Tonja Torgerson & Ruben Castillo: Summer Project-Based Residents

We are so excited to welcome two special project-based residents this summer – former artist-in-residence Tonja Torgerson, and newcomer Ruben Castillo!

Torgerson is an artist, printmaker and professor currently working at Indiana University. Torgerson received her BFA from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in printmaking at Syracuse University. Her artwork is regularly exhibited nationally and internationally, and is included in private and museum collections including the Weisman Art Museum and the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Her work deals with illness, death, and the impermanent nature of the body.

During the Arts Center’s project-based residency, Torgerson will focus on reflections on vulnerability, death, and the impermanence of the body. Torgerson uses prints, cut paper, and collage to create a fallen Garden of Eden in which life-size figures grapple with the recognition of their mortality. These works provide an intimate pause in which to consider the frailty of the body, allowing us to dwell on uncomfortable truths. Visit her Flesh & Bone Gallery for a preview of this upcoming installation.

Torgerson’s exhibit Succumb will be open to the public from 1-5pm Tuesday-Friday, June 25-August 21 at the Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St. Check in on the installation starting the second week of June during gallery hours to observe her process and progress!

While in Lawrence, Torgerson will be teaching a two-day workshop:

Printing with Polyester Plates ($80 – public, $72 – members)  Saturday 1-3pm and Sunday 1-5pm, June 12-13.

This workshop will showcase the unique benefits of polyester plate lithography, an affordable form of printmaking that requires minimal processing and equipment.


Ruben Bryan Castillo is a visual artist and educator born in Dallas and currently working in Kansas City, Mo. His work investigates themes of intimacy, queerness, place, and the body using a range of media including print, drawing, sculpture/installation, and video. His most recent imagery draws from a personal archive of photographs and materials, seeing the ordinary as a site for transformative potential and feeling. Castillo’s work has been exhibited and collected both nationally and internationally. He co-chaired the panel “Queer Ephemera, Et Cetera: Encounters in the Archive” with artist Amy Cousins at the 2020 Mid-America Print Council’s Remote Symposium, organizing a conversation between five artists on the topic of queer archives. He received an MFA in visual art from the University of Kansas and a BFA in printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute. He currently teaches printmaking and drawing at the Kansas City Art Institute and Johnson County Community College.

During the Arts Center’s project-based residency, Castillo will be producing a new suite of intaglio prints exploring memory, records, observation, and narratives around what Kathleen Stewart calls “ordinary affects.” The imagery will circulate around softness and domestic intimacy to produce a space addressing collective desire and connection in the form of a public exhibition.

Castillo’s exhibit will run from July 27- August 21 in the front gallery of the Arts Center.

Castillo is also teaching a four-week class this summer:

Seen/Remembered, Drawn/Etched ($110 – public, $99 – members). 5:30 – 7:30pm Tuesdays, July 6-21.

Create and print experimental impressions by etching on copper plates.