Elaina Michalski (née Barbara Elaina Wendt) works primarily with clay to create figurative sculptures of women, children, and youth. In works ranging from small fired pieces to life-size unfired clay installations in public spaces, she explores ideas about spirituality, family relationships, and vulnerable people. As a Kansas City native, growing up in the “City of Fountains” and visiting countless churches has influenced her work, with the many figurative artworks and architectural elements of these places.
She earned her BFA in Ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA in Multimedia Art, Ceramics, and Sculpture from the University of Florida. Her sculptures have been featured in Lark Books’ 500 Figures in Clay Volume 2 and The Figure in Clay, and some of her awards include an Urban Culture Project Studio Residency through the Charlotte Street Foundation and an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant. She has taught studio art for Metropolitan Community College, Rockhurst University, Kansas City Art Institute, Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts high school, MyARTS Program, and other non-profit organizations. She lives and works in the Kansas City area and is Lecturer in Art/Fine Art Program Coordinator at Park University.