Friends in Art

Two local artists who grew up in Merrill are featured in T.B. Scott Free Library’s current Community ArtShare display.

Ann (Vonderheid) Ruder and Susan (Nelson) Van Sleet, whose work is brought together in the exhibit, shared numerous experiences as they honed their skills to become award winning artists. They grew up as friends, both won scholarships to an art workshop as high school juniors in the summer of 1965, took graphic classes together at UW Marathon Campus, and then continued to grow as artists.

Ruder received numerous awards for her graphic design as a graphic artist, and later the art director, of Quality Print in Merrill. Ann has continued to develop her design skills in her own business, Ann’s Graphics, since 1984.

Though her career is in graphic arts, Ann has also received many awards for her exhibited paintings and continues to paint in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pen and ink, and pastels.

Van Sleet worked in the advertising department at Employers Insurance of Wausau. While Susan enjoyed graphic design, she preferred painting on canvas and chose to follow her own art career path.

Susan has exhibited award winning paintings, taught classes and designed residential and commercial murals. Her framed pieces include figure study, florals and still life in an array of oil, acrylic, tissue overlay, pen and ink pastel, and watercolor.

Van Sleet continues to do commissioned work. Susan’s paintings have been featured at Ducks Unlimited banquets in Langlade, Lincoln, and Wood counties.

The art exhibit will be displayed on the library’s second floor & third floor through the month of July. T.B. Scott Free Library’s “Beyond Books: Community ArtShare” features a new exhibit every two months on an ongoing basis. The program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Mead Witter Foundation, Inc. of Wisconsin Rapids.

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