History and Mission
Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM) is Ethical Metalsmiths' innovative community mining project. It raises awareness of the connection between mining, metalsmithing, activism, collaboration and art. It involves volunteer "miners," "smelters," "refiners," jewelers, and metalsmiths working together to create a new and transparent supply chain. The project is both performance and event, linking recycling, reuse and collaborative work sessions with the creation of unique, innovative, handmade jewelry, concluding with an exhibition and reception. The project was designed and developed by Christina Miller and Susie Ganch and is now directed by Susie Ganch and Kathleen Kennedy.
Susie Ganch is an artist and educator living in Richmond, VA where she is Interim Chair for the Department of Craft and Material Studies in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ganch is an artist who questions consumer culture and the impact humankind has on the environment. Part of her practice is Directing Radical Jewelry Makeover, an international jewelry mining and recycling project that continues to travel across the country and abroad. Since 2007 Ganch has been working closely with Ethical Metalsmiths because of this project which serves an outreach arm of the organization. She has also been working on the board of EM since 2014 when it was formed. Recent solo exhibitions include: How Soon is Now?, MS State University, TIED, an ArtForum Critics’ pick, Visual Arts Center, Richmond, VA, Land and Sea, Sienna Patti Contemporary, Lenox, MA. Her work has been included internationally in museum exhibitions including: Smithsonian National Museum for Women in the Arts, MFA Boston, the Design Museum, London, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, Japan, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC, the Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI, Milwaukee Art Museum, WI and the UICA, Grand Rapids, MI. Upcoming exhibitions include: Smithsonian Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C., and the Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA. Public collections include: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, Asheville Art Museum, NC, and Quirk Hotel, Richmond, VA. Susie Ganch is a recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant, Theresa Pollack Fine Art Award, a VA Commission for the Arts Grant, and multiple VCU Faculty Research Grants. She is represented by Sienna Patti Contemporary Gallery.
Kathleen Kennedy, born 1985, is an artist and educator currently living in Richmond, VA. She received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Kennedy is an Adjunct Instructor and Metals Area Coordinator for the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She has also taught as an Instructor at Montgomery College in Maryland and the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. She is a member of the advisory council for the Ethical Metalsmiths and currently serves as Co-Director of Radical Jewelry Makeover, an international jewelry mining and recycling project that continues to travel across the country and abroad. Kennedy’s work deals with finding meaning in the mundane. She has most recently exhibited her work at Invitational and juried exhibits at the Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA, the Tacoma Art Museum, WA, and Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA.