Shannon Brunette, President
Steve Stenzel, Vice President
Sonja Olson, Secretary
Diane Bressler, Treasurer
Joshua W Murray
Shannon Brunette, President
Shannon Brunette lived and worked in Brooklyn, NY from 1998-2014 and recently returned to her hometown Saint Paul, MN. She received her Masters of Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2006. Currently, she is exploring a body of work relating to cultural exchange opportunities, from Alaska video artist-in-residence focusing on climate change to a 5-week international fellowship in exchange with traditional craftspeople of Orissa, India at Rughurajpur International Arts & Crafts Exchange. She was a Jerome Foundation fellow-in-residence at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN and her work has been exhibited nationally in New York City, Washington D.C., Alaska, Minneapolis and internationally in Berlin, Germany.
Shannon’s professional work has put her in leadership roles at the Walker Art Center, The Guggenheim Museum, Blue Man Group and Lambent Foundation as well as consultancies at New York Foundation for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Northern Spark Festival. She is currently a Continuing Education faculty member at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, collaborating with Lutman & Associates and is the Creative Producer of WISE BLOOD: an opera/installation by Chris Larson and Anthony Gatto premiering at The Soap Factory in June 2015. shannonbrunette.com | LinkedIn | @arteryclog
Steve Stenzel, Vice President
Steve Stenzel studied at the College of Visual Arts where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Photography in 2003 before pursuing his Masters at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He has taught over 70 college courses between Brown College, the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the College of Visual Arts. He was a full time Assistant Professor at the College of Visual Arts and the Photo Lab Technician for 2 years leading up to it’s closing.
Steve’s work has been shown in galleries internationally and his work is in numerous public and private collections. His latest work has been seen in Illuminance, a biennial photography exhibit in Texas; The ReFresh Print Biennial at the University of Wisconsin; Art on the Plains at the Plains Art Museum in North Dakota; After Dark, an International juried show at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; and the 5th Photographic Image Biennial at the Wellington B. Gray Gallery in Greenville, North Carolina.
Steve has recently completed a residency at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN. He was commissioned by the New York Times Magazine to shoot a cover story, and since has completed 4 more projects for the Times. He currently teaches in the Digital Media Arts program at Hamline University, and he keeps busy racing triathlons and raising his 2 young boys. When thinking about CVA, Steve believes “the community of artists that CVA created and the connections that it fostered are too great to simply throw away. I want to make sure we can all still be united and remain a part of each other’s lives and each other’s art making in the Twin Cities and beyond.”
Sonja Olson, Secretary
For the past fifteen years, Sonja Olson has been teaching art to children in various settings. Most recently she is a lead teacher at Children’s Center Montessori in Saint Paul, MN. Sonja graduated cum laude from the College of Visual Arts in 2002 with a degree in sculpture and later earned her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Saint Thomas. In addition to teaching, Sonja has shown her work locally and has done several commissioned pieces for House of Mercy in Saint Paul. When thinking about her time at the College of Visual Arts, Sonja writes, “What I remember most about CVA is community. It was a community created by some truly beautiful people. I want to help keep that community together in whatever way I can.” Sonja currently teaches, writes, creates and resides in Saint Paul, MN. Facebook Artist Page | LinkedIn
Diane Bressler, Treasurer
Diane Bressler is a parent of former College of Visual Arts student, Derek Bressler. She has a passion for the higher education system of Saint Paul. Diane attended the College of St. Catherine and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Metropolitan State University in 2004. Both her sons attend colleges in Saint Paul: one at CVA and the other at Hamline University.
Diane brings to the CVA Action Board of Directors over 20 years of accounting experience in both the public and private sectors. Additionally, she has nonprofit accounting experience working at the University of Minnesota, Anoka County, as well as several church organizations. Professionally, Diane works with Enterprise Minnesota, Inc.
Diane Borries is a 2000 graduate of the College of Visual Arts with a major in Communication Design. For the past 13 years, she has been employed as a print designer at Fuzzy Duck Design in Wayzata working with clients ranging from start-ups to large corporations. Her specialty is menu design and her work can be seen in restaurants around the Twin Cities. She enjoys working with watercolors and taking classes that will help grow her knowledge of the medium. With a love for exploring both domestically and abroad, her travels have taken her as far away as India. She has volunteered with Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute for the past 10 years and finds great joy in running the occasional 5k.
Derek Bressler is a graphic designer with interest in illustration, photography and business. Derek is an avid entrepreneur who has already run two small businesses while also doing freelance design and illustration projects for clients in the twin cities area. Last summer he ran an exterior residential painting franchise with College Pro Painters and has worked on restoring the beauty to homes from Saint Paul to Elk River. His current project Crystallized Clothing is screen-printed apparel business that formed as an expansion to a class assignment.
