie Cannata Nance! She is a multi-talented teacher and artist who has a genuine commitment to her students’ growth and development as musicians. Leslie has a deep, profound love for the arts and it’s evident in her work and performances. Check out her interview to learn more about the passion that drives her work as an educator and how arts education has impacted her life.

 

Why is your art important to you?

Seeing students be successful when they have otherwise not gotten the opportunity academically is my greatest achievement. Sharing my passion of music with others of all ages is not a “job,” but a joy. I absolutely love the subject I teach! I practice what I preach! My students know that I love what I do, and they know they have the opportunity to be successful like me because I share with them! I create relationships with every single student with whom I come in contact. 

  

What do you want your art to say?

Music is my life. I live and breathe music and performing – in any capacity. When I graduated from high school, I was faced with the decision of a) performing and making lots of money on Broadway or b) teaching the youth of America the importance of the performing arts. Obviously, I chose the latter. I have not regretted my decision to become a music educator one time! My students, ages 5 to 95, ALL know that I have a vested interested in them and want the best for them. I have worked with diverse school populations - at-risk students, high populations of impoverished families, special education – that require my constant attention to detail and a never-ending classroom based on relationship building.

 

What project are you working on now?

I am currently making the move from elementary music to secondary music - instrumental or vocal. I'm not quite sure what's in store for me in the near future, but I'm confident I will be the best!

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Oh, my goodness! There are too many to name and all for different reasons! To narrow it down to my top picks, though: 1. I absolutely love Bach and his attention to the musical elements in his compositions. 2. I'm a HUGE fan of The Who because of the lyrics and the drive in their sound. 3. Have any of you ever just spent time listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers? I could go on FOR HOURS! 4. We would need to have drinks and brunch for 9 days about The Beatles.

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

How has it not? I live and breathe performance education. These children are our future, and I'm making that happen because of the interest my educators showed in me.

 

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Biography: 

Leslie Cannata Nance has been performing since she was a small child. With dedication and a lot of hard work, Leslie was given full scholarships to several universities to study music education. Leslie truly lives out her dream job every single day teaching children the love of music and performance. Leslie was hired before her college graduation in Pasadena Independent School District at Richey Elementary School as the Music Coordinator and Choral Director. Here, Leslie was awarded First Year Teacher of the Year. After a move to north Houston in 2009, she became the Music Coordinator and Choral Director at McFee Elementary School in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. At McFee, Leslie revolutionized the music department, as she was the third music teacher hired when the school had been opened for only two years. In May of 2018, Leslie accepted a position as music coordinator at Willbern Elementary School in CFISD.  In her first 3 months at this campus, she has implemented grade level performances and a choir, both of which were absent in years previous. Leslie gives every student in her classroom the opportunity to perform, as she feels this is one of the most important aspects of elementary music education. When Leslie is not teaching public school, she spends her time teaching private voice, piano, strings, and drama.

Leslie welcomes your questions and comments and has many resources she wants to share with you for free (including original musicals)! She can be contacted by email at leslie.nance@cfisd.net 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Lizzie Monsreal

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It is our immense pleasure to introduce you to an amazing, young Chicago-based artist, Lizzie Monsreal.  She is a college student with an absurd amount of talent!  Lizzie is a spectacular visual artist that has experience with a plethora of media including watercolor and charcoal.  Most recently, she has been working with textiles. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview her to learn more about what inspires her art, what current projects she is working on and how arts education has left an impression on her life and work.  One thing we’re absolutely sure of is that whatever medium Lizzie uses she is sure to create magic.  

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Why is your art important to you?

Art lets me be able to express my emotions and feelings in the best way through my imagination. Without it, I wouldn't be able to speak in my own voice through art. 

 

What do you want your art to say? 

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I want my art to be able to express important topics through my artwork, such as feminism, the environment. I also would like to be able to connect my artwork/experiences with my audience. 

 

What project are you working on now?

 My recent project right now is a sweater that I am knitting using a knitting machine with local yarn in Chicago. It is so far a prototype, but I am working with colors a lot and texture.

  

Who is your favorite artist?

 That is a hard one! I always find myself loving so many pieces of artwork. I guess one really good one I love would be, The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt. 

 

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How has arts education impacted your life?

Art education has impacted me in so many different ways as an artist and a person. It has helped me see from different perspectives as an artist and helped me understand all the different medias I can use through my artwork.

