Studio Visit Mentors


“I am primarily a painter, working abstractly but heavily influenced by place and landscape. I tend to work both very large and very small, pretty quickly, with intense color and texture. I also work with Virtual Reality painting, and have been exploring the combination of video and painting. I also have a regular practice of making watercolors while traveling – whether it is in the car during the long roadtrips I plan for my family, or during hikes with my family.”

Special focus: Flashe, acrylics, Tilt Brush (VR Painting Program), gouache, watercolor, gallery representation

Arden’s website

Philadelphia based artist Arden Bendler Browning creates large abstract paintings, small works on paper, and virtual reality (VR) environments. Her work explores movement, the desire for travel, digital imagery’s effect on perception, and creating immersive spaces.

Bendler Browning’s works are included in several public collections such as the West Collection, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Dream Hotel Nashville, Toyota, and PNC Tower, amongst others, and numerous private and corporate collections. Her work is represented by Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia, Galleri Urbane in Dallas, and Tinney Contemporary in Nashville. 


“My artworks are interdisciplinary,intersectional and grounded in personal narrative. This was due to an art career that gave me diverse exposure that aligned with my life experiences. I’m interested in supporting mentees in their most authentic artistic voice and art making through the use of self assessment, exposure to a variety of content, light research, community building and prompts that encourage consistent practice and personal reflection.”

Special focus: interdisciplinary studio practices and mixed media, community engagement, combining the personal with the historical

Elan’s website

(Self portrait with my children)
Pen, pencil, acrylic and flash paint on Shizen Pastel Paper. Shizen Pastel Paper is handmade in India from 100% recycled materials. 9″ x 12″

Elan Cadiz is an interdisciplinary North American Visual Artist that deconstructs and balances her intersectionality through her projects. Her art and practice are grounded in domestic, historical imagery and personal narrative. Elan Cadiz graduated from City College of New York with a BA in Studio Art and received an MFA Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts where she was awarded the SVA Merit Scholarship, Paul Rhodes Memorial Award and the Martha Trevor Award. Cadiz has been commissioned by the Studio Museum in Harlem, El Museo de Barrio, Art in Flux Harlem, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and more. She was one of the first Sustainable Arts Foundation AIRspace Parent Artist Residence at Abrons Art Center and her An American Family Album series was featured in VOGUE.


“I am an artist who works intuitively. I use found materials and am kind of reinventing what I do and how I do it each time I enter the studio. My college students tease me that the reliable line that comes from my mouth during every single critique is ‘I want MORE!’ Seriously, I believe that you can solve most artistic problems by just continuing to make through your process even if you aren’t sure what you are doing, because you do know- and we will figure out the words to talk about it together. I don’t have any magic art answers but I am ready to listen and help you learn from my mistakes.”

Special Focus: Textile based work, Sewing, Collage, Found objects, finding time for your practice with two very young kids at home

Laura’s website

No Brightness Left, quilted fabric and polyfil on wood panel, 24 x 26 inches, 2020

Laura Wennstrom holds an MFA in New Media from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2015). She received her undergraduate degree in Studio Art from North Park University in Chicago in 2009. She has participated in many solo and group exhibitions across the country.

Laura is currently an Adjunct Professor at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She teaches art classes to children and adults through the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Laura lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two young children.

I am a multimedia artist, most recently making large scale sculptural installations. Drawing from painting, collage, and quiltmaking traditions, I create heavily saturated color compositions. I am interested in gathering found materials and objects: the cast off, the forgotten, the incidental. Through an intuitive process combining color and pattern, I find new ways to tell stories.

I primarily use found or secondhand fabric and textiles in my work. This has ecological and economic advantages, but most importantly, I am drawn to the connection that discarded materials have with their previous owner. These objects carry stories and mystery, they have access to the banal secrets and intimate everydayness of strangers. Bed sheets that have enfolded Other bodies, clothing has kept them warm, objects silently witnessed a life. Possessions and materials that have been tossed aside for unknown reasons. Risking that what someone else has left behind is worth adopting, and making into something new. Potential.

My work represents the intersection of my life with the people I encounter while honoring their experiences and trying to make sense of my own. Although my installations references blithe or playful sentiment, I create work that speaks to the socio-economic, racial, and educational disparities that occur in our communities.

Barbara is FULLY BOOKED for December 2020! Availability starts back up 1/15/21.


Barbara Campbell Thomas is a painter who has been teaching and critiquing for over twenty years. She firmly believes every artist has a unique visual voice that is informed by the particularity of their life experience, and she also believes that our world desperately NEEDS every one of these unique voices. This belief informs her strengths as a teacher/critique-er; Barbara is adept at finding what is wholly idiosyncratic in every student/mentee she works with, and she works very hard to support and cultivate that specificity of vision.

Special Focus: Painting, collage, textiles, making connections between art and life, generous conversation 

Barbara’s website

Barbara Campbell Thomas is a painter and teacher who lives and works in Climax, North Carolina. She is also the mother of two sons, ages 15 and 8. Her studio work combines painting with quilting, overlaying their visual vocabularies to create complex formal dialogues within each piece that resonate with the details of her own life and history of each media. She came relatively late to quilting, which she learned from her own mother, but quickly realized its power as an art form traditionally practiced by women to inform and expand the range of her painting.
Barbara Campbell Thomas’s paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States, including the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC, NYC’s The Painting Center, The Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta and the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI. She received her BFA from Penn State, her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley, and she attended Yale Norfolk and Skowhegan. She recently received a 2018-2019 North Carolina Artists Fellowship. Barbara Campbell Thomas is an Associate Professor of Art at UNC Greensboro, and she has over 20 years of teaching (and critiquing!) experience.


