Bio & Resume

Bernie Wilke — Artist’s Bio

Bernie’s work as a visual artist centers around large-scale community murals, teaching, and studio artwork. A desire to work with communities to bring inspiring art into shared spaces has been the driving force in his career. After receiving his M.F.A. in 2001, Bernie became a Community Muralist and Teaching Artist instead of pursuing a career in academia. Working with communities on murals that tell their unique stories merged several of his interests and passions. Bernie has since completed 95 public murals in schools, downtown streets, community centers, and many other settings. His vision is to continue to utilize the power of art to strengthen communities and cultivate personal and societal wellness through beauty and collaboration.

Sharing his love for art has led Bernie to be an active teacher. In addition to universities and grade schools, he’s prioritized teaching in therapeutic and interventional settings such as youth homes and prisons. Bernie’s artist residencies involve leading students in permanent curriculum-based murals, where the students do most of the work from design to completion. Students creatively explore with a wide range of materials and media, including video and movement, to help synthesize what they are learning.

Bernie also pursues his individual studio work -- a body of paintings and mixed media works (called Innerscapes) that show life, color, and energy inside physical bodies. His studio work has been featured in over 40 juried exhibitions, with 5 being solo exhibitions.