Past Artists

Aurelia Ploutis
2016 Artist

Aurelia Ploutis was born in Chicago, IL where she also studied art at Columbia College and received her B.A. with a focus in Illustration. She moved to Valparaiso, IN in 1997 where she spends many weekly hours working predominantly in fine art collage that stands out as having a hauntingly odd quality that can leave the viewer curious of the peculiar themes behind the photographs, images, text, and small 3-dimentional objects methodically incorporated and layered into each piece. She continually seeks influence from time-worn architecture, urban back alleys, books, patinaed hardware, music, and people’s own stories. It is through these sightings and encounters that bear volumes of soul that uniquely surface in her art. As an experimental artist, Aurelia also assembles jewelry that holds vintage characteristics along with the integration of subtle pattern and color to add accent as a simple and unpretentious accessory. Her work has been on exhibit at the Footlight Theater, Michigan City, IN, the Michigan City Public Library, Michigan City, IN, The Art Barn, Valparaiso, IN, Framing Concepts Gallery, Valparaiso, IN and Francine Turk Gallery, Chicago, IL. Her jewelry has also been on display at the Lubeznik Center For The Arts Gallery Shop, Michigan City, IN.

Eric Brant
2016 Artist

Eric Brant is a freelance illustrator and life long resident of Valparaiso. He graduated Valparaiso University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Sciences in Fine Arts. As an illustrator, Eric has worked in creating comic books, cartoons, posters, marketing images and children’s books. In addition to traditional visual images, Mr. Brant is a 35 year member of the Chicago Street Theatre in Valparaiso where he is currently employed as the company’s Director of Marketing. As a volunteer member of the theatre he has contributed to the group as a set designer, performer, and director in over 40 productions. Eric’s passion for theatre and characters make people his favorite thing to illustrate and paint. His interests movies and comics also drive the subject matters he likes to illustrate in the genres of science fiction, horror, drama, comedy, and celebrities. Eric created the web comic BASH about a cancer fighting super hero for Little Red Door Cancer Agency in Indianapolis and he has served as the resident illustrator for the play images used at the Chicago Street Theatre for the past five years. Currently he is developing to creator owned series for independent comic companies.

Corey Hagelberg
2016 Artist

Corey Hagelberg is a visual artist working in found object sculpture, printmaking and social practice. His woodcuts focus on the dramatic and complicated relationship between nature and industry on the south shore of Lake Michigan, one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world. In 2011, Corey co-founded the Calumet Artist Residency with his partner Kate Land. He currently teaches art at Indiana University Northwest and lives in Gary, Indiana.

Dawn Diamantopoulos
2016 Artist

Dawn Diamantopoulos was raised in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, which she happily left, to attend college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She received a BFA in Fine Arts in 1992, having majored in Fine Arts – Printmaking and minored in the History of Art. Feeling a bit jaded and world-weary with New York City, she relocated to Southern California. She continued drawing, painting, and photographing. Her “real job” eventually brought her to Chicago, where she stopped creating artwork and started creating a family. She has lived in Northwest Indiana for over a dozen years with her husband and two sons.

In 2009, she began creating artwork again, which she fully credits with keeping her almost sane. She started with drawings. Predominantly a painter now, she continues to work in other media. Dawn is a two-time grantee from the Indiana Arts Commission and exhibits extensively throughout the Midwest. She is very active in the local arts community and is a member of many arts organizations. She makes art every single day.

Tina Porter
2016 Artist

Tina has been a resident of Valparaiso since 1996 when she and her husband moved here from Arizona so they could be closer to his family. From 2001 to 2008, Tina wrote a weekly column for the Gary Post-Tribune, entitled “Fun with Family,” that gave her experience learning to write short pieces and allowed her to begin working with those themes, especially as they pertain to family.

For the 2015-2016 season of CSA Valpo, Tina created a limited edition book of poetry titled What if We Try This? with illustrations by Melissa Washburn.

