Lisa "Lisa Marie" Barber, MFA

Lisa Barber


  • Art and Creativity
  • Ceramic Sculpture and Pottery
  • Mexican American Art
  • Mixed Media Quilts, Wearable Art, and Fiber Art
  • Drawing and Figurative Art
I am originally from Tucson, AZ and in 2003 moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Kenosha to begin my professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. I am currently a Full Professor in the Department of Art and Design where I served as department chair (2012-2018) and now lead the campus' Liberal Studies and UW Collaborative Online Associates of Arts and Sciences programs.

Active in my studio practice, I exhibit nationally, including solo shows in New York City, Chicago, and throughout California. My work has been featured and reviewed in several publications, including American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), and multiple books. I’ve given workshops, lectures, and classes at various professional venues around the country, and I've held Artist-in-Residence positions at City University of New York-Hunter College, Northern Clay Center (as a McKnight awardee), and Works San Jose -- among other internationally competitive studios.

More information about my exhibitions and related activities can be found on my website:

Teaching Interests

I truly enjoy having a career where I can create artwork and encourage others to do the same. I feel very fortunate to work with the variety of students present at UW-Parkside, whether they are art majors or just taking my courses for enrichment.

In my art courses, I strive to give students flexible parameters to create whatever interests them, while also providing technical information and constructive feedback. I aim to create a studio environment that is inviting and supportive. I work every day to be a sounding board, cheerleader, and helpful mentor to students' various artistic and professional endeavors.

In 2022, I developed and launched the new General Education course, "Lowriders, Kicks, and Graffiti". Through it, I get to share my love of Mexican American and African American art and visual culture. The class is a blend of "'Cool Art' Appreciation" and art-making fun. (If you're a student, I hope you'll check it out!)

Research Interests

My aesthetic sensibility is rooted in Mexican Folk Art and the Latin American Catholic shrines of my heritage and upbringing. During my childhood in Tucson, Arizona, this was the artwork I knew and I practiced making creations in similar ways. I came to believe that ornamentation and excess denoted value and importance; materials weren’t required to be “fine” and tools were expected to be simple. Evidence of “the hand” (the maker) was never something to be self-conscience of or craftily removed. Throughout my life, I’ve remained loyal to this style of making.

The majority of my studio practice consists of creating large-scale ceramic sculptures and installations from recycled clay. The work is multi-fired with ceramic materials, mostly in oxidation at low temperatures. I also create functional vessels, clothing, paintings, and large mixed-media quilts where I employ various drawing, dyeing, printing, and applique techniques. Regardless of material, my embedded concepts and style are consistent.

My works are imagined conceptions of home, gardens, friends, peacefulness, playfulness, and celebration. They are personal meditations on the happiness and beauty that outlines every day.

Consulting Interests

As a believer in making art accessible to a wide public, I am often enlisted to help with community art events for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. As someone who has held multiple leadership positions--and at all levels within the university--I value opportunities to share my experience and learn from colleagues outside of my departmental, college, and academic units.

Serving as the long-time chair of the Committee on Academic Planning, as well as having over a decade of experience overseeing several diverse academic programs, I have an advanced knowledge of curriculum evaluation and design. I am often asked to serve as a consultant for program development and assessment, both internal and external to UW-Parkside.

Selected Publications

2023: "Born from the Borderlands" -- solicited article from Studio Potter journal/magazine, Studio Pottor (4 pages text (online publication now) pp.)

Teaching Awards

2023: I am honored to have received multiple nominations for this advising award during my time in leadership positions, including new nominations in 2023., Advising Excellence Award, UWP
2022: I am honored to be selected for the campus' teaching award after receiving multiple nominations from students throughout my time at UW-Parkside., Stella Gray Teaching Excellence Award, UWP

