Portraits in Creativity

By Katie Vaughn | Photography by Hillary Schave

When you hear of a “creative person,” does an image of a painter toiling over a canvas or a sculptor shaping clay on a potter’s wheel come to mind? Yet leading an artistic life is so much broader than that — and it’s not just for some people or certain types of work, say four local creatives who have paved their own unique paths in art.

Maria Amalia: Stitching Connections

Years ago when her son was very young, Maria Amalia would drive the streets of Madison until he fell asleep in his car seat. She spent hours looking into horizons, noticing the colors of sunsets and the patterns of birds. It got her thinking about migrations and connections, sparking ideas for a new collaborative project and nudging her to dig deeper into her own story.

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Sharon L. Bjyrd: Painting a Bigger Picture

Art had always held a place in Sharon L. Bjyrd’s life, but it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with a chronic illness in 2012 that there was space for it to take on a more prominent role.

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Angela Johnson: Finding Meaning in Memory

Years ago while she was a graduate student, Angela Johnson helped her aunt organize family photos. Seeing images of her dad as a child, great-grandparents she never met and relatives who looked like her struck a chord — one that would carry through her work as an artist, educator and creativity coach.

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Sarah Krajewski: Empowering Expression

At the beginning of each art class she teaches at Cambridge Elementary School, Sarah Krajewski leads her students in reciting a mantra: I am positive. I am creative. I am mindful. I am amazing. I am an artist.”

Those simple but powerful words set the tone both for the day’s lesson and for students’ lives outside the classroom.

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