* 2017 Dia De Los Muertos — Richard App Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI – After years of painting and selling many skulls, Bethany made a big decision about the future direction of her art. 2017 was to be the fifth and final year for painting her Calaveras. It was a difficult decision, but definitely the right one. After years of painting the Calaveras, she had attained everything she had set out to do. They helped her realize many transformations both personally and artistically, and they are very special to her. She didn’t want to dishonor them by producing them simply because they sold well. With a display of both sugar skull inspired Calaveras and Catacomb Saints inspired skulls and some remaining sacred hearts from her ArtPrize8 piece, Bethany was featured in the final Dia de Los Muertos show at the Richard App Gallery on Cherry Street.
* 2017 Ancestors and Archetypes — Michigan Fibre Studio, Grand Rapids, MI
* 2017 Valentine’s Day — Richard App Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI
ArtPrize 8, Baptism by Fire: An Allegory of Transformation —City Water Building by Richard App Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI – Baptism by Fire: An Allegory of Transformation celebrates the broad spectrum of emotions that humans experience through the use of archetypal, religious and cultural symbols. 3-dimensional papier mâché sacred hearts and alabastrite skulls are used to evoke an emotional response. The juxtaposition of the iconic symbols of life and death in this piece explores both the religious and secular implications of the term Baptism by Fire, and tells a story of transformation. The life experiences that truly transform us are often born of struggle and hardship. Yet we often seek to forget the very experiences that deepen our understanding and appreciation of life. The height of our joy is equaled only by the depth
of our sorrow. In honoring the “negative” we appreciate the positive more fully. Sculptural elements were staged on graduated pedestals of reclaimed barn wood beams. Additional hearts hung from red cord “heart strings,” allowing the hearts to visually interact. This piece represents the culmination of twenty years of working with the imagery of hearts. Used
as an allegorical template through different series of art, Bethany has expressed many thoughts and feelings through the use of hearts.
* 2015 Dia De Los Muertos — Richard App Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI
* 2013 Dia De Los Muertos — Richard App Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI – when the ongoing situation with her book had concluded after two years of uncertainty, it left an opening for a new artistic endeavor. And, as Bethany has done many times in the past, she took her personal challenges and turned them into an opportunity to grow and express the process in her art. And so began five intense years of painting 6 1/2 inch skulls in the style of Mexican Sugar Skulls. These Calaveras are a part of the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos, a day of ancestor honoring. Starting in 2013, Bethany has painted a circle of thirteen Calaveras in honor of Dia de Los Muertos. She has utilized this symbol traditionally associated with death to breath new life into her art.
* 2010 Cirque A Circa — Destination 1111, Grand Rapids, MI – An art event, Destination1111 offered space for one of the Cirque A Circa murals and more of the group’s art as well as taking some of our performances to their event. As for the actual sponsored ArtPrize space, the project was modified to actively creating the floor mural from the original design as ArtPrize took place. This allowed individuals to come down to the space and actually watch as the group members worked on the massive painting through the three weeks of the event. Which also allowed for a lot of dialogue regarding the inspiration for the piece. So, the group did raise awareness within the community, though a bit differently than originally planned.
* 2010 ArtPrize 2, Cirque A Circa: A Circus Out of Time, collaborator—Grand Rapids Press Lot, Grand Rapids, MI – In 2010, Bethany was invited to contribute as a consultant for an Artprize entry, called Cirque A Circa. The original design for the entry was comprised of a football field-sized mural with a walk-through exhibit that showcased each of the members’ talents and skills. The focus of the steampunk circus themed entry was to bring awareness to issues like depression, drug abuse, self inflicted injury and suicide among teenagers, whipresentinging art as therapy. They shared their personal stories of how such things kept the individuals going thr
oughout rather difficult paths in life. Sadly, the final exhibit as it was originally designed by the group was not to be. Insurance issues could not be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved so that the group could begin their building of the entry. When the last insurance issue was finally resolved, it found the group entering the venue space a day before the start of Artprize. Quitting had never really been an option for anyone involved, so they simply changed the dynamics of the entry. Much of our entry’s artwork was split up and moved to different destinations. One Girl’s Treasure, a now defunct vintage shop in the heart of the downtown area, hosted a variety of the artwork and allowed Bethany to display several custom made designs in its store windows. This allowed her to utilize years of experience as a visual merchandiser in a unique new way.
* 2009 Sings With Stars, Book release and art event — Literary Life Book Store – In late 2009, after much in-depth personal work, Bethany decided to write a semi-autobiographical book that used the unfortunate circumstances of her childhood to create an allegorical magical teen fiction book that conveyed the lessons she came away with from those experiences. It was a deeply cathartic experience. Once writing and editing the book had been completed in mid 2010, Bethany chose to self publish the work, needing to see the project through to completion a timely fashion. The untimely death of her mother seemed to lend more urgency to the process, and made publishing and promoting the book all the more poignant. After a very successful book launch and two years of attending and selling the book at conventions, Bethany received an offer to re-publish the book with a slightly altered title, some new edits, and new illustrations. She pursued this objective for nearly two years, after pulling older versions of the book from the market. A series of unforeseen circumstances finally made the situation
untenable. So, after taking due time to consider the possibilities, Bethany made the difficult decision to lay the book to rest, along with the past that inspired it.
* 2005 Women’s Art Show — Richard App Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI – In 2005, Bethany was a contributing artist to a Woman’s art show at the Richard App Gallery. For this show, Bethany explored the relationships between the media and women’s self esteem, as well as the power found in the different phases of a woman’s life.
* 1996 Women’s Art Show — Whole Art Theater, Kalamazoo, MI – Several theatrical performances with then avant-garde theater group, Whole Art Theater Company, were enough to inform Bethany that she was better left to the visual realm than the dramatic arts.
1995 Pnuema 4, Solo Show — Sharvea Boutique, Kalamazoo, MI – Bethany had her first solo show at Sharvea in Kalamazoo, MI. This series consisted largely of oil pastel renderings and silk screens that explored the relationship of the heart, spirit, suffering and joy. Sadly, due to unfortunate circumstances, all that remains of the period is the postcard from the show.
* In high school, Bethany’s art was a part of the Muskegon Museum of Art’s Student Exhibit. Additionally, she was one of eleven area students selected to participate in the museums“Senior Seminar”. After an in-depth exploration of the work of artist Marc Chagall, the group produced a walk-through sculpture that served as the focal point for the student exhibit. Additionally, Bethany’s work won the Scholastic, Inc. regional art competition and went on to compete on the national level.