Lori was born, lives, and works in Milwaukee. She is a 1994 graduate of Alverno College receiving degrees in Art and Education. Lori received her M.A. in Studio Art from New York University in 2003, studying abroad in Venice, Italy. Lori’s most recent teaching experience is with the Milwaukee Art Museum. She was an artist-in-residence from 2001-2008, teaching ArtWorks and ArtXpress, teen outreach programs. Lori also taught video art at Alverno College from 2004-2006. In 2009, Lori co-founded RedLine Milwaukee, an arts residency program and education center, with Steve Vande Zande. After five labor intensive years and countless hours renovating a 1916 cream city brick gem, building the Board of Directors, committees and developing Exhibition, Residency and Education programs, Lori and Steve both remain on the board of directors and various committees but now look forward to time back in their studios. Lori’s artwork currently focuses on collage.
“My arts studies at Alverno gave me not only a broad overview of technical skills in my field, but equipped me with the even more crucial tools to see myself as an entrepreneur and create a business from my arts passion. The research, speaking, writing, and leadership skills I earned with my arts degrees enabled my career path to venture towards a creative business opportunity.”
Art is my escape. It is within this realm that all things are possible as time and judgments cease to exist. The artistic process catapults me into a creative frenzy or spiritual trance that breaks down walls and shatters ceilings. While in life words can lack clear insight and understanding into truth and beauty, art creates bridges that surpass the mind’s capacity, allowing the answers to emerge from a more intuitive and truthful place. Although the whole world is my muse, nature is my true love. I am inspired by the dichotomy that brings everything into balance. Nature is predictable and random, still and dynamic, vulnerable and unshakable.
To create art is to honor the dynamic energy of your muse – to thank it for its existence and then transform it through your own eyes. My inspiration comes from a very deep place. Through personal experiences and self-exploration, my images represent life’s adversities and eventual transcendence. I gravitate toward organic shapes and forms, strong value contrasts and expressive marks, reflecting the dynamic feelings of love, hurt, lament, passion, joy, and perseverance.
As an artist and art therapist, my intent is to compel the viewer to not only observe the artwork, but to become an active participant within the experience where a mutual bond is formed and growth occurs. I encourage everyone to make art for themselves, and to not only focus on the outcome, but to truly enjoy the experience. Art, in itself, is therapy.
I graduated with honors from Alverno College with a double major in Art Education and Art Therapy in 1995 and has been teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools ever since. I’m a founding member of Community High School where, in addition to teaching, I serve as co-Lead Teacher and Special Education Administrator.
As an educator, it’s important to integrate art and creative problem solving throughout the curriculum through investigation, imagination and hands-on design activities. This emphasis is directly related to my studies at Alverno College. As an Art Education/Art Therapy major, I learned about the importance of understanding the learning styles and unique needs of all students. This experience contributed to my personalizing our curriculum for both regular and special needs students.
I’m also an active professional visual artist and performance artist in the community.
Every day I consider how blessed I am to be a graduate of Alverno College. I know that I would not be “where I am” and “who I am” without my Alverno education in Art Therapy and Art Education. Prior to coming to St. Raphael, I worked as the Art and Service Learning Specialist at St. Aemilian-Lakeside Day Treatment and Residential School 2001-2008. I began my interest in service learning at Alverno College as it was pointed out by my professors. It seems as though every time that I was assigned a project I always had it connect to the community. It was natural to me but not assigned by them. My intuitive professors assisted me to attend a conference on Service Learning at Notre Dame in 1997. It was entitled “Captured by Hope.” It was a pivotal experience in my education and my human experience. I was filled with inspiration as I knew that this was my connection to the Arts and to the world. I have now created a service learning program for High-Risk youth that fulfills their court requirements for mandated community service and hopefully opens up the world around them. I recently had the hallmark experience to share this service program and to speak at the International Service Learning Research Conference in Tampa, FL. It was a full circle to the world that Alverno first introduced me to in 1997. I am grateful and hopeful to continue to share service and the arts to my own students.
I feel that I have a different perspective than many students that graduate with a degree in art. Growing up my priority was sports and for that reason I didn't give myself a chance to express my creativity. My first real experience with art was my sophomore year in high school, when I began taking ceramics, I had no idea that it was going to play such a major role in shaping my future. Now only a few short years later I am a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in art therapy.
As an artist, I enjoy clean, functional art that is aesthetically pleasing to the viewer but, more importantly, to myself. Throughout my education I have mainly focused on 3-dimensionalmedia, but have found a new love for acrylic painting. Although I am my harshest critic, it has pushed me to create pieces that I am truly proud of.
The journey to this point in my life has been beautiful, but challenging. My love of art grew as I learned the potential it has to be utilized as a healing tool. On the other hand, I found myself constantly questioning my own technical skills while creating art. The lack of confidence made me unsure if art therapy was the career for me. Thankfully these doubts disappeared while interning at Island Dolphin Care. I knew I was right where I wanted to be and now look forward to completing my journey of becoming an art therapist.
Art has followed me throughout my entire life. As a toddler I would color until my hands blistered and as an adult I took every artistic opportunity presented to me. My drive to create art comes from wanting to depict unique moments in time with my family, friends and nature.
My art therapy education had taught me to experiment with new mediums of art. I feel that it is important to be well versed in various art materials in order to serve various populations.
I finally feel like I am reaching my “Aha” moment as an artist in finding out who I am and what I would like to express. My main focus is to create a statement, usually that pertains to self-esteem and self-worth. Knowing your worth as a woman is something I believe is very important and I try to convey that to my audience in various ways.