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Alex Gilford

I completed my BFA in 2011 with a major in Fine Arts Illustration & a minor in Art History at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. My time at Kendall is when I really started to develop the technical skills, language, and foundational understanding of the visual arts and its history. Since then, I continually grow my professional practice through exhibitions, commissions, and residencies. I strive to deepen my understanding of art history and theory through independent research and reading, improve upon my technical skills with constant practice, and try to always stay true to myself. I also completed an MA degree in Arts Administration at Eastern Michigan University in 2016 in order to learn more about the business side of being an artist as well as to further my career working in the field of arts and culture nonprofits. Currently, I work at Detroit Institute of Arts as a Studio Supervisor.

I started to regularly volunteer with citizen science activities at parks and a wildlife refuge as a way to intentionally stay immersed in and engaged with the natural environment. The more time that I spend volunteering, the more I learn about, value, and feel responsible for the ecosystems in my region. Painting en plein air is a minimally invasive outdoor activity that utilizes natural spaces and relies on the preservation of our natural resources. In this way, it is an extension of the stewardship activities that I am involved in. As the worlds of stewardship volunteerism and plein air painting began to merge for me, I became an Artist-in-Residence with Friends of the Porkies at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in 2019. This experience made it clear to me that my path going forward as an artist would be to work with environmental organizations and have my art benefit conservation efforts in whatever way that it can.

Alex Gilford