Project Space Grantees


Kate Casanova

Kate Casanova has long been fascinated with the paradoxical relationship we have with our bodies. We know our bodies intimately and yet they are utterly mysterious. Even as science explains more and more about how we function, these processes remain largely invisible inside oneself. Casanova will use her Project Space Grant to create an exhibition of abstract sculptures that explore this paradoxical experience of being a body. Through her sculptures, she will explore the following questions: Is the human body a single organism or an ecosystem? Do I begin and end at my skin? What am I?

Kate has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the Black Cube Nomadic Museum (Denver), the Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis) and reference: contemporary (Toronto). She received a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 2008. She is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Denver.

Kolman & Reeb Gallery will host Kate’s Project Space exhibition June 8 through August 10, 2024.

Jil Evans

Abstract painter Jil Evans intends to create short narrative videos of Minnesota light that explore the ways the light around us expresses the inner experiences of our mind – our psyche. Jil’s Project Space grant activities will complement her painting pursuits examining light in the natural world and her interest in the history of painting. The overarching narrative for Evans’ project is her response to, and engagement with, a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth, Till We Have Faces, by CS Lewis (1956). Working with a narrative or myth as a foundation for this project will bring specific and shareable content to the public, while providing an opportunity for Jil to build a visual vocabulary through video, a new artistic medium for her. 

Jil’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably in Minneapolis, Chicago, Memphis, Miami Beach, New York, Washington D.C., Paris, and Rome.  Her work is held in both private and public collections, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Walker Art Center. Jil has been awarded a Jerome Foundation Grant, Arts Midwest/ National Endowment for the Arts award, two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants, and a Pew Grant to study and paint in Italy. Jil has also participated in residencies at the American Academy in Rome and at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She is one of four Minnesota painters featured in the documentary film Painting the Place Between.

Kolman & Reeb Gallery will host Jil’s Project Space exhibition March 18 through May 6, 2023.


Chris Rackley

Chris Rackley, known for his miniature replicas of the stockroom and shoe store where his father worked, is using his Project Space grant to create a new series of 10 dioramas based on his “memory and research of the shopping mall where I grew up,” he wrote in his proposal. The free-standing dioramas “will explore how my personal narrative of childhood solitude intersects with larger cultural narratives of excess, abundance, and independence associated with the visual endlessness of the shopping mall. This shift will allow me to investigate the relationship between spectacle and intimacy by combining the miniature and the cinematic.” The project will also include an interactive video installation using green-screen technology. 

Chris’s work has been exhibited at Rochester Art Center, Minnesota; DeVos Art Museum, Michigan; Boston Cyberarts, Massachusetts; Open Space Gallery, Maryland; Artisphere, Virginia; and Transformer, Washington DC; and other art spaces regionally and nationally. His collaborative work has been shown at Badischer Kunstverein, Germany; Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC; and Mair Museum of Art, Virginia.

Rackley earned a Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College and an Master’s of Fine Art from George Mason University. Rackley was an adjunct professor at Winona State University before earning an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and an Art(ists) On the Verge Fellowship in the same year, allowing him to begin working full-time in his studio. Rackley served on the Board of Directors for the Rochester Art Center in Minnesota and currently serves on the Davidson Arts and Creative Engagement Advisory Board for Davidson College in North Carolina. He currently lives and works in Rochester, Minnesota.

Kolman & Reeb Gallery will host Chris’ Project Space exhibition August 27 through October 21, 2023.

Cameron Zebrun

Cameron Zebrun’s artwork is fueled by new experiences in nature. His Project Space grant will provide him the resources to travel for an extended period to record direct observations at several National Parks in the United States and Canada. The travel will expand and replenish his experience base through interaction with and direct observations of “new and extraordinary places.” He will create a gallery installation that will become a visual journal of his travel experiences. The installation in the gallery space will include sculpture, painting, collage, models, and photography, as well as investigations into alternate methods of presentation.

