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Erika Strecker, Blacksmith/Sculptor

Erika Strecker Erika Strecker is a Kentucky native, born in Quicksand. After graduating from high school in Harrodsburg, she went to a small liberal arts college, Kenyon College in Gambier, OH, on a scholarship, earning a B.A. in painting and installation art. She then moved to Seattle for a couple of years to work as a scenic artist in the many theaters in the area, such as A.C.T. and the Bathhouse Theater.

She returned to the East Coast to go to Penland School of Arts and Crafts in the mountains of North Carolina, where she spent two years as a work-study (CORE) student. There she discovered a passion for forging metal and sculpture. “I feel the strongest connection to, and choose to use, materials that are the most elemental,” she says. “My primary material is iron, and in its refined state, steel. I choose iron for its commonness.”

After Penland, Erika apprenticed with sculptor Bill Brown Jr. in Linville Falls, NC for a year, learning a great deal about the business of art and large-scale commissions. She then returned to Kentucky, set up her own studio, and began showing in galleries and selling at art fairs. Three years later, feeling that she still had much to learn, she decided to pursue a master’s degree and applied to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She became the first woman ever admitted to SIUC as a blacksmith in its well-respected metals program, graduating in the spring of 2000 with an M.F.A. in blacksmithing, with an emphasis on sculpture and glass.

Erika returned to Kentucky after graduate school. She has established a new studio and primarily does private commissions, though she does sell in galleries and at a few art fairs. She also has turned her thoughts to public art and was selected in 2003 to collaborate with Tony Higdon on a 40' tall sculpture to be placed in front of the new Kentucky Transportation Cabinet building in downtown Frankfort. Entitled Nexus, the work is scheduled to be installed in September of 2004.

Program 611

Fiber artist and photographer Dobree Adams, performers from the Kentucky Opera’s Young Artists’ Program, and blacksmith and sculptor Erika Strecker. (#611)

Program 625: Best of Season 6

Highlights from recent programs, including profiles of the Strecker family of artists and musical performances by students from the Kentucky Opera’s Young Artists’ Program, singer-songwriter John Mann, and rock band AM Sunday. (#625)


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