Category Archives: VISUAL ARTISTS


Iris Aranda is originally from Panama. When she was born, her parents did not realize she was deaf. When they realized (after she did not communicate with them) that she had been born deaf, they set about to do everything in their power to create a normal life for her.

When Iris was six years old, she discovered that she could communicate through paint, and she started creating works of art to express her emotions. Recognizing that her paintings were remarkable, Iris’ parents sent her to an art class, but because she was the only deaf student there and could not communicate, the class was a struggle. To try to help with the communication issue, Iris’ mother sent her to a school for the deaf in Argentina. There they tried to teach her to speak, read lips, and to write to communicate, but Iris continued to prefer to communicate through her art. Oral sounds held no meaning for her because her art was her expression and her mode of communication, and art was all that really mattered to her then. Her mother worried that Iris, as an artist, would not find work and be able to support herself, so she encouraged her to focus on improving her communication. Ultimately, though, Iris’ communication through art won out, and back to art school she went, where she continued to develop her own personal style.

Iris majored in art, and graduated with a BA degree, and continued on to attain her Master’s degree. She began to sell her paintings in Panama, and then traveled a bit to market her work more effectively. While traveling in Bermuda, she began wondering how her art would be received in the United States, so she sent a few of her paintings to friends in California for display. Her work was so well-received there, that she was invited to work and show her art there.

Additionally, friends in Wisconsin, also great fans of her work, invited her to come to Wisconsin as well, and it wasn’t long before Iris was also visiting Wisconsin, and has remained there to this day.

Iris now communicates in Spanish, English, American Sign Language, and a bit of French, but her art continues to be her ultimate language. Art has helped her to find a voice to communicate to an extent that might never have been possible otherwise. Iris also has an interpreter who helps her communicate as she travels from place to place, showing and selling her art.

Contact Iris Aranda:


“People who had moved away and who had forgotten how much they loved the lake would tell me stories about how much they miss it,”

Margaret Heller grew up in Kenosha and left after college traveling and living on the East Coast, the West Coast, the midwest (Iowa), Mexico, and Turkey. She returned to Kenosha after 40 years and is restoring an old home in Kenosha. She says:

“There is nothing like Lake Michigan. It is 1,100 cubic miles of fresh water that can change color and texture within moments. It continually awes me, especially in the winter months when the real drama begins. I wanted to take a photo a daily as a meditation to document all of its moods. Little did I know that the microburst of 6/30/11 would change the landscape permanently. I think I was able to get some of the last photos of the cotton woods and large trees at Southport Park before they were literally sucked out of the ground and laid down like match sticks.”


Brian Pier

My paintings are about the changing light and the way that it plays on the natural beauty that surrounds me

Brian Pier, a Wisconsin native was born in 1953 in the town of Kenosha Wisconsin. Brian began painting at an early age and immediately knew that his true purpose in life was to be an artist. At the age of 18 he left home and traveled throughout the U.S., constantly studying and painting the people and landscape around him, finally returning to Wisconsin five years later. Brian’s career took a different path and he worked in the construction industry continuing to paint whenever he had the opportunity. Throughout, art has remained an essential part of his life, and in 2008 he picked up his brushes full time. To his amazement Brian discovered that he could observe, understand and depict life through his paintings in ways he never had before.

I am primarily self taught, but am strongly influenced by many of the 19th and early 20th century masters. I study and paint every day, working only in oil and use a limited palette. My passion is painting plein air and I continually find drama in the landscapes and people that I paint.

Click HERE to contact Brian

Dominic (Nick) Cibrario – Visual Artist, Sculptor, Writer…

Living on a farm in rural Wisconsin had a great impact on Nick. At an early age he helped his family and Italian grandparents with the chores. Feeding the cows, chickens, pigs, and ducks were part of his daily routine. He attended a two room schoolhouse on Cooper Road with his three brothers. The school was named after the poet, John Greenleaf Whittier. Nick recalls that first through fourth grade were held in one room while fifth through eighth were in the other.

When Nick was in fifth grade his teacher wrote Robert Frost’s “The Pasture”, on the chalk board, which he memorized. While walking home from school down Bentz Road he recited verses from Longfellow’s “The Village Blacksmith”. Later in eighth grade he pondered the fate of the separated lovers in “Evangeline.”

Nick attended St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s for high school. During those years he grew to appreciate Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities and Conrad Richter’s Sea of Grass. He learned Latin by participating in the daily Mass as well as translating Julius Caesar’s Bellum Gallicae and Cicero’s Orations.

