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“ Art has the power to heal the soul”- Michelle Sider
A Michigan-based mixed media artist, Michelle Sider’s detailed works draw from a globally-informed and thoughtful perspective.
In her illustrations, paintings and especially her lush and detailed glass mosaics, Sider is known for exploring the themes of identity, of seeking a sense of place, and featuring light and spirituality.
Sider has perfected a painterly style and her works are often recognized by bold, colorful designs and expressive content. A richness and depth is expressed in Sider’s work that often evokes emotions in those who view and experience it.
“My work has been described as having an ethereal and painterly quality,” Sider has noted.
That may be most applicable to her mosaics. Sider was inspired to make glass mosaics after viewing them at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and on travels abroad to Italy and Israel. She studied the techniques locally and later with artists in Italy, Israel, Belgium, Detroit, Boston and Costa Rica to develop her style. Her painting background strongly informs the realistic and abstract approach she takes with mosaics.
Underneath each of her mosaics is a fully-completed and highly detailed painting which serves as a guide to the overall look and feel of the finished work.
Since 2019, she’s been developing this series of mosaics titled “I am Yemenite.” The works are meant to challenge perceptions of immigrants, and in particular share the story of Jews of Arab descent. She’s embraced the history behind these works and hopes to spark conversations about the experience of immigrants, minorities, assimilation vs. maintaining identity and of people of color living in different regions of the world.
Concurrently, Sider has been creating glass mosaic and gold works focusing on reflected light and light filled landscapes. She expresses her gratitude and awe for the beauty that exists in our complicated world through these works.
“In times like these we turn to the arts as a way to relax, decompress or change our mood. I thought it would be fun to focus on the theme of reflected light while using reflective materials such as glass and gold. Surrounding yourself with beauty can help you have a positive and grateful view which I think is very healthy for the mind, body and soul.” she said.
In yet another exciting body of work, Sider has created her "On the Side of the Road" series. Michigan’s roads get a lot of attention – primarily because areas are often in need of repair. However Sider found something else along the state’s scenic roadways – inspiration. Using the patterns created by crumbling asphalt, tar, strewn rocks, debris, grasses and other materials which inspire the abstract patterns in her work, Sider creates exquisitely textured mosaics. Incorporating glass, stone, metal, bicycle parts, beads and other materials into her painterly approach to mosaic allows her to incorporate beauty and array of textures into artful pieces fit for any collector.
Michelle Y. Sider is a Michigan-based mixed media artist whose well-traveled global perspective informs the detailed illustrations, paintings and mosaics she creates. A full-time artist, she focuses on her own projects and commissioned works from her studio in the metro Detroit area.
Sider is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1982. She sees art as a tool that can help others and chose to further her education, earning both a masters and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Detroit in 1985 and 1992 respectively.
Sider continues her art education on a consistent basis, learning with painters and mosaic artists including: Robert Wilbert, Leslie Masters, Robert Schefman, Mireille Swinnen, Yulia Hanansen, Carol Shelkin, Stanley Rosenthal, Dani Katzir, Barbara Cashman, Gail Rosenberg, Pini Gur, Edna Segev, Laura Rendlen, Yael Draznin Blumberger, Kelly Knickerbocker, Tami Macala, and Gila Rayburn.Sider initially focused her career in psychology and taught art classes while she raised her children and stayed connected to her community.
“I had always held onto the dream of working full-time as an artist,” she said. ‘I told myself ‘Michelle, you CAN do everything you want, just not all at the same time.”
And of course, it proved to be true. After 40 years of teaching art privately, offering workshops and teaching high school, she narrowed her focus in 2016 to pursue art full-time.
Sider began her art career as a painter, working in watercolor, pastel, acrylic and oil. Her work has evolved to include lush glass mosaics, each one built atop a fully realized painting. She occasionally hand-paints ketubot, an ancient art form of Jewish legal marriage contracts. Sider splits her time between her own art projects and commissioned pieces.