Jayde Petersen
2016 Artist

Jayde is a Duneland artist, specializing in creating gemstone jewelry wraps. Her jewelry is focused on the metaphysical properties of the stones that she works with as much as the aesthetic value of each piece. In addition to her “Pieces with Purpose,” she is known for her beach glass wraps, Dunes acorns and Spirit Animal necklaces. Jayde has shown and sold her work at such venues as the Chesterton European Market, the Chesterton Art Fair, the Bristol Renaissance Faire, Fetching Market, Griffith Art in the Park, Long Grove Wine and Art Festival and Popcorn Fest.

Phillip Herrold
2016 artist

Phil Herrold has enjoyed all things artistic, since he was a child. Born in 1989 and raised in the cornfields of Wanatah, Indiana, is something you probably wouldn’t have guessed based on the eccentricity and flare ofhis paintings. With only a little formal training, besides college classes here or there, Phil’s natural talent has created a style that is uniquely his own. As a young artist, his next step is to begin sharing his art with the public through his online gallery, online representation, and gallery shows. Phil wants to expand his opportunity through online submissions and gallery interviews.

For the 2015-2016 season of CSA Valpo, Phil created a series of 14×14″ abstract acrylic paintings.

Elizabeth Wuerffel
2016 Artist

Elizabeth Wuerffel is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker. Wuerffel received her MFA from Columbia College Chicago in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media. Her artwork has been shown near and far, from Chicago’s Woman’s Made Gallery to Hannover’s konnektor – Forum für Künste and Java Arts in Phnom Penh. Wuerffel currently teaches digital media art at Valparaiso University and co-directs the Welcome Project (, a first-person video and audio story collection about identity and inclusion. She has most recently co-directed a short documentary about Syrian refugees in the Kurdish Region of Iraq, Kawergosk: Home Made of Cloth.

For CSA Valpo, Elizabeth produced a series of photographic prints titled Studies of Decay.

Joseph Gonzalez
2015 Artist

Joe created 40 original 8×10″ “mini monsters” for CSA Valpo. These images were inspired by childlike themes of monsters and fun faces. Each begins with a quick sketch on a post-it note, which is then turned into a final piece.

Joseph works as a senior in-house designer for the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Inc., with 11 years in the industry. Freelancing under the alias Miracletwentyone Joseph creates brands for local and national clients. Joseph grew up in Whiting,IN and now resides in Valparaiso, IN with his wife Lisa and three young children.

Hannah Hammond-Hagman
2015 Artist

After losing her father in early April, Hannah felt compelled to create a piece to share that enveloped some of the work and process of losing as well as finding—as she was creating a space for both to exist simultaneously in herself. These works for the CSA project speak of her internal process, but also address both an existent and absent space and presence, or body. It’s this duality that she continues to address personally as she moves forward from her own loss, but she believes it applies to a larger notion of self and being that each of us can access and claim. We can sit in the chair—or save it for another.

Hannah is an artist who has been involved in arts education and arts and cultural non-profit organizations for the past seventeen years. She has recently relocated back to her hometown of Valpo after some years away on the East and West coasts. She brings her extensive background in community engagement and creative economic development to CSA Valpo, and is eager to join the exceptional creative community here.

Gregg Hertzlieb
2015 Artist

One of Gregg’s main subjects in his artwork is a fish. He thinks of the fish as representing evolution and the passage of time, although in its isolation it does have a spiritual aspect to it. For CSA Valpo, Gregg created an edition of 9×9″ hand-colored linoleum cut prints.

Gregg Hertzlieb is the director/curator of the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.  Hertzlieb has a master’s degree in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

An exhibiting artist working primarily in watercolor and pen and ink, Hertzlieb has shown his art in numerous exhibitions.  His work is in both public and private collections. 

In addition to performing his duties at the museum, Hertzlieb teaches Museum Studies, Managing Facilities, and Printmaking; serves as art editor for Valparaiso University’s journal The Cresset; and contributes essays on Brauer collection objects to the Valparaiso Poetry Review.  Hertzlieb is a native of Northwest Indiana and lives in Chesterton.

