The Amon Carter Museum of American Art begins the new year by introducing a new class of its Carter Community Artists: Kalee Appleton, Brenda Ciardiello, Michelle Cortez Gonzales, and Kasey Short.
The Carter Community Artist initiative was founded in 2018 with the mission of collaborating with and supporting local artists, connecting the North Texas community with practicing artists and helping build a network among local artists. Every year, the museum selects four local artists to assist with planning and leading programs on-site, off-site, and virtually.
The class of 2020 Carter Community Artists navigated the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Over the course of this year, everyone has had to adapt to a new way to experience life, including how we engage with art. Our current class of Carter Community Artists played an important role in connecting our visitors virtually to our collection during this unprecedented time. It’s now more imperative than ever that outside voices like the Carter Community Artists help make creative connections and purposeful experiences with audiences familiar and new to the Carter,” Amanda Blake, Director of Education, Library, and Visitor Services at the Carter said.
Selected by a committee from the museum’s education and curatorial staff, this year's artists range in areas of focus from sustainable art-making to experimental photography.
“We look forward to seeing all of the amazing ways in which Kalee Appleton, Brenda Ciardiello, Michelle Cortez Gonzales, and Kasey Short expand upon the work the past two classes of artists have established while helping us explore new avenues of connection with the community,” Blake said.
Appleton, a Fort Worth-based artist and assistant professor of Photography at Texas Christian University, is an experimental artist whose work deals with digital technologies and their effects on society, as well the theoretical aspects of contemporary landscape photography.
“I'm looking forward to sharing my passion and knowledge of photography and art with the Fort Worth community. I'm particularly excited about seeing the upcoming exhibitions and responding to them with projects and activities for others to experience,” Appleton said.
Appleton earned her BFA in Photography from Texas Tech University (2005) and MFA in Art from Texas Woman’s University (2014). Her work is represented by Erin Cluley Gallery in Dallas and has been exhibited regionally and nationally, including the venues FotoFest International and Houston Center for Photography. Appleton’s work has also appeared in various print and online forums including D Magazine, Glasstire, and Lens Culture.
Ciardiello is a Mexican American watercolorist and poet who paints contemporary landscapes, botanicals, and abstract art that deal with themes of personal connection to nature inspired by her bicultural and international experiences and travels. She earned her BA in Art History and Classical Civilizations from the University of Notre Dame (2004) and MS in Education from the City College of New York (2006). Ciardiello lives and paints in Fort Worth, where she exhibits her work in local galleries and teaches workshops with organizations like Art Room and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
“I believe passionately that art is for everyone. As a Carter Community Artist, I am excited to provide opportunities for people in all different communities to enjoy the Carter's collection. Right now, with in-person interactions being limited and people feeling more isolated from each other and our community institutions, I hope to find unique ways to engage with the Carter's audience in order to help people reconnect through shared creativity,” Ciardiello said.
Gonzales is a Fort Worth native whose paintings and installation work examines memory through preservation, reconstruction, and alteration. Her work combines painted imagery with found and made objects that reference family photographs, childhood, and home.
“As a Carter Community Artist, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to bridge gaps, cultivate positive relationships, and uplift students through expression and art,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales earned her BFA in Painting from the University of Texas at Arlington (2014) and MFA in Painting from the University of Dallas (2020). She has exhibited work throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is a passionate advocate for art education.
Short is an interdisciplinary artist whose time-based and interactive art reflects on issues of sustainability, mobility, and the environment.
“I look forward to being a part of the institution, exploring archives and exhibitions, working with communities through social art practice, and developing a deeper level of research and understanding of relational aesthetics," Short said.
He earned his BFA in Painting and Drawing from Texas State University (2010) and MFA in Sculpture and Time-based Interactive Media from the University of Pennsylvania (2015). He has exhibited work nationally and internationally and has participated in residencies, including ACRE Projects and AVL-Mundo Foundation, and received the 2014 Vermont Studio Center Fellowship Award. Short is a professor at the University of North Texas and is currently a member of 500X Gallery in Dallas.
The Carter Community Artist program intends to introduce new programs for all ages and abilities, including an enhanced presence of virtual experiences. The new year also marks a shift from a commitment beginning at the start of an academic calendar to the artists working with the museum from January through December.
Visit cartermuseum.org/events for up-to-date information on events featuring the 2021 Carter Community Artists.