​​​​​​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:

Merav Tzur’s childhood experience with the unique pedagogical concept of the Israeli Kibbutz “Junkyard Playground”—where children use objects diverted from landfill to build temporary environments and creatively interact with them and each other—has informed much of her artistic practice. Tzur’s work mostly fabricates fertile environments where all parties can explore their capacity for spontaneous, transformative, and inventive play, to better understand themselves as individuals and within a collective, their behavioral patterns, and personal truths and misconceptions.

Each of Tzur’s works is both an individual project and part of a larger compilation of related works exploring how we construct narratives, and how these stories are related to broader questions of identity and community. Her interdisciplinary practice mines social networks, Internet imagery, scientific research, history, social movements, literature, and religion in order to probe the platforms we use to construct our personal, cultural, social, and political ideologies. The diversity of Tzur’s projects reflects her interests in creating work beyond the gallery space and traditional object making.

Tzur was born in Israel and moved to the US when she was twenty-two. She received her MFA from UC Berkeley and BFA from California College of the Arts. Her work has been shown at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, YBCA, Kroswork Gallery, SOMArts Gallery, SFPAI, and in Israel. She teaches sculpture, contemporary art Seminar and multimedia at San Jose State University and Ohlone Community College. A recipient of the 2012 Dorothy Saxe Invitational Award for Creativity in Contemporary Art from The Contemporary Jewish Museum, she lives and works in Oakland, California.

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Merav Tzur - A Reenactment of a Reenactment of a Happy Woman #10. Digital photomontage.

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:

  • Sarah Lewis
  • 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