Mairin Hartt to Meida Teresa McNeal

Mairin Hartt

Mairin Hartt is a Chicago-based visual artist and arts educator. She received a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and an MFA in Studio Art from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 2011, and an MAAE from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Utilizing various methods and materials, Hartt explores notions of existence, emergence, and entropy in organic forms and processes. Although working primarily in drawing and mixed media, Hartt’s practice also includes printmaking and installation. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York City and the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland.

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Julia Haw

Julia Haw (b. 1982, Flint, MI) attended Western Michigan University with a concentration in painting.  In recent years, Haw has begun to be recognized for her highly bold, nostalgia-inducing and memorable themes within her paintings, and is regarded as a skilled artist within the Chicago community, with interest in further national and global reach.  Through her work she contends with issues pervading her immediate Midwestern culture and Western Culture at large that delve into feminism and marginalized women, ageism, the relation of self to ego, memory deterioration, Western society’s transformed treatment of death as a taboo topic in recent history, and life’s immediate experiences.  Using the pictorial plane and oil paint as her mainstay medium, she gives honest, empathetic coverage of these socially shared issues, thereby allowing her subject matter to become in a sense, more easily digested.  She draws from historical, contemporary and rural upbringing influences and is able to achieve considerable viewer pause through daily work, heightened color use, and by using her self, objects in her immediate surroundings, and those within her insular artistic community as models.  Haw’s paintings function as highly relatable, ensuing discussion amongst her viewers, and bringing the public forum necessarily back.  
Her work has been exhibited in such places as the Chicago Cultural Center, IL State Museum, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, and extensively with Claire Molek.

The artist lives and works in Chicago, IL. 

Her website is

Lyra Hill

Lyra Hill is a cartoonist, filmmaker, and performer. She created and organized the performative comics reading series Brain Frame between 2011 and 2014. Her 16mm films have screened locally and internationally, and her comics have appeared in alternative publications including LumpenHappinessChromazoid, and The Ladydrawers. Lyra works as an educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and continues to project and perform her film and comics work around the country. She is particularly interested in blurring boundaries between mediums, experiencing things in person, crude humor, unconscious drives, and the avant-garde.

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Sharon Hoogstraten

Sharon A. Hoogstraten  is a photographer, animator, and graphic designer best known for her portraits of Potawatomi Indians in regalia and for her Emmy award-winning animated openings for television news programs.

She received a BS in Professional Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1975, and an MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago in 1980.  She taught in the Art Department at UIC as an adjunct from 1980-1989.  She worked for WLS-TV in Chicago and received an Emmy award for an animated editorial open in 1983.  She worked at WTTW-TV, the PBS station in Chicago, and received an Emmy for two animations in 1985—a wire-frame computer animation of the city (collaborating with programmers at Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill), and an all-day time-lapse of the skyline.

Hoogstraten won various awards for her photography in educational and trade books. 

In 2014 Hoogstraten exhibited large-format portraits of Potawatomi Indians at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago.  Other portraiture is in the permanent collection of the Citizens Band Potawatomi Cultural Center in Shawnee Oklahoma, Trickster Gallery, and Eagle Staff Grand Entry is at the Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of the American Indian. More recently she participated in the Illinois State Museum group show “Footprints through Time” and a one-woman show in the atrium of the James Thompson Center – the State of Illinois building in Chicago.

Hoogstraten has numerous professional recognitions and services, including judging books for the Chicago Book Clinic, and is on the Program advisory Committee for Full Sail University MFA Design program.  She has campaigned for the preservation of Chicago’s Boulevards through photography and is currently at work on her book, The Green City Farmers Market.

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Sunny Kang

Sang Suk Kang is a visual journalist and graphic artist from South Korea. 

Born to an itinerant family, Kang halved her childhood between Seoul and various American cities before studying Journalism at Northwestern University, particularly photo and video storytelling. Her education combined with a career in graphic arts led to an interdisciplinary perspective on how stories could adapt in a changing media landscape. Previously, she worked in both editorial and graphics departments at The Onion, the design department at Condé Nast, and was an ambassador for Adobe at Northwestern.

Sunny is currently an in-house designer at the Chicago Tribune and expects to attend Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in Fall 2016.

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Lucy Knisley

"Lucy Knisley is a critically acclaimed and award-winning comic creator. She lives in Chicago...

She was born in 1985 and grew up in New York, reading comics despite her artistic and literary parents' mild objections. To Lucy, comics have always combined these two inherited loves: the written word and the drawn image. 

After years working for her mother in a catering kitchen, waiting tables and manning a booth at farmer's markets, she decided to pursue the lucrative and glamorous life of a comic book artist. She attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Merit Scholar, BFA 2007), followed by The Center for Cartoon Studies (Diamond in the Rough Scholar, MFA 2009). 

She published her first book, French Milk (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster) in 2008. She has made comics for various anthologies and publications, including a number of pieces for Marvel and Valiant comics, and a series of back-stories and covers for the Adventure Time comics from Boom Studios. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies such as The Letter QNursery Rhyme Comics, and I Saw You. She also teaches and lectures on comics at conventions, after-school programs, camps and workshops, to both adults and tiny, immature adults.