She is perhaps most passionate about a series of mosaics she began in 2019 titled “I am Yemenite.” The works represent her most ambitious project to date and hundreds of hours of work and research. Sider is looking to exhibit this series in a museum and working toward that goal.
Nearly 6 days a week, Sider can be found in her art studio, often laser-focused on a project late into the evening hours.
“I must create” she said. “It is the essence of my being. I am continually thinking about how I can translate my experiences into art and this process is gratifying for me. The quiet concentration of working in my studio is very enjoyable as is the challenge of pushing myself with each piece to see if I can accomplish something new each time. I do also enjoy sharing my work with others.”
Sider has illustrated and co-authored two books with Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff titled “Never Long Enough: Finding Comfort and Hope Amidst Grief and Loss” in and “Never Long Enough Workbook/Coloring Book.” Building on her background as a psychologist who worked with children and families dealing with life-threatening diseases, these books provide powerful tools for those grieving or dealing with end of life and legacy concerns.
Sider, 60, currently resides in Huntington Woods, Mich. with her husband Bill. The couple have three adult sons, Josh, Eli and Ben Sider, and all are regularly entertained by the family dog, Juneau.
A lifelong Michigander, Sider spends her free time hiking, swimming, biking, gardening and dancing. She studied ballet and has played viola in an orchestra for years. She’s a master gardener and an advocate for protecting the environment who also volunteers at a local food bank. And her favorite place to spend summer days, when she’s not in her studio, is hands-down her garden, which has been certified as a butterfly habitat.
Society of American Mosaic Artists,
Mosaic Artists of Michigan,
Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club
Selected Press Coverage:
*Today’s Featured SAMA Professional Member is Michelle Sider, learn more about her here: https://americanmosaics.org/featured-member-michelle-sider/
*Mosaic artists eases pain of pandemic with scenes of Michigan beauty-The Oakland Press
*Artist Michelle Sider has created a new series-Detroit Jewish News https://issuu.com/detroitjewishnews/docs/djn_082720_lr/s/10918582
*Take 5, Featured artist, New England Mosaic Artists Newsletter, June 2020 Edition.
*In their new book, Joseph Krakoff and Michelle Sider help others cope with loss — Suzy Farbman
*Grief Chat Radio Interview (video)- KDWA
*Krakoff, Sider collaborate on book that can bring comfort to mourners – Detroit Jewish News.
2020: 12x12 DFAB, Installation by the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club, Kayrod Gallery, Detroit, MI
2020: Steam Exhibit, Janice Charach Gallery, W. Bloomfield, MI.
2019: Bond- 5 Mosaic Artists, South Haven Center for the Arts, South Haven, MI.
2019: Mosaic Artists of Michigan Exhibit, Lapeer Center for the Arts, Lapeer, MI.
2019: Huntington Woods Artists Walk, Huntington Woods, MI.
2019: Never Long Enough Art Exhibit, Huntington Woods Gallery, Huntington Wds., MI.
2019: Origins Exhibit, Janice Charach Gallery, W. Bloomfield, MI.
2019: Mosaic installation, Beaumont, Royal Oak, MI.
2018: Lowell Arts Gallery Mosaic Artists of Michigan Show.
2018: Future Former: An Exhibition of Alumni Work, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
2018: Palate to Palette: Art & Appetite Exhibit, Crooked Tree Arts Ctr., Traverse City, MI
2018: One Woman Art Exhibit, Williamston Theatre, Williamston, MI.
2018: Mosaic installation, St. Joseph Hospital, Pontiac, MI.
1982, B.F.A., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
1980-1981 Junior year abroad: Center for Creative Studies and Wayne State University Art Department, Detroit, MI.
1985, M.A. Clinical Psychology, University of Detroit, Detroit, MI.
1992, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Detroit, Detroit, MI.
