Local Artists Making Huge Splashes in Discovery World Gala’s Silent Auction

As part of Discovery World’s biggest event of the year, we have a fantastic silent auction full of experiences, adventures, fine meals, divine accessories and beautiful, locally made art. This year, more than in year’s past, the Discovery World Gala Silent Auction features the talents of many local painters, quilters and sculptors who have generously donated to our event to raise funds for our exhibits and education programming. Here’s a look into some of the artists who are making the 2017 auction fantastic:

Judy Tolley

I am a Milwaukee-based artist working mainly in collage on canvas. I have participated in local galleries and have had two solo shows. My collage work has been shown in New York, and has been published in Art World Digest and Somerset Magazine. I have received four blue ribbon juried art awards from the Public Television Auctions.

  • Her Piece for the Auction: “Abstract Garden” is an experimental mixed media piece which includes acrylic paint, tissue paper, newsprint and other paper ephemera. I followed no rules allowing me to experiment in the mixed media world as well as the abstract.
  • Her Motivation for Donating: I’m contributing this [piece] to Discovery World hoping to help them continue in their commitment to awakening the curiosity of young people.

For more information on Judy, please visit www.judytolley.com.


Matt Bellefeuille

I have always had a strong urge to create art, but it wasn’t until around ten years ago that I found my place in the art world. This is when I first learned to weld, and really when I first attempted three dimensional art. Since then, I have created and sold over a hundred pieces, including a kinetic horse that was purchased by Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museums. I also possess the distinction of having the first permanent sculpture in the Kenosha Union Parks Project.

  • His Piece for the Auction: The piece created for the auction was inspired by Discovery World’s stunning Great Lakes Future exhibit. Made from antique typewriter and adding machine parts, I believe this sculpture resembles the type of fish that would feel at home swimming through the aquarium at Discovery World.
  • His Motivation for Donating: I hope that my small donation will help Discovery World continue its mission to educate people in and around Milwaukee, as well as making the home of the eventual winning bidder a little bit more beautiful.

For more information on Matt, please visit www.facebook.com/alkolaiarts/.


Jim Krahn

I returned to Wisconsin a few years ago after a somewhat nomadic experience. I have lived in Illinois, California, South Carolina, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and Wisconsin. I am a self-taught painter, inspired by my many experiences traveling throughout the US, Europe, and the Middle East. I have shown my work in Maryland, the Carolinas, Wisconsin and Lebanon. Oil is my favorite medium but have experimented with acrylic as well as watercolor.

  • His Piece for the Auction: I chose “Lake Michigan – Sunrise on Beach Drive” because it is near my home and a place I visit almost daily. I love the mornings, the water and the colors at dawn!
  • His Motivation for Donating: I chose to donate to Discovery World because of all the wonderful activities the organization brings to the community. In these times, where funding is being cut for the arts and science, we all need to give a little more so those who are less fortunate can share in what so many take for granted!

For more information on Jim, please visit https://www.artsinmilwaukee.org/profiles/472/.


Marla Morris-Kennedy

I entered the art world by way of the back door. While working 25+ years as a physical therapist and owning and managing commercial real estate, I have sustained a love of fabric, color, visual texture and design. While I began as a traditional quilt maker over 30 years ago, my path has veered after studying conventional patterns and construction techniques and after taking numerous classes from a variety of teachers from all over the country. I have participated in juried and invitational art shows throughout southeastern Wisconsin including Caggio Gallery (Milwaukee), Cedarburg Artists’ Guild Fall Show, Leenhouts Gallery (Milwaukee), the Eight Counties Show sponsored by the John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan) in 2009. I am an annual participant in Cedarburg Arts Weekend and was the Sacagawea Award Artist for Professional Dimensions in 2007. I also won the grand prize for the “Quilting is Art” Competition sponsored by Milwaukee Public Television in 2010 and 2011.

I combine a wide variety of fabrics, threads and embellishments including buttons, trims, beads, hardware store items and deconstructed jewelry parts to make one-of-a-kind pieces and continue to exhibit in Milwaukee and Ozaukee Counties.