Her second book, Relish, was widely acclaimed, and featured as a New York Times best-seller, Goodreads top book of the year, and an American Library Association award winner in the YA category.  It has been translated into five languages. The book focuses on her childhood growing up with a chef for a mother, and the world of food and cooking that surrounded her youth. 

She toured the book all over the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe, meeting with readers and eating the local food they recommended to her. She has had the pleasure of appearing and speaking as a special guest at San Diego Comic Con, Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, Renegade Crafts, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, MoCCA Arts Fest, Small Press Expo, New York Comic Con, Webcomic Weekend, The Maine Comic Arts Festival, Raptus Fest, Stumptown Comics Fest, Brooklyn Book Fest, Miami Book Fest and more.

Her most recent book, An Age of License, is a story of one of those touring trips. A travelogue, the book explores the excitement and freedom that comes from being young and unattached. The follow-up, Displacement, follows Lucy on a elderly tour aboard a cruise ship with her aging grandparents. This book explores the flip side to being a young adult; family, responsibility and aging. This book was featured in an interview with Lucy on NPR's Fresh Air. 

Lucy continues to crank out the comics. Presently, she is at work on two graphic novels; Something New is the story of her romantic adventures and traversing the confusing path towards getting married. (To be released, Spring 2016) New Kid is the story of her high-school years, and the frustration that arises when one is constantly switching schools."

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Melissa Leandro

MELISSA LEANDRO (b. 1989, Miami, FL) Leandro is currently an MFA candidate in the Fiber and Material Studies department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, BFA, 2012, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Leandro attended ACRE, Roger Brown House residency, TextielLab, The Netherlands. Her work has been exhibited at Efrain Lopez Gallery, the Bridgeport Art Center, Arts Incubator, University of Chicago, Plaines Project, The Franklin, Gallery 400, Lula Café, Intelligentsia Café, Flex Space (SAIC), Autotelic Studios, Both Sides Gallery, Union League Chicago, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Sulzer Regional Library Chicago, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI, Fiber Arts Club, University of Missouri, Purdue University Galleries, West Lafayette, IN, N.A.W.A., New York, NY, ArtSeen Gallery & Flagler Art Space, Miami FL, Shy Rabbit Contemporary Art, Colorado, Middle Tennessee State University, Central Museum of Textiles, Lodz, Poland, Golden Parachutes Gallery, Berlin. Awards: Travel Grant (SAIC), Eager Grant (SAIC), Oxbow Merit Scholarship, Dimensions of Artist Grant (SAIC). Assistant Director of facilities: Fiber Material Studies Department (SAIC)

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Instagram: melissaleandro89

Kristin Lems

Kristin Lems has released 8 full length albums of original songs on her own label, Carolsdatter Productions, named after her mother, musician Carol Lems-Dworkin.  She founded the National Women's Music Festival in 1974 after a year teaching in Iran and catching “feminist fever.”  Kristin worked on the first 5 festivals and gradually began performing as a musician for feminist and progressive causes, especially for huge rallies for the ERA, many marches and benefits.  Her facility in writing topical and catchy songs resulted in classics such as “We Will Never Give Up,” “How Nice” (a marriage equality song written in 1979), “Days of the Theocracy,” “The First Five Minutes of Life,” “Farmer” (about women farmers) and her Dixieland-style hit, “Mammary Glands.”  Kristin is also very humorous.  She says, “I sang mostly for men in the 70's, mostly for women in the 80’s, and mostly for children in the 90’s.” Now she sings for “You, Me, and All of the Above,” as her new CD title says.

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Carron Little

Little creates interactive performances in public space devising pieces that are unexpected and visually luxuriant. Her philosophy and mission is to create transformative experiences for viewers and participants so they leave each performance feeling liberated and empowered. Little’s visual practice celebrates being a woman in all her deliciousness and deconstructs notions of power. Carron received her undergraduate degree from Goldsmiths College, London UK in 1996 and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute in 1999. She worked with the Art Not War Collective in London for seven years and the Red Velvet Curtain Club for three years prior to moving to Chicago in 2009. Little founded Out of Site in 2011 with Whitney Tassie. In 2014 she was artist in residence for Ragdale and DCASE working on a whole city performance project entitled City Alive With Dreams. Carron has exhibited around the U.S, U.K. and Morroco and works with in collaboration with Daniela Ehemann. Little has performed most recently at the Cultural Center, Hyde Park Art Center, 6018North, Open House Chicago and for Defibrillator as part of their Air Pocket Project for Wicker Park Fest. She teaches in the Performance Art Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Changing Worlds as an artist in residence working on public art projects.

