Technology & Design Department Instructor

Amanda VanValkenburg is a visual artist using a combination of traditional and digital techniques. She received her BFA in Painting/Drawing/Sculpture at Brigham Young University, studied digital media at Hochschule für Künste Bremen, and received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Film/Video/New Media/Animation. Her work has been exhibited in the MCA, Elmhurst Museum, Mana Contemporary, Woman Made Gallery, 6018 North Gallery, LeRoy Neiman Center, and screened at the Gene Siskel Theater, Nightingale Cinema, Links Hall, Filmfront, and the Chicago Digital Media Festival. She was recently a High Concepts Labs sponsored artist and an artist in residence at Ox-Bow School of Art, and expected to complete a residency at Ragdale in 2018.



Woodworking Department Instructor

Andrew Barco is a sculptor and designer living and working in Chicago, IL.  With a BA in intellectual History from Wesleyan University, an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and craft study at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, his work engages seriously and playfully with the long human history of making.   He seeks ways this history intersects pressing concerns of the contemporary moment, often through something as simple as a pun, an anecdote, or a story from particular site or landscape.  His work has been presented as large-scale installations at prominent Chicago exhibition spaces such as Threewalls, Experimental Sound Studio, and Heaven Gallery.  His work has also been encountered as performance projects at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, the Rapid Pulse International Performance Festival in Chicago, and Rosekill, in Rosendale, NY, and elsewhere.  Andrew is currently a Hatch Resident Artist at the Chicago Artist Coalition.




Technology & Design Department Instructor

Colin Sherrell is known for being a rather exploratory artist that incorporates many aspects of art history, theory, conceptualism, craft, process, and his own personal life experiences into his art work. Sherrell feels the necessity to not limit himself to any one specific idea, material/medium or method. Working primarily as a sculptor, Sherrell works with wood, ceramic, metal, glass, stone, fur/hair, wax, books, found objects and much more. His processes are extensive, and he keeps his conceptual possibilities open for exploration. Sherrell’s work evolves from his interests in industry, nature, childhood, labor, love, life, family, and a variety of dualities. Sherrell has always felt the necessity to continue to push his education and exploratory nature by having an open mind and working in unexplored territories within his own work and experiences. Beyond primarily working in a three dimensional realm, he is also a painter, video artist, and a computer artist.

"Being a maker/artist wasn’t a choice it was natural calling. I am the son of an artist father and quilter mother, my sister is an interior designer, and my grandfather was a painter and window display installer. My whole life has been saturated with creativity and a drive for individual expression" 



Woodworking Department Manager, Instructor

Chicago native Erik Newman graduated with a BS Product Design, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in 1995 and since then has been engaged in a variety of design and craft projects. He has had his own workshop for over 15 years. He has been an instructor in the Designed Objects department at the School of the Art Institute Chicago since 2007 and has worked with The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Redmoon Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, The Neofuturists, as well as a range of private clients. He has developed a line of furniture that incorporates sustainable materials, frugal manufacturing, and efficient user assembly. He drives and frequently repairs a 1980 Volkswagen pickup truck.

"I’ve always wanted to design and build things since I was a little kid: push go-carts, semi-amphibious bicycles, etc. So I went to college to study mechanical engineering. It seemed that we weren’t designing and building anything, just doing math. Then I heard about Design...I ended up inheriting a bunch of woodworking tools. Somewhere along the line I made the artistic decision not to use any technology I didn’t understand; this has been a bit difficult but a lot of fun. I’ve always had some sort of shop, if I don’t have access to tools I feel quite helpless."



Casting & Molding Department Manager, Instructor

John Kurman first cast metal in shop class at the age of 13, and has never tired of it. He received a BA in Mathematics from Indiana University in 1980. After a career in computer programming, he became Bronze Casting Instructor at Harper College for ten years. He has worked in metal, glass, clay, wood, but prefers the fire arts. 

"Some people collect watches. I collect skills. I've always been a maker. It's not a choice. It's a compulsion".


CIADC Founder, Executive Director
Metalworking & Forging Department Manager, Instructor

Matthew received  his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He worked in a variety of capacities, from R&D and industrial engineering, to consumer product design and development in the sporting goods industry. Matthew found the right balance of technical design, creativity, and hands-on in 3D art. In 2002, he left the corporate world to focus on  developing his art-furniture and sculpture practice. He began teaching sculpture at a community art center where he headed the Metal Sculpture Department for nearly 13 years. Matthew is author of Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Jewelers & Metalsmiths (Interweave, 2014), and is founder of the Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center.

"Growing up in rural Upstate New York, I had plenty of opportunity to take things apart. I was fascinated by all things mechanical and trying to understand how and why they were made. This grew into an interest in design and engineering. I was fortunate from childhood through my college days to have mentors that taught the value of mechanical aptitude - the understanding how things work, design of objects, manufacturing processes, and hands-on building. Making creative objects couples both the technical and creative sides of who I am."


Casting & Molding Department Instructor

Micki LeMieux creates public outdoor sculpture and fine art. She received a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991. She began working professional making specialty props and prototypes for TV, theater and commercial companies, including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC, Levi Strauss, and Steppenwolf Theater. She has nationally exhibited her artwork in galleries and outdoor settings.

"I see myself as an observer.  I view the earth and the individual as one living organism.  I am in love with form, and we are all an extension of form.  I am a sculptor and object maker because it is in my DNA.  Creating connects me with nature and life."



Metalworking & Forging Department Instructor

Olivia Jade Juarez is an artist with concentrations in metalworking and pattern development. She holds a BFA from Alfred University and has since worked in the Sculpture Department at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Theaster Gates Studio, and Vivian Beer Studio Works. Her current studio practice ranges from digital design, sewing, felting, forging and steel fabrication. Newly settled in Chicago, she splits her time between creating sculpture pieces for exhibition, and home décor objects.


Metalworking & Forging Department Instructor

Quentin is a Metal Shop fabricator  with a focus on design, forging, welding, steel and metal raising. 

Utilizing  ancient metal working techniques combined with modern fabrication tools. Quentin designs and builds metal, art , craft and percussion.  As a teacher Quentin helps aspiring artists and professionals to manifest their dreams in 3D.


Metalworking & Forging Department Instructor

Sarah Holden received her MFA in Studio Art with a focus in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and her BFA in Crafts/Material Studies and Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. Sarah exhibits her one-of-a-kind jewelry and sculpture both nationally and internationally and is represented by Quirk Gallery, Heidi Lowe Gallery, Penland Gallery, Equinox Gallery, The Baltimore Jewelry Center and Contemporary Craft. Sarah currently lives in Chicago where she maintains her studio practice and explores Chicago with her two-year-old daughter Hazel and her husband Dave.

"I learned to be a maker from my mother and father.  My dad was constantly renovating our house, building a new shed or welding together creative carts to pull behind his tractor.  My mother taught me how to sew, how to draw, how to cook and how to find creative solutions to problems around the house.  I got serious about making when I decided to go to art school, where I learned how to turn my creativity into a profession.  I became a maker because it excites me!  I worked in the corporate world for seven years before getting serious about the arts.  Working in an office was never enough for me.  I've always wanted to get my hands dirty!"



Administrative Assistant


Administrative Assistant


Exhibitions & Social Media Coordinator


Accounting Coordinator









President, Secretary