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Sayaka Ganz serves as artist-in-residence, June 15-22

By Isabel Hamilton
Lakeside Advancement Intern

As the Rhein Center celebrates its 25th Anniversary this season, we’re excited to welcome several talented artists-in-residence who will share their work with the Lakeside community.

Sayaka Ganz is the featured artist from June 15-22. During her stay, she will teach classes for all ages and give a lecture about her work. Ganz will also create a sculpture of an American White Pelican throughout the duration of her residency that will be displayed at the Rhein Center this summer.

Ganz was born in Yokohama, Japan, and grew up in Japan, Brazil and Hong Kong. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University Bloomington and a Master of Fine Arts degree in 3D studies from Bowling Green State University.

Having lived and traveled all over the world, Ganz is an expert at finding beauty in unexpected places. She uses discarded metal and plastic to depict animals and natural elements in motion.

Each piece is a brush stroke, and they come together to create vibrant, complex sculptures which seem able to leap to life in an instant.

She describes her style as “3D impressionism” and is inspired by a desire to show the potential for beauty and energy in discarded materials, a practice rooted in her Japanese upbringing.

“As children, we’re taught that all things in this world have a spirit or a soul – it’s a belief system that is woven into our daily lives,” she says. “As we grow older, we tend to forget that, but it only takes something like art to trigger a spark of imagination for that sensation to return.”

About 90% of the materials she uses come from thrift stores and the rest is collected by family and friends or found in the trash.

Since 2017, her traveling exhibition, “Sayaka Ganz – Reclaimed Creations,” has been shown in 15 venues across the U.S. and is booked for five more through 2025.

Her recent commission, completed in August 2021, was a four-story tall installation of bird sculptures and abstract vortex swirls made of aluminum for the grand staircase in the Health & Human Services Building on the Indiana State University campus in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Rhein Center Manager Jennifer Wertz was drawn to Ganz’s work years ago and is excited for Lakeside to fall in love as well.

“I think this exchange with a professional artist is a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages,” says Wertz.

Ganz is looking forward to her first visit to Lakeside and being inspired by the community, Lake Erie and the wildlife.

Ganz will be hosting an Artists Talk, “Sayaka’s Plastic Animals: How & Why,” on Monday, June 17 from 3:30-4:15 p.m. in Orchestra Hall. The event is free and no registration necessary.

Through this 30-minute artist talk and 15-minute Q&A, discover why she creates what she does and how her childhood and educational background have influenced her work.

The Rhein Center will offer three classes taught by Ganz during her residency. Please register at

Scraps to Sculpture: Upcycled Animal Relief Sculpture
9 a.m.-noon, Wednesday, June 19
Ages 9+, $36

Create an animal as simple as a ladybug or complex as a dragon with plastic, hot glue and paint. More complicated sculptures will take longer to make. Pre-registration is required, as there is a limit of 20 students.

Trash to Treasure: Upcycled Jewelry
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Thursday, June 20
Ages 9+, $12

Students will learn to cut, drill and file colorful plastic to make earrings, a pendant or necklace. Drop by at any point during the class to participate. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, as there is a limit of 60 students.

Funky Junky Jellyfish
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 18 or 9-11 a.m. Friday, June 21
Ages 9+, $14

Learn how to turn a plastic soda bottle into a fun floaty jellyfish. Pre-registration is required, as there is a limit of 14 students per class.


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