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Instructor Michael Rieger

My journey at Bicentennial Art Center started at the age of 16 as a student of the Thursday night class with Steve Buck.  In 1991, after receiving a BFA in Ceramics and a BFA in Photography from the University of Colorado-Boulder.  I started to teach at Bicentennial Art Center taking over the Thursday night class when Steve moved on.  I have been teaching the Advanced Pottery class on Thursday night and other various classes ever since.  I have been at Bicentennial Art Center for 34 years, including 26 years of teaching.

Creating art is an ongoing process of discovering connections and relationships.  Every piece tells a story.  As a teacher at a community art center I believe the most important thing I can do is to create a classroom where learning is fun, inclusive and informative.  My focus is in two mediums, clay and photography, and often the two come together. 

My work as a photographer has led me to a wide variety of stories.  As a historical photographer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) I have documented the aftermath and recovery of dozens of disasters, including 9-11 World Trade Centers, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and many other wildfires, floods and tornados.  I have also worked internationally, using the lens to capture moments of community building and artistic expression throughout the world, including Southeast Asia, Egypt, and Europe.  I love street photography, and have a camera with me at all times.  

As a clay artist, I love the potter's wheel and handmade ceramic tiles.  I am part owner of Lapis Gallery with my two brothers where we make and exhibit art as the founding member of the Tennyson Street Cultural District.  My tile projects often start with a photograph, abstracted to a mosaic or hand carved into a relief tile.  I love the collaborative process; to help bring visions into reality is a very exciting experience. 

A native Coloradan, I am a leader in the Colorado arts community supporting the work of the next and current generation of artists.  As Art Director for Larimer Arts Association I strive to support Colorado Artists and help keep arts education in our public schools. In 2004 I was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the Colorado Art Education Association.  For the past 14 years I have worked on the Denver Chalk Art Festival and grown the event from 48 artist in 2002 to over 237 artists in 2016 with attendance of over 175,000 spectators.  I love to create art on the street and the performance of chalk always delights.

My work has been shown in many galleries, festivals and museums throughout the United States and abroad.  My photos have been published all over the world and are part of the Smithsonian's Photographic History Collection Archives.  As long as I can remember I have loved to create art and hope I always will.
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