2016 Season Artists
Our second season included handmade jewelry and poetry as well as visual arts, and was a big success, selling out completely!
Eric Brant is a freelance illustrator and lifelong resident of Valparaiso. He graduated from 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. Eric’s passion for theatre and characters make people his favorite thing to illustrate and paint. His interest in movies and comics drive the subject matter he likes to illustrate in the genres of science fiction, horror, drama, comedy, and celebrities.
Dawn Diamantopoulos was raised in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, which she happily left, to attend college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. After receiving a BFA in Fine Arts in 1992, 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 12 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 regional arts organizations. She makes art every single day.
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.
Phil Herrold has enjoyed all things artistic since he was a child. Born in 1989 and raised in the cornfields of Wanatah, Indiana, it may be a surprise to encounter the eccentricity and flare of his 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 both online and through gallery shows. One of the founders of The Enclave Project in Valparaiso, Phil has been active in bringing nonprofit arts education to the Valparaiso community.
Jayde McAloon is a Duneland artist who specializes 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.
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. Her work has 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 the depth of soul surfaces in her art. 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.
Tina Porter 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. She says, “My writing could best be summarized as an exploration of what it means to be whole in a world that continues to try to segment us as individuals as well as a community. I love what poetry can do in the public sphere: illustrate commonalities of desire and hope in peoples who seem to dwell often on the differences. I have been told that my writing allows people to see how universal the personal actually is.”
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.