International Society of Experimental Artists (ISEA) History

ISEA was founded in 1991 by Maxine Masterfield and Gracie Hegeman.  They felt constrained by the rules that were in place for art exhibits of other leading national and international artists’ groups.  Maxine and Gracie wanted to create an organization that celebrated experimentation and exploration and provided a way to share ideas and information.  Our newest slogan is “ISEA – Where Art meets Innovation.”

Since 1991, ISEA has had over 500 members in the USA and around the world. Annual juried exhibitions include multi-day workshops, art demonstrations and a chance to network with artists working in open, creative and experimental ways.          

Our annual juried ISEA exhibits have been held in top museums and cultural centers across the USA with an exchange exhibit hosted in Chicago in 2002 and then in Wales, UK in 2003 - 2004.  

Since 2004 ISEA has had Exhibitions in Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington State, Florida, and California.  

  • Ten years later there was another exchange with the Welsh Group. It was held at BigArts in Sanibel, FL in 2013. From there it traveled to the National Watercolor Gallery in San Pedro, CA, and then on to Art Central, Barry, Wales in the summer of 2014. 
  • In 2015 our annual exhibition was shown in the Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City, Michigan. 
  • Our 25th annual juried exhibition will be held at the Banana Factory, Crayola Gallery, Bethlehem, PA from May to August 2016. 
  • 2017 for the 26th exhibition and symposium ISEA was at BigArts in Sanibel, FL. This year ISEA will be hosted for the first time in Newport, Oregon at OCCA/VAC - Runyon Gallery, September 4 to October 29, 2018

ISEA inspires me to keep raising the standards for my own work and not to be afraid of pushing the envelope.

~Ann Moore

The ISEA board strives to give our members new and exciting artistic avenues through which they can display their work.  For example, in 2015 ISEA offered the membership a juried virtual exhibition.  Viewing the exhibition on our website was open to the public.  This year we are adding a scholarship available to our membership to be used for taking classes or workshops included the supplies needed.

Maxine Masterfield said it best.  “Artists working in an experimental manner need a society where they can share ideas and techniques – both old and new and encourage the development of new talents and skills.  There is a need to connect, encourage, inform and promote artists who create art by experimentation and exploration.  We need new ways to make statements through our art and provide a forum to exhibit our work.”

Our logo is a Nautilus Shell.  It symbolizes growth, persistence, beauty and grace.  Each year we select a new Nautilus for our “Gracie” award and our logo.

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