​​​​​​Midland architect and descendant of the Dow family, Stephen L. Barstow (1941–1992), donated his estate and endowment to the CMU Department of Art & Design upon his death. His generosity has provided students with invaluable exposure to practicing contemporary artists in a variety of disciplines from around the United States. His contribution continues to fund a variety of student scholarships, the Barstow Artist-in-Residence Program, the Barstow Lecture Series, and Barstow Artist Workshops.

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Each year The Barstow Artist-in-Residence program provides a residence, studio, generous stipend, and university resources to a practicing artist. The Barstow AIR is invited to engage directly with students through mentorship, individual workshops, studio visits, and exhibition opportunities. While in residence, each artist conducts their research and practice in the Barstow House studio and is provided full access to university resources. In turn, students gain direct access to each artist in their practice and develop a first-hand understanding of artistic practice.

Since 1993 the Stephen L. Barstow Artist-In-Residence program has brought over a dozen early and mid-career artists in a variety of disciplines to the CMU Department of Art & Design for semester to year-long residencies. Many of these artists have distinguished regional and national exhibition records.

The position includes a stipend and private housing surrounded by nature on the banks of the Chippewa River. The house provided for the Artist-in-Residence was designed by noted architect Stephen L. Barstow and is located 15 miles from Mt. Pleasant, and includes a studio built for teaching and personal practice.


Current Artist-in-Residence:

About the Artist:

"Through artistic practice I investigate the motivations and correlations among various forms of contemporary escapist behavior, which I understand essentially as necessary but often-abused means of identity work. I explore the nature of cultural and geopolitical boundaries, and the thresholds and barriers to human perception of space and information. I tend not to work in a particular style, rather I base each solution on the demands of a project’s objective or concept. I leverage backgrounds in printmaking, drawing and painting, graphic design, photography and advertising, as well as project management, to produce interdisciplinary art work. The works in Beneath the Underdog, Blunder Drawings, and Test Me, draw from 21st century music culture, crowd-sourcing, graffiti, and the nature of authorship. A current project, titled ≠, pertains to the translation of literature and how meaning and images mutate as they are recoded."

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Chris Maddox - Three volumes from Sin Creeps In on display at Drunk Lunch, January, 2017

Past Artists-in-Residence Include:

Barstow House Interior

Interior of the Barstow Residence


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View of the Chippewa River from the Barstow Residence.

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Barstow Studio - Winter View

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Barstow Studio - Interior  (Margaret Murphy, 2016)

Lecture Series

In the spring of 2005 the Stephen L. Barstow Art and Design Lecture Series was inaugurated. The goal of the lecture series is to expose our students to a broad range of approaches to creating, thinking, and talking about art and design. Nationally and internationally renowned artists, designers, and art historians visit the campus of CMU to speak and engage with our students, faculty, and community. In addition to giving a lecture, the visiting artists also participate in critique sessions and portfolio reviews with students in our programs, giving the students the opportunity to receive valuable feedback on their work from an experienced, practicing artist. All lectures are free and open to the public.



Past Barstow Lecture Series Participants Include:

  • Mark Pauline
  • Stefan Sagmeister
  • Nana Schulz
  • Linda Weintraub
  • Gregory Crewdson
  • Sandy Skoglund
  • Pedro Meyer
  • Shana ParkeHarrison
  • Kelli Connell
  • Lourdes Almeida
  • Tasos Calantzis
  • Cameron Sinclair
  • Eduardo Kac
  • Ken Rinaldo



Artist Workshops

In addition to workshops conducted by the Barstow Artist-in-Residence, students are provided an array of opportunities to interact with practicing artists through a dedicated workshop series. The Barstow Workshop Series emphasizes first-hand demonstrations and exhibitions conducted on a regular basis throughout each semester and are open to the public. Workshop artists include designers, photographers, painters, sculptors, art historians, printmakers, and interdisciplinary artists. Artists are chosen by the faculty based on student input and the events work to enhance the theories and techniques being taught in studio courses.


Past Workshop Presenters Include:
  • Jeremiah Britton
  • The Beehive Design Collective
  • Robin Schwartzman
  • Cassie Hester
  • Thomas Allen
  • Mark Menjivar