Continued art education with the following artists:
Robert Wilbert, Leslie Masters, Robert Schefman, Mireille Swinnen, Yulia Hanansen, Carol Shelkin, Stanley Rosenthal, Dani Katzir, Barbara Cashman, Gail Rosenberg, Pini Gur, Edna Segev, Laura Rendlen, Yael Draznin Blumberger, Kelly Knickerbocker, Tami Macala, and Gila Rayburn.
2020: Featured Society of American Mosaic Artists Professional Member https://americanmosaics.org/featured-member-michelle-sider/020:
2020:Third place winner Canvas Pontiac and Detroit Institute of Arts Competition. Work can be viewed in a 10’x10’ print displayed in downtown Pontiac beginning in 2021. Link: https://www2.facebook.com/watch/?v=772392130176325&extid=0985gHuHY8leoL8e
2020: Featured artist presentation at Mosaic Artist of Michigan meeting Sept. 2020.
2020: Featured artist presentation at New England Mosaic Society annual meeting Oct. 2020.
2020: Featured artist in private artists online group, “Mosaics” with over 12,000 members.
2019: Featured artist in private artists online group, “Mosaics” with over 12,000 members.
2018: One Woman Art Exhibit, Williamston Theatre, Williamston, MI.
2017: Co- authored and illustrated, “Never Long Enough - Finding comfort and hope amidst grief and loss.”
2019: Co- authored and illustrated, “Never Long Enough Workbook/Coloring Book.”
Art teacher, Frankel Jewish Academy, West Bloomfield, MI
Art teacher, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI
Art teacher, private for 40 years, various locations.
Clinical Psychologist, private practice in Southfield and Farmington Hills, MI
Community art projects:
2019: Glass mosaic bench project, South Haven Ctr. for Arts, South Haven, MI.
2017: Glass mosaic, Farber Day School, Southfield, MI
2017: Mosaic installation, Farber Day School, Southfield, MI
2015: Taught Miriam’s Cup art project, B'nai Moshe, West Bloomfield, MI.
2014: Designed museum exhibit, “Across the Board”, Shalom Street, West Bloomfield, MI.
2013: Art consultant, JCC Maccabi Games & Arts Festival, W. Bloomfield, MI
2013: Artist in Residence, AISH Sunday School, Oak Park, MI.
2012: Taught Class at “Day of Learning”, Detroit Jewish Federation., West Bloomfield, MI.
2013: Designed museum exhibit, “Israel @ 65”, Shalom Street, est. Bloomfield, MI.
2004-2012: Designed communal spaces, F.J.A. , W. Bloomfield, MI.
2004-2012: Design communal spaces, Akiva Hebrew Day School, Southfield, MI.
2011- 2015: Portrait project, Fleishman & Meer Senior Life Program, W. Bloomfield, MI.
2009: Designed stained glass windows, Young Israel of Oak Park, Oak Park, MI.
2009: Designed and created ark and podium, Congregation Shir Tikvah, Troy, MI.
2008: Co-designed scenery Maccabi Event, Michigan State Fairgrounds Detroit, MI.
2008: Art Lecture, Young Israel of Southfield, Southfield, MI.
2008: Designed and directed public mosaic, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Bloomfield. Hls., MI.
2008: Designed and directed public glass mosaic, B’nai Moshe, West Bloomfield, MI.
2007 Created scenery, Jewish Federation Community event, Southfield, MI.
2005 Art and teaching consultant, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Southfield, MI.
2005: Directed community project, Frankel Jewish Academy, West Bloomfield, MI
2005-2007- Designed art for Women’s Tri-Synagogue Committee, Oak Park, MI
2004 Created a ceramics program, Akiva Hebrew Day School, Southfield, MI.
2003-2011: Jewish Federation “Artists in the Schools Program,” Metropolitan Detroit.
Designed and implemented curriculum based school art projects.
2002-2012. Co-developed art program, Akiva Hebrew Day School in Southfield, MI
2002 Glass mosaic art project at Camp Ramah, Ontario, Canada.
2000 Created murals for the Jewish Community Center in Oak Park, MI.
Mixed media artist, detailed glass mosaic, paintings, lush color, bold design