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Michelle L'amour

Miss Exotic World 2005 Michelle L’amour , is one of the premiere names in modern burlesque. She has been seen by millions of people as a result of her awe inspiring performances on stage, television (Semi Finalist for “America’s Got Talent ” – Season One, “Sexual Healing” – Showtime, “In the Bedroom” – OWN, Carson Daly, La France a un Incroyable Talent and more) and international documentaries (like Tokyo’s “New Burlesque”, Canada’s “What a Booty” and “The Art and Heart of the Tease”, Immodesty Blaize’s “Burlesque Undressed,” and more). L’amour has been ranked in the TOP 5 of Burlesque by 21st Century Burlesque since 2009 and has performed in the top burlesque shows in the country like Lucha Va Voom, Dita Von Teese’s Strip Strip Hooray, The World Busker’s Festival, and Superstars of Burlesque. She has performed in such acclaimed venues as The Park West and The Vic Theater in Chicago, The Mayan Theater in LA, The State Theatre in Sydney, Australia, Koko in London and The House of Blues in Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas and Houston.  This 2005 Burlesque Hall of Fame inductee has teased from Sao Paulo to Zurich, Toronto to London, Los Angeles to Paris, Madrid to Melbourne, and New York to New Zealand.

In 2008, Ms. L’amour opened Studio L’amour in Chicago, one of the top burlesque instruction schools in the world. As an instructor, she has taught thousands of women, been featured in magazines like Woman’s Health, Chicago Magazine, Marie Claire and Playboy Brazil and is often called upon by Dr. Laura Berman (America’s leading relationship counselor) to lend her talents to women struggling with their self esteem. In 2011 she released the much anticipated workout video “Tease & Tone” which is now helping women all over the world take a sexier approach to fitness.  In 2013, “Booty Lab” , an instructional booty shakin’ dance DVD, hit the market after L’amour’s viral video sensation ‘Butthoven‘ swept the globe.

In 2009, Michelle founded Naked Girls Reading which was called “The world’s most provocative literary salon” by the Toronto Globe and Mail and has been covered in the press in the US, Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, England, Turkey, Australia and more.  Naked Girls Reading is now franchised to more than 14 international cities and awards the “Literary Honors” for excellence in writing each year.

In 2010, her world renowned dance company, The Chicago Starlets, won the title of “World’s Best Burlesque Group” at the Burlesque Hall of Fame.  The Starlets, a Follies inspired group of 15 women, have taken the stage at every major festival held in North America and are featured in L’amour’s productions like “Superstars of Burlesque,” “Wiggle Room,” “Big Sexy Show,” and more.

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Nora Lloyd

Although Nora Moore Lloyd grew up in the Chicago area, she now divides her time between the city and her home at Lac Courte Oreilles, Wisconsin. Her varied background includes formal training in videography, radio & television production, surgical photography and partner in a graphic design firm for twenty years.  Her initial attraction to pursuing photography in the 1990s was enhanced by working with elders in Chicago’s Native American community to create a visual record of people who shaped the existing community.  Using the traditional method of stories to capture a broad picture of the early days, the result is a composite glimpse of the community’s inception as well as a look at those storytellers.  Nora has been an active member of Chicago’s Native American community for decades on a volunteer basis in addition to serving as director on several community organization boards and committees. Her artistic focus continues to be on indigenous cultures, nature and documenting community or family history through traditional storytelling and photos.

Nora’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including The Field Museum, Chicago History Museum, State of Illinois Museum Gallery, American Indian Center, Comanche National Museum, Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Museum Nacional de Etnografia y Folklore in La Paz and Museo Nacional de Arqueologia y Ethnologia de Guatemala, Guatemala City, Trickster Gallery and is the permanent collection of Daimler Chrysler Corporation. Her photos have been published in American Indian Education and Self-Determination in Chicago, 1952-2006, 2015; Cahokian Winter 2010; Chicago’s 50 Years of Powwow, 2004; City Creatures: Animal Encounters in Chicago’s Urban Wilderness, 2015; Fragile Relations: Art+Nature+Environment – Illinois State Museum, 2013; Native Chicago, 1998; Native Chicago, Second Edition, 2002,  Whisper n Thunder, 2010-2015.

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Meida Teresa McNeal

Meida Teresa McNeal  is an Independent Artist and Scholar of performance studies, dance and critical ethnography. Dr. McNeal works with the Chicago Park District as Arts & Culture Manager supporting partnerships and programming initiatives across the city’s parks and cultural centers. She is also faculty in Interdisciplinary Arts at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education. Her creative works have been performed in Illinois, Ohio, California, Rhode Island, and Trinidad. Recent performance projects includeThe Ladies Ring ShoutThe Sweet Goddess ProjectPrice Point, and Juke Cry Hand Clap: A People’s History of House & Chicago Social Culture. Along with Abra Johnson, she is co-curator for To Art & Profit, a citywide performance festival first presented by Links Hall March-May 2011 exploring the relationship between art, culture and capitalism; the second To Art & Profit festival is slated for 2016.  Combining her commitment to embodied performance with a love for scholarship, Meida is completing her first book-length manuscript Compromised Subjectivities: Constructing Trinidadian Nationhood and Navigating Postcolonial Caribbean Performance based on over ten years of ethnographic research with Afro- and Indo-Trinidadian dance and performance companies supported in part by a Fulbright Grant.

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