 

To see more art, follow Lizzie Monsreal on Instagram: @lizziemonsrealart

 

Biography:  

Lizzie Monsreal is a Latina Chicago artist, designer, and writer. She was born in Merida, Yucatan, but raised in Chicago South suburbs. She is currently a student at Columbia College Chicago who majors in Fashion & Costume Design. Other than studying fashion, she is also does freelancing in Fine arts, Illustration, and Writing. Her artwork is focused around personal growth, femininity, feminism, the environment, and anything else she feels needs a voice. 

 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Carman Weathington

"Art teachers are so important because they can inspire students to pursue their art because art gives an outlet for creativity and expression." - Carman Weathington

"Art teachers are so important because they can inspire students to pursue their art because art gives an outlet for creativity and expression." - Carman Weathington

 

We are thrilled to introduce you to the very talented and multifaceted artist, Carman Weathington.  She began making jewelry as a creative outlet and since then has expanded her art to painting, drawing, collaging, sewing and handmade note cards.  She is truly a woman who exudes creativity in everything she does. She intentionally looks for ways to create and express herself through art and that has manifested itself through many interesting mediums.  It was an honor to talk to Ms. Weathington about her art and the inspiration and drive behind her art. We especially loved learning more about how arts education has impacted her life and also the ways in which she is giving back to young artists and arts teachers.  

Wallets by Carman Weathington

Wallets by Carman Weathington

What is your art medium?

Almost everything! (Jewelry, Note Cards, Painting, Drawing, Sewing, Collage)

 

Why is your art important to you?

Wow! It's important because it's actually for me. It's something that inspires me, feeds my spiritual self and gives me an opportunity to express who I am and how I see the world. Also, it allows me to bring beauty to the world. Originally, I started painting to relax and now it really feeds me. If I don't do it for long periods of time I feel the difference in my energy. I think that creating is connected to grounding us and keeping us human and I think when we consume things it can destroy us in small ways. When we don't create anything, we don't have expression in the world. My art is about giving myself a place in the world to express and share myself.

 

What do you want your art to say?

That changes depending on what I'm working on. If I'm doing a series on birds, like I did last winter, it was my way of staying connected to nature.  Through the birds I wanted to portray the serenity and beauty of nature. If I'm working on a series of portraits of women in my community, I want to honor their strength, love, pain, tenacity and power. So, it changes based on what my focus is at the time but all of my art is purposeful.

                                                          Art by Carman Weathington

                                                          Art by Carman Weathington

What project are you working on now?

Actually, I'm working on a series of dogs. I think they are very beautiful animals and they have enhanced our lives in beautiful ways. Also, I think they are funny, lighthearted and loyal and I want to honor the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. That was my inspiration for this series of drawings.

 

Painting by Carman Weathington

Painting by Carman Weathington

Who is your favorite artist?

Arthur Wright and Candace Hunter are a couple who live in Chicago and are both artists.  Arthur is an illustrator and does a lot of art on canvas or paper around the rhythm of music. It's really interesting. Candace does a lot of social activism art. Her most recent one was on the lack of water in Africa. She focused on countries that are suffering from water issues.  Another artist I love is Jeff Huntington. He created the mural on the exterior of my studio. He is an incredible, realistic artist. I like artists for various reasons but these are three of my favorite, local artists with very powerful work.

Notecards by Carman Weathington

Notecards by Carman Weathington

How has arts education impacted your life?

As a high school student, I had an art teacher, Mr. Smoot, who was passionate about art. It was one of my favorite classes. I also enjoyed Mr. Paulick, who taught classical music. I remember that I was able to connect art and music together because of these teachers. I could remember a piece of classical music by drawing the rhythm and the sound of the music. These classes made all of the other classes tolerable for me. I wanted to be a clothing designer when I was 18 but walked away from that because a school counselor told me that I wouldn't be able to make a living. She urged me to follow a business path and that's what I did. I didn't come back around to art until the age of 45.

                                   Painting by Carman Weathington

                                   Painting by Carman Weathington

Painting by Carman Weathington

Painting by Carman Weathington

Art teachers are so important because they can inspire students to pursue their art because art gives an outlet for creativity and expression.  It is important to me that I also support other artists. To do this, I mentor young artists and encourage them to pursue their dreams. I will give them space in my studio to show their art. I purchase their art and spend time talking to them about how they can make a living as an artist. Additionally, I've connected with art teachers and have admired the impact that they have on children. So often kids' creativity is squashed and art teachers work in these very restrictive ways. They sometimes have a cart instead of a classroom and yet they still manage to teach a class. I am a huge supporter of art teachers and will often give a portion of my art sales to fund projects that they're working on with their classes.

