Michelle Streiff, a student artist at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, is the recipient of the Juror’s Choice Award for Foundry Art Centre’s Soapbox Exhibition.
This exhibition seeks to empower artists to “get on their soapboxes” and create work that facilitates a visual discussion on the issues that impact and influence them.
Streiff’s piece, “Bus Stop/Unchained,” is an expressive oil painting of a dog before rescue that was photographed by Donna Lochmann, an employee at Stray Rescue of St. Louis. The inspiration for her piece stems from her volunteer work with Stray Rescue, a local nonprofit organization that rescues stray animals from the streets of St. Louis, restores them to health and places them in loving adoptive homes.
“The dogs and cats of Stray Rescue are a constant source of inspiration,” she said. “I feel so lucky that my passion for making the world a better place for abandoned and abused animals has lined up with my painting career – it’s an unlikely dream come true.”
Streiff began her career as a graphic designer, working in communications, television and advertising. In 1986, she started her own company, Michelle&Friends, where she painted decorative interiors, including trompe l’oeil and murals. In 2011, she began taking oil classes at STLCC-Wildwood under the direction of Mark Weber, professor in art.
According to Weber, Streiff’s creativity is evidenced by her work.
“Michelle is a chance-taker with her artwork,” he said. “She is not afraid to try new things or extend her abilities as a creative person.”
As a student at STLCC, Streiff has participated in numerous art shows. She has also played a key role in establishing the college’s art gallery program, which works to provide local business owners with a simple and affordable way to display original works of art.
“At STLCC, I found a group of St. Louis artists who are constantly striving to refine their skills and grow as artists,” Streiff said. “While we have been painting together for six years now, art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love working in the studio because it gives my passion and my creativity a voice.”
Streiff earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with an emphasis in watercolor from Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State). In addition to showing her work at the Foundry Art Centre, her work has been featured in exhibitions with the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, Art Saint Louis and the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, among others. Currently, she has several paintings on display around Wildwood, including Wildwood City Hall, Starbucks, Sunny Street Cafe, Manchester West Veterinary Hospital and West Glen Animal Hospital.
To learn more about her work and view her online gallery, click here.