“I work with artists of all ages and stages of their lives and careers, in all media from social practice to traditional materials. I adapt my critique to meet each artist’s individualized needs and goals, recognizing their unique career paths. Mentees will be stretched, encouraged to see their work differently, to take risks, and push themselves. We can also discuss potential outlets and other professional opportunities to showcase your work and further your career.” 

Special Focus: interdisciplinary practice, photography, professional practices, goal-setting and planning, supportive and constructive criticism

Anna’s website

My nephew watching YouTube, his morning routine at Grandma’s house, where he stays two days a week to be with his dad, Anderson Township, Cincinnati, Ohio | 2019 | Archival Pigment Print | 24″ x 30″, 2014-2015

Anna Ogier-Bloomer is a feminist artist using photography to explore domestic spaces, dynamics, and cultural signifiers within her midwestern family. Her work has been published on The Huffington Post, Refinery29, The Daily Mail, among others. She has been a Resident Artist at The Wassaic Project and a Feminist-in-Residence at Project for Empty Space in Newark. She holds an MFA from Parsons, an MPS in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts, and a BFA from SMFA at Tufts University. Anna has taught graduate, undergraduate and summer residency students at a number of schools including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the School of Visual Arts, and the City University of New York. She is an expert in professional practices, holding positions in career services at Parsons, SVA, and Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. She has advised thousands of artists around the world and lectures widely on artists’ professional practices. She recently contributed to the new book, Career Management for Artists, by Stacy Miller, Ed. D. Anna currently lives in Chicago with her husband and two children (aged 7 and 3).


Jodi has been teaching on the collegiate level since 2005 but, given her “outsider” background, is somewhat suspicious of that centralized model of education. Though her academic work forms a base, she understands the complexity of a life of art-making and expands the crit model to a non-hierarchical and generous practice. She comes at mentorship with the complete belief that we are better together, learning alongside, sharing missteps, triumphs, tricks and resources.

Special Focus: Painting, collage, paper, drawing, mining your own iconography, professional practice (related to 3 kids,/traveling partner time constraints), sharing resources, big reader, believes in writing

Jodi’s website

Jodi Hays is a Tennessee-based painter.  Her iconography carries a thread of “southern” vernacular and is partly influenced by having been raised in rural Arkansas, the American South. Her practice is akin to note-taking or a method of organizing knowledge. Grided systems become a scaffold for pictorial inclinations, be they abstract or related to landscape. 

My work is rooted in abstraction and informed by landscape. I come from gardeners, teachers, believers, moon-lighting loggers, makers, healers, pharmacists and grocers–back when the kitchen and pharmacy were the same room. In many ways, I see my work as that “same room.” I work with the grid and the expansive possibilities of painting. Sometimes this move is through painted marks, and sometimes through the use of stripes and bars in textiles (gingham, seer sucker). In addition to conventional approaches and materials (stretchers, canvas, linen), I use textiles and found fabrics and materials. They have their own history and emotive content that can complexify. I like the work to be, as CD Wright says, “vagrant in their identifications.” Regarding the grid (and many systems) I have an unstable allegiance.

Her work has been reviewed in Art Forum International, New Art Examiner, Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint, Number Inc magazine, Burnaway and the Nashville Scene. She is the recipient of grants from the Foundation For Contemporary Arts, the Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Her works are included in collections of the J. Crew Company (NY), Nashville International Airport, Gordon College (MA) and the Tennessee State Museum, among others. Residencies include The National Parks of America, The Cooper Union School of Art and Vermont Studio Center. She earned her BFA (magna cum laude) at The University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and studied Foundations at School of Visual Arts (SVA). She lived and worked in Boston for a number of years where she was Assistant Director at the Cambridge Art Association and earned an MFA at Vermont College. She moved to East Nashville in late 2005, Curating and teaching on the university level at Tennessee State, Lipscomb and Watkins College of Art. She maintains a studio and pop-up gallery (Dadu) in her backyard. She is a founding member of Coop Gallery, a Nashville-based curatorial collective and cites curating and teaching as tangential parts of her practice. Her work is represented by the Red Arrow Gallery, East Nashville, TN where she lives with her three children and husband.


“I truly love to dig deep with the fundamentals of critique. For example, how is your composition working, what elements of design are strong and which need work, and how your pieces hold together in a fundamental way. I won’t beat around the bush, but I won’t crush your soul either 😉 After addressing your work in a “traditional critique” way like that, then I like to dig into the personal concepts behind each piece. I believe that a piece of work is the strongest when it is succeeding in *both* those areas: conceptual strength and strong elements of fundamental design.”

Special Focus: painting, drawing, figurative and conceptual realism, large works on paper

Lee’s website

I Am a House, charcoal and graphite on Lenox paper, 42″ x 36″, 2019

Lee Nowell-Wilson is a figurative artist based in Baltimore, MD. She earned her BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, and has participated in artist residencies with Creative Paradox in Annapolis, MD, and the Street Art School in Lyon, France. Her work has exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably New York City and Scotland. Nowell-Wilson has also completed urban art pieces in Norway, France, Northern Ireland and Chile. In 2019, she founded MILKED, an arts publication that features visual art, photography and creative writing by female artists about the maternal figure and form. Her own work has featured in publications such as Create! Magazine, Maker’s Magazine, Stay Home Gallery publication and “Home-works”, a printed zine by Spilt Milk Gallery about artist-mothers in Quarantine. Other notable achievements include speaking on an artist panel hosted by Hamiltonian Gallery, D.C, about the “Maternal Creative Instinct”, being interviewed on the Artist/Mother Podcast, and receiving a Creativity Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.