1. ALCHEMY: An Artists + Writers Initiative
Rose Netzorg and James Wilfrid Kerr Galley
Richmond Center for Visual Arts
February 16 – May 26

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Below: A sampling of the works in the exhibit
Bagnall, We Are All Connected
Mindi K. Bagnall      We Are All Connected, 2017
black walnut ink, watercolor

Many early alchemists sought to turn lead into gold. With a nod to the mismanagement that led to the Flint Water Crisis, We Are All Connected suggests a metaphorical transformation of gold into lead.

This work was made using homemade ink from the black walnut tree in my backyard.


Jana Hanka    Dance of the Particles, 2016   salt-fired stoneware

The work of alchemy is about transmuting the crude material of human flesh into the refined substance of an awakened soul. Sometimes we need a jolt to get us started on that path and for me that wake up call was falling from a horse and undergoing a clinical death. I awakened a changed person and today, I celebrate that rude awakening with portraits of horses – sensitive, elegant souls with whom I commune across the species barrier. My installation represents my own becoming as something more refined by developing alongside the “other” — the non-human. The relationship between man and horse is ancient, beautiful, dangerous and also potentially enlightening.


Maryellen Hains
These figures express my personal connection to the iconography and symbolism, the images, and ideas of the Alchemy experience, working with primal matters and looking for wisdom and immortality.


Bird Lady, 2017   clay, copper and steel, wooden spindles
This is the young woman in nature, holding an orb. She is young, still unformed.


Horned Woman, 2016  clay, deer horn, copper, wood
She is a figure of transformation, the embodiment of opposites, inspired by Jung : “Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end.”

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Sydnee Peters Stone Stories, 2017  pen and graphite
Through process, metaphors aligned for the imagery featured in my contributions to the Alchemy exhibition, book, and print suite.

As Project Director of an Initiative with considerable directions and demands, I discovered early on that I was performing a balancing act – like maintaining a campfire, spinning plates or balancing stones.


Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Annie Alchemy, mixed media
Alchemy begins at home – the earliest laboratory where we learn the rules, if we can break them, and if there’s a penalty.


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Linda Rzoska  We Are Stardust, 2017
graphite and oil pastel digitally layered, imaged onto archival paper with archival ink and painted with encaustic

We Are Stardust called me to create something that moves the viewer closer to the perception that he/she shares existence with stone, soil, water, all living things, plus all the elements that make up the universe. The composition includes a female figure surrounded and comprised of plant life. The viewer may see the figure as Cybele, Gaia, Eve, Lilith, the Virgin Mary, or any female figure that has appeared in various mythological/religious themes.

To reestablish and ancient connection with nature and the earth, it helps to consider how life originates and how it returns to its end. As the death of every star and every atom follows the pattern of renewal and loss – the fertile womb is part of the cycle – all things transform.


Autumn Brown, Industrial Wear #2, 2010
porcelain, sterling silver, steel, copper, bronze, quail eggshell

Transformation of an intangible thought into a physical object is a multifaceted process. Emotion sparks chemical reactions that order electrical pulses to drive muscles to work material and impress upon it the essence of the maker. The material, now infused with intentions, may further encounter reactions with earth, air, fire or water to arrive in existence outside of the human consciousness. Pure magic? Pure alchemy.

With the rise of automated machinery, a primal element of this alchemical transaction seems lost in translation. Industrial Wear #2 is the physical manifestation of a thought that has been steeped in reflections about the decline of direct human contact in an age of automation.


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Mary Whalen, Backyard Alchemy, 2016, cyanotype
Backyard Alchemy brought together the elements for this cyanotype. The prepared paper, negative exposed in a contact print frame, rested on the south porch steps in intense afternoon sunlight. Once the image burned onto the prepared paper, it was processed with water from the garden hose. Like much art, this assemblage of pieces from my home life, and history becomes one in image.

Albertine Monroe Brown Gallery
Richmond Center for Visual Arts
April 30 – May 26

3. ALCHEMY: An Artists + Writers Initiative
Box Factory for the Arts, St. Joe, Michigan
August 11 – September 24




Print Suite
The ALCHEMY Suite is a a set of 13 limited edition prints. Each print in a suite-set is a collaboration between a poet and an artist. thumb_IMG_0688_1024

One edition will be on display at the Richmond Center for Visual Arts from April 27th through May 26th in an exhibit titled: PASSAGES. The suites from our previous projects, HOURS & HOME will also be on display. There will be a reading of all 3 suites on May 25th. It is our hope to sell to individuals and rare book rooms around the country. Inquiries: sydnee.peters@wmich.edu

Suite Colophon2

Sampling from the Suite of Prints:

Margaret DeRitter, poet; Donna Groot, artist


Bonnie Jo Campbell, writer; Elizabeth Kerlikowske, artist


Denise Miller, poet; Honore Lee, artist


Elizabeth Kerlikowske, writer; Deborah Mattson, artist


Billy Reynolds, writer; Tamara Hirzel, artist


Kathleen McGookey, writer; Elizabeth King, artist


Deborah Gang, poet; Vicki VanAmeyden, artist



ALCHEMY: An Artist’s and Writer’s Initiative
Original works by artists and writers in the Initiative.

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The books are available for sale: 
Michigan News shows support by generously giving all proceeds from book sales back through Dean Hauck’s Creative Endeavor Project.
Dean Hauck and Hedy Habra

Bookbug generously returns all proceeds back to the Initiative in support of the community members that are in the initiative.

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Bookbug (photo by Brian David Griffith)

Books can also be purchased through the Director of the Initiative, Sydnee Peters at: sydnee.peters@wmich.edu

Peters, self


The ALCHEMY Readings

There will be 5 reading events during the exhibition dates listed below.
Jamie Rix will sign for all ALCHEMY readings for the deaf and hard of hearing
Elizabeth Kerlikowske and Jamie Rix


February 23rd 2017, 6:30, Kalamazoo Institute of Art , Echolocation
Denise Miller, her musicians, and participants from ALCHEMY created an evening of poetry and music inspired by the visual improvisations of Wadada Leo Smith on exhibit at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.
The performers built the event with a call and response performance using works of submitted writing and imagery from ALCHEMY participants and Wadada Leo Smith.                             
March 16 2017, Thursday, 6:30-8, Richmond Center for Visual Arts, Suite of Dialogues
Playwrights combined characters and dialogue with the catalyst of conflict to produce the alchemical excitement of drama.  Arnie and Debby Johnston, facilitators for this 2nd ALCHEMY reading of short plays by ALCHEMY writers, presented works that moved us, made us laugh, and reminded us of art’s power to transform.
thumb_IMG_0703_1024 Arnie and Debby Johnston
Featured writers included Bonnie Jo Campbell, Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Hedy Habra, Vicki VanAmeyden, Margaret DeRitter, Deborah Gang, Lynn Pattison, Arnie Johnston, and Deborah Ann Percy.  Featured actor-readers are Martie and Richard Philpot.


April 20 2017, Thursday, 6:30, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Suite of Monologues; Elizabeth Kerlikowske and Sydnee Peters oversaw this event.
May 9, 2017, 7pm, Klamazoo Public Library, Friends of Poetry Present ALCHEMY
May 25 2017, 6:30 Richmond Center for Visual Arts, PASSAGES: HOUR  HOME  ALCHEMY
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