Here and Now: Frank Juarez presents at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin

Entrance into the Writston Art Center with a Jason Yi Installation.

On May 5th, I had the opportunity to spend a day with art students and the art faculty at Lawrence University. My day started in Tony Conrad’s practicum class where I spent the majority of the morning talking to students about their work, their process, and their purpose to create. After my introduction we headed to the Mudd Gallery to see their work currently on exhibit in this gallery space located on the 3rd floor of the Mudd Library. Such a neat space!

I find asking basic questions can help ground the purpose behind a work of art. For example, there was a mixed media sculpture made from clay and wire. I asked Liam what the purpose of the wire was and his response was there is no function. I then asked him why is he incorporating wire into his sculpture. He shared with me various reasons. Finally, I said there is a purpose. There were about 4 artists exhibiting in this space. Each talked about their work. 

Lately, I have been using text in my photographs so I was immediately drawn to the work of Laura. Laura’s work centered around the trend of eating organic foods. She had several friends model for her as she photographed them. After their photo shoot she incorporated text to compliment the photo. As we talked she pointed out some that were successful and others that could use more work with the composition. 

Afterwards we headed back to the art department at the Wriston Art Center. It was neat to see several students working on various projects. The design of the art facility made it easy to check in with students and see what they are up to. These students were finishing their work for their upcoming Senior Art Major Exhibition, which opens May 22, 2015.

In the afternoon I helped facilitate a critique with Ben Rinehart’s printmaking class. I introduced a critique method called the Dialogic Critique, which I was introduced to at a past NAEA Conference (2007). This method focuses on the students’ readiness vs. the finished product. It is a great way to do mid-crits. It is designed to check in with how students are feeling at that present moment with their artwork. It also allows others to provide feedback and for the instructor to offer guidance. In this particular class, students pinned up 4-5 pieces that demonstrated the various stages in which they underwent to complete the final print. I found it interesting to see that some felt that their works in progress were viewed more effective than their finished print. Typically, this method is used for a single piece, however, it was engaging to see how this method was modified. Great discussions!

Ben Rinehart's printmaking class.
Ben Rinehart’s printmaking class.

Later that afternoon I ended my visit with a presentation, .  This presentation sums up a decade of being active in the visual arts; locally, regionally, and nationally. These experiences gave me the confidence to ‘follow the beat to my own drum’ by creating projects and programs that are designed to expose, educate, and engage the viewer into the world of art. For example, I touched upon a couple of projects that I founded, the 365 Artists 365 Days Project and the Midwest Artist Studios Project.

If I was to sum up this presentation I would say that it was focused on building art community and creating a support system. In the past year I have found myself in Appleton. It is such a great city that embraces the arts. Recently, Kate Mothes organized her first Pop Up Art Show, which was a huge success and John Adams is working on The Draw. The Draw combines workspaces and offices of digital and fine artists, a modern art gallery and a place to collaborate. The flexibility to adapt to the needs of the community and the artists is what makes The Draw unique. From pop-up restaurants, to fashion shows, storytelling nights and music, if you have an event/idea this may be the place to be! (text courtesy of I love to see younger generations take their journey into their own hands and make something. You have to make s$%& happen if you want to live in a better community. 

The evening ended with dinner at Cena with Tony, Rob, Sarah, and Leslie. During our dinner I received an email from one of the students I met and she thanked me for sharing my enthusiasm for community engagement and how I put my philosophy into play. This gesture made my day! This is why I do what I do. To inspire tomorrow’s generation of artists. I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this way. 

Here is a collection of photos taken during my visit. 

Thank you Tony Conrad and Rob Neilson for having me at Lawrence. You guys are fabulous!!!

What goes into a piece of art?

"the unexpected vista" exhibition at the Brickton Art Center, Park Ridge, IL, 2015

It has been almost 4 years since I have created a body of work especially for an exhibition. This year I had a solo show at the Brickton Art Center in Park Ridge, Illinois. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on this past experience and write about what goes into making a body of work. Often times I hear people judge a work of art based on the price and immediately label it as ‘expensive’.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to share my thoughts with you on a constant struggle that we, as artists, have when it comes to our own practice. My hopes is that this blog post can be used as a way to educate others on what exactly goes into a piece of art.

My first text-based photograph sent via Instagram
Lake Michigan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, 2013

I would like to start to talk about my current body of work called, “the unexpected vista”. This idea started about two years ago as I was driving along Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I parked the car and took a photo of the water with my smartphone. This photo was soon edited with text and shared via social media. I found myself creating more images like this more often especially when I traveled. I was surprised by the frequency of these text-based photos I was sharing online. After living in Sheboygan for over a decade I began to wonder if my environment was beginning to influence my ideas, ways to execute them in my studio, and how to present them to the public.

Thinking back to my first Instagram photo (above) to what “the unexpected vista” became today (2015) has provided me with this opportunity to share what goes into producing a body of work. So grab a cup of Joe, sit in a comfortable chair, and feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.

As an artist it is my responsibility to keep track of what goes into a piece of art or in this case a body of work. This includes expenses and my time. By recording what the expenses are, reflecting on the current art market (pricing history/CV), and paying myself an hourly wage should provide an accurate retail price for each work produced. What I have found to be difficult is to compensate for my time unless I am working on a commission where I can estimate what the work will cost to produce.

Please keep in mind that I am reflecting on my own practice. Every artist’s practice and pricing varies.

Below is a list of expenses I incurred as I began to prep my work, produce, and transport for my solo exhibition at the Brickton Art Center, April 1-25, 2015.

Expenses + Costs

  • Frames, glass, hanging hardware, $450                                  
  • Printing of Photographs, $90                                                      
  • Mat board, foam board, glass cleaner, $97                                 
  • Gas, $70                                                                                         
  • Food , $29 
  • Hotel, $222

Total……. $958

This total does not include the hours I spent creating the work.

Photo by Dale KnaakI created 10 (ten) hand-lettered, text-based photographs. Each piece took me 3 hours to complete. If I gave myself an hourly wage of $25, then my cost to produce these 10 (ten) photographs would cost $750 to produce. In Addition to the photographs I created 4 (four) paintings, which took about 2-4 hours to complete at $25 per hour. This would add another $200 to $400 to the $750. Finally, I created 16 (sixteen) pen & ink drawings for a total of $400 for a total of $1350 to $1550 to produce these works.

Grand Total: To sum up it would have cost $958 + $1350/$958 + $1550 = $2308 to $2508 to produce this body of work. This total does not include cost of materials, traveling, and the number of hours thinking, sketching, and problem-solving/trial-n-error with process.

Artists are driven to make art. Through their art they communicate their world.

I would like to point out that the artist’s current pricing history, gallery commissions, and/or their own buying market drives the artist’s price for a given work of art. So when you see a painting, photograph, sculpture, etc on exhibit in a gallery take in consideration that the gallery assesses a commission for all sold work. Most galleries take about 50% of the retail price so if the artist wants $250 for one of his paintings then the retail price will need to reflect the gallery’s commission resulting in a new retail price of $500.

Visiting galleries, receptions, art festivals, art fairs, artist studios, and artist websites are great ways to experience art. Talking to artists, curators, gallery owners, and other art aficionados is a great way to educate yourself about the work. Artists pour their souls into their work. You are not only buying a work of art, but also investing in the artist’s journey.

Next time you find yourself face to face with a work of art that you are drawn to I encourage you not to pass a quick judgment based on price listed on a label. Instead, think about why you are drawn to this specific artwork. Also, what is the artist communicating, how did the artist create the work and what materials were used. Perhaps read the artist statement, artist’s biography, and curricula vitae (if available) before you decide that a work of art is too expensive.

I believe it is important to educate others on what goes into a work of art; not just expenses to make the artwork, but also the planning and prepping phases involved. This has to start with the artists first. 

The 365 Artists 365 Days Project and GRR Model presented at NAEA15 in NOLA

On Saturday, March 28th, I presented for the first time at the National Art Education Association Convention in New Orleans, LA. This experience is truly one of my highlights for this school year. I was a bit nervous, but I quickly found my comfort zone. 

The presentation I gave was on the integration and implementation of the 365 Artists 365 Days Project with the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) Model focusing on literacy within the art classroom.  What started as an online contemporary art project organically grew into a resource for students to learn about contemporary artists today by reading their interviews, looking at the artists’ work, their studios, and having websites available for more information.

What made this presentation even more special was seeing one of the featured artists of the 365 Artists 365 Days Project, Laci Coppins, in attendance. It was neat to hear her say a few words about the project as well as her experience.

Embedded within the project is an artist database from 2014, which lists all of our artists, where they are from, their websites, and what genres they engage in. This spreadsheet is available as a free download for educators or anyone interested in contemporary art. 

I also briefly talked about the Midwest Artist Studios Project, which is another project focused on literacy. 

