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Artist in Residence Jaymee Willms at Schoofs Preserve

Jaymee Harvey Willms: Artist in Residence at Schoofs Preserve

August 28, 2021  |  Topics: Articles

The Natural Realm presents Jaymee Harvey Willms, who is among 17 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, Tall Pines Conservancy, and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. The mission of ARTservancy is to promote the visionary work of both the artists and conservationists. Each artist has selected a preserve to spend time in and to engage with.

Artist Statement by Jaymee Harvey Willms

My family frequently walks Schoofs Preserve, our dog loves the trails, and we love the newly restored grasses and wildflowers. Much of my work ties together allegories from fairytales, biblical narratives, and domesticity. The preserve’s proximity to Holy Hill, the types of plants and trees that grow at Schoofs, and its restoration and preservation appeals to me and fuels the work I have been making. Viewers will find flora and fauna in my sculptures that are often used in Midwestern home decor. The focus in Midwest homes of “bringing the outside in” is both necessary and funny to me. A cookie jar shaped like a goose, a decoy meant lure a wayward fowl, and a devotion to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design sense become pieces of the same puzzle. In my own focus on Schoofs you will find combinations of a serious artist, abstract expression, and a humorous use of materials. This both pulls apart and honors the attitudes, love, and confusion of “growing up Midwest.”



Jaymee Harvey Willms. Photo by Eddee Daniel

Jaymee Harvey Willms is an artist living and working in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. She was born and raised in Maplewood, Minnesota. From there she moved to South Dakota where she received her BFA in painting and art history from the University of South Dakota. In 2015 she went on to graduate from SUNY Albany with her MFA in sculpture. Currently, she serves her community as Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County and an adjunct instructor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She believes in fearless advocacy and the power of storytelling. Her artwork digs into fantasy, feminism, and where materials meet these two concepts. She has had international residencies, shows her work across the United States, and continues to make work in her studio in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. 

Selected Exhibitions: The Sarah Ball Allis Art Museum, Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI;  Chateau Orquevaux, Orquevaux, France; Body of Work, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, WI; Women of Washington County, West Bend Public Library, West Bend, WI; WWWDWLT (What We Would Do With Lynne Tillman), Frank Juarez Gallery, Milwaukee, WI; Indiana Green, Parts Unknown Gallery, Milwaukee, WI; The Navigators, Var Gallery, Milwaukee, WI; Real Abstract, Eighty Art and Design, Sheboygan, WI; Not Yo Mama’s China, Cedarburg Cultural Center, WI; Inside the Wallpaper, Chatham New York; PLEAT Gallery, Online Exhibition, September Show, Curator: Bethanie Collins; Surrogate Place, SUNY Albany, NY; We Both Rolled Snake Eyes, Museum of Visual Materials, Sioux Falls, SD.

This residency is sponsored by Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. For more information about Schoofs Preserve, click here.

This is the latest in our series of featured artists, which is intended to showcase the work of photographers, artists, writers and other creative individuals in our community whose subjects or themes relate in some broad sense to nature, urban nature, people in nature, etc. To see a list of previously featured artists, click here. The work of the 2019-2020 ARTservancy artists in residence is currently being exhibited monthly at Gallery 224. To meet the other ARTservancy artists in residence, click here.

All images courtesy of the artist, except as noted. The featured photo at the top of Jaymee walking with her dog Dakota in Schoofs Preserve is by Eddee Daniel. River Revitalization Foundation is a project partner of A Wealth of Nature.