Artist-in-Residence Program

The Forest Hills Fine Arts Center Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program offers selected local and regional artists a unique opportunity to share their work and talent with students and art-lovers in the Forest Hills area through short term residencies. Each residency will be launched with a public reception to introduce the artist to the community and unveil an exhibition of their work in the Center gallery. During the period “in residence,” each artist will enjoy use of the resources of the Fine Arts Center studio and provide a variety of interactive presentations and demonstrations for Forest Hills students and/or adults.

Each year, a committee of art educators, local artists and community members will identify potential artists in a variety of media and invite them to apply to the program. Five or six residencies will be awarded annually and presented to the community as a series. Selections are made based on the art form and the artist’s scope of experience, body of work, and demonstrated ability to work effectively with community members and students. Information about the AIR Program can be obtained by contacting the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center.

The Fine Arts Center's AIR/Exhibit Program is fully funded through the generosity of Centennial Securities Company.

Painting by Mary Reusch,
2016–2017 Artists-in-Residence

The Fine Arts Center will feature a diverse line-up of highly accomplished West Michigan artists in a series of five residencies from late August 2016 through March 2017. A public reception at the beginning of each residency will introduce the featured artist to the community and unveil an exhibition of their work in the Fine Arts Center gallery. All exhibits will be open for public viewing during regular hours of operation (Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.) and designated evening hours. The artists will provide a variety of interactive presentations and demonstrations for Forest Hills students and/or adults in the Center’s Artist-in-Residence studio and area schools.

Presenting Sponsor for the 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence Program and Exhibits Series:

Supporting Sponsors for the 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence Program and Exhibits Series:

Jon McDonald

August 25 – September 22, 2016
Reception: Thursday, September 8, 2015, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the lobby.
Everyone is welcome!
Exhibit Postcard: Download PDF

Local favorite, Jon McDonald, is the chair of the illustration department at Kendall, has had major exhibitions of his paintings on slavery, Native Americans, the blues, African-American role models, and permanent display all over West Michigan, including the wall-sized mural of 1890s Grand Rapids at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

“I consider myself a person who is more in love with the process than the finished product. I love realism as it still presents a challenge. I paint every day. Being an artist beats working.”


Jon McDonald
Mary Reusch & Margaret Kriegbaum

September 29 - October 21, 2016
Reception: Thursday, October 6, 2016, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the lobby.
Everyone is welcome!
Exhibit Postcard: Download PDF

Mary Reusch

After graduating from Aquinas College in 1999 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Mary has been painting and showing her work at various galleries and exhibitions in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Mary has placed in juried art competitions and her work is included in private and public collections. Her subject has centered on landscapes, and she has recently initiated a new perspective on how she envisions her world. Mary uses lakes, streams, earth and vegetation as a metaphor to induce viewers to look more closely at nature and it’s connection to our lives.


Margaret Kriegbaum

Margaret Kriegbaum’s paintings represent an exploration into semi-representational and abstract design using both oils and pastels.  Her work is the result of years of study with an emphasis on the whole aesthetic more than detail. She enjoys an approach that allows intuition, imagination, spontaneity and interpretation to flow. In the spirit of the gallery as a place to gather, learn and experience art, Margaret hopes her work touches an emotional chord in her viewers through a myriad of color and shapes.


Mary Reusch
Margaret Kriegbaum
Kelsea Wierenga

January 6 - 27, 2017
Reception: Thursday, January 12, 2017, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the lobby.
Everyone is welcome!
Exhibit Postcard: Download PDF

Kelsea Wierenga graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2006. After working 6 years for CreateSpace, an publisher, she became a freelance children’s book illustrator and began her partnership with author Carole P. Roman and Red Feather Publishing. If You Were Me and Lived In…Mexico debuted in 2012, and 16 additional books followed portraying countries such as China, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Italy, Greece and many more.

While continuing the If You Were Me and Lived In… cultural series, Kelsea has recently been named creative director for Carole P. Roman’s new children’s book series depicting life during dynamic eras of history such as Colonial America, Renaissance Italy, and Elizabethan England.


