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MATTHEW SCOT DEHAEMERS (Vitae)
Matthew Dehaemers has recently recieved his Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin. During his final year of graduate school, he was a teaching assistant instructing beginning drawing. In his second year, he was the project assistant for the sculpture program, maintaining the sculpture facilities and assisting the beginning undergraduate sculpture classes. He received a B.F.A. in printmaking and painting from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. His collegiate work was influenced by a semester abroad through the Loyola Chicago Rome Center program during his junior year.
Mr. Dehaemers has extensive experience teaching and working with youth from a variety of cultural backgrounds and age groups. During his collegiate career Mr. Dehaemers spent four summers teaching a variety of visual art mediums to young students ranging from first to eighth grade through the Shawnee Mission Summer Art Enrichment Program in Johnson County, Kansas. Upon his college graduation, Mr. Dehaemers entered a volunteer program sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy called Mercy Corps. and co-sponsored by Americorp. He dedicated the next year of his life volunteering as a high school art teacher at St. Michael Indian School on the Navajo reservation in St. Michael, Arizona. After this experience Mr. Dehaemers later became an Americorp Vista working as a literacy volunteer recruiter for a predominantly African-American inner city elementary school in Kansas City, Kansas. Simultaneously he joined Storytellers, Inc., a non-profit community based art organization. He spent a summer being a facilitator for a job-training program for inner city youth. He worked with 15 inner city high school students to create a collaborative storybook that discusses the pressures of being an adolescent in the inner city. During this same time Mr. Dehaemers pioneered a printmaking program for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club after school program working with inner city junior high students at two sites in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.
Mr. Dehaemers has always sought out opportunities to collaborate with youth that he has worked with on mural projects. On the reservation, students aided him in giving their eighty-year-old gym a visual make over with new colors and murals to adorn the walls. Native American students also helped Mr. Dehaemers create a mural for the Window Rock Civic Center. While he was a literacy coordinator he created a 37X18-foot mural based on some historic ruins from the “Underground Railroad” that still exist behind the school. With community support the site of the ruins and the mural have been officially recognized as historical landmarks. Last summer Mr. Dehaemers helped facilitate a new summer program involving art for the students of Cherokee Middle School through Madison School-Community Recreation, Madison, WI. Recently Mr. Dehaemers completed a mural for Madison Hostel near downtown Madison. This last August, he completed a monumental, sculptural relief mural for Argyle School in Argyle, Wisconsin. A teacher who was awarded educator of the year in 1999 by the Kohler Corporation funded the mural.
Mr. Dehaemers wood sculptures are monumental in scale with a concern for developing constructions that are based on repetitive systems of joinery. His sculptures set out to strike a balance between the “exacting” quality of machine construction and the more “arbitrary” construction made by human hands.
Mr. Dehaemers hopes to continue his pursuits in teaching on a collegiate level. He is interested in developing large-scale community based art projects involving different ages and cultural groups. It is very important to Mr. Dehaemers to continue sharing his experiences and abilities as a person and as an artist so to positively effect the lives of our youth.