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Lecturer III - Painting/Drawing



Volker returned to college late in life after a career in music that began while he was still in high school during the “Michigan Rock” era.  Recordings by his early band "Pitche Blende" are still featured in prominent discographies from the period.

Since earning his M.F.A the artist has exhibited extensively at Galleries, Museums, and Juried Exhibitions. Volker spent four years under exclusive contract to Bensen Galleries, LTD, Arlington Heights, Chicago, IL, where a limited edition print of his work “Passing Storm”, was published. His monotype “Pond at Evening”, was featured in the “Journal of the Print World”, after he won the Senator Leo J. Roizer award at the 2004 Annual Alma College Statewide Print Competition. His work is in the permanent collection of Alma College, Central Michigan University Park Library, and Saginaw Valley State University.

In 2016 Volker Initiated the “Hand for Michael Project”. Volker, along with then CMU Ceramics Professor Greg Stahly, and CMU engineering student Austin Brittian, participated in the design and construction of a Prosthetic Hand. The device was 3-D printed using technology from CMU’s Maker Bot Innovation Center. The “Superhero” styled hand was then presented to Muskegon Heights, MI, Martin Luther King Elementary School student Michael Bell. Michael’s own hand was deformed as the result of a rare condition called Mobius Syndrome. Thanks to the CMU News, CMU Public Radio, and social media, the project garnered national attention.

Volker is also a dedicated teacher who has conducted demonstration/workshops, critiques, served as a juror, and lectured at various art institutions throughout the state. He taught as a Visiting Instructor in Art and Design at Alma College between 2001 and 2006, and served on their Art and Design Advisory Board for two years. Volker began teaching a Central Michigan University in1998 as a Grad Student. His painting classes are taught with an emphasis on working with non-toxic materials. In 1999 he received a Faculty Appreciation Award from the CMU Athletics Department, “ For being a positive influence on the lives of students”.  He has twice been nominated for CMU’s Excellence in Teaching Award.


Recent Scholarship

  •  Juror, Paint Grand Traverse, Annual Plein Air painting festival and competition, Crooked Tree Arts Center, Traverse City, MI, 2021
  • Art Walk Central, Art Reach of Mid-Michigan, Venue, CMU Gallery, Mt. Pleasant, MI, Mt. Pleasant, MI, First Place $5000, Judge’s Award for “Fresh Flying Fish on a Hand Painted Plate”, 2020
  • Upside Down, Black Box Gallery in Cooperation with Gallery 515, Clair, MI, Dearborn, MI, 2019
  • Michigan Scapes, Michigan Scenes by Michigan Artists, Brighton Art Guild, Brighton, Mi, 2018
    Art Prize Nine, Portrait of the Artist at 64, Art Prize Venue, Central Reformed Church,
    Grand Rapids, MI, 2017
  • Collaborative Spirits, Creativity Beyond That Possible by an Individual – Michael Volker, Al Wildey, and Steve Baber, An Exhibition of Collaborative Work, Charles V. Park Library, Baber Room, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI, Joint power point presentation in the Park Library Auditorium, 2016
  • CMU Public Radio News, Art Meets Technology, Phone Interview with Isis Simpson-
    Mersha, Broadcast July 28, 2016
  • “(dis) ABLED BEAUTY: the evolution of beauty, disability, and ability, Photograph
    of Michael Bell with Prosthetic Hand, Clark Historical Library, 2016
  • Art Prize Seven, Cinema, Art Prize Venue, Fifth Third Bank/ Warner Norcross & Judd
    Building, Grand Rapids, MI, 2015
  • Journal of the Print World, Vol. 27 No.1, winter, 2004"23rd Annual Alma College
    Statewide Print Competition, Review by Carrie Ann Parks". Art Work, Pond at Evening,
  • Bensen Magazine, Fall/Winter 2001, “The Art & Work of Michael Volker” Art Works,
    Morning Marsh, Summer Storm, Summer Afternoon, Limited Edition Signed Giclee’,
    Passing Storm, Bensen Gallery LTD., 2001
  • “Local Landscape Painter Works on the Saginaw River”, TV 5 Television
    Appearance; Take Five with Jay Brandow 2001

MFA: 2001, Central Michigan University
BFA: 1996, Central Michigan University
  • Contemporary and Historical Oil Painting Materials, Methods, and Techniques
  • Non-Toxic Environmentally Safe Oil Painting Practice
  • Humans and their Natural Environment

Oil Painters of America

Courses Taught

  • Art Appreciation
  • Design Foundations
  • Introduction to Drawing
  • Drawing Studio
  • Advanced Drawing Studio
  • Introduction to Figure Drawing
  • Figure Drawing Studio
  • Advanced Figure Drawing Studio
  • Introduction to Painting
  • Painting Studio
  • Advanced Painting Studio