While attending teacher’s college in Union Grove, he boarded with Florence and Ward, the owners of Nelson’s Flower Shop. They taught him to appreciate the beauty of the Wisconsin sunsets and introduced him to society. He enjoyed reading sonnets from magazines on their coffee table in the sun room. During this time he studied Emerson, Thoreau, and Edgar Allen Poe. On Wednesday evenings he had literary discussions with his college friends at Ella’s Bar.

After transferring to the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, he continued his education. On weekends he hiked among the bluffs along the Mississippi River, reflecting upon the writings of Mark Twain. During his leisure time, he played “Come Back to Sorrento” and “Old Man River” from Showboat on the piano. On Saturday night he patronized the Rustic Inn, a pub near the waterfront.

Nick often stayed up all night reading. He was greatly influenced by Tom Dooley’s The Night They Burned The Mountain, Albert Schweitzer’s Out of My Life And Thought, and Louis Fisher’s Gandhi’s Truth.

He joined the Peace Corps in 1962, destined for Nepal. He felt at home among the Hindus and Buddhists. While in this Himalayan Kingdom he taught high school in the mountainous village of Bhimpedi. During the monsoon season he worked at the Paropakar Orphanage in Kathmandu. In his second year he was transferred to a high school in Kalaiya, a town near the Indian border. At this time he was introduced to the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Nick was especially grateful for the friendship of Krishna Upadhaya, who taught him Sanskrit verses from the Bhagavad Gita.

Upon returning to the U.S.A., Nick entered a Jesuit Novitiate for two years, where he studied theology, Latin and New Testament Greek. After leaving the Jesuits, he finished his B.A. degree in English, concentrating upon the Renassiassance. He then did graduate work in South Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Nick taught English and Latin at William Horlick High School in Racine, Wisconsin from 1970 until he retired in 2000. He was influential in bringing the Cambridge Latin Course to the local high schools. Nick especially enjoyed teaching Latin and taking his students on trips to Europe. He was greatly influenced by Dr. Ed Phinney, the President of the American Classical League. Ed encouraged him to take courses in Classical Greek through the University of Massachusetts.

After he retired, Nick returned to Nepal for a Peace Corps Reunion. At that time he updated The Kathmandu Trilogy, which he wrote during a sabbatical leave from 1976-1977. The author is currently a member of The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. He belongs to the American Classical League and the Chicago Classical Club. His poetry has been published in the Root River Anthologies (1987- 1988), Yes Press, Wisconsin Poets Calendar 1997, and the Christian Science Newsletter.

He also belongs to Friends of the Library, the Racine Art Guild, the Kenosha Art Association, and the Wustum/Ram Museums. When he is not writing, he takes courses in drawing and painting, attends the opera, and does volunteer work in the community.

Nick has been married to Geri for thirty four years. He spends as much time with his wife and three children as possible, but during the first, third, and fifth Sundays of the month, he studies Sanskrit at a Hindu temple in the Chicago area.

Dominic J. Cibrario
Phone: (262)634-5386
Website: The Pomelo Tree

Sandra Nowicki – Visual Artist
“Images of animals, especially horses, are the focus of my art. I love to express the energy of animals in dynamic compositions. Capturing the personality of a companion animal or a wild animal is also very important to me.”

Artist’s Statement by Sandra Nowicki

I enjoy creating art using a variety of artistic materials. I design, and paint by hand, beautiful, brightly colored silk scarves with portraits of horses, dogs, and cats. I paint scarves in several sizes as well as a square shaped scarf. I also paint silk wall hangings of animal portraits suitable for framing. My hand painted silk scarves are very fashionable and all the designs are one of a kind originals.

The rich textures of wool fiber inspire me to create three dimensional sculptures of horses, sheep, and goats. I have even made sculptures of pets using their own hair from grooming. The sizes of these fiber sculptures is from eight inches to twenty-four inches in height. These sculptures have a presence that really stands out in an exhibition.

I use clay to sculpt animals in energetic poses. I want the animal to look as if it is moving. White porcelain and brown textured clays are my favorite high fire types of clay. They are the perfect material for carving textures and patterns on animals like stripes on a tiger or fur on a polar bear.

My mixed media collages are imaginative interpretations of animal and nature themes. I use my own handmade papers and combine them with my watercolor paintings, drawing, prints, and found objects. The result is a richly textured and interesting artwork with lots of surprising detail.
Drawing and painting in pencil, pastel, watercolor, gouache, acrylics, and oil are all mediums that combine all my artistic skills and fuel my artistic ideas and inspirations.

Sandra Nowicki can be contacted at Pegasus Studios