December 08, 2020 Amon Carter Museum of American Art Announces 2021 Carter Community Artists

Four photographs of 2021 Carter Community Artists in their studios.

Entering its third year, the 2021 artists include Kalee Appleton, Brenda Ciardiello, Michelle Cortez Gonzales, and Kasey Short

Fort Worth, TX, December 8, 2020—The Amon Carter Museum of American Art (the Carter) is pleased to announce its 2021 Carter Community Artists: Kalee Appleton, Brenda Ciardiello, Michelle Cortez Gonzales, and Kasey Short. Established in 2018, the Carter Community Artist initiative was founded to collaborate with and support local artists, connect the North Texas community with practicing artists, and help build a network among local artists. Every year, the Carter selects four local artists to assist with planning and leading programs on-site, off-site, and virtually. Throughout 2021, these Carter Community Artists will bring their distinct points of view to events and projects as they make connections to the museum’s expansive collection, exhibitions, and rich history with the local community.

“Over the course of this year, everyone has had to adapt to a new way to experience life, including how we engage with art. Our current class of Carter Community Artists played an important role in connecting our visitors virtually to our collection during this unprecedented time. It’s now more imperative than ever that outside voices like the Carter Community Artists help make creative connections and purposeful experiences with audiences familiar and new to the Carter,” said Amanda Blake, Director of Education, Library, and Visitor Services at the Carter. “We look forward to seeing all of the amazing ways in which Kalee Appleton, Brenda Ciardiello, Michelle Cortez Gonzales, and Kasey Short expand upon the work the past two classes of artists have established while helping us explore new avenues of connection with the community.”

Chosen through a committee of Carter education and curatorial staff, this year's artists range in areas of focus from sustainable art making to experimental photography, each bringing a unique perspective to the program. Kalee Appleton blends innovative art with modern technology in her work. Influenced by her bicultural and international experiences of the world, Brenda Ciardiello creates abstract works that explore the relationship between people and nature. Michelle Cortez Gonzales shows the fragmentation of memory through mixed media using painting, sewing, and constructing of domestic materials. Kasey Short underscores an interest in creative sustainability, society, and consumerism in his interactive sculptures. From lectures to workshops to K–12 tours and off-site events, these artists’ unique perspectives will help shape the way in which we engage with our community.

The Carter Community Artist program enters this year with a commitment to new programs and opportunities benefitting the community, including an enhanced presence of virtual experiences. These initiatives will include programs for all ages and abilities to connect the Carter to more members of the North Texas community. The Carter’s collaboration with these artists will help bring new and unique points of view on both American art and the Carter. Next year also marks a shift from a commitment beginning at the start of an academic calendar to the artists working with the Carter January through December. Visit for up-to-date information on events featuring our new class of Carter Community Artists.

Carter Community Artists: 2021 Class

Kalee Appleton

Kalee Appleton is a Fort Worth-based artist and assistant professor of Photography at Texas Christian University. She earned her BFA in Photography from Texas Tech University (2005) and MFA in Art from Texas Woman’s University (2014). Kalee is an experimental artist whose work deals with digital technologies and their effects on society, as well the theoretical aspects of contemporary landscape photography. Her work is represented by Erin Cluley Gallery in Dallas and has been exhibited regionally and nationally, including the venues FotoFest International and Houston Center for Photography. Kalee’s work has also appeared in various print and online forums including D Magazine, Glasstire, and Lens Culture.

“I'm looking forward to sharing my passion and knowledge of photography and art with the Fort Worth community. I'm particularly excited about seeing the upcoming exhibitions and responding to them with projects and activities for others to experience.” –Kalee Appleton

Brenda Ciardiello

Brenda Ciardiello is a Mexican-American watercolorist and poet who paints contemporary landscapes, botanicals, and abstract art that deal with themes of personal connection to nature inspired by her bicultural and international experiences and travels. She earned her BA in Art History and Classical Civilizations from the University of Notre Dame (2004) and MS in Education from the City College of New York (2006). Brenda lives and paints in Fort Worth, where she exhibits her work in local galleries and teaches workshops with organizations like Art Room and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

“I believe passionately that art is for everyone. As a Carter Community Artist, I am excited to provide opportunities for people in all different communities to enjoy the Carter's collection. Right now with in-person interactions being limited and people feeling more isolated from each other and our community institutions, I hope to find unique ways to engage with the Carter's audience in order to help people reconnect through shared creativity.” –Brenda Ciardiello

Michelle Cortez Gonzales

Michelle Cortez Gonzales is a Fort Worth native whose paintings and installation work examines memory through preservation, reconstruction, and alteration. Her work combines painted imagery with found and made objects that reference family photographs, childhood, and home. Michelle earned her BFA in Painting from the University of Texas at Arlington (2014) and MFA in Painting from the University of Dallas (2020). She has exhibited work throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is a passionate advocate for art education.

As a Carter Community artist, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to bridge gaps, cultivate positive relationships, and uplift students through expression and art.” –Michelle Cortez Gonzales

Kasey Short

Kasey Short is an interdisciplinary artist whose time-based and interactive art reflects on issues of sustainability, mobility, and the environment. Kasey earned his BFA in Painting and Drawing from Texas State University (2010) and MFA in Sculpture and Time-based Interactive Media from the University of Pennsylvania (2015). He has exhibited work nationally and internationally and has participated in residencies, including ACRE Projects and AVL-Mundo Foundation, and received the 2014 Vermont Studio Center Fellowship Award. Kasey is a professor at the University of North Texas and is currently a member of 500X Gallery in Dallas.

“I look forward to being a part of the institution, exploring archives and exhibitions, working with communities through social art practice, and developing a deeper level of research and understanding of relational aesthetics.” –Kasey Short

About the Carter Community Artists

The Carter Community Artists, established in 2018, is an Amon Carter Museum of American Art initiative created to work with and support local artists to develop opportunities for the North Texas community to connect with the Carter’s collection and artists in the region. The yearlong commitment includes the participating artists collaborating on a wide array of projects and events for family and adult audiences. Outreach and events include on-site and virtual events and activities, educational services, and community-based programs led and created by the selected artists and Carter staff. The Carter Community Artist program inducts a new group of four artists every year with applications available each summer.

About the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Located in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (the Carter) is a dynamic cultural resource that provides unique access and insight into the history and future of American creativity through its expansive exhibitions and programming. Housed in a building designed by American architect Philip Johnson, the Carter’s preeminent collection includes masterworks by legendary American artists such as Ruth Asawa, Alexander Calder, Frederic Church, Stuart Davis, Robert Duncanson, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, and John Singer Sargent, as well as one of the country’s foremost repositories of American photography. In addition to its innovative exhibition program and engagement with artists working today, the museum’s premier primary research collection and leading conservation program make it a must-see destination for art lovers and scholars of all ages nationwide. Admission is always free. To learn more about the Carter, visit