Two Kent State professors received a $20,000 Creative Workforce Fellowship grant

Kasey Fahey

Two Kent State professors received a $20,000 Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partners for Arts and Culture of Cuyahoga County.

Of 310 applicants, 20 fellowships were given for 2011. Paul O’Keeffe, a professor of fine arts and sculpture, and Michael Loderstedt, a professor of fine arts and printmaking, each received one.

“There was a lot of competition, so it was really an honor,” said Ralph Lorenz, associate dean for the College of the Arts.

The artists had to submit work and write a statement. They also had to write their plan for the money. Contestants were able to listen to the panel while their art was judged.

Loderstedt entered cut and folded screen prints inspired by his trip to Germany, where he was part of the “Portrait 100” project. There, he helped start a website where people sent in images of their houses. He then turned those images into mini 3-D replicas of the houses.

“Anything you make as an artist can be folded in and out,” Loderstedt said. His work is mostly done through photographic tools on Photoshop by separating images. Lately, he has been doing a lot of 3-D projects. The process of Loderstedt’s work is intricate.

“I fold blank sheets of paper then put them together. Then I decide the words and fill it in with color,” Loderstedt said. “It’s really slow. It’d be nice to have a studio assistant.”

With his grant, Loderstedt bought new camera equipment and hired some assistants, one a former student. He plans to go to Europe with his students and spend spring break in Belgium. He also plans to spend the summer in Germany to do print work.

Loderstedt just finished an exhibition at Frank Taal Gallery in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Currently, he is in the group show “Intersections” at Zygote Press on East 30th Street in Cleveland. The show is a collaboration between writers and artists.

Loderstedt’s wife, Lori Kella, won the grant in 2009 for her photography. Loderstedt said they are one of three couples in Cuyahoga County to both have won the award.

O’Keeffe uses steel, bronze and Plexiglas in his sculptures, and his work does not conform to regular narrative.

“It’s a whole logistical operation when you’re making sculpture,” O’Keeffe said. He has not used any of his grant money yet.

“What I’m planning on doing is to purchase some equipment and buy some materials; because my work is not particularly commercial, it’s very large and it’s quite expensive,” O’Keeffe said.

O’Keeffe recently won an Individual Excellence Award for $5,000 from the Ohio Arts Council.

“I’m just grateful when I do get awards. They allow me to continue to make new work,” O’Keeffe said.

“I’m also very appreciative of the Ohio Arts Council.”

In December, O’Keeffe had a solo exhibition in Cleveland at the William Busta Gallery, according to the gallery’s website.

“There is a lot of talent among the faculty who teach here and students who emerge,” O’Keeffe said. “We’re doing a lot of things right on a lean budget.”

Contact Kasey Fahey at [email protected].