2023 Artists in Residence Recipients

By Hannah Coleman-Zaitzeff

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Artist in Residence Program, a central aspect of our Arts in Nature program. We received a total of 215 submissions from 34 states and 27 countries, including Bangladesh, Korea, Ukraine, Kenya, Barbados, Italy, and Australia! 

We also received  a record number of regional artist applicants with 40 from Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and 55 artists who applied to Bernheim’s Environmental Artist in Residence program.


Vallorie Henderson 

Longtime Louisville resident now based in Berea, Vallorie Henderson is our Regional Artist in Residence, and she is proud of her rural Kentucky roots. Vallorie has created a blended career that includes the production of her own line of contemporary textile work as well as a variety of business development positions over the past 30 years. Having learned her weaving techniques from her grandmother, a prominent and renowned basket weaver of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, Vallorie is looking to combine her own unique style of vessel making with natural fibers and textiles with her traditional weaving background at her Bernheim residency. 

Vallorie will be at Bernheim throughout the year to experience every season that the forest has to offer.


Lined Nest by Vallorie Henderson


Photo by Anne-Marie Desmarais

Nicole Banowetz 

Nicole Banowetz is a Colorado-based sculptor and educator who sews inflatable sculptures and delicate assembled forms inspired by the natural world. Past installations have been inspired by algae, bacteria, parasitic fungus, viruses, Radiolaria, rotifers, and dinoflagellates. The artist enjoys creating artwork in new environments because she finds inspiration in different landscapes and cultures. “My work creates a unique combination of the familiar and the strange which allows viewers to question the world around them.”

Banowetz proposes to create a site-specific inflatable that explores the animal, plant, mineral, and bacterial worlds native to the Bernheim landscape. The work will be playful, unique, and site-specific to excite and educate Bernheim visitors. Nicole will be at Bernheim in early spring for a full month before returning later in the year for the final touches and installation of her work.



Concerning Plants by Nicole Banowetz


Sam Hensley  

Sam Hensley is a Chicago-based artist who creates animatronic creatures from thrifted and salvaged materials and writes comics about them. In recent years, they have begun to combine these crafts by performing live readings of the comics, accompanied by their animatronic stars. 

Originally from rural Kentucky, the artist was fascinated by the magic and mystery of the region’s forests and began to give life to the strange and sacred beings they believed lived there. Carrying that sentiment with them to all the places they have gone since, Hensley began creating fantastical creatures that can give life to those beings. Their work instigates a lot of empathy for which isn’t human and their creatures’ unsettling and charming traits have actively helped viewers combat biophobia (the fear or dislike of nature) by reframing organic things they see in real life.   

Hensley will be at Bernheim this spring and again in the fall to explore the forest and create an animatronic character and comic book with Bernheim as the setting.


Sam Hensley’s Creature “Miss Simple Goodness”


La Vispera / Environmental Artists in Residence

Bernheim’s Environmental Artist in Residence recipient is La Vispera, an art collective comprised of Kelly Jimenez and Alejandro Franco, two Colombian artists now based in Pittsburgh, whose primary discipline is the use of discarded materials to create highly crafted works of art.

Driven to make work that approaches the ecological crisis, La Vispera began creating art out of single use plastics. Their work confronts the world’s reckless creation of plastic using fossil fuels, a significant portion of our oil supply, and the thoughtless way we throw away this environmentally damaging material by turning it into beautiful stained glass inspired pieces of art. La Vispera will be at Bernheim in April and May, where they will create a portrait of the forest as a large stained glass work.


Steal Mill a Granite City by La Vispera


Honorable Mentions

Bernheim was honored to receive a variety of strong applications this year. The following artist’s were finalists in the review process:

Arts in Nature Finalists

Stuart Frost

Nikki Pike

Regional Artist Finalists

Valerie Sullivan Fuchs

Kris Grenier

Environmental Artist Finalists

Cynthia Minet

Devan Horton

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