Derek Bressler is a designer at Franke+Fiorella in Minneapolis. He attended the College of Visual Arts through its closure in 2013 and received a BA in design from Concordia University in Saint Paul. With experience in design, illustration, photography and social media he is excited to be a part of CVA Action. derekdbressler.com
Caroline Houdek is an associate professor of photography at The Art Institutes International Minnesota as well as the lead supervisor in the Digital Service Bureau for Learning at the University of Minnesota. She received her BFA in Photography from CVA in December 2001, graduating as valedictorian, and her MFA from the U of M in 2008. Her work has been shown locally in the Twin Cities, nationally across the US, and internationally in Anji, China. She lives in Minneapolis close to her family with her many cameras and cats.
At CVA, besides being a student, Caroline held many roles having been the Slide Librarian Technician, an adjunct photo professor, and the Photo Studio Technician, a position she held for nine years. She was part of CVA Action when it was trying to save the school, and is now serving on the CVA Action board. When thinking about CVA Caroline writes, “CVA had been a part of my life for so long, when I left my position as photo tech I always thought I’d come back some day. Now I can’t come back, but I can still be a part of the community that remains.” carolinehoudek.com | LinkedIn
Keri Huber is a 2000 College of Visual Arts graduate with an emphasis in Drawing. With her skills she learned at CVA, she worked for various arts non-profits in the Twin Cities, including East Side Arts Council and Mu Performing Arts. She was invited to work at Art Instruction Schools where she collaborated with other instructors to redesign, edit and illustrate the core curriculum. Currently she works at the Minnesota State Fair as an Archives Specialist where she collaborates with the Minnesota Historical Society (History Walking Tour and the State Fair’s History & Heritage Center) and has worked with TPT (Lost Twin Cities; Almanac; Gracious Spaces: Clarence H. Johnston, Minnesota Architect) and national programs such as Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. “Although the College of Visual Arts is no longer functioning as a school, the people behind it still remain, and they are the reason why I am a part of CVA Action; to keep those connections together.”
Keri continues to work in various mediums, and has exhibited in numerous juried exhibitions, including the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, the largest juried fine arts show in the Midwest. In an international creative invite, her acrylic painting Crossroads was chosen by frequent U2 collaborators and creative minds Anton Corbijn and Shaughn McGrath to collaboratively re-imagine the album artwork of Achtung Baby as a reflection of current events. Her sculptural ceramic work can be seen in 500 Tiles: An Inspiring Collection of International Work and 500 Animals in Clay: Contemporary Expressions of the Animal Form, both published by Lark Books, and her work is featured at the Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul.
Nyla Niblo is a 2000 graduate of the College of Visual Arts with a BFA in Communication Design. Her experience in the Minneapolis design community spans the spectrum from small firms (45° Minneapolis, The Office of Eric Madsen and Olive & Company) to large agencies (Carmichael Lynch Spong, FAME, Yamamoto Moss Mackenzie, PMH and JT Mega). Since 2007, Nyla has been a practicing freelance designer and creative project manager. She is a former CVA Alumni Board member as well as former Vice President of the AIGA MN Board of Directors (2004 – 2006). Nyla has been a CVA Action board member since its inception in 2013, and continues to be passionate about preserving the legacy of CVA.
Joshua W Murray
Joshua W Murray is a fine art and freelance photographer, collagist, smuggler, musician, illustrator, designer, and genius by proximity residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has been active in the Twin Cities art and music community since 1998, showing his work and playing his songs in various galleries, art crawls, and venues.
While attending the College of Visual Arts, Murray expanded his artistic repertoire from creativity to leadership. He was an art director for several projects as well as the founder and president of the CVA Student Government. He received a BFA in Photography in 2006. Since graduation, Murray has been a member and/or volunteer for the Saint Paul Arts Collective, Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and ZeroBudget Records. In 2013, he and two other local artists started Artist Arsenal MN, a non-profit focused on temporary pop-up galleries and creative placemaking within the Creative Enterprize Zone of Saint Paul.
Murray continues to push his creative comforts into new unexplored territory. His current projects include researching the aesthetics of failure and how the beauty of digital and analog glitches expresses neither positive nor negative concepts, but rather a new way of looking at progress. When he is not feeling particularly creative, Murray likes to talk to himself as Marlon Brando and go camping in suits with his fellow trailblazers. joshuawmurray.com | Blog
Lauren Clapp graduated from the College of Visual Arts in the spring of 2009, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Communication- Illustration. Since graduating, Lauren has participated in many art and craft fairs year round and selling her work on the side. She has also gone into the business of being the “crafty friend”, making décor pieces for friends’ weddings. Now well immersed into the event industry, Lauren has spent the last several years working for companies in the Twin Cities to execute events on a creative and clerical level. While keeping busy with personal projects and work projects, Lauren enjoys finding peace and inspiration at the Minnesota State Parks with her two dachshunds and her camper whenever possible.
While attending the College of Visual Arts, Lauren was very involved in the student community. She worked as a Peer Student Mentor from 2006-2009. During this time, Lauren mentored new students to the College of Visual Arts and acted as a support system in easing them into the community, by planning events and attending gallery openings and symposiums with them.She served as her peers Student Council President from 2008-2009. The main focus that year was to rebuild and strengthen the community, which gave Lauren a great passion in planning and coordinating events that bring people together. This also lead to a love for the people in the College of Visual Arts community and the college itself.