Kelsea Wierenga
Sandra Hansen

February 2 - March 24, 2017
Reception: Thursday, February 9, 2017, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the lobby.
Everyone is welcome!
Exhibit Postcard: Download PDF

Sandra Hansen became an international artist through her love of travel and painting. She began painting landscapes and portraits in her spare time and took up painting in a serious manner after age 47. She has taught art not only in Grand Rapids but also in Varanasi, India; Bangkok and Khon Kaen, Thailand; and Lund, Sweden. Hansen enrolled at Kendall College of Art and Design as an undergraduate where she received the Excellence in Painting Award in 2013. She received her MFA from Kendall in the spring of 2016. Hansen’s innovative Eco art practice includes the use of repurposed plastic bags and handmade paper, which she creates in her low waste studio.


Sandra Hansen
2016–2017 Exhibits and Events

Besides Our Artist-in-Residence Program Exhibits, the Fine Arts Center Hosts a Variety of Exhibits Throughout the Year

Forest Hills Public Schools Staff and Community Exhibit
November 29 - December 15, 2016
Reception: Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 6 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. in the lobby.
Everyone is welcome!

Forest Hills Public Schools K-12 Student Exhibit
April 14 - May 11, 2017
Reception: Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in the lobby. Everyone is welcome!

Valentina Grigorieva Exhibit
June 1 - 26, 2017
Reception: Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the lobby. Everyone is welcome!
Exhibit Postcard: Download PDF

Valentina Grigorieva, a Forest Hills artist, paints personal reflections of her broad interests in subject matter ranging from cityscapes and landscapes, to flora and fauna. Though she works with a variety of special techniques and archival quality media, watercolor is her favorite because “it’s free and unpredictable even though it is the most difficult medium to work with.”
Grand Rapids’ natural surroundings lure Valentina into sketching and painting. The invitation may be a humble sunflower, a sunrise fogged by morning mists, or reflections in downtown street puddles after rain. Tucked among the elements of her pictures are hints of poetry, mood, and music inspired by extensive travel which enriched her cultural perspective on life.
She loves to paint on location, but when under time pressure she will make a quick sketch for the future painting and take a photo so that the viewers can experience the emotions of the painting’s captured moment through its blend of subject, colors, shapes, and light.

Ralph "Nunzi" Annunziata Exhibit
June 30 - July 21, 2017
Reception: Thursday, July 6, 2017, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the lobby. Everyone is welcome!
Exhibit Postcard: Download PDF

Painter, wet sketch artist, photographer, Ralph "Nunzi" Annunziatas’ work reflects his transformative spirit and unique ability to capture light, shadows, and contrast in colorful nuances. He has a passion for art-making using large multi-medium canvases, multi-faceted and engaging acrylic canvases depicting abstracted expressionistic nature, and drawings featuring anatomy technique.

Nunzi is an honors graduate from Tech Memorial High School in Erie, PA where he studied art every day with Joseph Michael Plavcan, fine art colorist. Nunzi’s artistic journey continued at Columbus College of Art & Design (Franklin University) in Columbus, Ohio, and studied with Plavcan’s colleague/protege, Dean Joseph Canzani.

After many years traveling and working with some very notable clients as Nike in Portland, Oregon and Amsterdam, Netherlands, Nunzi decided to settle down in 2012 and call West Michigan home.

The Fine Arts Center's AIR/Exhibit Program is fully funded through the generosity of Centennial Securities Company.

Valentina Grigorieva
Ralph Annunziata
What Our Sponsors and Community Say About
the Fine Arts Center

Randall L. Hansen, President, Centennial Securities Company:
“Centennial Securities is proud of our association with Forest Hills Schools and the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center. We believe it’s important to give back to the community where our employees live, work, and learn. Our sponsorship of events at the Fine Arts Center help to cement a critical bond between business, community, and school which is so important in today’s world and in turn helps to provide our young people with greater opportunities. The creative staff of the Fine Arts Center, along with many dedicated educators, continually find incredible ways to inspire and shape the young minds of tomorrow. And they inspire me.”

