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Visiting Artist Program

The Visiting Artist Program's mission is to educate and cultivate a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture by providing opportunities for students and the community to engage in meaningful discourse with regional, national and international artists, designers, art educators, art historians, curators, and critics.

 Asn Lester

Ash Lester

Thursday, March 23, 7 pm 

Room 105, Wham Educational Building

Artist Bio:

Ash Lester’s artwork is a reflection of her experience and coming of age as a queer person in the rural Adirondack mountains of northern New York. She received her BFA from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in 2017, her MFA from the University of South Florida in 2020, and is a professor of sculpture and gallery director at Frostburg State University in western Maryland. She touches on issues and topics such as class, isolations, and stereotypes, while simultaneously exposing and celebrating those communities and their often cliche cultures. Lester utilizes found objects and treatment materials such as bondo, plastidip, painter’s caulk, and enamel car paint to create objects that interact with each other, imagining narratives that engage with tropes of rural masculinity, while also creating possibilities for butch interventions.

Artist Statement:

As a butch lesbian growing up in the Adirondack mountains of northern New York, I was surrounded by rebel flags and soda bottles filled with chewing tobacco. As a young child I mimicked the phrases and moves of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Queerness was only something talked about when someone with a t-shirt tucked into their jeans said, "no homo". Within this context, I suppressed my lesbianism, avoiding being further isolated in an already remote place. Instead, I became one of the boys. I pushed the envelope of “tomboy-ness” as far as I could without being outed. I went fishing, lifted weights, and I used tools and built things; without the help from the high school shop teacher who wouldn’t let me in the class because I was a woman. My work reflects these aspects of my experience. I touch on issues and topics such as class, isolation, and stereotypes while simultaneously exposing and celebrating those communities and their often cliche cultures. A Nascar flag painted on rose-embossed leather, a handmade calendar of a pinup on a Corvette, and Mountain Dew wine Bottles. I utilize found objects and surface treatment materials such as Bondo, plastidip, painter's caulk, and enamel car paint to create objects that interact with each other, imagining narratives that engage with tropes of rural masculinity, while also creating possibilities for butch interventions.

 Hilary Inwood

Hilary Inwood

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Guyon Auditorium at 7pm

Hilary Inwood (M.Ed, MA, PhD) is a teacher educator, researcher and artist who coordinates the Sustainability & Climate Action Network at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on deepening teachers’ knowledge and skills in environmental learning, and on developing creative approaches to environmental education. She coordinates a multiyear collaboration with the TDSB's Sustainability Office, which includes facilitating a team of teacher-researchers focused on environmental learning in their classrooms. She also co-chairs a national Canadian network that aims to better embed Environmental & Sustainability Education into teacher education. Her work extends beyond the classroom to include school gardens, outdoor education centers, parks, and galleries.

Creating a Climate of Change
Forest fires, atmospheric rivers, tornadoes, and rising sea levels are threatening communities around the world – countries around the world agree that the climate crisis is urgent and overwhelming. Shifting from a state of climate anxiety will involve utilizing one of our greatest defenses in addressing this crisis: human creativity. Join Dr. Hilary Inwood from the University of Toronto in exploring how the power of creativity is leading architects, artists, and designers to create new pathways for all to follow into a more sustainable and equitable world.

You can view Hilary Inwood's website at

 Terry Contrad

Terry Conrad

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Guyon Auditorium at 7pm

Terry Conrad is interested in the community and social aspects of printmaking. In 2014, he was awarded a SPAF/NYSCA grant to develop the Adirondack Forum, a collapsible venue made of old printing blocks and other found wood that functioned as a meeting place, performance space and classroom. Terry Conrad is a 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Drawing, Printmaking and Book Arts. He was the 2015-16 Grant Wood Fellow in Printmaking and in 2017 he took a position as an Assistant Professor in Printmaking at the University of Iowa. Conrad received his BFA from Alfred University and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has also been in group exhibitions nationally and internationally. He has been awarded residencies at Frans Masereel Centrum (Belgium), Penland School of Craft (North Carolina) and the Vermont Studio Center.

You can view Terry Conrad's website at

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 Karen Willenbrick-Johnsen

Monday, October 18, 2021

Guyon Auditorium at 7pm

A testimony to her love of nature, Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen’s work is the result of countless hours of observation and decades being immersed in the in the glass-working experience:

"I am constantly inspired and awed by the power of nature. My study of Raptors has been an obsession, and my passion for the natural environment that surrounds me has long taken root in my work, forming and indelible kinship. As I have developed as a glass artist, my conceptual urges have become intrinsic; my work comes from a need to experience and acknowledge the essence of living things. It is this passion that drives me to further explore and intensify the expression of my craft.Telling a story is essential to my endeavors. The effect of layered glass patterns is to freeze moments in time. I want my glass to capture the concept and context of images from the natural world, to give dimension and depth to those who experience them. Glass art should be exciting, and artistic techniques should be employed only when they enhance the message".

Tonya Torgerson

Tonya Torgerson

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Guyon Auditorium at 7pm

Originally from the northern woods of Minnesota, Tonja Torgerson received a B.F.A. from the University of Minnesota and a M.F.A. in Printmaking at Syracuse University. Her artwork is regularly exhibited nationally and internationally; and is a part of numerous private and museum collections, including the Weisman Art Museum and the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Torgerson has taught at the Penland School of Crafts, Kansas City Art Institute, and West Virginia Wesleyan College. She has been a resident artist at AIR: Artist Image Resource of Pittsburgh, Fogo Island in Newfoundland, Canada; Lawrence Arts Center, and New York Mills, Minnesota. Her recent work deals with death and the impermanent nature of the body. Torgerson is currently the Printmaking Area Coordinator and Visiting Faculty at Indiana University.

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Dayo Laoye

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Guyon Auditorium at 7pm

Dayo Laoye was born in Africa but was educated in African and American academic institutions. Being Nigerian, Dayo Laoye was raised in the Yoruba tradition but educated in contemporary African American art. Dayo brings a prolific cultural diversity to the creative thinking process seen in his paintings. Dayo’s professional career has inspired art communities and broader communities to partake in discussions on Yoruba culture and religion, and to use these discussions as a doorway to their global communities. Dayo later worked on portraiture using as subjects his fellow students, teachers, and special guest to the school. A graduate of School of Fine Art, Yaba College of Technology, he worked for the Nigerian Television Authority, various advertising agencies as a graphic artist and two national newspaper as a political cartoonist. In 1988 while studying at Howard University, Washington, D.C., he became acquainted with contemporary African-American art and its search for a link with the past. It was during this time that Dayo began to explore the very meaning of the tradition in which he was born. Much of Dayo’s work, therefore reflects his Yoruba tradition. He is currently working on a series of paintings – The People’s Choice – inspired by the political process going on in America today. Also, he is working on a series of paintings – Negritude – celebrating the diversity of beauty in the African-American culture. Dayo has been exhibiting for the last 25 years.