Art in Focus

Art in Focus is an exploration of the arts through film, lecture and thoughtful dialogue. Art in Focus is for adult learners of all ages who are interested in the arts and their impact on the world.  Founded in 1996 by Rita M. Ray, South Shore Arts continues this series annually with a variety of topics and guest speakers. Several lectures will coincide with upcoming Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra concerts and South Shore Arts exhibits. An important aspect of the program is the thoughtful dialogue between the program facilitator, the guest speakers and the attendees to broaden views of the arts and individuals in our world. Our goal parallels that of the U.S. Department of Education, “Learning Never Ends.” Art in Focus is open to the public and, thanks to generous support from Community Healthcare System, it is always free.

2019–20 Schedule

September 9, 2019
Bob Palmieri: Straight Shooters
Bob Palmieri is currently the featured photographer in the South Shore Arts atrium show series Straight Shooters. As a freelance photographer, he has produced images for a wide variety of clients including the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Bob will bring in original prints from important 20th century black & white photographers and discuss their content, execution and significance. 

September 23, 2019
A Visit from the Theater at the Center
Art in Focus welcomes special guest Linda Fortunato, Artistic Director, from the Theatre at the Center. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at staging a theatrical production.

October 14, 2019
Path to the Beach
Mary Ann Trzyna is a landscape and still life painter. Of her work she says, “[It] is about the play of color and form on the finished canvas and the mood and moment I am expressing.” Mary Ann will present about her work and plein air painting practice. Her work will be on display in the Atrium Gallery at the Center for Visual & Performing Arts from September 14–November 24, 2019.

October 28, 2019
Observer, Artist, Writer, Journal Keeper
Sallie Wolf is an observer. Using her training in anthropology to look closely at the world around her, she translates her observations into paintings, installations, books, music, and workshops that make sense of the data. Sallie lives in Oak Park, Illinois, where her garden is devoted to attracting birds. She works out of Calypso Moon Studio in the Oak Park Arts District.

November 11, 2019
The Teaching Artists of South Shore Arts
Tom Torluemke is an Indiana-based, contemporary American artist. His practice spans 30 years and includes works in painting, drawing, sculpture and installations in a variety of mediums. He is known for his powerful, no-holds-barred approach to subject matter relating to socio-political, ethical and humanistic themes. Tom also teaches figure drawing and painting with water-based media at South Shore Arts.

November 25, 2019
Writing Workshop: Completing the First Draft
Jessica Renslow is a community organizer, filmmaker, and writer. She is also the recent recipient of an Individual Advancement Program Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to support the completion of her middle-grade novel. The novel features two girls, with a mutual love for science, on an accidental adventure neither will forget.

December 9, 2019
Things That Go Bump in the Night
The work of artists Corey Crum and James Deeb is included in the South Shore Arts exhibition, Wild Things: Things That Go Bump in the Night. James was born in the shadow of the Wall in West Berlin. He remembers drawing a lot as a child and making animated movies with lumpy clay dinosaurs. He received an MFA from Western Michigan University. Corey Crum is an abstract artist and educator living in Indianapolis. Corey creates work inspired by both nature and anatomy. He received his MFA in painting from Northern Illinois University. GUEST LECTURE & GALLERY TOUR

January 13, 2020
Leaving a Mark: A Mini Film Festival
The architecture around us is not static. Facades are painted. Structures crumble. Buildings are erected for one purpose but sometimes outlive their intended use. Join us for a mini-festival of short films that explore what happens to objects and buildings once released into the wild.

January 27, 2020
Material Specificity
Some artists choose their materials with intention. The meaning their art intends to convey is inextricably entwined with the very material used to create the work. This documentary about Andy Goldsworthy addresses issues of material specificity in art.

February 10, 2020
What It Means to Make Books for Children
In honor of the South Shore Arts exhibition, Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition, we will take a look at another famous illustrator of children’s books, Tomi Ungerer. This documentary looks at his ascendance to celebrity and fall from favor. The documentary also includes interview footage of Maurice Sendak.

February 24, 2020
Unlikely Musical Objects
Joe Rauen is an artist and musician who makes one-of-a-kind musical instruments from unlikely objects. He has performed with his unique creations in concert, on radio, and on television. His presentation will focus specifically on his work creating a massive, sculptural musical instrument—a project supported by an Individual Advancement Program Grant awarded by the Indiana Arts Commission.

March 9, 2020
The State of Rock & Roll in 1960: A Dance Party
Dr. James B. Lane will deliver this presentation. Dr. Lane is Professor Emeritus of History at IU Northwest, author of several books on Gary and the Calumet Region, co-director of the Calumet Regional Archives, and editor of Steel Shavings magazine.  Previously he has spoken on Vee-Jay Records founder Vivian Carter and Rock and Roll in 1958.

March 23, 2020
Collaborate & Engage
Bonnie Fortune is an artist and educator based in the Midwestern United States. Her work focuses on collaborative projects dealing with themes of environmental and social justice. She will discuss her collaborative and discursive mapping and publishing practices in this presentation. Among other locations, she has exhibited at the Smart Museum (Chicago), the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), and the Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art.


April 13, 2020
A Portrait of People in Motion
Kerianne Quick is a jeweler/artist and Assistant Professor of Jewelry and Metalwork at San Diego State University. She has produced several bodies of material-specific work considering subject matters that range from communal sheep farming practices in the Orkney Isles to the derelict brickyards of New York’s Hudson Valley. Kerianne will present on her current project, A Portrait of People in Motion.

April 27, 2020
Maestro Kirk Muspratt on West Side Story
Join Maestro Kirk Muspratt for a presentation on the West Side Story concert that the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra will be performing on Thursday, May 14, 2020 and Friday, May 15, 2020 at the Auditorium at Living Hope Church in Merrillville.

May 11, 2020
On the last Art in Focus of the 2019-20 season, please join us for a presentation from the South Shore Arts Director of Education, Micah Bornstein. Micah will discuss his and artist Lou Joseph’s ongoing collaborative art project, COLOSSUS—a project they have managed to sustain via USPS Priority Mail for thirteen years. Lou Joseph is a Visual Arts Specialist with the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and the Director of ICA Baltimore.

Lectures are held on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, September 9 through May 11.
There will be no session on December 23, 2019. 
Lecture topics are subject to change. 
Cancelations may occur due to inclement weather.