Join us for an artist’s reception honoring two SAAC instructors with an exhibit in the Lobby Gallery this month. The reception will be held this Friday, August 13, from 5:30-7:00pm. Their exhibit, entitled “Digital and Fine Art Works by Mike Means and Michaela Wise” will hang through August 30.

These two talented art instructors have a few things in common. Both spend much of their days teaching and helping children in El Dorado. Michaela works part time at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club as a grant assistant, takes care of the food bank there, and teaches visual arts to young kids at SAAC, while Mike is an Arts In Education instructor in the El Dorado schools and teaches graphic arts classes at SAAC.

Michaela is a local artist. She grew up in Louisiana, but moved to El Dorado before starting junior high. Moving to south Arkansas helped her make connections that would one day lead her to her current career as an artist. In junior high, she began taking classes with Maria Villegas and soon blossomed into a prodigious young artist. After graduating high school at Parkers Chapel, she pursued a degree in Studio Art from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. Now a mother to a 6-year-old little boy and a resident artist of El Dorado, Michaela continues to be devoted to art and teaching and conveys her enthusiasm through her classes. She hopes to inspire children to let their creativity and talent shine just as her teachers at SAAC inspired her when she was a young artist.

“The pieces in this show are made of pencil and gouache paint – a medium that I recently discovered and now love,” said Michaela. “I am inspired by people and personalities (also by impending deadlines), and am currently focused on creating work showcasing the people I love and memories surrounding them.”

Mike said about his show, “My half of the work displayed shows you some of the art I have done using both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Art and computer go together. A digital palette can be just as fun as the real thing.

“I grew up in Fayetteville, where I did my first rendering of Snoopy on my bedroom wall. Since then I have worked in many other media, including graphite, colored pencil, and pastel, as well as on the computer. Drawing will always be my first love. I love working with the computer to create art and sharing the knowledge that I have gathered over the years. There is a ‘wow factor’ when you show students what computer programs can do. Most people just need help getting started, and that is where I hope to help children and adults alike. I wanted to break from the traditional graphics classes and show just what you can do on the computer from an artist’s point of view. Making the computer work for you as an artist is my goal.”

Artist Ann Trimble, whose exhibit “A Collection of Portraits and Kaleidoscopes” is hanging in the Price and Merkle Galleries, will also be honored at Friday’s reception.