Meet the Studio Artists & Judge

Meet the Studio Artists | Experience Maranatha 2024

Every year, a handful of students elevate to become Studio Artists. This year we are excited to introduce these five talented artists, who are inspired differently and use various mediums to express their art. Be sure to visit their work at Experience Maranatha. 

Grant Bennett

As a child in Sunday School, I remember with joy coloring my worksheet and finding purpose, happiness, and fulfillment in the art I was making. I would always sit there and color whatever coloring sheet they would give us. I do my paintings and drawings because they bring back memories of something I have done, and I hope they bring memories to those who see the art. As I focus on baseball as my primary subject matter, I find that using oil paints and drawing with colored pencils captures these memories. Baseball is my favorite sport to sit back, watch, and enjoy, especially at the stadium. Drawing the paintings of Target Field, Kauffman Stadium, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards brought back nostalgia and the remembrance of good times. I hope those who see my art can see how stadiums and sports, in general, can bring back memories and serve as a reminder of how good our lives are that God gave us.    

Jack Kerschner

Art should be a celebration of freedom, unbounded by seriousness and tradition. My exhibit is a testament to this theory, revolving entirely around the world of Alligators and Crocodiles. These creatures hold a special place in cultures all around the world, feared for their power and charisma. Inspired by the American South's fascination with alligators, I've delved deep into their essence, capturing their primal nature in sculptures, drawings, and paintings. From the curves of their jaws to the intricate patterns of their scaly hide, each piece in my exhibit pays homage to the magnificence of these modern-day dinosaurs. As I prepare to embark on my graphic design journey at St. Cloud State University, I carry a profound appreciation for the natural world and the diverse cultures that cherish it. Through my art, I seek to honor the rich tapestry of human experience, celebrating the beauty and wonder that surrounds us- and lurks in our southern sewers… Go Huskies! 

Elisa Meissner

Different mediums allow me to express different ideas, however, I chose to stick with one medium and one subject matter throughout my work and step out of my comfort zone. I am an artist who values realism in paintings and was able to create this realism with watercolors of dogs I know well. By experimenting with watercolors, I developed better skills in color blending and created unique textures with different brush strokes. This medium allowed me to capture the delicate details and textures of the dogs to capture this realistic dog show.   

Halle Huffman

Art is a way for me to capture the beautiful things in a still moment. It is a way for me to interpret life around me, understand the colors, and be able to remake that on a canvas. I find that painting with oils is the best medium to capture the beauty I see. Being relatively new to oil painting, I realize I still have a lot to learn about the techniques of oil paints and how to make my style come to life. My paintings often are of flowers or landscapes, sometimes both together. I love painting nature because I get to recreate the beauty of nature on a two-dimensional canvas.  

Josh Gilbert

As a ceramic artist, I find myself endlessly captivated by the intersection of form, function, and texture. My work is a reflection of my deep connection with God,  and the profound beauty found in ceramics. Each piece I create is an exploration of balance and harmony, a dance between intention and randomness. I am drawn to the nature of clay, reveling in the process of shaping and molding it with my hands. From the initial inspiration to the final firing, each step in the creative journey is done with a sense of wonder and discovery. I use the unique shapes and forms I pick as well as the unique glasses I use to diversify myself from other ceramic artists.    

Meet the Experience Maranatha Art Judge

Joanna Hallstrom

Joanna Hallstrom is a portrait painter, illustrator, and designer in Minneapolis, MN. She creates in her studio at the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art.  

Hallstrom studied communication, art, and design at Alexandria Technical and Community College and studied portrait painting under nationally recognized artists Bonita Roberts and Myron Sahlberg.  

She is a two-time recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and, has exhibited her portraits in over thirteen locations in Minnesota including the MSP Airport and Methodist and Regions Hospitals.