Valerie J. Christell lives, works and maintains a studio in the Milwaukee area. She’s taught a variety of classes at Alverno over the years and is the former gallery director. Currently she’s teaching Figure Drawing classes and is a member of Alverno’s Art and Environment Committee. After receiving her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign, Christell received her Master’s of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee. Since then, she has continued her education with post-graduate study in art history. In creating her art, Christell works in a variety of media, including drawing (clayboard, charcoal and pencil), found object, digital photography collages, art/poetry collaboration and installation. Through these media, she continues to express the concept of the process of life and its impact on one’s humanity through visual metaphors. These metaphors involve images from nature (land, volcanoes and trees) intertwined with those of the human figure (bones, muscles and veins). As co-founder of Art Against Genocide, Christell has created a number of genocide-oriented art installations at Alverno as well as throughout southeastern Wisconsin. This political art group’s mission is to educate as well as motivate viewers to take action against genocide. Through such art installations, Christell also continues to be involved in the efforts of Alverno’s recently-formed activist group Beyond our Borders.