MARNsalon Advisory Committee

Nina Ghanbarzadeh – Program Coordinator for MARNsalons

Nina Ghanbarzadeh is a visual artist and an entrepreneur who emigrated from Tehran, Iran in 2001. She earned her BFA in painting, drawing and graphic design from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 2013 and completed a two-year AIR Program with Redline Milwaukee in 2015. In addition to participating in group shows, Nina received the Student Silver ADDY, Mary L. Nohl Suitcase Export Fund, Fredric R. Layton Foundations Scholarship and the winner of best in show in Wisconsin Biennial 2020.

Most recently, Nina launched ARTkee Educational Toys, which produces SOFTwords, kits of basic shapes that allow children to explore the shapes as images as well as text. Nina draws inspiration for her educational toy business and her art from cultural differences and the limitations of language. She finds beauty in the abstract marks that make up the symbols for language and explores the possibility of peace, happiness and togetherness through the universal language of art.

Contact Nina at:

Michele St. Amour – MARN Director of Programming

Michele St. Amour is a multidisciplinary artist working in the fields of painting, drawing, photography and jewelry design. Based in Wisconsin, her work has been influenced by her interactions while living in Costa Rica and England but also through her travels in the US and Europe. Her most recent acrylic work is an exploration of color and architecture. Using photography taken throughout her travels, these painted works allow the viewer an alternate vision of a space and an invitation to see the world through a lens that has been described thus, “I am drawn to your color choices, which are not my norm. They are impactful in a way I can’t articulate”.

With a background in Graphic Design, her photography is framed in a graphic way. Primarily shooting in color, her approach is to show the simple beauty in the design of her subject.
As for jewelry design, Michele builds her necklaces with an almost architectural feel to them. They are tested over and over until they hang, lay or rest perfectly in a way similar to that of a mobile. One could refer to them as personal sculptures.

Professionally, Michele has worked in various creative fields, including gallery and photo studio managing, art direction and graphic design. Since early 2017 she has been the Operations Director and is now the Director of Programming for the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN).

Contact Michele at:

Valaria Tatera (she/her) is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who creates social awareness of contemporary Indigenous issues through her art. She has earned an MFA in 3-D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.A. and B.F.A. in Ceramics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Valaria is a respected guest lecturer and panelist whose lectures address Indigenous Rights and Art as Advocacy. She was a finalist in the Mary Nohl Fellowship 2019, finalist in United States Artist Fellowship 2016 and Best in Show category Sculpture at MOWA 2014 and a featured artist at Lakefront Festival of the Arts. 

Rose Curley (she/they/he) is an interdisciplinary artist and creative non-fiction writer. She was the recipient of Mary Nohl Fellowship for Emerging Artists in 2016. She is currently an adjunct professor in New Studio Practice at MIAD.  

Katie Avila Loughmiller (she/her) is an interdisciplinary social practice artist. Co-founder of LUNA (Latinas Unidas eN Ias Artes). She serves as the Arts Project Coordinator for the Milwaukee Public Library. She is also a founding member of Heard Space and also a founding member of We Heard We’re Funny, a multimedia performance arts collective based in Milwaukee.

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