One attendee said that this project is very relevant today because it is cataloging today’s contemporary artists. Someone else said that they enjoyed my presentation because she could sense my passion for what I am doing. 

Here are some photos taken by my good friend, fellow art teacher, and TICA alumnus, Alicia Fine. 

Connecting visual literacy to textual literacy at the National Art Education Association Convention 2015

365I am extremely excited to be presenting at the National Art Education Association in New Orleans. My presentation is called, Connecting Visual Literacy to Textual Literacy. I will be presenting on the 365 Artists 365 Days Project and literacywhich I founded in 2014 and have been workgin with Zina Mussman and Rachel Quirk of Greymatter Gallery. This project features an artist daily from across the globe. These blog posts are done in an interview format with images of the artists’ work, their studio, headshot, and their website. 

I will also be giving the Midwest Artist Studios Project a shout out from NOLA.

The MAS Project is supported by the Kohler Foundation, Inc., the Wisconsin Art Education Association, and Sheboygan North High School. 

Click below to download PowerPoint.


How to use this project in your classroom handouts

handout no.1

handout no.2

Here is just a very very small sample of what you can see at 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

Web Presence Development at the Wustum Art Museum – Recap

Yesterday I presented on a topic that can be overwhelming and that is how to develop web presence. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that this is such an easy to do. All I have to do is do a post on Facebook, send a tweet, share an image on Instagram, or pin one of my pieces on Pinterest. You are correct in the fact that you are using social media to share info publicly, however, there is more to it than just a random post here or there. Developing a web presence involves strategic planning, setting goals, accountability, and determining what outcomes you would like to achieve with your art and studio practice. 

I was very happy to have several of the attendees ask so many questions and concerns about this topic. I was surprised to learn that quite a few did not have a blog or website and many do not keep track of who have purchased their work. Perhaps this can be another topic for discussion. Many did share that they are online so that is a start. 

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are great tools to share [art] news. If you do not use them effectively, then you will miss the mark in branding your work and yourself. 

If you missed some of these artist development series at the Wustum there is another scheduled for March 18 – Photographing Your Work. Click here to read about this session and how to register. 

Photos by Sara Willadsen and Liz Lange

Upcoming Biz of Art Workshops

6 Key Points to Effective Self-promotion Workshop
6 Key Points to Effective Self-promotion Workshop

I am hosting a series of workshops focusing on the development of artists at the Knaak + Juarez Studio in Sheboygan. 

Here is an overview of next month’s workshops. 

Workshop: What the hec is a C.V.? Why is it important? – February 11, 2015

Workshop: Goal Setting for Artists: One Step at a Time – February 18 + 25, 2015

Click here to learn about these two workshops and to register.

Professional Artist Development Series at the Wustum

Prof Art 2 panel inside 2015A (4)I am pleased to announce that I will be presenting at the Racine Art Museum’s Professional Artist Development Series on March 4, 2015 from 6:30-8:30pm. I will be addressing ways to become an active participant via the web.

With 8 years of business experience Frank Juarez has been leading workshops and presentations on the Business of Art to local colleges, art groups, and artists resulting in the guidance and shaping the careers of local and regional artists. His coaching practice involves the use of short-term/long-term planning, rolling forecasts, importance of online interactivity, record keeping, and networking. Through differentiated instruction he is able to meet the needs of every artist that takes his courses. 

About: the RAM’s Professional Artist Development Series

Description: Designed to engage emerging and mid-career artists, the series will be led by experts in their related fields and utilize resources in the Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois region. A wide range of topics will be covered including portfolio development, brand cultivation and recognition, marketing through social media connections, self-promotion, and best practices for juried submissions.
Each program will allow time for question & answer and networking.RAM’s goal is to foster a group of candidates for the next Fellowship application and develop a Fellows mentorship program. The overall goal will be to keep artists in this region successful and contributing members of their communities.
Fee per session:
RAM members $10 / Non-members $15
Registration is required 
The series will be held at RAM’s Wustum Museum, 2519 Northwestern Avenue, Racine.
Sponsored by a grant from the Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation.

Bio: Frank Juarez is a Wisconsin artist, photographer, gallery owner, art educator, advocate and community leader living and teaching in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In 2005, he committed his life to expose, educate and engage others on the importance of experiencing and supporting the Visual Arts. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art events, facilitating presentations, and supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed him in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to interact, collaborate, network and exhibit in the Sheboygan community.

Click here to download RAM’s Professional Artist Development Series Flyer

Click here to learn how you can register for this session. 

Image and text about the series courtesy of the Racine Art Museum.