Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

2017 Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists Awarded

Five Artists Share $70,000 in Fifteenth Cycle

By - Nov 17th, 2017 10:43 am

Five recipients of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists have been selected from a field of 142 applicants in the fifteenth annual competition. Tom Berenz and Lois Bielefeld were chosen in the Established Artist category and will each receive a $20,000 fellowship. Sara Caron, Sky Hopinka, and Ariana Vaeth will receive Emerging Artist fellowships of $10,000 each. In addition to receiving an award, the Nohl Fellows participate in an exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art that opens in June 2018. An exhibition catalogue will be published and disseminated nationally.

Finalists in the Established Artist category included Richard Galling, Gregory Klassen, Colin Matthes, Kevin J. Miyazaki, and Alec Regan.

Finalists in the Emerging artist category included Joe Acri, Nazli Dincel, Andrew Gralton, Ben Grant, Thaddeus Kellstadt, Anja Sieger, and Michael Ware.

Funded by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund and administered by the Bradley Family Foundation, the Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists provide unrestricted funds for artists to create new work or complete work in progress. The program is open to practicing artists residing in the four-county area (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties). The Mary L. Nohl Fund also supports a Suitcase Fund for exporting work by local artists beyond the four-county area.

Artist Mary L. Nohl of Fox Point, Wisconsin, died in December 2001 at the age of 87. She left a $9.6 million bequest to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Her fund supports local visual arts and education programs, keeping her passion for the visual arts alive in the community.

The panel of jurors included Michelle Jacques, Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada; Allison Peters Quinn, Director of Exhibitions & Residency Programs, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; and Gabriel Ritter, Curator and Head of Contemporary Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The panelists were in Milwaukee November 9-11, reviewing work samples and artists’ statements and visiting the studios of the seven finalists in the Established Artist category.

About the Fellows
Established Artists

Painter Tom Berenz, b. 1981 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, currently lives and works in Milwaukee. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, his MA from Northern Illinois University, and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally and have been featured in multiple publications: most notably, New American Paintings and Huffington Post. “My paintings are about my relationship to the world around me,” observes Berenz, “cerebral and physical, intellectual and visceral. I use the motif of chaos and disorder as a metaphor to discuss personal, sociopolitical, environmental, and ideological issues. I explore the existential self and examine personal narratives, some literal, others more enigmatic. Notions of loss, place, memory, space, and time are central as I reexamine personal experiences from my past and present.” Berenz is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where he teaches Painting and Drawing.

Lois Bielefeld is a series-based artist working in photography, audio, video, and installation. Her work continually asks the question of what links routine and ritual to the formation of identity and personhood. The Bedroom, Weeknight Dinners, Androgyny, All In: Shorewood Girls Cross Country, and Neighborhood examine the connective ties people share within our private and public spaces with food, perceptions of gender, team, and community. Bielefeld lives in Milwaukee with her daughter and wife. Bielefeld received her BFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. She moved to New York City after graduation and remained until 2010. Besides photography, she feels passionate about traveling, swimming, urban gardening and bicycling adventures. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, and the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin. Bielefeld has shown at the International Center of Photography in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Charles Allis Art Museum, ArtStart, Portrait Society Gallery, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Walker’s Point Center for the Arts. In 2015 she had a ten-week artist residency in Bourglinster, Luxembourg through the Museum of Wisconsin Art and the Luxembourg Ministry of Culture. Bielefeld is represented by Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee. She was a 2012 Nohl Fellow in the emerging category.

Emerging Artists

Sara Caron (b. 1988, Chicago) graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2011. She lives and works in Milwaukee where she bartends at the “Bermuda Triangle,” hosts “Full Moon Karaoke and Variety Show,” and works as the proprietor of the “Poor Store”—three of her current artist projects. In her work, Caron constructs a role for herself within the communities she wants to engage and support. She considers these projects experiments in what is needed to make a space. A recent sojourn in Japan shifted Caron’s interest away from the social to the visual, and from the hyperlocal to a more extensive definition of community. Caron has been an artist-in-residence at the Lynden Sculpture Garden in Milwaukee, where she explored Lynden as a public site from the perspective of a tourist and a guide, and at the Troedsson Villa in Japan. She is currently co-president of Friends of Blue Dress Park.

Sky Hopinka was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, and Portland, Oregon before moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and facets of culture contained within, and the play between the accessibility of, the known and the unknowable. He received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Hopinka’s work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images Festival, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival, Sundance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest, Projections, and the LA Film Festival. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He was awarded jury prizes at the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, the More with Less Award at the 2016 Images Festival, the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, and 3rd Prize at the 2015 Media City Film Festival.

Ariana Vaeth is a Baltimore-raised artist whose work focuses on personal narrative and honors her interactions with the people that construct her character. Equally attracted by the theatrics of the Baroque and the portrayal of American identity in the Realist movement, Vaeth finds inspiration in the melodrama of everyday life. Through composed subjects, furniture, and props, Vaeth’s autobiographical paintings chronicle exchanges found in her personal relationships as she enters into womanhood. Vaeth received her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2017. As an undergraduate she participated in an exchange program at the Maryland Institute College of Art where she pursued her interest in the figure and methods of oil painting. Vaeth is currently completing an artist-in-residency program at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Her work can be seen through February 7, 2018, in the exhibition Ordinary Moments at the Museum of Wisconsin Art gallery at St Johns on the Lake.

For more than a century, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has helped individuals, families and organizations realize their philanthropic goals and make a difference in the community, during their lifetimes and for future generations. The Foundation consists of more than 1,300 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable causes of their choice. The Foundation also deploys both human and financial resources to address the most critical needs of the community and ensure the vitality of the region. Established in 1915, the Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the world and is now among the largest.

For further information about the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists program, please visit

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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