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Spalding visiting artist series continues Feb. 27 with Anchal Project leaders

Check out bios of free-trade textile artists and sisters Colleen and Maggie Clines, plus the remaining schedule for spring series

Steve Jones

The new Spalding University Visiting Artist Series, sponsored by the Spalding art department, will continue with its second installment, Wednesday, Feb. 27, with a trip to campus by sisters Colleen and Maggie Clines, who are the entrepreneurs, social activists and textile artists behind the Louisville-based Anchal Project, which sells fair-trade textiles created by women artisans from other countries who are facing exploitation. (See full bio below.)

The free, public lecture by Colleen and Maggie Clines will take place 5-6 p.m. at the Egan Leadership Center’s Troutman Lectorium, 901 S. Fourth St. Food will be provided.

“I think (the lecture) will probably be about where the (Anchal Project) came from,” said Spalding associate professor of painting and drawing Aaron Lubrick, who helped organize the Visiting Artist Series. “They really care a lot about the artisans who work for them, so they may do a good bit talking about the artisans as well and the design process they go through to make these amazing quilts and other awesome textile pieces.”

The art department began the Visiting Artist Series this spring after receiving a donation to support it.

The artists meet with students, offer critiques and give public presentations or lectures about their work. Graphic novel illustrator Danica Novgorodoff was the first visiting artist on Feb. 19.


Here is the schedule for the remainder of this spring’s Spalding Visiting Artist Series, along with bios on the artists:

Feb. 27: Anchal Project (textile artists)

With backgrounds in design, sisters Colleen and Maggie Clines lead the brand by placing design at the center of Anchal Project’s everyday practice. Colleen earned her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2010. During Colleen’s time in graduate school, she was inspired to start Anchal with three classmates after traveling to India and learning about the extreme oppression women faced as commercial sex workers and the economic opportunity presented by the region’s rich textiles.

“We felt compelled to take the project beyond the classroom with the conviction that our design training in collaboration with local leadership could address seemingly intractable social and environmental systems. The women we met became our sisters, sisters we had to fight for.”  – Colleen Clines, Co-Founder & CEO

Shortly following the class trip to India, the co-founders raised $400 by selling handmade notebooks and notecards. These humble beginnings facilitated the purchase of a sewing machine, sewing instruction, materials, and a stipend for the artisans. During 2010, Anchal officially received 501(c)3 non-profit status in the United States and expanded the project by partnering with a second NGO, Vatsalya, in Ajmer, India.

In 2012 after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Kentucky, Maggie Clines joined her sister Colleen to co-lead Anchal as Creative Director. Together with our partners and artisans, Anchal creates innovative programs and eco-friendly textiles that facilitate impact.

The Clines sisters’ designs explore the synthesis of vernacular imagery, heritage artwork and a maker’s journey to empowerment. The contemporary geometric designs are defined by sophisticated patchwork and aggregated stitch patterns, revolutionizing traditional kantha quilting techniques.

March 6-7, 1 p.m., ELC: Aubrey Levinthal (figurative painter)

Philadelphia-based painter Aubrey Levinthal transforms the often mundane and routine into the revered. Using the content of her refrigerator as inspiration, she creates still lifes from her leftovers, milk jugs, and fruit salad. As a student of art history she incorporates an appreciation for traditional composition while altering the surface by scraping, sanding, stroking, and glazing. These techniques inject motion and temporality into her pieces. Working with such a relatable subject matter, her paintings conflate the human experience and fine art.

March 21: Archie Borders (filmmaker)

Archie Borders is a director, producer, and screenwriter working out of Louisville, Kentucky. He has built a niche as a regional filmmaker with work that has been distributed nationally and that usually has showcased his home State of Kentucky. In addition to his role as a director and screenwriter, Archie has also produced works for other filmmakers from around the country. HIs work has been featured at the Sundance Film Festival, Slamdance, South by Southwest, San Francisco Film Festival and many others.

April 1: Julie Leidner (gallery owner/artist)

Drawing from mythologies found in the Appalachian landscape, Julie Leidner is a Louisville-based  artist who creates paintings and drawings that are part fantasy and part history. The character of the artist-cavewoman recurs in her work as an archetypal adolescent who moves through environments while learning to be human, and making/desiring things. Using paint as a primary medium, along with collage, performance, and publishing projects, Leidner’s practice digs into the layers of shared human impulses, and posits an alternate reality where time and distance can be collapsed.

Julie Leidner has participated in group exhibitions at KMAC Museum (2015) and Zephyr Gallery (2015) in Louisville, ACNY Spattered Columns in Brooklyn (2013), Samson Projects in Boston (2011), and UnSmoke Projects in Pittsburgh (2010). In 2013 she had a digital solo exhibition in 57Cell, curated by Gregory Kalliche, sponsored by Blonde Art Books, in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently a long-term Artist-in-Residence at St. Francis High School in downtown Louisville, and runs an experimental exhibition space in Old Louisville called Sheherazade. In addition to being awarded a grant from the Great Meadows Foundation to fund her participation at Residency Unlimited in 2018, Julie was recipient of a Mary Hadley Prize in 2015 and a Kentucky Foundation for Women Grant in 2014 and 2011.

April 8-9: Ben Santiago (graphic designer)

Benjamin Santiago is a multi-disciplinary performance artist. He recently graduated from the Cranbrook Academy of Art,from the 2D Design program under Elliott Earls.

He is currently exploring a body of work involving Spaundou, a language of his own creation. Spaundou is expressed in performance, music, and video, most recently troh-seht whah-zhej ee-woon-doo-zha-mah ah-yoo-ohb, a 30 minute performance at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

For this performance he received the Mercedes-Benz Emerging Financial Services Emerging Artist Award, for which he will be in Berlin for two months at Künstlerhaus Bethanien.

April 24: Rebecca Norton (Painter/sculptor and Spalding art adjunct professor)

Rebecca Norton, born 1981, received her BFA from the University of Louisville in 2004 and her MFA from Art Center College of Design in 2010. Norton’s studio practice encompasses 2D and 3D design, collaboration, digital modeling and animation. Her work explores theories of synthesis and connectivity as they relate to the activity of reconstructing reality in vision and thought. She takes a special interest in the formal mapping of mathematical and generative forms, color theory, the study of perspective in art and architecture, and theories of attraction. Norton has exhibited nationally and internationally, including shows at California State University, Long Beach, CA, The Carnegie Center for Art and History, New Albany, IN, and Schneiderel.Home.Studio.Gallery, Vienna, Austria. She has been a contributing writer for The Brooklyn Rail, Arts in Bushwick and Abstract Critical. Rebecca Norton currently lives and works in Louisville, KY.

May 15: Douglass Miller (Illustrator/printmaker and Spalding art adjunct professor)

Douglas Miller is a professional artist whose drawings are exhibited regionally and in galleries across the United States. Additionally, Douglas does freelance illustrations as well as private and corporate commissions. His artwork is in the collection of the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, the University of Louisville, the Speed School of Engineering, and numerous private collections. Douglas lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky.