Erie Arts and Culture's April Visiting Artist was Christina Tsantekidou, who absolutely amazed us with her insight and commitment to her Art. Bringing a sense of community to her creative process, Christina left a lasting imprint on the Erie area.
As Erie Art and Culture’s Artist-In-Residence for April, Christina Tsantekidou brought a wealth of knowledge, balance, grace, and a willingness to learn to the Erie area. Immersing herself in the cultural landscape served to be both investigative, as well as inspirational, and she positively influenced aspiring artists through dialogue and demonstration.
While in residence with Erie Arts & Culture, Christina maintained a studio at Grounded Print and Paper Studio. She pursued a body of work on paper that utilized date pits as a tool for mark making. Throughout the duration of her residency, she created 50 new works on paper.
Early in her residency, Christina served as a guest juror for the 2022 Annual Student Exhibition, hosted by Allegheny Art Galleries. She worked with gallery director Paula Burleigh and art faculty members Ian F Thomas, Angie Jennings, Heather Brand, and Jack Honeyset. Student Lauren Schrock, class of 2023, received the jurors award for her photography work that was included in the exhibition.
To meet her deliverable of creating an edition while in residence, Christina collaborated with Jaden Estes Carlton, an MFA Candidate at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Jaden was also a Juror Choice Awardee for the Erie Art Museum’s 2022 Spring Show. Christina’s edition is a ceramic sculpture of a bean, an object that plays a prominent role throughout Christina’s body of work.
Christina also embarked on a project to archive oral histories of Erie residents who have stories of migration. She received guidance on collecting oral histories from KayAnn Warner, an archivist at the Hagen History Center. Working with Community Access Media, Christina recorded stories of community members who have migrated to Erie from Mongolia, India, Bosnia, Syria, Peru, and Antigua. Audio clips from these interviews will be used to create a soundscape installation, which will be exhibited internationally in 2022 or 2023.
Mid-way through her residency, Christina delivered an artist presentation at 10/20 Collective. The audience received context to her creative process and Christina discussed the roles that migration, politics, and identity have historically played in her work. The event also included a Q&A, during which Christina answered questions from the audience.
Christina also unveiled a participatory project at the Blasco Memorial Library, through which she invited community members to write “I Have Feelings Too” on a continuous scroll. The exercise was to motivate each participant to remember the times they felt ignored, unseen, or that their feelings didn’t matter. This scroll will travel with Christina to other cities around the world that she will be visiting in 2022 and will be part of a future exhibition.
During her residency, Christina bestowed upon the Erie community a breath of fresh air and inspired Erie artists, creatives, and culture bearers to consider the travels, plights, and insights of those who have immigrated from their native lands. Their stories, at risk of being lost to the throes of the passage of time, are tokens that drive Christina’s work. Her mastery of implementing unique materials, and remaining considerate to the experience of her subjects, is what makes her art so empathetic and spiritually balanced.