Cameron is a sculptor and photographer who lives and works in Minneapolis. He has an extensive record of solo and group exhibitions nationally including Arts North International, Hopkins Center for the Arts, North of the 45th, DeVos Art Museum, Pulse Art Fair in Miami Beach, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Scope Art Fair in Miami Beach and New York City, Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota; Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, and St. Mary’s University. 

Cameron has received three Minnesota State Artist Initiative Grants in 2005, 2015, and 2019. He was an Artist in Residence at Grand Marias Artist Colony and at the Petrified Forest National Park, and he was a member of Form+Content Gallery in Minneapolis between 2009 and 2015.

From 1991 through 2017, Cameron was employed at the Walker Art Center as Director of Program Services. As part of Walker Art Center’s team, Cameron managed the technical installation of all art works for the renovation of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which reopened in 2017. Also, during his time at the Walker, Cameron managed the technical installation of all exhibitions for Walker’s Visual Arts Program. 

Cameron earned a Master’s Degree of Fine Art at Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Art at Cleveland Institute of art.  

Kolman & Reeb Gallery will host Cameron’s Project Space exhibition January 14 through March 11, 2023.


Betsy Ruth Byers

Betsy has systematically shifted the focus of her work to intentionally address climate change through visual representations of ice since her sabbatical research in 2017-2018 of glaciers in Glacier National Park. She is drawn specifically to disappearing glaciers for two reasons. One, glaciers are sensitive indicators to climate change due to their isolated nature. Two, the landscape of glaciers has historically been connected to the human experience of the sublime in nature and art.

The Project Space Grant has enabled Betsy to move from two-dimensional painting to installation-based work as she has developed a of a full-scale gallery installation inspired by glacial loss due to climate change. The exhibition. entitled, Scaffold, is a multi-sensory, multi-media manifestation of Betsy’s alpine and equatorial glacial experiences and the global realities related to climate change.

For several years, Byers has accompanied scientists on trips to various glaciers, hiked the Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps, and observed how glacier tourism now requires bridges and ladders to reach receding and melting glaciers.

“Many people’s experiences of arctic, alpine, and tropical glaciers (often located on equatorial volcanoes) are through screens, and through the speed of social media,” Betsy says. “In this exhibition, through which I’ve been processing my experiences, I hope to create contemplative, sensory spaces people can step into and come to an embodied understanding of what’s happening in our world.”

Betsy continues, “The work within Scaffold, is visually anchored in the aesthetic of survival gear—colors like bright orange and metallic reflectives—and the language of temporary solutions and adaptations.” Elements include a survival tent, a soundscape created from heartbeats heard via a digital stethoscope, paintings, and an olfactory piece. “Smell is so connected to brain function. My goal is to create an interactive space that engages the senses and creates physical lasting memories of the exhibition.”

Betsy also wants viewers to consider concepts such as time and change, the temporary, and ideas of survival. “The earth is reacting to climate change in survival mode, and we are slow to act. I hope to create a space in which people can contemplate this and let the elements of installation affect them physically.”

Betsy chose to study art “because art classes challenged me more than anything else.”  After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in studio art from St. Olaf College, she was awarded a Master of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She shares her love and enthusiasm for making art with students as an Associate Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College. Her work has been exhibited at numerous venues both nationally and internationally, such as. PULSE Miami Beach 2019, SCOPE New York 2017, the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul, DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University, Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus Adolphus College, Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, Guilford Art Center in Guilford, Connecticut; The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, The Institute Gallery in Sogndal, Norway; and the National Galleries of Scotland. Her work resides in several private, corporate, and museum collections including the Weisman Art Museum, Hillstrom Museum of Art, Target Corporation, Nordstrom Corporation, BMO Harris Bank, LPM Corporation, and Allina Health Center.


Kolman & Reeb Gallery will hosted Betsy’s Project Space exhibition March 19 through May 7, 2022.

James Holmberg

James Holmberg chose to use his Kolman & Reeb Gallery Project Space grant to investigate loss, memory, and transformation through a painting process of accumulation and erasure captured with video and experienced via an app, entitled, “Absence Show,” which is available in the App Store or on Google Play. By so doing, James has married his two interests, art and technology, and has sent his artistic practice in a new direction and taken the next step in his artistic evolution. “The grant has completely given me the freedom to explore some of the conceptual ideas I’ve been grappling with for a long time,” he says.

James’ exhibition, Absence, includes five canvases that James painted, scraped off, washed with mineral spirits, and painted again 12 times, while he was recording the process on video. The ghost paintings on each of the five canvases can only be viewed by downloading the app, “Absence Show,” via a smartphone or tablet. The app reveals the images attached to each canvas, images that now only exist in the cloud.

While the canvases retain the ghostly memories of previous paintings, generating a sense of loss and impermanence with each iteration, they’re also digital assets through which memories remain intact. The exhibition also includes a pedestal on which James troweled all of the paint or content from the canvases. “The pedestal is a collective of all the canvases and paint that was used. It’s a sculpture.” 

“I’m questioning the importance of an image, of a painting, at a time when we’re mostly sharing images via cell phones, which in turn brings up questions about the numbing abundance of imagery. The work also investigates feelings of creative loss, which is uncomfortable and challenging for me,” he adds. “The real core of the show and project is about absence and presence and transition, and the ability to let go.”

James is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where he remains both a mentor and Alumni Board member. He is well known as an abstract painter and long-time artist with Circa Gallery in Minneapolis, and he has had two shows at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Along with his successful visual art practice, James is co-founder of Kinetic Legacy and partner and principal designer at Kinetic Contemporary, the interior design and art consulting division of Kinetic Design Build. James has had a long career in creating physical and conceptual structures that allow a space to do its job most efficiently. Whether it’s designing floor layouts that use color and shape to guide customers through major department stores, building functional closets and storage areas out of the formerly unused nooks and crannies in a client’s home or conceiving of a digital platform to house stories and memories that would otherwise be lost to time, James understands how to create structures that are multidimensional, intuitive, and approachable.

Kolman & Reeb Gallery hosted James’ Project Space exhibition September 11 through October 30, 2021.

Kelly Jean Ohl

Kelly Jean’s creates intricately carved ceramic artworks that are engaging because the viewer is often able to touch and pick up her objects resulting in an intimate and sensory experience. Kelly Jean will use her grant to investigate enlarging the scale of her artworks to give her the opportunity to create more dramatic interactions with her audience.

Logistically, the physical properties of the clay come into play when making larger sculptural forms. The grant will enable her to take time to research new clay bodies, test clay wall thicknesses, and tensile strength. Kelly Jean will purchase a new electric kiln that will accommodate the larger clay objects she hopes to create.

Kelly Jean will also utilize the time to experiment and explore the scale, size, and installation of her ceramic art. Kelly Jean envisions making larger sculptural objects, wall installations, and a large mobile of 300 specimen/rattle/organic forms, loosely based on her spherical ceramic balls and rattles. This mobile will hang from Kolman & Pryor Gallery’s ceiling on heavy monofilament thread. This will be, for her, a segue from her current work into the larger forms. 

Kelly Jean received a Bachelor’s Degree in both Theatre and Art, as well as a Master of Arts degree with an emphasis in ceramics from Minnesota State University.  She also earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan. She taught foundation art courses at Winona State University for three years. Her work has been featured and sold in over 70 galleries across 25 states. It is also in private collections in all 50 states and internationally. Kelly Jean’s ceramic work can also be found in public and corporate collections in the US and around the world.

Kolman & Reeb Gallery will host Kelly Jean’s Project Space exhibition October 28, 2023 through January 6, 2024.

Jodi Reeb

The focus of Jodi’s artwork has always been about the beauty of nature and finding inspiration from nature’s extraordinary colors, light, and shapes. Although primarily a painter, Jodi has recently begun creating sculptures that reflect some of the shapes, lines, and textures she finds in nature. Her Project Space grant has allowed her to explores new materials and new spaces in which to create free-form assemblages, paintings, and sculptures that explore the qualities of nature that feeds her with artistic creativity. 

