Blog Contributors:


Sarah K. Benning is a multi-media artist living and working in Chicago.  Her work investigates patterns of growth, organic structures, and systems of classification through the use of repetitive drawing techniques and book structures.  She volunteers at a number of Chicago arts organizations and is preparing to graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May.


Gabrielle Burrage is a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago working on her Masters in Art Administration and Policy. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art from Lake Forest College, where she focused on painting, drawing, and illustration.


Stephanie De Re is a student at the School of the Art Institute, anticipating graduation May 2013. She is primarily a painter, but dips her toes into new media, fashion and illustration. De Re’s work is inspired by her live music experiences. She frequently travels to attend various musical performances. De Re has concerns regarding America’s culture of overconsumption which determines the materials used within her work. She finds objects that can be recycled to create her paintings, and her passion within fashion specifically is the reuse of clothing. She is an avid thrift shopper and will soon be opening an online store dedicated to restoring used clothing.

Ariel Fang is currently studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an emphasis in Art History, Theory, and Criticism. She is currently the Administrative Director of the Student Union Galleries (SUGs). Additionally, she is also an assistant curator at the Roger Brown Study Collection and an Antlab collections intern in the Zoology department at the Field Museum. Her studio practice is interested in perceptions of institutional values and meaning-making. Ariel’s thesis is on the contemporary Chinese curating.


Megan Isaacs is an interdisciplinary artist concerned with climate change. Her most most recent work is Rebuild, an interactive collection of burned wood blocks that was shown in the School of The Art Institute’s 2013 Spring BFA show. She is a co-founder of SAIC for the Future, a student group that asks the SAIC administration to divest any and all endowment funds it has invested in fossil fuel companies. She also is an active member of SAIC Student Environmental Action, the Collective Cleaners and has worked as an illustrator and writer for Fnewsmagazine. She is expected to graduate in May 2013.


Siyuan Jin, second-year candidate of Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Majored in Art History during undergraduate study and I have developed my interest of contemporary art there. I have worked at an art data base in China from 2006 to 2010, curated an exhibition independently on 2008, and collaborated with artists domestic and international in different activities and exhibitions. From 2011 to 2012 I worked at Chambers Fine Art, a New York based gallery that is concentrating on promoting Chinese artist to the Western audience. During my stay there I met some of the most well-recognized artists and worked closely with them. That was an extremely valuable experience for my professional life. After I came to Chicago, I have worked with fellow students on different events and exhibitions in the past one year and half. And I am currently working on a project that is exhibiting on SAIC campus, titled as “Constant Consumer”.

Valeria Ledda Bio

Valeria Ledda is a fashion designer and illustrator. Her work is made using natural fibers and materials. The greater portion of her work is knitwear, using organic yarn from her hometown, Rome. When she is not busy working on fashion, she enjoys cooking interesting recipes for others. She is currently working on an outfit that will be included in the 2013 SAIC Fashion Show this May. And anticipates to graduate in May 2014.


Eric Lengsouthiphong is a M.A. candidate in the Dual Degree for Modern Art History, Theory, & Criticism and Arts Administration & Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He previously attended the University of Iowa where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Museum Studies. He was a collaborator in producing several cultural events centered around Asian-American arts and culture while an undergraduate. At SAIC, he works as the Assistant to the Directors of the Fashion Resource Center.


Liana Li is an interdisciplinary artist focused on environmental activism/education and collaborative structures in Chicago. Her work is local, site-specific and grounded in human relationships with resource management and the natural environment. She currently works with the Resource Center to divert waste from landfills by recovering and reusing underutilized resources. In  A Square Mile of Sustainability food scraps collected from restaurants and schools in the city are made into compost to transform vacant lots into productive food hubs of local empowerment. She is a founding member of the Collective Cleaners and actively involved with Pilsen Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) and SAIC Student Environmental Action (SEA).

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Yezibel Ruiz is a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago working on her Masters in Art Administration and Policy, and Art History, Theory and Criticism. Originally from California, Yezibel graduated with her Bachelors in Art History and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara. Her work focuses on the intersections of race, gender, and identity politics. Interested in registrar methods for art institutions, Yezibel is writing her thesis on creating registrar systems for a small museum.


Natalia Sanchez Hernandez is a Graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Master of Science in Historic Preservation program. As a preservationist, she seeks to demystify the stigma that accompanies the field of Historic Preservation for those that do not yet recognize the benefits that preserving the historic fabric of a community can impart on itself. How the restoration of a historic building, site, district, structure and object, can instill a sense of pride while at the same time jumpstarting the cultural, economic and social element of a community.


Alix Anne Shaw is a writer, artist, self-taught herbalist, and organic gardener. She has been active in issues of reproductive rights, queer rights, and food justice; while living in Providence RI she established a gleaning program that provided leftover produce from the local farmer’s market to a local soup kitchen. More recently, she moved to Chicago, where, frustrated by the lack of green space, she began gardening from the back of her truck. A widely-published poet, she is the author of Undertow (Persea, 2007) and Dido in Winter (Persea, forthcoming 2013). She is currently a student of writing and visual art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Emily Elizabeth Thomas is a writer, artist and aspiring curator/museum coordinator originally from Austin, Texas. Working towards a Bachelor of Art in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, currently writing her undergraduate thesis on the Prague Spring and the visual aesthetics of political liberation. Her studio work takes form of feature length screen writing and 16mm experimental film. Aspiring to work within art criticism, arts politics and museum programming


Chisako Izuhara studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, enrolled in the dual Masters program of Art Administration and Policy and Art History, Theory and Criticism. Before Chicago she worked as translator, art reviewer, and gallery staff in Tokyo, Japan. Her current research interests include Japanese contemporary art and performance art in Singapore.

2 thoughts on “Bios

  1. Pingback: Interview: Juan Luis Olvera | Rooting

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