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The Full Story


Cycles is a multi-media project spearheaded by composer Amy Wurtz, textiles artist Anna Lentz, visual artist Erin O'Neill, and ceramics artist Gloria Stefano.




Amy Wurtz

A fervent advocate for new music and the community that surrounds and supports it, Amy Wurtz is a vibrant performer, composer, and curator of new music.


Her recent album, Cello Dances at Night, with the Wurtz-Berger Duo, a cello-piano collaboration with Alyson Berger, features Amy’s work Songs and Dances which was commissioned by the 2016 Ear Taxi Festival. Originally from California, Amy has lived and worked in the Bay Area, Southern California, throughout the Midwest, South America and Europe. In addition to composing and curation, she is in demand as a solo pianist, chamber and choral musician, teacher, and collaborative pianist. 


Amy performs regularly with the Wurtz-Berger Duo, Access Contemporary Music, the Calumet Chamber Musicians, and as President of New Music Chicago, is an active force in the new music community.  She curates New Music at the Green Mill and the Impromptu Fest, and performs regularly at the Thirsty Ears Festival and the Sound of Silent Film Festival in Chicago. 

Anna Lentz

Anna Lentz is a visual artist and arts educator living in Dundee, IL. She studied anthropology, women’s studies, and studio art at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN as well as community art at California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA. She earned her MA in Art Education at School of the Arts Institute, Chicago, IL. Her research interests include community-based art education, hospitality, and vernacular art. Anna currently processes her emotions and life happenings through painting and sewing  vibrant colors and shapes. She also explores the natural worlds of her woodland home where she practices conservation and agroforestry. 

This Cycles project is an opportunity to examine how my menstrual cycle is interacting with my creativity. Each morning, I journal my physical and emotional state as well as taking note of my desires. Then, I choose circular bits of fabric, which I applique onto vintage napkins and cloths. This is where I let my intuition rule! I quickly choose various colors and textures of fabric and thread - not from an intellectual realm, but from a more basic, embodied place that is free of judgment and discernment. It is more of an automatic impulse. In time, these napkins will be sewn into a calendar quilt that will act as a research document for my cycle. The vintage napkins reference the use of sanitary napkins, while the needlework, applique, stitching, and quilting nod to women’s creative work - often performed collectively in circles of women - just as we are gathering now in a supportive circle.

Reflecting on my relationship with my menstrual cycle I am confronted by the fact that being on an IUD for 15 years I no longer experience symptoms of menstruation in a noticeable way. Beyond occasional spotting I really have no signifiers of what is happening with me hormonally. Around 4 years ago I began noticing the moon cycles in tandem with the days that I had spotting, which often occurs on or right next to a New Moon. Doing the math I realized that I was likely ovulating around the time of the full moon. Soon I began to realize that although I don’t menstruate heavily, or suffer from cramping, my hormones still had a cycle. When I began journaling for this project I began to see a pattern for everything - my social battery, my productivity, my desires and so on. I will create 29 paintings on cloth napkins for each stage of the moon cycle that reflects my observations through journaling. The idea of the napkin becomes a metaphor for a sanitary napkin. When displayed I want them to be attached to a clothes line with wooden clothespins, a nod to my late grandmother who hung her laundry in the same way. I associate wooden clothespins with her and the maternal labor she provided for her family. I also want to create a short animation loop using 29 hand painted stills, possibly using self portraiture. The stills can also be framed for display while the animation loop can be projected on a white wall or displayed on a screen. I think it’s important to talk about the female experience and how we go to great lengths to mask our ever shifting chemical conditions.

Erin O'Neill

Erin Elizabeth ONeill (b. 1983, St. Louis Missouri) lives and works in Chicago. ONeill received
her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2008 for Painting and Drawing. Her work reflects a
deep love of figurative symbolist art.
ONeill began working in watercolor at the age of 17, in 2000. While she formally trained in oil
painting during her academic years, she returned to watercolor and ballpoint pen after her
child's birth due to their accessibility and low toxicity. After becoming a mother, ONeill's work
became a way for her to understand herself postpartum. She started with small manageable
studies she could do on her couch or while riding the bus to work. Eventually, her images
evolved into a more extensive series of paintings that addressed the shift in personal identity
Her paintings and watercolors have been exhibited in notable galleries such as the ARC Gallery
(Chicago, IL), Paradice Palase (Brooklyn, NY), Dallas Metro Arts Contemporary (Dallas, TX),
The St. Louis Artist Guild (St. Louis, MO). Pikchur Magazine and Harbor Review are some of
the publications that have featured her work. ONeill received an honorable mention at the
Watercolor 2020 Juried Exhibition at the Norris Cultural Center (St. Charles, IL).

Gloria Stefano

My name is Gloria and I'm a 23-year-old queer from Chicago who's addicted to ceramics. My goal is to inspire others by way of my own two hands. Clay's ability to take any form means no room for boredom. Various techniques such as, wheel throwing, hand building, sgraffito, Mishima, underglaze slip trailing, and freehand painting make up the ecosystem of my current pottery smorgasbord. Using my abilities to make things with my hands, I can raise money that goes towards my survival, and eventually, others' survival too. The connection between clay, earth and humans goes deep, and is believed to aid in revolutionizing one's life. Stick around to see what may come of this unique social enterprise. Never be afraid to fall into the abyss. 

For the cycles project, my part is to track my cycle by way of daily journaling and sculpting. I'll be making tiny figurines that represent and record what I'm feeling that day in terms of life and menstrual symptoms. To be as strict as possible, I'll only allow myself to work on figure "day 1" on each first day of my cycle, and so on. This includes sculpting, re-sculpting and glazing. At the end I'll have between 28-34 figures depending on how my cycle fluctuates.


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