The study of art environments and the experiences of their creators are pathways for investigating a variety of art-making processes, enduring concepts, and multidisciplinary and material culture connections with learners. Educators can use these unique works as sites that engage communities in new understandings of art and provide opportunities for personal or collaborative creating. This panel explored processes for creating and disseminating relevant, contemporary learning experiences and curricula inspired by art environments.
Ann Brusky is the Senior Manager of Public Programs at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. She is responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Arts Center’s public programs including performing arts, community arts, Preschool, and education. As such, she generates strategies to engage diverse constituencies and promote the Arts Center’s important role as a vital and invigorating multidisciplinary resource to generate a creative exchange between artists and the public. Brusky holds a BS in communications with theatre emphasis from UW-Oshkosh along with her MA in arts administration from Goucher College (MD) and has been with the Arts Center since 2002. She is also a board member of the Robert E. Gard Foundation, the Wisconsin Dance Council, and The Étude Group.
Dr. Liz Rex is a lecturer in art education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Through experiences teaching college, K-12, and community art classes, she has arrived at her current work, which includes researching, creating, and implementing curricula that broaden traditional definitions of art. Her goal is to enable diverse learners to make meaningful connections between art and everyday life. Rex has worked with John Michael Kohler Arts Center on education projects over the years and most recently collaborated with their education team to develop contemporary art curricula using art environments as the focus and inspiration.
Marilyn Rolfsmeyer is an award-winning teacher with a BS in art education and an MS in education. Recently retired from the Monroe School District with 38 years of teaching experience, she has been the Grandview Academy Education Director since its origin in 1997. Rolfsmeyer has also served on the boards for WAEA, Pecatonica School District, United Fund of Iowa County, and the Argyle School District Leadership Council.
Jarrod Roll graduated with a BA in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his master's in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York Oneonta in Cooperstown, NY. After working as a curator in Maine for two years, in 2002 he moved back to his home state of Wisconsin to accept the position of Director and County Historian of the Monroe County Local History Room and Museum in Sparta. One of his duties as director of the Local History Room is to oversee the use and preservation of the Wegner Grotto County Park—a grassroots art site located nine miles north of Sparta.
Jen Balge is a visual artist and educator from Sheboygan, WI, and holds degrees in art and education from Cardinal Stritch University. She strives to use universal accessibility points of artist-built environments to engage learners of all ages and abilities. She is the museum representative on the professional development committee of the Wisconsin Art Education Association board and currently serves as president-elect for the Dementia Care Network of Sheboygan County.