  • Her Piece for the Auction: “Neon Moon” was inspired by the Brooks & Dunn song of the same title. I aimed to capture the vibrancy of the night sky during a full moon. The second piece, “Outside of the Box Again”, consists of many Japanese kimono silk scraps. This is part of a series of quilts that I created exploring the theme of “getting outside of one’s box” to facilitate self-growth and personal awareness.
  • Her Motivation for Donating: I feels it’s especially important to support science education in all aspects of community. Discovery World is helping to educate children on many levels on the relevance of science to their lives in a fun and interactive manner.

For more information on Marla, please visit: http://cedarburgartistsguild.com/marlamorriskennedy.html.


Amin Djaouga

I’m Amin, a Milwaukee based artist from Benin, in West Africa. My collection has developed not only from personal drawings inspired by African culture and patterns but also by Milwaukee, my new home.   I paint, do digital design, make custom fabrics, handcraft lamps and create pillows and other fabric home decor items from hand woven African mud cloth. I’ve exhibited in area fair trade shops, alternative gift fairs and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

  • His Piece for the Auction: The hand-made table drum lamp features the new skyline of Milwaukee and has been made from cotton canvas fabric printed with original artwork inspired by the architecture emanating out of the rebirth in downtown.
  • His Motivation for Donating: I am pleased to support Discovery World with the donation of this creation as a gesture of appreciation for its mission and its role in the downtown renaissance.

For more information on Amin, please visit: www.konkada.etsy.com.


Christine Burke

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, and I have lived in the Bay View area most of my life. I even have a few paintings featured in a couple bars in the neighborhood. I love this city and the art community here; everyone is always so friendly, supportive and helpful with each other. I will admit, I do not consider myself a professional painter. I did not go to school for it, have only been painting for a few years and I do not make a career of it. I paint because I enjoy it, it’s very therapeutic for me, and there is no other feeling than finishing a piece that you are very proud of. You can tell a lot about an artist based off their work, and that is another reason why I love painting. It really does express who you are and what you are passionate about. You can really see when someone puts their heart and soul into it, and that is the best kind of art.

  • Her Piece for the Auction: The piece that I donated was inspired by the motion picture La La Land. I completely fell in love with the movie when I saw it, especially with the music. I ended up buying the soundtrack right away, and started listening to it while trying to think of a painting to make. As I was listening to the song “A Lovely Night,” I decided to do my own version of the movie poster, but with the swirly sky, just like the song mentions.
  • His Motivation for Donating: I have donated several paintings in the past for auctions and such. The art community has done for much for me, so I always like to help out the community when given the opportunity. Every little bit helps.

For more information on Christine, please visit: https://www.artsinmilwaukee.org/profiles/2311/.


Jacob Nordstrum

I am a Wisconsin-based artist who works are part of private collections across the U.S. and Europe. I studied at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and received a Bachelor of Arts degree while studying painting and drawing, and graduated in 2007. Jake lives in the Milwaukee area with his wife and four children.

If you show me lines and tell me not to cross them, I’ll inevitably want to cross them. I have an urge to go against the grain that goes back to being in punk rock bands and writing on my clothes in high school. I have no plan when I sit down to paint other than to be spontaneous and in the moment; using whatever is available in my studio. Whether that’s acrylic and oil paint, tape, paper, scraps of cardboard. Nothing is off limits or unusable. I refuse to be limited in style, color choice, size, or surfaces. If there aren’t canvases around…cardboard and paper work just as good. Quality of artwork is not determined by the width of your stretcher bar. I’ve recently had a solo show at Gallery 2622 in Wauwatosa in March of 2017. I’ve been mostly selling art online through multiple sites and have sold 44 in the last year or so across the U.S and Europe.

  • His Piece for the Auction: “Madonna with Child” is a Picasso-inspired oil painting on canvas that I did in the summer of 2016. It took about four days to complete from start to finish, and is actually one of my favorite pieces and was hard to part with, but I know it’s going to a great cause.
  • His Motivation for Donating: I gave for the Discovery World auction because I believe that science and technology are key areas where we can help kids grow, especially in the Milwaukee communities.