To find out more about Carman Weathington, visit www.carmanweathington.com

PURCHASE ART BY CARMAN WEATHINGTON HERE!

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Biography:

Carman Weathington is a native Chicagoan whose family roots are in Natchez and Tupelo, Mississippi. She comes from a long line of “seers”, “prophets” and ministers. Born with a “veil” on her face, her mom told her that she was a special child, as the veil was considered to be a good omen; a blessing from God and the ancestors. Although Carman’s family was highly spiritual, education was something that they valued greatly. Carman received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Xavier University and a Master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Roosevelt University. However, Carman was always captivated by creativity, healing and counseling others. Carman has always been intuitive and had a “sixth sense” about people, places and things. After being away from the canvas for over 10 years, Carman rediscovered her love for art. In 2012, she fell in love with art all over again after completing a piece that was previously left unfinished and spending an entire summer painting. She describes her artistic process as “spiritually inspired”. Her work is conceptual; as people will interpret and feel myriad emotions when they experience it. Her desire is that her work will be a source of continual spiritual enlightenment, inspiration and healing for herself and all who view it. Carman is an Artist, Life Coach, Illinois Licensed Massage Therapist , Reiki & Reflexology Practitioner, Tarot Reader, and Jewelry and Note Card Designer. Her creativity continues to evolve. Carman plans to expand herself into the area of public speaking and life skills teaching/seminars.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Angela Shultz

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We are beyond pleased to introduce you to an exceptional theatre and cabaret artist, Angela Shultz, who is a triple threat: brilliant singer, stunning actor and accomplished producer! Most recently, she co-founded The Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan, a non-profit theatre that is committed to diversity and social justice.  Angela has done it all and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask her some questions to learn more about what inspires and drives her work, what role arts education has played in her life as well as get the inside scoop on what she’s currently cooking up in the arts world.

 

Why is your art important to you?

Music, especially, is the one thing that has been incredibly consistent in my life. I've moved around and relationships come and go, but I've always had an outlet when I sing. Sometimes I can understand what I'm feeling in a more succinct way because another artist has put words and music to those emotions, and I don't know where I'd be without that! How cheesy is that?

 

What do you want your art to say?

Whether I'm singing/acting or producing (which I do more of these days), I love how the arts can give voice to people who are often voiceless. I love to perform characters who say things that are difficult to express. As a producer, I love that we get to share stories of people you don't always encounter face-to-face in real life. I'm also passionate about presenting new work. There are endless numbers of talented people in New York City (and around the world, of course) and some simply need to find an audience.

 

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What project are you working on now?

Stomping Ground Theatre Co. is producing Cover: A Play About Trafficking on March 23-24. It's a compelling play by Joy Powell which is inspired by the work of The Covering House in St. Louis. The plays tells the story of the sex trafficking survivors and the women who helped them.

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Too many to name! I am, of course, a huge fan of my lifelong friend Brett Kristofferson. His musical theatre work is incredibly rich and powerful and is an absolute thrill to sing or experience as audience.

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

My early teachers taught me so much about loving music and theatre, but also about how important it is to work hard no matter what you're doing. Arts education taught me how to be independent and figure things out for myself, but it also taught me the value all members of an ensemble bring to a project. It gave me confidence and focus, and a way to understand some parts of the world around me.

 

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Biography:

ANGELA SHULTZ National Tour: Titanic (Alice Beane), NYC Theatre: York Theatre reading – Paris Through the Window (Muse), Assassins (Sara Jane Moore – 5th Floor), Falsettos (Cordelia - Wingspan Arts), The Wasp Woman (Phyllis Futch/reading) and Halloween Hullabaloo (Workshop). Regional credits: Titanic (Alice Beane), Nunset Blvd (Reverend Mother), Closer Than Ever, The Secret Garden (Martha), Company (Marta) Bat Boy (Ruthie/Ned), Nunsense (Rev Mo and Hubert), Godspell (Joanne and Sonia). She is the 2010 recipient of the Hanson Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, as well as a 2012 Nominee for Best Female Vocalist. Angela also directed Hector Coris’ 2010 MAC Award-winning performance in Life is Wonderful. Education: Master’s in Theatre Education (Fontbonne University), Bachelor of Music (Missouri Baptist University). Angela also directed cabaret shows for Jerry Phelps and the recent Off-Off Broadway production of Steel Magnolias. She taught for Professional Performing Arts School in NYC as well as Fontbonne and Missouri Baptist Universities, and Stages St. Louis. Angela is a co-founder of Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan. For more info, please visit www.angelashultz.com