For her Project Space exhibition, Emergence, Jodi is connecting with the gallery space through a series of sculptures, paintings, and site-specific installations. Jodi originally began working with the concepts she explores in Emergence during a workshop she attended four years ago, where she’d construct a temporary installation, then tear it down, every morning and afternoon. “I became intrigued with the idea of place and site-specific artworks, and ideas about economy of means as I worked through each installation using materials such as wire, tape, string, and newsprint,” she says. “I also became interested in the idea of the three-dimensional line, mark-making objects, and creating shadows on the wall. The Project Space grant has allowed me to take time out of my schedule to fully experiment with these ideas and bring them to fruition.”

Jodi intends to utilize the gallery’s cement columns, wood floor, and ceiling beams in order to “push the sculptures off the walls and into the space,” she explains. The materiality throughout the gallery, which also includes a brick back wall and sheetrock or drywall surfaces, has inspired Reeb, as have the gallery’s corners and flat surfaces. Reeb will also incorporate organic shapes in the work, along with tubing, tape, wax, and wire.

Jodi has been a full-time artist and teacher for over 20 years.  She has taught printmaking, acrylic and encaustic painting as well as book arts. She is a CORE instructor for R&F Handmade Paints and is a GOLDEN Acrylic Paints Artist Educator. Jodi’s artwork has been shown nationally and is in many private and corporate collections including Target Corporation, United Health Care Group, Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis, and Wells Fargo Mortgage in Minneapolis. She was the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in 2018.  Jodi graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD) where she instructed printmaking for almost a decade.

Kolman & Reeb Gallery will host Jodi’s Project Space exhibition August 27 through October 27, 2022.

Julie Snidle

Julie Snidle


For years, Julie has been fascinated by the color, shape, and texture of Xanthoria parietina. The bright yellow-orange lichen that cling to the grey rocks along Minnesota’s North Shore and the East and West Coasts are, to Julie, some of the most beautiful. For her project, Julie sought to learn more about these amazing organisms and to create  abstract paintings and install them in the Kolman & Reeb Project Space as an exhibition. In addition to the paintings, Julie envisions this exhibit as an opportunity to introduce the viewer to some basic lichen biology as well as an introduction to the encaustic process.

The motivation for the exhibition, Artistic Lichens, came to Julie while she was attending an encaustic conference on Cape Cod. “I’d walk out onto a nearby seawall, which was comprised of gray boulders encrusted with bright, yellow-orange lichens, Xanthoria parientina,” she recalls. “I couldn’t stop looking at them. I knew I had to create a new body of work inspired by those beautiful lichens.”

The Kolman & Reeb Gallery Project Space Grant made it possible for Julie to paint 51 abstract encaustic artworks of different sizes: “A whole gallery of paintings that celebrates these fascinating organisms,” she says. “Even though I’ve done a lot of research on lichens the paintings are not scientifically accurate. They’re not biological studies. They’re abstracted interpretations.” Encaustic, or beeswax, she adds, “has a wonderful malleability that adds multi-dimensionality to the paintings. The series has allowed me to explore new and unusual methods to achieve the colors, textures, and shapes I’ve appreciated for so long.”

Julie concludes the Project Space Grant has “opened a pathway for me to explore the idea of abstracting nature. I see something every day that catches my eye, a color combination, a play of light and shadow, an unusual plant. Through this grant, and the making of this work, I’m now comfortable with the idea of abstracting those visual surprises. I hope visitors to the gallery delight in what I’ve achieved.”

With a degree in education, Julie taught professionally in the classroom and was a corporate training administrator in Dallas, Texas, before following her passion for art and painting. A self-taught artist, Julie is a Core Teaching Artist for R&F Handmade Paints. Julie has taught at the International Encaustic Conference held annually in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and she continues to teach workshops in her studio and across the country. Julie’s work appears in numerous galleries and in private collections throughout the United States.

Kolman & Reeb Gallery will host Julie’s Project Space exhibition June 11 through August 6, 2022.