March 10, 2023

University of Iowa Grant Wood Art Colony Fellow, Michael Dixon, visited Jerry Wilson’s 5th-8th Grade Estherville Lincoln Central MS Art students as an Artist-in-Residence on Thursday and Friday, March 2nd and 3rd, 2023.

Michael Dixon is an oil painter born in San Diego, California. He received his MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder in painting and a BFA from Arizona State University in painting and drawing. Dixon is currently a Full Professor of Art at Albion College. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Joan Mitchell Foundation Emergency Grant, Puffin Foundation Grant, Blanchard Fellowship, and Phi Beta Kappa Scholar of the Year Award. Dixon has received many artist residencies including the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Joan Mitchell Center. His works can be found in the personal collections of artists Nick Cave and Beverly McIver, and in the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African Art. Dixon’s work has been shown both nationally and internationally at museums, universities, art centers, alternative spaces, and galleries. His imagery explores the personal, societal, and aesthetic struggles of belonging to both "white" and "black" racial and cultural identities, yet simultaneously belonging fully to neither. The works of artists such as Robert Colescott, Beverly McIver, Michael Ray Charles, Glenn Ligon, and Kerry James Marshall have informed his work.

Through a prepared video presentation, Michael Dixon introduced the ELC MS students to his style of painting and the focus of his work. Mr. Dixon then introduced the students to the art of mask making and shared examples of past and present mask making traditions found in various cultures from around the world.

The students were asked to pretend that they would be attending a carnival festival. Using the white masks and craft supplies that Mr. Dixon provided, the students were asked to create pattern designs for their masks using playful imagination, and ideas of fantasy and celebration to change their identity. The students were challenged to cover the whole mask and to use 3 different patterns, 3 different colors, and 3 different materials (with one being acrylic paint).

The students had a great time learning from Mr. Dixon and using expressive pattern design techniques to create their own personal dynamic masks. We are very thankful for the opportunity to meet and get to know a talented artist like Michael Dixon.

These Artist-in-Residence opportunities were made possible through funding from the Fine Arts Cultural Enrichment Grant managed by the Estherville Lincoln Central Patrons of the Fine Arts. For more information about these Artist-in-Residence workshops, or if you would like to view a session, please contact Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School Art Instructor, Jerry Wilson through the MS office.

Class with Masks
Students Painting
Dixon with Student