Art of Nature Reception

Artists’ reception for the July exhibit “The Art of Nature,” featuring art by Gayle Anderson, Carol Pitts, Mark Badzik, Samuel Francazio, Dani Klein, Julie Cook, & Cat Swartz.


This reception is free and open to the public. See the art, meet the artists, and enjoy light refreshments. The AAC gallery is open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m.- noon. It is also open before performances and during intermission. Admission to the gallery is free. Anyone interested in purchasing art from an exhibit should see the front desk.

Artist Bios & Statements

Cat Swartz is strongly inspired by nature mostly within her native hometown in Northeast Ohio. She typically sculpts in a variety of clays & fibers (polymer, epoxy, paper, cotton). She also uses paper & thermoplastic in some of her 3D work. Then pigments sculptures with pastels, airbrush & hand brushed in color layers with acrylics & inks. Cat is also an illustrator, painter, photographer, printmaker, dollmaker, and jewelry designer.

Cat donates & works with local charities for her community. She actively exhibits her work & has been awarded numerous accolades throughout Northeast Ohio, including placing 3rd in Cleveland Scene’s Best Artist Category 2019. She plans to launch art instructions & workshops at Good Goat Gallery & she is currently preparing for her upcoming solo exhibition coming Sept 14-Oct 19, 2019, at Art on Madison: The Familiar World of Impossible Curiosities Part II.

“Nature inspires us to closer inspect, yet our conclusions leave us with something familar. These scenes are not quite the documented knowledge as the reality as we know, but may call to the viewers to stretch their senses for their inner child. The fascination of an evolving familiar species, oftentimes native, to bring to life a sophisticated unfamiliar combination with their own life and personality. What could be or what once was in snapshots of their daily lives. A different perspective of an overlapping world of contrasting infusions that convincingly emerge. Reaching wonder and captivating long enough to hold attention on the threshold of something entirely new, yet something recognized.” – Cat Swartz

Julie Cook is a self-taught artist who mainly works in acrylics and mixed media. Julie has lived in Madison Township for over 30 years. She enjoys experimenting with paint and products to see what new textures and techniques she can create. Julie uses traditional tools as well as unique items like scraps of wood, plastic, and recycled packaging material. Julie is deeply inspired by God’s creation and is thankful for the ability He has given her.

Julie’s artwork has been juried into several shows throughout Northeast Ohio, and she has had several solo shows including those at Penitentiary Glen, Fairmount Art Center, Solon Center for the Arts, and Holden Arboretum.  She is an artist at Stella’s Art Gallery in the Matchworks Building in Mentor. A portion of the sale of each painting is sent to an organization that helps at-risk children on the Thailand/Burma border where her daughter works. Julie’s paintings are making a difference in the lives of those children, as well as bringing peace, joy, and contentment to many others.

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

“It seems I need to be active and doing something either physically or creatively-using my hands most of the time. I’ve been painting walls and rooms etc. for years, and I’ve also done many different faux techniques and murals. Painting on canvas, wood and other surfaces is another way to fill the creative outlet. I find that painting is also a way for me to share “me” with others because I am more introverted and it is hard for me to do this by words.  Painting also gives me an outlet for emotions and lets me express my views of nature that surround me either where I live or where I’ve been or sometimes just where I’d like to be. But often I am just painting or expressing what is inside me that comes out when I paint and it often surprises me. I do not always know what I will paint when I start a canvas and many times it changes several times along the way.

I have been told that I have lots of energy…and I put energy and expression into my art… I am certainly not a “neat” painter when I work and my clothing and hands can testify to that. I enjoy personal challenges and experimenting with different products and techniques-using what I know from faux painting and putting it into a smaller scale. I use mostly acrylics but often add other products and mixed media into the work to make it a bit different. Many of my paintings are painted using more than a brush –and often without one. I use cardboard scraps, pieces of wood, plastic from packaging and more.  I paint abstracts and landscapes and do some collage work too.  Many of my abstracts have a more geometric theme going on and that is probably the result of doodling those types of designs since childhood.  Doodling helped me focus while people were speaking but sometimes I would drift off into my creations. If I look through notebooks from the past there are doodles everywhere. It wasn’t until just recently that I’ve put that practice into and onto canvas.

I like to create art for others and hope they enjoy my experimentation.  I have created walls and murals for others to enjoy- be it in homes, or in a children’s area for church. I create the paintings to help others as a substantial portion of the profits from the sale of each painting go to help an organization that helps at risk children on the Thailand/Burma border that my daughter works with.This deep connection to my daughter and son-in-law and what they do is important to me because the physical distance between us is so long. By painting, I feel that I am not only making a difference in the children’s lives but hopefully a difference in the person’s life that has my work on their wall-hoping it brings them peace or joy or contentment or a smile. I have not always known my gifts that God gave to me, but at one point in my life I discovered this one and I intend to use it as best I can.  In painting, it gives me a purpose and fulfillment as I know it is changing lives a little at a time. My hope is that the art will make a difference. Painting has brought out a change in me, and changed my life as well.” — Julie Cook