Catherine Jozwik
Art Scene

Greatest Hits of the State?

MOWA presents 39 artists from across the state in 2020 Wisconsin Artists Biennial.

By - Jan 21st, 2020 03:10 pm
“Springwater” by Xiaohong Zhang. Image from the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

“Springwater” by Xiaohong Zhang. Image from the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

The 2020 Wisconsin Artists Biennial, a diverse exhibition highlighting 42 works in various media by 39 Wisconsin artists, opens Saturday at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) in West Bend, in the museum’s Hyde and Horicon Bank Galleries.  This year marks the fourth Biennial exhibition for the MOWA.

“We are the natural home for it, given our focus,” said Graeme Reid, MOWA Director of Exhibitions and Collections. “We’ve worked closely with the WVA (nonprofit organization Wisconsin Visual Artists) to raise the status of the Biennial.”

A total of $10,500 in prizes will be awarded, including $5,000 for best in show, $3,000 for second place, $2,000 for third place, and $500 for a first-time Biennial artist, “a very attractive package for Wisconsin artists,” Reid noted.

The Wisconsin Artists Biennial features works by the following artists: Krista V. Allenstein, Jordan Acker Anderson, Benjamin R. Balcom, Trenton Baylor, Siara Berry, Martha J. Coaty, Scott Espeseth, Daniel Fleming, Nina Ghanbarzadeh, Madeline Glaspey, Janelle Gramling, Alexander Hopkins, Niki Johnson, Frank Juarez, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, David Najib Kasir, Daniel Klewer, Michael F. Knapstein, Pat Kroth, Debbie Kupinsky, Diane Levesque, Lisa Mathewson, Rob Neilson, Angela Piehl, Brian J. Pirman, Denise Presnell, Pete Railand and Jenna Valoe, Christian A. Ricco, Susan I. Rice, Patrick Robison, Laura Schneider, Jill Sebastian, Shelley Smith, Christine Style, Victoria L. Tasch, Amanda Urmanski, John Whitney and Xiaohong Zhang.  

Exhibition jurors include Detroit artist and curator Tylonn J. Sawyer, and Amy Baur and Brian Bolden of Minneapolis’s In Plain Sight Art Studios.

MOWA visitors will have the opportunity to meet the Biennial artists and jurors at an opening party from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. A juror talk will be held from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by remarks and awards from 3 to 3:15 p.m.

In addition, Combustible Dust, an exhibition showcasing the work of 2018 Biennial winner Mark Klassen, will open Saturday in the MOWA’s State Gallery.

Art News

On Monday, January 13, NEWaukee and the City of Wauwatosa announced that it is seeking 64 artists nationwide for ART 64, a four-day live painting tournament which will take place June 3 through 6. According to, during the four-round tournament, “artists will be paired to go head-to-head and given two hours to create a work of art on a predetermined theme on a 2’x3’ canvas.” The event is open to the public, and audience members can vote for their favorite artist, allowing them to move to the next round.

There is no application fee, and all 64 artists receive a $50 stipend, one canvas per round, a drop cloth, and easel. The winner will receive $20,000 and an artist-in-residency at Serendipity Labs in Wauwatosa.

“We are excited to produce this signature art experience in Wauwatosa,” Jeremy Fojut, Chief Idea Officer and co-founder of NEWaukee stated on his website. “As part of NEWaukee’s mission, we’re proud to provide a platform for artists and small businesses to build and connect to new audiences.”

For more information about the competition, and to apply, visit

Art Events and Gallery Openings


Manufacturing Creativity: Reginald Baylor Studio opens Tuesday at the UW-Milwaukee Union Gallery, 2200 E. Kenwood Boulevard. An opening reception, which includes a talk with artist Reginald Baylor and the studio’s creative director Melissa Courtney from 6 to 7 p.m., will be held Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Thursday, 6:15 p.m.:

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) presents the annual Layton Focus Exhibition and Lecture, “Byrdcliffe: Creativity and Creation.” The lecture will be held in the museum’s Lubar Auditorium and is free for members and free with museum admission.

Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m.:

The Girl in the Diary: Searching for Rywka from the Lodz Ghetto opens with a preview at Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N. Prospect Avenue. 

Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

Emerging Artists Exhibition 2020 opens with an artist reception at Var Gallery & Studios, 643 S. 2nd St.

Friday, 7 to 11 p.m.:

The MAM will host its monthly MAM After Dark. January’s theme is “Miami Nights” and will feature tropical drinks, live music, salsa dancing, and Cuban fusion cuisine. White blazers and fedoras are encouraged.


Mark Klassen: Combustible Dust opens Saturday at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA), 205 Veterans Ave., in West Bend.

Last Chance: Exhibits Closing

Jeffrey Clancy: Measured Misalignments and Ariana Huggett’s House Tableau will close Sunday at the Villa Terrace Art Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave.

Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee closes Saturday at the Grohmann Museum, 1025 N. Broadway St.

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