When an organization makes the decision to become the steward of an artist-built environment, it takes on a complex and ever changing role. Organization members are called to wear many hats and to stretch resources. Experts with significant field experience and a history of success spoke about the role and challenges facing site stewards. This session offered practical advice and anecdotes from real experiences about the struggles and rewards of stewardship of vernacular art sites.
Michael McFalls is a practicing artist, a professor of art, and the Director of Pasaquan. He received his BFA in fine arts from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH, and his MFA from the University of California at Davis. Before joining Columbus State University in Columbus, GA, he served as the art program coordinator and assistant professor of art at the University of Maine at Farmington. He recently completed a six-month Fulbright Fellowship in Sweden at the University of Gothenburg, HDK Steneby, and has received numerous scholarships and awards including the Pitzerker Foundation Endowed Fellowship, College of the Arts Faculty Research Award, as well as being nominated for the University Regents’ Excellence in Teaching Award. Mike has been a resident at Sculpture Space, Inc.; The Djerassi Resident Artists Program; and Australia National University; and a visiting artist at Dartmouth College and Furman University.
Erika Nelson is an independent artist and educator, exploring visionary art environments and the fringes of American culture. When not on the road crisscrossing the country in search of vernacular architecture or immersive art sites, she writes articles for art and travel magazines, creates site-specific temporary art experiences, and acts as a creative catalyst for rural communities. Based in Lucas, KS, she has most recently been found on-site in rural Georgia as part of a folk art preservation team. Ever elusive, additional sightings have been reported in Minnesota, Idaho, South Dakota, Wyoming, and her adopted home state of Kansas.
Dr. Peter Tokofsky is senior public programs specialist at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and associate adjunct professor of Germanic languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to research on art environments and self-taught artists, his teaching and publications address German and American cultural history, especially seasonal festivals; forms of collective memory; and museum practice. Previously, Tokofsky was director of the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and an independent curator of exhibitions, including Kim Fahey: Anarchitect at UCLA.
Alex Gartelmann is an artist and educator based out of Sheboygan, WI. He received his BFA from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is half of the artist collaborative Sebura & Gartelmann with Jonas Sebura, and is the Exhibitions Project Coordinator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, where he is currently focusing on restoration of the Mary Nohl House. His work has been shown widely, including at NADA Miami Beach; UICA, Grand Rapids, MI; Antenna Gallery, New Orleans; and the Clough-Hanson Gallery, Memphis, TN; with forthcoming Sebura & Gartelmann exhibitions at Holding House in Detroit and Slow in Chicago this fall.
Jim Draeger has worked in the field of historic preservation and architecture at the Wisconsin Historical Society for more than twenty years. From roadside architecture to Northwoods resorts, Jim celebrates the importance of ordinary buildings to our daily lives through his research, writing, and lectures. He is Architectural Historian, Historic Preservation and Public History, at the Wisconsin Historical Society.