Laura Madison, Forest Hills Northern High School Art Teacher:
“At Northern High School, I see our community as a quilt. Every piece represents the uniqueness of the individual student. We're placed together to support each other; we're complete when there are no missing pieces. I value building relationships with the students and in our community. Randy (Centennial Securities president) has played an important part in making our quilt a reality. I'm very thankful, and appreciate the contributions of the other companies give."

What Our Artists Say About the Fine Arts Center

Ann Teliczan:
"Exhibiting at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center (FHFAC) is an experience I will always remember fondly and look forward to doing again. It is a tremendously supportive environment for the arts, and the artist in a time when this is so strongly needed. Having the FHFAC as a resource is a treasure that gives not only to artists and our children, it expands our world and adds to the value of our community. I feel lucky to have been selected to be a part of such an innovative, uplifting place."

“The FHFAC family cares about the success of their artists. They take the TIME to listen and respond with care, kindness, and generosity."

Brian Ballard:
"I wanted to take just a minute to express just how grateful I was to be asked to participate in the AIR/Exhibits program. So often those of us with a passion for what might be deemed a genre of traditional arts find ourselves overlooked by the fine arts community.

"In my opinion the FAC is a conduit and catalyst for all art genres and emphasizes exposing the public to the possibilities of art in all its diversity. The FAC is also a springboard for many of us in the arts, and to be affiliated with it has personally allowed me to move forward with my goals as a proponent of traditional arts. Exhibiting with the FAC has proven to be a pivotal reference that has assisted me most recently to become a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and being named as a participant with the MSU Traditional Artist Apprenticeship program.

"In closing let me assure any of those whom might question the necessity for programs such as those offered by the FHF program. As an artist, a public educator, and a parent, I have found the FHF is above all other things a service to the community and it’s citizens of every age and interest.

"Again my sincere thanks for the honor of having been included in AIR/ Exhibits program."

E. Lynne O'Rourke:
"The Artist-in-Residence program at Forest Hills Fine Arts Center was a very positive experience, because of the cooperation of the well-informed and professional staff. Of course the facility's wonderful exhibit space is perfect to accommodate vast amounts of artwork as well as people. Thanks again for the opportunity to have this great experience at the Center."

Reb Roberts:
"Let me say that many, many organizations have asked artists for a contribution of some kind. I find that there has always been something wonderfully refreshing in the fact that the Forest Hills Fine Art Center and its staff have continuously asked, 'What can we do for artists?' They have reached out to the greater community and organized and promoted the incredibly progressive art extravaganza last spring for the Avenue for the Arts. What an innovative and inclusive way to bring our art communities together. Thank you Forest Hills for being so generous to artists and honoring their purpose."

Carl Forslund:
"The experience that I had with the Center was nothing short of fabulous. The staff covered every detail and anticipated any needs I had before I even thought of them. As they may recall, I chose to speak to the art students from all three high schools and then visit each class individually. This was a blast and I would do it again in a minute."

Cameron VanDyke:
"It was an all around great experience. Their support from promotion, to installing the show, to reception volunteers, to continued encouragement has been a really meaningful part of my journey as an artist."

John AC Despres:
"My experience with the staff at the Forest Hills FAC was most enjoyable. Their knowledge, experience and willingness to help go a long way toward an overall wonderful experience. The beautiful facility has met the demands of every exhibit I've seen there."With a caring staff and an exquisite space, it doesn't get much better than the FHFAC."

John Neering:
"It was a pleasure working with you and your staff at the Center and I thourghly enjoyed the workshop with the Forest Hills teachers and their students."

Tom Clinton:
"It is always great to have a space in which to exhibit one's work, particularly a space as lovely as the Fine Arts Center. The staff was a pleasure to work with. But perhaps the the biggest surprise was how much I enjoyed working with the high school students. They were enthusiastic, receptive and engaged. I hope they had as good a time as I did."

FAC's Gallery Area