Contemporary Art Forum: ART 281 Lecture Series

color washed collage of individuals, with text 'Contemporary Art Forum'

Virtual Artist Visits Fall 2020

All talks Thursday 6:00PM on Zoom (unless otherwise noted)


Required for ART 281 students. 

Thursday September 3, 6:00PM: J. Leigh Garcia


Join on Zoom:

Proofs of Burden from the exhibit Nuclear Fallout: The Bomb in Three Archives

Major events in Texas history such as the Mexican-American War, Battle of the Alamo, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and Bracero Program have created a complex relationship between J. Leigh Garcia's two cultures: Texans and Mexicans. The residual racial discord that has resulted from these historical moments—particularly, the racialization and displacement of unauthorized Latinx immigrants—is both the context and focus of her work. Through printmaking, papermaking, installation, and socially engaged art, Garcia encourages awareness of our current immigration and foreign affairs policies through the lens of her biracial cultural identity. 

J. Leigh Garcia is an artist born and raised in Dallas, TX. Garcia received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Master of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from The University of North Texas. Garcia is currently a Print Media and Photography Professor at Kent State University in Kent, OH.

Artist's Website:



Thursday September 17, 6:00PM: Jim Arendt

Pierced & Mended: Lessons in Persistence

Join on Zoom:

Timothy McDowell cyanotype artwork

Jim Arendt is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Gallery Director at Coastal Carolina University. He received his BFA from Kendall College of Art & Design and his MFA from the University of South Carolina. He has participated in residency programs including The Fields Project in Illinois, Arrowmont’s Tactility Forum, and From Waste to Art VI in Baku, Azerbaijan. He’s been invited to teach at Penland School of Craft and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. His work is exhibited internationally in numerous group and solo shows.  

Recently, Arendt received First Prize during Fiberarts International 2019, was short-listed for The 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art and a 2018 finalist for the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA. He has received the South Carolina Arts Commission Visual Artist Fellowship 2014 and his work received the $50,000 top prize at ArtFields 2013. His work was chosen for the 2013 Museum Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Netherlands, and he has work included in the Arkansas Art Center’s permanent collection of contemporary craft. Jim Arendt is an artist whose work explores the shifting paradigms of labor and place through narrative figure painting, drawing, prints, fabric and sculpture. Influenced by the radical reshaping of the rural and industrial landscapes he grew up in, he investigates how individual lives are affected by transitions in economic structures.

Artist's Website:


Thursday September 24, 6:00PM: Emily Denlinger

A Conversation with Emily Denlinger

Join on Zoom:

Don Desmett poses in front of green leafy foliage

Emily Denlinger is a Multimedia/New media artist addressing social justice issues using fine art, social media, and graphic design to reach my audience and build communities. Denlinger’s  lecture I will discuss her social activism art practice and how it runs parallel to reoccurring themes in her fine art images. Her social activism work involves identifying important issues that need promotional resources, building online communities through graphics, and engaging these communities in the world outside of the computer to enhance their reach and impact. Voter registration nonprofit nonpartisan group, SEMO Votes, and social justice movement, Justice for Madi, will be discussed in detail.

Monday September 28 7:30PM: Terry Barrett

Responding to Art: A Life of Engagement

Join on Zoom:

Michael Coppage artwork

Terry Barrett is Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University where he received a Distinguished Teaching Award for his courses in art criticism and aesthetics. Dr. Barrett is author of books including Why Is That Art?, Criticizing Photographs, Criticizing Art, Interpreting Art, Talking About Student Art, and Making Art. His most recent book is CRITS: A Student Manual. He is former senior editor of the research journals Studies in Art Education and The International Journal of Education and the Arts. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the National Art Education Association and recipient of the Insight Award from the Society of Photographic Education. His chapters and articles on teaching art, criticism, and aesthetics in schools, museums, and community settings are published in many anthologies and journals. He has worked in art with learners of all ages throughout the United States and internationally. He is currently writing and making art in Bradenton, Florida.

Free PDF downloads of  articles on his website: www:


Thursday October 15, 6:00PM: Steve Shapiro

Freedom in Black and White: The Making of a Photographer-Activist 


*Sponsored by the Miami University Art Museum

Amy Schissel working on a large curtain-like artwork in her studio

Photojournalist Steve Schapiro is best known for his civil rights photographs. His most recognizable images are of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project (Freedom Summer) and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. 

He is also an acclaimed celebrity and film set photographer.  Schapiro will discuss his work in the context of American social history. This lecture is co-sponsored with the Contemporary Art Forum with support from FOTOFOCUS 2020.

Event Access:

Artist's Website:


Thursday November 5, 6:00PM: Liz Maugans

Community Service 53.0 : along with a few rainbows and deer sightings  

Join on Zoom:

Sarah Rose Sharp artwork, resembling a dollhouse with crowded and disorganized rooms

In this massively vulnerable talk, Liz Maugans will illustrate real and relatable struggles of her own “worst year ever” (which surprisingly was not 2020, but 2018) to encourage each of us to see the beauty in being alive, and the growth that can only be learned through struggle, challenge and discomfort. Art and Community play the leading role in this talk, as she waxes reflection and rallies a call to action in both her community engagement work as well as her individual studio practice.


 Maugans received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and studied printmaking at Kent State University. She was awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship from Community Partnership for Arts and Culture in 2013, Ohio Arts Council International Residency to Dresden, Germany in 2009, Artist-in- Communities Grant in 2005, and Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 2000. She was awarded the Martha Joseph Prize for Distinguished Service from the Cleveland Arts Prize in 2012 along with Zygote co-founder Bellamy Printz. She is represented by HEDGE Gallery at 78th Street Studios, Cleveland.

Artist's Website: