The Sheboygan North High Art Department created NHS Artist in Residency Program (NHS AiR) in the fall of 2014. This program is designed to expose, educate and engage the North High community to local and regional artists each semester during the current academic school year. Our artist in residence works with our staff and students for one semester (18 weeks). The AiR program is currently in its fourth year. 

The goals of the NHS Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program are to expand the experience of each student in the field of the arts, foster creativity, enrich education in any given subject, and to present staff members with new ideas and options for instruction.

To date we have hosted the following artists:

  • SP2018 – Eileen Urness, sculptor (Cedar Grove)
  • FA2017 – Patty Aker, painter (Cleveland)
  • SP2017 – Cooper Diers, painter/musician (Sheboygan)
  • FA2016 – Erica Huntzinger, painter/mixed media artist (Sheboygan)
  • SP2016 – Marty Carney, painter (Sheboygan)
  • FA2015- Liz Ann Lange, painter (Sheboygan)
  • SP2015 – Sara Willadsen, collage artist (Sheboygan Falls)
  • FA2014 – Mel Kolstad, mixed media artist (Fond du Lac))

Year 1-3: supported by a grant from the Sheboygan Area School District

Year 4: supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc and the Wisconsin Art Education Association

Click here to download information about the AiR Program 

spring 2018 RESIDENT ARTIST, eileen urness

Although mostly a self taught artist Eileen Urness has been surrounded by art and artists most of her adult life. She has explored many areas of art including jewelry, ceramics and painting. Lately Eileen has been experimenting with Millifiori Polymer Eggs. Her technique is largely experimental and self developed incorporating elements of the Millifiori glass technique with polymer clay on eggs. She has received several awards for her innovative techniques and attention to detail.



Growing up in England in the Swing’ 60’s exposed me to Mary Quant fashion, Twiggy, James Bond and the Beatles.  I was seduced by the glamour of that era.  I pursued a more conventional path and finally in my Autumnal years I am able to explore the fiber arts that tried to lure me years ago.

Various studio experiences and credit classes at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and the University of Wisconsin Sheboygan have enhanced my knowledge and interest.

My fiber art work started when asked to create a baptismal banner for my church. I endeavored to paint on silk. The project took many months of trial and error, but the experience was so wonderful and addictive that it has spurned a cottage venture, Gaelic Sands.

I have exhibited in many juried shows, group and solo shows. Venues include U.W. Sheboygan, Plymouth Art Center, St. Nicholas Hospital,  Inspiration Studios in Milwaukee, the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac, Latitude Art, Sheboygan Visual Artists shows, Lakeshore Art Supplies, JMKAC and many local coffee houses.

Artist Kay Jelinek and I team up to exhibit together as our art is both colorful and abstract. Our art pieces were exhibited at nine venues in the past year.  Kay and I have also juried a couple of shows, one being a WRAP event in Fond du Lac.

I also conduct instructional demonstrations and workshops in galleries and for community organizations.  I teach silk painting and batik at John Michael Kohler Art Center (JMKAC).

I’m particularly happy that in January 2009, I trained as a docent at JMKAC in Sheboygan.  I enjoy the docent workshops with children of all ages.  The continuing training and education provided by JMKAC is unparalleled.  This, plus joining a website based art group surrounds me with enthusiastic art-centered people and provides me with drive and inspiration for my work.  

Spring 2017 RESIDENT ARTIST, cooper diers

cooperheadshotMy name is Cooper. I was brought into existence by two people (like most of us), who both possess considerable imaginations. My father creates through carpentry, specializing in cabinetry, and is an exceptional chef, while my mother designs works in several mediums of visual art. Both have had an interest, appreciation, and intrinsic ability in a number of creative fields from early on and I would like to consider myself fortunate enough to have been predisposed to a lot of creativity, relying on it as a constant throughout my life. Though the approach to my work is predominantly self-taught, the influence and encouragement of several teachers during my academic career has helped the continuation of my work from a practical perspective. Music and sound are the deepest source of affect on my psyche.

Below is a list of items that I am interested in facilitating/sharing this semester. 

  • Symbols/imagery of interest: Venn Diagrams, concentric circles, Russian dolls, swirls, and line segments.
  • I would like to continue building on a few of the distinct collections within my body of work; including the Eggs of Ancient Birds series and the Line Segment series.
  • Incorporate my other primary interest of sound with the music department of North High and focus on the commonalities between visual and audio improvisation/composition.
  • Engage with the student body and faculty, attempting to find ways to integrate art/music into various subjects and content in order to fulfill required perimeters and capitalize on students’ intuitive abilities.

Fall 2016 RESIDENT ARTIST, Erica Huntzinger

erica-huntzinger-headshotIn my classroom/studio at North High School students and faculty are welcome to stop in anytime during my 10-hour a week schedule through the second week in January.

I am going to be working on creating a new body of work in watercolors and ceramics with some printmaking techniques. I’ll be updating & organizing my website. I’m hoping that I’ll be an aid in brainstorming and bridging ideas and concepts with students and teachers. I hope to work collaboratively in their classroom, focused on whatever subjects bubble up. I assume projects and connections will reveal themselves as time is spent and communications evolve. I love this way of working. I do not pre plan but the overall structure. I trust what happens inside that space will be transformative. I love the idea of possibly making connections that don’t seem at first to have parallels. I’m invested in opening the up the boundaries between the hard lines of themed academics to allow for new learning and discovery to potentially occur through creative activity and exploration.

About Erica

Erica Jane Huntzinger grew up in a western suburb of Chicago, IL. Pursuing the humanities, specifically painting and ceramics, she studied art and English literature at Illinois State University and transferred into the painting department at The University of Illinois. In her last semester, Erica studied art and ecology in England at Wolverhampton Polytechnic. She graduated from The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and a Major in Painting. Desiring deeper meaning into art and the self, Erica pursued further education and received her Masters Degree in Art Therapy at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

As a painter, Erica describes her work as visual documentations of internal landscapes. Her work is captured and distilled through sensitive attention to experiences in an attempt to bridge the dualities of the conscious and the unconscious. Each piece is realized through the use and manipulation of color, texture, text and space; filtered, steeped in and manifested through paint and clay.

Erica has shown throughout the country, mainly in her home state of Illinois and Chicago, where several of her paintings are permanently installed at the following: Uncommon Ground (Devon and Grace locations), The University of Illinois at Chicago Children’s Center, and Delilah’s. She has frequently shown professionally, most notably at The Chicago Cultural Center‘s “People of the Mud II: Another look at Chicago Ceramics”, Silvermine Guild Art Center’s “Craft USA”, The John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s “Eight Counties Art Show”, Prak Sis Gallery’s “Axis International Art Festival”, several shows with Margin Gallery, including their “Sojourn”, “Geographies of the Mind”, and “Retrospective” exhibits, The Hudson in Milwaukee, WI and most currently in The School of The Art Institute of Chicago’s Art Therapy 30th Anniversary Exhibition in October of 2014. She currently lives and works in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and commutes often to Chicago and Milwaukee to exhibit her work.

Spring 2016 resident artist, Marty Carney

Marty 2.0I am an artist wondering at the art of living. My passion for art and creativity has emerged and evolved over the years. I have lived my life so far in the American Midwest. As my aunt once marveled flying into the Midwest after having lived away from this area for a length of time, “The green! The shades of green!” I live within those shades of green unfolding.

Within this “heartland,”I find a place to express the landscape of my soul. I find space to stand in the sun, to feel the rain and snow, and to huddle in warm coffee shops with friends through the long and dark winters. For the last fifteen years I’ve lived near Sheboygan on the Wisconsin shores of Lake Michigan as an artist and as a pastoral leader in the community of faith, Falls Community Church.  So along with all the Midwestern shades of green, I’m now captivated by the broad space and the hues of blue that unfold from the Lake.

Fall 2015 resident artist, Liz Ann Lange

Version 3Liz Ann Lange graduated from Kohler High School in 1998 and served nearly 7 years as an aircraft structural maintainer in the United States Air Force. In 2006, she enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program at Lakeland College where she earned her degree in Studio Art and Graphic Design. Liz works out of her home studio in Sheboygan as a freelance designer and illustrator, and also enjoys hand forming copper jewelry and components, but her true passion lies in the materials and techniques of oil painting.

The subject matter of her paintings revolves around urban and industrial settings in the city of Sheboygan. Many of these scenes are often overlooked, as she tends to be less drawn to well-known landmarks, and more interested in settings such as an eclectic grouping of differently colored houses, the poetic arrangement of haphazardly strewn debris, the satisfying linear patterns and repetition of power lines and rooftop antennae, and the presence of nature fighting to reclaim its hold on the land.

To impose the beauty that she senses in these unglorified places upon the viewer, Liz visually extracts colors from the scene and intensify them in her palette, resulting in more saturated colors than those found in nature.

Spring 2015 resident artist, Sara Willadsen

Willadsen_HeadshotSara Willadsen was born in Sheboygan, WI in 1987. She received her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Northern Illinois University in 2014 and her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lakeland College in 2010. Working predominantly with paint and various found materials, Willadsen’s work explores ideas of abstract spaces and structures inspired by her childhood spent in Sheboygan County. She has had work shown at the Museum of Wisconsin Art and exhibits frequently in group exhibitions. Willadsen lives and works as a visual artist and freelance designer in Sheboygan. 

Artist Statement

I make pictures that satisfy my curiosity in aesthetics and found materials. Combining these articles with reappropriations of my own work allows me to employ past patterns and marks as prompts for new structures and environments. The aggressive process used to construct these secretive spaces is kept in balance with the consciousness to know when to stop.

Fall 2014 resident artist, Mel Kolstad

We kick off this school year with Fond du Lac artist, Mel Kolstad. Mel was first introduced to the North High community last school year as one of the featured artists in the North High Art Department’s Artist in Lecture Series. Mel will be creating a body of new work, working with our students and staff, facilitating a group project and will have an exhibit of her new work in our 2nd Floor Gallery

Mel Kolstad is an artist, speaker, instructor and arts advocate who makes her home in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Her love of vintage ephemera is what first led her to creating art; since then she’s discovered the joys of printmaking and encaustic work, as well as rediscovering the joys of fiber art. She is also delighted to be a Certified Papermaker for Arnold Grummer, Inc.; the Chair of Wisconsin Visual Artists – Northeast Chapter; and the Docent Coordinator for the MOWA in West Bend.

Mel’s work can be seen in displays around Northeastern Wisconsin and every third Friday for Fond du Lac’s “Tour the Town” art walk; Gallery & Frame Shop, Fond du Lac, WI; and on her website,

“True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.” – Albert Einstein

When Mel begins any piece she does have a motif in mind, but when she gets in “the zone” it might turn out far differently than the original intent. She allows her papers and ink and thread to tell her what’s going to happen next. According to Mel, the most important aspect of the creative process is being open to the limitless ocean of options and reminding herself that anything is possible.

“What will one see or feel upon viewing my work? I honestly don’t know. As an abstract collagist/printmaker/fiber artist, I feel the interpretation is up to the viewer. I wouldn’t have it any other way”. – Mel Kolstad

Final North letter mel kolstad

As of November 21, 2014

WOW!  What a great couple of weeks in the AIR program!  You may remember Mel Kolstad, resident artist, talking about visiting with Mr. Soik’s Honors Humanities class for their first unit – well, he asked her back to consult with the students about their second unit, which deals with ancient Sumerian and Egyptian culture, The Epic of Gilgamesh and the samples of Egyptian literature.  What they created was incredible, as you can see!

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Mel also met with Mrs. Reinemann’s Chemistry Club, which was SO much fun! The club made Solarfast prints and tie-dyed t-shirts!  The students had a great time making these, and the project will be implemented in a future chemistry class.  What a fun way to learn about photoreactive dyes!

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As of November 6, 2014

What a great week!  I was able to hang out with Amy Jarvis, who came to visit before her talk with the Art Foundations kids next week in Mr J’s class, and we were invited back to Dr. Michels’ class for a potlatch, where the students celebrated their successes with food, singing and magic!


I also spent some time in the IMC, where Ms. Gloede so generously invited me to take some of the discarded books from the library.  I had a wonderful time looking through all the books, and I did take some for future projects!  One of the pieces that I created includes some old cellophane tape that had yellowed, and I used that as the foundation for this piece.  There is beauty in the mundane!


I also used my backpack press to create this 3-color letterpress print.  In a true letterpress studio, the printer would use what’s called a lock-up to secure his or her blocks and cuts.  It’s amazing what rubber bands can do in a pinch!

IMGP7865 Hobo lockup


As of October 31, 2014

Another big week of happenings with the AIR program!  This week I was able to see Dr. Michels’ students’ “Mind Maps” that were created in the African/Asian Studies classes during 1st, 2nd and 4th hours!   As you can see, the students put a LOT of work into these pieces, and they turned out wonderfully!  Thanks again so much to Dr. Michels for allowing me to visit his classes – what an enriching experiece.

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I also got to meet Sara Willadsen, a painter from Sheboygan, who will be the 3rd quarter Artist in Residence!  She gave a talk in Mr. J’s classes, and then we hung out in the studio for a while.  What a great addition to the North High Art Department!


As of October 24, 2014

The past two weeks here at North have been so busy!  I’m happy to say that I met with Dr. Michels’  African/Asian History and Cultural Studies classes last week, and will be advising them on their “mind maps” they’ll be creating for their unit on African Cultural Groups. As I meet with them further, I’ll have some photos of the students’ work to share. I can’t wait!
I am also very honored to be featured in The North Star! Thanks so much to Cassy Wolker for the great interview and article. 🙂
As of October 17, 2014
I can’t believe how fast the time is going for this residency!  I’ve already been here over a month, and more and more is happening with the faculty and students.  This week, I once again met with Mr. Soik’s Honors Humanities class for “Show & Tell” with their projects they finished for their current unit.  The results were fantastic!  Here are some examples of their work:
IMGP7763 IMGP7764 IMGP7767 Multi-layer collage

On Friday, I met with Ms. Reineman to discuss some fun after-school projects with her Chemistry Club students – they’ll be working with dyes for their Tie-Dye t-shirts, and we also discussed photo-reactive dyes and papers for possible upcoming projects in the spring!  Great stuff.  Can’t wait to delve more into this project!

I was also paid a visit from Seth Harvatine and SASD Superintendent, Dr. Joe Sheehan, who came to check out the program that Mr. Juarez has implemented.  It is so heartening to see that the arts are alive and well in Sheboygan North, and that there is clearly support from the entire district!!  I am so honored to be a part of this great team this semester! 


As of October 9, 2014

I can’t believe I’ve been in Raider Country for 4 weeks already!  Time is flying, especially those times when I’m engaged with the students!
I was the fortunate guest of Mr. Soik this week, with his Honors Humanities class.  The unit they’re studying focuses on the book Feed by M.T. Anderson and the documentary “Visual Acoustics”, which focuses on the photographs of Modern architecture by Julius Schulman.

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Mr. Soik had his class either write an essay or create an art project based on either of these things in an effort to better understand the humanity aspect from each.  I spent 4th hour on Wednesday talking with the students about their ideas, and on Friday about nine of them came down to my studio to work on their projects!  I think you can see from the photos that their work is fantastic!  The projects also perfectly capture the essence of the book and/or documentary.
It was an absolute joy being able to spend time with these very talented students, and I’m so glad Mr. Soik took advantage of the Artist in Residency program!


As of September 25, 2014

The Artist in Residence Program is now in Week 3 here at Sheboygan North!  After a week of settling in the AIR Program is starting to pick up momentum. Mel is finally getting interest from NHS teachers/staff. Below is a summary as to what they are up to at NHS. 

  • Western Civilization:  The students are making “street art”-type posters with advocacy/inspirational sayings and illustrations.  Mel has met with nearly all of these classes in her studio (Rm. 017) and the kids have fantastic ideas!  Those posters will be prominently displayed throughout the school when completed.
  • US History:  The students in this class will be learning about Colonial-era primitive art (folk art, Pennsylvania Dutch-style) and utilizing this knowledge in creating artwork for the walls of the classroom.  The focus is mainly on the 1780s.
  • IMC/Library:  The head librarian had some ideas and questions about how to incorporate paper arts into some fun hands-on projects for the students in the new area of the library.  She explained that there are many discarded books and magazines that could be used for projects.  Mel showed her how to use old National Geographics to create watercolor pages for collage using Citra-Solv (an all-natural cleaner), and also how to make dioramas with old books.  
  • Honors Humanities:  Mel will be meeting with the teacher and the honors students the week of October 1 to discuss ideas on how to incorporate art projects into their two multi-media vehicles – Feed by MT Anderson, and the documentary “Visual Acoustics”.  Mel suggested that the teacher apply questions 5 & 6 from the Masterpiece Questions portion on page 3 of the syllabus and have the students create a collage, zine or drawing of a theme from either the book or film, or perhaps they could take one of Julius Shulman’s photos as inspiration, or the theme of consumerism and how it relates to early 21st century life, or the dangers of relying on corporate culture as the taste-makers in our society.  Magazine imagery in collage or zine form can be very powerful in this regard.

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