Susi Schuele

I am a self-taught abstract new media artist. My earliest art memories of enjoying art are probably like many other artists’ – Finger painting thrilled me as a kid as did paint by number! (Yes, I really said that.) I am certainly also one who “colors outside the lines”. At about the age of 8 or 9, I created a turquoise toothpick sculpture that I wish I still had. I also did a pencil drawing of David Bowie in my 20s. I think I sent it to him but can’t remember. Creativity has long been a way of life for me, in most any medium or form. Whether I was crafting or seriously painting, it has always been a big part of my life. I doodle every day. From October of 2008 until March of this year, I was a web and graphic designer – creating on the technology side. Prior to that, I had a long career in technology positions because that’s what I went to school for and that’s where I thought I needed to be. I have finally reached my nirvana in becoming a full-time new media artist this year. Four of my wood art pieces (including Landslide) were selected as nominees for the People’s Choice Award for the ArtisTTable Women Exhibition in 2017. I was also featured in Huffington Post in their 53 Gorgeous Ways to Dress Your Blank and Boring Walls article (#33) for a piece entitled “Dark Side of the Moon”. I have current work on display at a Wellness Center in Delafield, Wisconsin and have exhibited at the St. Charles Fine Art Show in St. Charles, Illinois, the Pewaukee Area Arts Council Showcase of Art at the Waukesha Public Library, the Creativation Show in Phoenix, Arizona, Delafield Art Walk, The MPTV Holiday and Gift Show 2016 and Artisan 179 Restaurant (billed as a trendy haunt filled with local art) in Pewaukee.

I am a new media artist specializing in creating art on wood using vibrant, colorful stain. I like to think I “nurture nature” by infusing vibrant color into the grain of wood giving justice to its movement and new life. I stain the wood using mostly just my hands. On occasion, I will use a small paint brush for detailed work. I add layers of color to create magnificent three dimensional pieces with beauty that is very hard to capture in a photograph. Photographs, even of the highest quality, do not give justice to this original form of art on wood. It must be seen and touched to realize its true magnificence. The other medium I create in is acrylic paint. Specifically, liquid art. The swirl and anticipation of watching each color unite with another to form a union of the unexpected is as captivating as the cells being formed from a chemical reaction. Inspiration comes from breathtaking sunsets bursting with orange, the subtle but sublime metallic golds and coppers in Raku pottery or the beaming contrast and glitter of colorful elements of nature such as geodes. Color is me. I title my art with song titles. Music is yet another art form that fulfills me. It brings each of my pieces to another level of emotion and creativity by capturing the essence of the painting through song or vice versa.

  • Her Piece for the Auction: “Landslide” was created to represent nature at its finest with drifted snow gracefully rolling down a rough mountainside with beautiful blue and whispering white clouds in an organic, natural, abstract landscape of land and sky. Lyrics from the song “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac only grace this piece even further. “And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills, ‘Til the landslide brought me down” – reminding me of my emotional younger days and the changes that accompanied them. Using my own hands to bring additional life to this already living gorgeous piece of art made me add a little more of my soul to it. Teal, blue, white, black, red and other blended natural earth stain colors were used for this beautiful grain on birch wood. This art’s bidder needs to know that there are no fine artists that I am aware of that are creating in this new media. This is actual wood stain in vibrant colors that is applied most always by my hands. These pieces are truly one-of-a-kind, original and not replicable. They should also know that my entire goal is the “moment” of appreciation and joy which they deem it must be theirs. It is this moment I always seek and cherish.
  • Her Motivation for Donating: I am so willing [to donate] because children being given the appreciation of all arts and their experimentation in the arts is one of the best gifts they could ever receive. I wholeheartedly raised my own children with this appreciation and I am happy to support any organization that gives children the ability to realize their own gifts through learning. I enjoy and seek opportunities to give back to the community and often support causes which include the arts, child abuse, animal rescue and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Discovery World is definitely on my radar as an outing with my granddaughter, Livy, who is nearly 5 and my grandson, Boston, who is 9 this summer. Being an artist, I am still encouraging any art form to the children in my family.

For more information about Susi, please visit www.artworkarchive.com/artwork/susi-schuele.