Research/Creative Awards

2023: My sculpture, Flower Girl, was selected for the museum's purchase award from this biennial juried/curated exhibition which, in 2023, featured 10 artists representing 9 Midwest states., Biennial 32 Purchase Award, South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, IN
2023: My sculpture, Blue Birds, was awarded 1st place by juror, George Rodriguez, in the 13th iteration of this international ceramics competition at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA, (suburb of Washington DC), First Place Award, Workhouse Clay International 2023
2022: My 2021 sculpture, Alegrias, was recognized with a Merit Award in this well-known national competition by juror, James Watkins. (116 artworks selected for the exhibition from 950 entries; 10 received awards.), Merit Award, 24th San Angelo National Ceramics Competition, San Angelo, TX
2021: After a 2020, 4-person exhibition at this top ceramics institution (Alfred is internationally recognized as one of the most elite ceramic art schools and venues) my artwork was retained by the directors for the collection., Permanent Collection Aquisition, Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, New York
2020: My 2019 piece, "Boy" was awarded the top prize for the "Ceramics: a National Juried Exhibition". Juror: Matthew McConnell, Associate Prof. at U of Arkansas; MFA CU-Boulder., Best in Show, The In Art Gallery
2020: My mixed media quilt, "New Flowers" was selected for the award by the juror(s), Second Place, 16th Street Studio Gallery, Racine, Wisconsin
2019: Was selected upon application, for this competitive artist residency . This venue, and Montana in general, is nationally known for its deep commitment to ceramic art. I completed the residency in summer 2021, Artist in Residence , Clay Studio of Missoula, Montana
2018: Was selected upon application, for this competitive international residency. I was awarded a 3-week residency, with funding included, to focus on my mixed-media quilts., Artist in Residence, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska
2018: My piece "Girl" received First Place for this exhibition. (Although the show was held at UWP, I didn't know the juror nor did she know I worked at UWP.), First Place Award, Together: Racine and Kenosha Juried Exhibition, Christa Story, curator at the Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College/ UW-Parkside
2017: My artwork, "Brownish Girl" was awarded the top prize by juror Alison Wong. Nearly 600 entries; 28 artists included in the exhibition., Best in Show, 95th All Media National Exhibition, Ann Arbor Art Center, Michigan
2017: My artwork, "Brownish Girl" was selected for this award in an exhibition that generated over 450 national entries; 40 pieces selected for the exhibit., Lonnie Eugene Stewart Special 2017 Sculpture Award, Buchanan Center for the Arts 64th Arts National, Illinois
2016: My artwork "Yellow Hearted Woman" was awarded by juror/international artist Verne Funke, 2nd Place, 5th Central Time Ceramics, Bradley Univesity, Illinois
2015: My artwork "Wish (solo figure arrangement)" was selected as "best in show" by Silvia White, curator, gallery owner, and art consultant in Southern California. , Best in Show, Flow Art Space Gallery, St. Paul, MN
2014: The RAM Fellowship is a competitive award available every 2-years to those in the SE Wisconsin region. Given the international reputation of the Racine Art Museum in the area of Contemporary Fine Craft (and in particular, Ceramics) this is even more of an honor to me., Racine Art Museum Fellowship Award, Racine Art Musuem, Wisconsin
2013: Was nominated and ultimately selected by Illinois Weslyan for this vising artist position and award, Stallaccio Lecturer of the Arts, Illinois Weslyan Univeristy
2008: Was selected for this competitive award/residency (was originally first alternate but then was invited.) The invitation came later in the residency term so I needed to decline the award., Artist Residency with funding, McColl Center for the Visual Arts, North Carolina
2007: Upon invitation, I served 8 months as an A-I-R in Hunter College's ceramic area, working with students, faculty, and staff., Artist in Residence, City University of New York- Hunter College
2006: Awarded a "McKnight Artist Residency" at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis. This is an internationally competitive award in Ceramic Art which includes full funding. , McKnight Artist Residency, Northern Clay Center/McKnight Foundation, Minnesota

Service Awards

2016: I am honored to have received this award for outstanding service to the university., Faculty Distinguished Service Award, University, UW-Parkside

Departmental Service

: Program Organizer - UW-Parkside's Annual Art Party
: Chairperson - 2012- 2018, Department of Art and Design
: Committee Member - 2009 - 2022, Art Department Executive Committee

College Service

: Program Coordinator - Liaison, College of Arts and Humanities Community Arts
: Chairperson - Liberal Studies Director (Bachelors, Associates, and Online degree programs)

University Service

: Committee Member - Center for Multidisciplinary Curricula
: Committee Member - Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (+ Celebration Shrine Organizer)
: Committee Member - Committee on Internationalization and Global Engagement
: Special Institutional Assignment - Academic Director, UW Collaborative Online Associate of Arts and Sciences
: Committee Member - Faculty Senate, 2016 - 2022
: Committee Member - Personnel Review Committee-- Full Professor Subcommittee, 2017 - 2022
: Chairperson - Co-Chair, UW-Parkside's 50th Anniversary Celebration, 2017 - 2019
: Chairperson - Committee on Academic Planning, 2014 - 2022
: Program Coordinator - Head Marshal, Commencement Ceremonies

Public Service

: Board Member - Racine Art Musuem Board of Directors
: Board Member - Art Root
: Committee Member - (Commissioner) Kenosha Commission on the Arts, 2019- 2022
: Board Member - Gateway Technical College Dean's Advisory Board
ART 124 - Lowriders/Kicks/Graffiti (DV)
ART 203 - Beginning Ceramics
ART 299 - Independent Study:
ART 303 - Intermediate Ceramics
ART 392 - Professional Practice
ART 399 - Independent Study:
ART 403 - Advanced Ceramics
ART 493 - Senior Studio
ART 494 - Art Internship
ART 497 - Senior Critique Seminar
ART 499 - Independent Study:
LBST 494 - Internship Ldrshp/Pers Studies
LBST 494 - Internship in Liberal Studies
LBST 499 - Independent Study:
UWX CM101 - Introductn to Public Speaking
UWX EN101 - College Wrtg/Critical Reading
UWX GE170 - Disasters: Living on the Edge
UWX GS101 - Intro Gndr/Sxualty/Wmn Studies
UWX GS231 - Sex, Power, and Public Policy
UWX MA116 - College Algebra
UWX MU278 - Rock and Roll Roots
UWX RE101 - Introduction to Religion
UWX SC101 - Introduction to Sociology
UWX SC231 - Crime and Criminal Justice
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