South Bend Museum of Art Education Blog

A Place Where Art Education is Discussed and Explored!

Archive for artists

We’d love to be your stepping stone

Michiana artist, Mary Firtl, began her brilliant career as a youth art student at SBMA.

As the young students in our youth classes fill our studios this summer, we can’t help but wonder where art will take them.  It is our sincere hope that all of them will discover an inner excitement and creativity that will bring them confidence and joy, no matter what they go on to do.  But perhaps there are a few children here this summer who are embarking on a lifelong journey in the fine arts, and will someday look back upon SBMA as the foundation of their passion and success.

This is the story of local artist, Mary Firtl.  A Michiana native, Mary first came to SBMA – known as the “Art Center” back then – when she was five years old, and now her artwork is for sale in our Dot Shop.  We are  proud to have been a constant companion and support network for Mary throughout the years and to be a place that she can call home.  To LEARN MORE ABOUT MARY FIRTL and A LIFELONG CONNECTION to SBMA, CLICK HERE.


A Nice Escape

Cindy, left, and Cameron, right working steadily on their designs

We first introduced you to the Kanczuzewski family a couple of weeks ago. As you may recall, mom Cindy and two of her children, Maddie and Cameron, are participating in this year’s pop art inspired Festival of Banners. They have been working steadily on their designs, visiting our studio almost weekly to put the finishing touches on their colorful artworks. We recently popped in on them again to see how things are moving along, but also to learn more about what Festival of Banners can teach a first time painter. Join us by reading more about what Cindy, Maddie, and Cameron have learned on their journeys, one brush stroke at a time.

Why You Should Meet Us on the Island

Here at SBMA, we pride ourselves on lots of things. From our quality exhibitions to our excellent educational programs to our stellar staff, we have a lot to be proud of. Did we mention our ability to throw a rocking summer party? On Friday June 29th, we invite you to join us at one of our signature summer events, “Meet Me on the Island”. In collaboration with WVPE, we are pleased to present you an ART-ful evening filled with live music, cool drinks, and local art and artists along a beautiful river front location. Still undecided? Keep reading as we share with you our top reasons why you should “Meet Us on the Island” June 29th.

Why you should win a marathon

Ceramics artist Kathy Fodness is a prolific, inspiring presence in our SBMA studios.

For the great majority of us, some SBMA staff members included, it’s nearly impossible to imagine running a marathon, let alone winning one.  If you’ve ever watched a marathon in person and seen the leaders at mile 20 or so, you know those people have got something that you just don’t.  And when this year’s Sunburst Marathon winners sprint across that finish line on June 2, they’ll get something else you wish you had: artwork by Kathy Fodness.

Native American ceramic artist Kathy Fodness has been a friend of SBMA for many years, volunteering with youth classes and events, and frequenting our studios to perfect her artistic techniques.  So when the Sunburst Races asked us to commission a local artist to create the first place awards for the 2012 races, Kathy came to mind instantly.  Given the way these awards are turning out, we know we made the right choice.  We’ll give you a sneak peek at what Kathy has been creating, but we have to warn you – this click may cause the sudden dusting off of running shoes!


Setting Up for Scholastics

When we arrived at work on Monday, this is how we found our Warner Gallery:

Kind of a mess.  But the truth is, it’s the first sign it’s time for one of our favorite exhibits: Scholastics.

The artwork you see strewn about the gallery is actually a collection of hundreds of pieces of art that have been submitted by our region’s 7th-12th graders for this years Scholastics Art Awards competition.  Jurors for the program were here all day last Saturday to judge the work which covers a wide array of media—ceramics and pottery, photography, jewelry, and painting to name a few, and in the coming days the Warner Gallery will be transformed into a breathtaking exhibit of creativity and energy, revealed at our “Meet Me in the Gallery” event on Friday, February 3.

Be sure to come out next Friday for this amazing celebration of youth and art!


Meet Our Featured Staff Instructor for July!

Janet Leazenby

By: Jennifer Talvensaari

If I walked into your Art classroom, what should I expect to see?

People working in clay, tools in buckets, and mud up to your elbows!!


Meet Our SBMA Staff Instructor of the Month!

Birgit Scott

 By: Jennifer Talvensaari


If I walked into your Art classroom, what should I expect to see?

We are fortunate to be able to hold our classes in the library where we sit in comfortable chairs around a large table. I bring the latest knitting magazines and a variety of knitting books to class besides yarns to use for practice and a supply of needles. I usually have knitted samples on hand to inspire students and I generally wear something I have designed and knitted myself.

 Tell us about your teaching experiences.

I am a foreign language teacher by profession- all levels from grade school through college and adult education. After I retired, I was thrilled to be able to teach my passion: knitting. I have given workshops at numerous knitting shops in several states, and have taught knitting classes at SBMA for about 10 years.


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