The Midway Creative Complex
Kelsey Issel is the Art Director at The Midway Creative Complex, where she curates and produces multidisciplinary exhibitions and events, with an eye for artists pushing the boundaries of their practice. Since 2014, Kelsey has built The Midway’s art department from the ground up, firmly centered around an ethos of community and collaboration. Through her leadership, The Midway has become the site of established programming highlighting the intersection of art and technology, including IllUM, a multifaceted festival celebrating renowned artists pushing the boundaries of emerging technologies through art and music. She continued to expand The Midway’s recognition as a refuge for creative technologists via the Binary Salon series, a bimonthly art + tech meetup featuring artist-led presentations. Her implementation of The Midway’s artist residency has served as a catalyst for artists to cross disciplines and conceive of larger events using all the resources the complex has to offer. From the residency have emerged The Midway’s immersive dinner series, including Night Fishing, a surreal dining experience produced with resident artist, Isis Hockenos, and described by KQED’s “Table Talk” as an event which “will remind you that bohemian San Francisco is still alive and well.”
Kelsey also spearheaded The Midway’s move away from single-use plastic water bottles at the end of 2018, positioning The Midway as the first independent cultural venue in San Francisco to make such a commitment. As a continuation of that pledge, Kelsey established a growing partnership between The Midway and Lonely Whale to co-produce, Ocean-Bound, a yearly art exhibition centered around educating visitors on plastic waste and highlighting businesses that are implementing ocean-friendly practices. Additional partnerships include an ongoing collaboration with local artist and curator, Meryl Pataky, in hosting SHE BENDS, a traveling art show center-staging women neon benders. Kelsey’s dedication to supporting women in the arts is a consistent theme in her career. Her ongoing initiatives to empower women include an apprenticeship program mentoring emerging art professionals on the inner workings of exhibition production, and her in-house fostering of women-led projects, providing a unique space at The Midway for experimentation.
Kelsey is Participating in these Events
- When Purpose-Driven Engagement Goes Viral: Behind the Success of #Strawless and Exciting New Steps in Tackling Plastic Pollution - Breakout Session on Wednesday, 5 June, 2019 at 15:30:00