While pursuing my undergraduate degree at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), I worked in the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Development and the Office of Student Affairs. I served as an LGBTQIA mentor for undergraduate students and a Foundation Workshop Leader. As the coordinator of women’s programming on campus, I directed the Vagina Monologues, held community-based programs aimed at combatting violence against women, and produced a citywide event. I received the Diversity Student Leader Award twice during my undergraduate career and the Faculty and Staff Queer Alliance recognized my efforts in making MICA a more welcoming, diverse, and safe environment for the LGBTQIA community by honoring me with a grant.
After freshman year of college I spent two months in Greensboro, North Carolina as the Production Intern at Elsewhere. During this internship I learned about contemporary approaches to art making including the use of found objects and creation of immersive installations, which I continue to investigate today. After two more years of arts education and training I attended Salem Art Works (SAW) first as an Intern Artist, when I learned to blacksmith, and then as an Independent Artist. The members of SAW challenged me to consider investigating the intersection of performing and visual arts as they witnessed my enthusiasm for both art forms. I listened to their advice and dove head first into a new way of working.
Drawing on my extensive background in yoga, dance, and partner acrobatics, I introduced my own body into my work combining aspects of both performing and visual arts in an unexpected way. After striking a unique balance in my art practice, I moved to Vermont for three months as an Artist-in-Residence at the Sable Project, an off-the-grid residency dedicated to interdisciplinary arts with a heavy focus on dance and performing arts. I used the forest as my raw materials and without the help of power tools made two large wooden installations on which I performed.
After the Sable Project I moved to Minnesota as the Arts Administration Intern at Franconia Sculpture Park, where I now serve as the Program Assistant.
Additionally, I am a guest writer for teen development specialists and body image experts. I have served on panels and been interviewed for books, articles, and television segments about my journey through recovery and the role art has played.
Conveying a message of transcendence and overcoming is of utmost importance to me. Through my art, mentoring, and writing I raise awareness about the effects of culture’s unrealistic expectations of beauty and perfection. I share my unique perspective to offer hope; connect with others who have, or have not, shared my struggles; inspire change; and exalt the human – particularly female – body in defiance of the negative images society dictates to us.
Unrealistic beauty standards, misconceptions about mental health, and disability stigmas are pervasive, sneaking into nearly every form of media we consume. My art is a necessary respite from these messages, showing beauty in unexpected and unconventional ways. My artistic practice is a catalyst for a body-positive revolution in which all bodies and minds are revered for their unique beauty.
I work at the intersection of visual and performing arts, often combining elements of sculpture with contemporary dance and partner acrobatics to create a unique, hybrid art form. I use steel for my sculptures because of the way its rigidity and coldness contrasts against the softness, fragility, and impermanence of the human body. I also work with metal because of the physicality it demands. I have to use my entire body in the process. Thus, the work becomes both of and for the body.
I first began this method of working while preparing for my senior thesis exhibition, “A Humble Reliance,” for which I had fabricated two steel structures that I performed dance and acrobatics on and around. Five weeks before the exhibition, I found myself on crutches, my ankle unable to bear weight. This injury revolutionized my art practice. I took this setback as an opportunity to strengthen my work by creating a wearable steel sculpture that immobilized my ankle and protected it from further damage. This steel ankle brace, in the same visual language as the steel apparatuses, tied the work together and propelled me on a new path.
Since then, I have transitioned from making sculptures for and about my own body to now incorporating other other people’s bodies and stories. My most recent project “Altered Aesthetics” shows beauty within disabled bodies and before that “Restriction, Perfection” explored body image through a sculpture and dance performance.