UPDATED: September 29, 2011

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The recipient of this year's Lawrence ArtWalk Featured Artist Award, which was voted on by her fellow ArtWalk artists, is Tami Clark.

Tami Clark is a mixed-media artist who creates assemblages or 'story boards' out of plaster, acrylic, collage and found objects to represent individual moments in time.

Tami has been drawn to creativity all of her life but was not one of those students who had their artwork recognized by the teacher or ever had an art teacher talk to her about advanced or college courses in art; she thought those courses were for 'real' artists, not her. It was not until she was 30 years old (13 years ago) that she enrolled at the Lawrence Arts Center to take her first art class. She has recently received training in encaustic media by artist, author and instructor Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch and feels like she has "finally found a creative home in mixed media."

Some of the story boards that Tami creates have an historical significance but most represent a time in her life that needed its story to be told. The one she is currently working on includes pieces that describe the many different aspects and interests of her son who recently left for college. The 'story' can also include things left off of the board, such as the vintage picture she found of a woman who looked rather forlorn. Tami spent several months trying to find just the right place for the woman on the board but ultimately discovered she did not fit, which was exactly how Tami felt those first few months after her son left.

Each board has layers that are rich in emotion, memories and faith; and is built upon a foundation of layers of plaster that are perfect in their imperfections. The rough edges and deep grooves represent who Tami is as a person, the hard lessons she has learned and the ability for God to "use her imperfections for His good."

The creative process for each story board can take up to a year and, during that time, a board lays on Tami's table waiting for her to find just the right collection of pieces to tell a particular story.

Tami had no idea she would be at this place in her life and has no idea where life will take her but she looks forward to the journey.

Tami has a Bachelors Degree in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas and has lived in Lawrence, Kansas for 18 years. She is the Director of Youth Ministries at First United Methodist Church, Lawrence.

More of Tami's work may be seen on her Lawrence ArtWalk 2011 artist's page [forthcoming].

The Lawrence ArtWalk Featured Artist Award, which is now in its seventh year, comprises a cash honorarium and the artistís artwork featured on Lawrence ArtWalk promotional materials.

Congratulations, Tami!