Salon 1
Monday February 1 – Thursday February 4, 2021

Guest Artist/Critic – Soraya Milla (purview here)
Local Critic – Reynaldo Hernandez
Roundtable Moderator – Mary Louise Schumacher

Salon 2
Monday April 12 – Thursday April 15, 2021

Guest Artist/Critic – Shawana Brooks (purview here)
Local Critic – Portia Cobb
Roundtable Moderator – Kantara Souffrant

Salon 3
Monday June 7 – Thursday June 10, 2021

Guest Artist/Critic – Nuttaphol Ma (purview here)
Local Critic – Anika Kowalik
Roundtable Moderator – Beth A. Zinsli

Meet the members of the 2021 MARNsalons Advisory Committee

Final Exhibit:
September 24 – Nov 2, 2021  

The exhibition features the work of artists who participated in the 2021 MARNsalon Program and members of the 2021 MARNsalons Advisory Committee. The 10 Salon Program Artists engaged in deep conversations and exchanged ideas with 3 local and 3 national critics during virtual studio/workspace visits from February to June, 2021. Majority of work featured in the exhibition was created after the conclusion of the artists and critics dialogues. 

Exhibiting artists include Katie Avila Loughmiller, Deborah Brooks, Alexa Hollywood, Carley Knight, Frank Korb, Lennis Mathews, Meghan Burke McGarth, Reid Sancken, Francesca Simonite, Katherine Steichen Rosing, Valaria Tatera, and Marian JA Vieux. 

MARNSALON I Guest Critic: Soraya Milla

Soraya Milla is a French film maker, of Benino-Cameroonian origin. Soraya Milla grew up between France and Ivory Coast. She studied in Performing Arts at the University of Paris X, with training as a director at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion and Masters of Production at the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel in Paris. Milla has previously visited Milwaukee in 2017.

Purview here.

Reynaldo is a community muralist, art educator and teacher.


MARNSALON II Guest Critic: Shawna Brooks

Shawana Brooks (1979, Vallejo, California)(she/her) is a literary artist and avid public speaker for her various roles as a curator focused on the relationship between artists and their communities. Her artistic expression revolves around personal storytelling fused to issues of social justice; from medical and maternal concern to civic engagement. She is the founder of a public arts agency who works to amplify Black Artists and other diverse voices through representation and storytelling. Brooks’ works to break barriers and her work has been highlighted in the national media (NPR, Morning Edition).

Brooks was selected as the first official curator for the Jacksonville Public Library, City of Jacksonville. Recognized by her peers, she received the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Robert Arleigh White Award for Artist Advocacy, the first Black person to win the award (2018) and a short two years later made history again winning the council’s highest honor, the Helen Lane Founder Award (2020).

Purview here.

Portia Cobb is a video artist and producer of short experimental documentary whose videos and installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Although trained as a filmmaker, she began using video because of its accessibility and immediacy in the field. Her work often investigates the politics of place and identity. Through her continuing documentation of urban and rural communities in America and West Africa, she draws upon memory and history “as a means of confronting forced movement and forgetting.” Portia serves as Director of the Community Media Project, an arts outreach program of the Film, Video, Animation and New Genres Department at UWM, teaching video production workshops for at-risk teens and media literacy for high school teachers. She also curates and administers two public screening programs: “Africa Beyond,” and the “Producers’ Forum.” Currently, she is teaching courses in Ethnographic Video Production and Radical Black Film.

Kantara Souffrant is a first-generation Haitian-American artist-scholar. She is a visual-storyteller who uses sculptures, voice, poetry and movement to weave together her performances. Her approach to art creation is informed by her studies of African Diasporic faith and spiritual practices in which spiritual/ritual practices, performance, art creation, and communal transformation are inseparable. She is the Curator of Community Dialogue at Milwaukee Art Museum.

MARNSALON III Guest Artist: Nuttaphol Ma

Nuttaphol Ma’s (he/his/him) multidisciplinary works connect seemingly disconnected notes from unfolding everyday moments with patterns from his subconscious, dreams, and past to compose stories about longing, loss, memory, survival, and the labor of adapting to a new home. They are presented in varying forms including installations, participatory workshops, and public interventions through performances. Ephemera are recorded as artist books, zines, essay films, and storytelling.

Ma has participated in selected exhibition spaces that include The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Human Resources, 18th Street Art Center, The Armory Center for the Arts, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. He has given artist talks and led workshops nationally including Otis College of Art and Design, University of New Mexico, Mills College, Open Engagement Conference at Carnegie Mellon University, and Pitzer College.

Ma has received generous support from the following fellowships and residencies: The Fulcrum Fund Award, a grant program of 516ARTS made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation, The Wurlitzer Residency, The Santa Fe Art Institute Thematic Residency on Immigration, The Mountain School of Arts, The UCLA Confucius Institute and Boethius Institute Dunhuang Projected Artist Fellow, The California Community Foundation Fellowship, The Feitelson Art Fellowship, Pitzer College Emerging Artist Fellow and 18th Street Art Center Artist Fellow.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kowalik (they/them/theirs) had the experience of living in many neighborhoods in Milwaukee, exposing them to the unique way that racism historically has shaped the city today. After attending Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design for their BFA in printmaking ‘17; Kowalik would utilize the language of printmaking and expand outside of its traditional two dimensional form. They use their personal experiences as a young black femme to explore the depths of generational and systematic oppression to create works that record their own history. As a person who is a part of a marginalized group, it is vital to unpack the truth through many facets of documentation. Kowalik finds it easier to communicate these personal experiences through materiality, expanding beyond the physical body we commonly search for and traditional forms of expression.

Kowalik’s current practice revolves around black joy and comfort while unintentionally nodding at the melancholy of existing in black skin.

Beth (she/her) holds a Ph. D. in art history from UW-Madison. She is an assistant professor of art history at Lawrence University, Appleton and she is the director for the Museum Studies interdisciplinary area.

We would like to thank Bader Philanthropies, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation – Mary L. Nohl Fund and Milwaukee County Cares Act for their generous support to make the 2021 MARNsalon series possible.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.