Robin Janota
2015 Artist

I’m inspired by nature every day and happy to share that love through my art.

For CSA Valpo’s 2015 season, Robin created individual 8×10″ oil paintings, each one different. Subject matter ranged from birds and animals to portraits and landscapes.

Born and raised in the Calumet Region, now living in Valparaiso, Robin attended Prairie State College and the Art Institute of Las Vegas. Retired from Industry as a Master Metalworker, she currently paints commissioned Portraits and Landscapes and practices Pyrography (Wood Burning).

Frank Rigg
2015 Artist

For the 2014-2015 CSA, Frank produced original airbrush paintings on 16×20″ Canson board. He drew inspiration from Television and Movies, as well as nature.  There were several Skulls with Butterfly Wings (Skutterfly), each one hand painted (no two the same!). This was a design Frank came up with just for the CSA Valpo Project.  For the remaining works, he painted whatever crossed his path at that time.  You’ll see Lego inspired works, and then Herman Munster and his wife Lily. Variety is the spice of life. 

Frank Rigg creates custom airbrush art, with varying themes including classic themed pinups, commissioned portraits, and pop culture paintings. His weapon of choice is the Iwata airbrush, with createx airbrush paints with ink, pencils, and acrylic paint for finer detail work. Frank draws inspiration from artists who are having fun and likes to dabble with a variety of surfaces. Frank has appeared in several skateboard-themed art shows and his work has appeared in several publications through Out of Step Books.

David Summers
2015 Artist

For CSA Valpo, David created a portfolio of 2 6 x 9″ Kodak Endura Luster photographs, titled Aurora Borealis and Sheikh Zayed Mosque 

Aurora Borealis was Taken in Eagle River, Alaska at 2 a.m. on the top of Mt. Baldy. The colors of the Aurora depend on what gas is involved and how high in the ionosphere the reaction takes place. David lost all track of time watching this beautiful green glow dance across the horizon that night.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque was taken in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates at the largest mosque in the country. The mosque has the largest marble mosaic in the world. Designers and architects from all around the world spent 11 years making this into the most lavish and beautiful building in the Emirates.

David Summers is a native of Nashville, TN and has lived in Valparaiso, IN since 2000. In 2009, David began studying digital photography at The Harrington College of Design in Chicago, IL. He has been published in numerous magazines including Spin, Alternative Press, Guitar World, and Visions to name a few. When he’s not taking pictures he is a tour manager for various bands. David loves to travel and does so at every possible opportunity. He hopes to visit as many countries as possible and document everything along the way.

Aimee Tomasek
2015 Artist

For CSA Valpo, Aimee created a portfolio of 3 images, printed as archival giclee prints, 12 x 12″ on 17 x 22″ paper.

We travel to escape, discover and explore.  We don’t travel for a million reasons.  Why is a new landscape more interesting?  Why is a change in scenery desirable? 

Are we just missing what is right in front of us every day?

Another Beautiful Day in Paradise, is a portfolio that addresses the desire to explore the familiar as though it is the exotic.

Aimee’s view is exciting every day.  It is beautiful.  It is subtle.  It is cold.  It is warm.  It is a frame of mind.  It is a sense of humor.  It is close to her.  It is expansive.  It is the act of seeing every single day, instead of missing out on what could or would be.

Aimee Tomasek is the chair of the Valparaiso University Art Department.

Melissa Washburn
2015 Artist

Part of a series of playing card-style images Melissa has been working on, her linoleum cut  Queen Bee was printed with water-based ink on Japanese kitikata paper.

Melissa Washburn is a Valparaiso artist, illustrator, and designer. She has lived in Valparaiso with her family since 2005. She has a love of all things hand-made, and is an avid knitter and birdwatcher. Melissa was a 2012-2013 recipient of an Individual Artist Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, and has shown her work in galleries and art centers throughout Northwest Indiana. She earned her BFA from Binghamton University (SUNY), and holds a Masters in Arts Administration from IU Bloomington.

© Copyright 2014 Melissa Washburn Art + Design