2023 – 2024 Distillery Program


The Artists:

Imani Batts is a sustainable fashion designer located in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Imani holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Small Business Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is the owner of Catherine Trendz, a fashion brand whose mission is to inspire customers to incorporate one-of-a-kind and sustainable wardrobes by reworking second hand garments. Imani exhibited her designs at Los Angeles Fashion Week in 2022 and curated the “GRWM Runway Experience” in February 2024. 

The Get Ready With Me collection is an ode to black hair and a reflection of Batts’ personal hair journey. This mixed-media collection is made from secondhand garments and objects from the beauty supply store, including barrettes, beads, braiding hair, and bamboo earrings. “Seeing the bright colors of the barrettes and the loud noise of the wooden beads brings nostalgia and peace to my inner child. Each item is uniquely made to make a statement—just like black hair.”


Finn Dugan is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Allegheny College studying Art and Physics in 2022. Dugan has presented panels for Mid-America Artists Association and Sculpture X, and received the Juror’s Award for Best in Show for both organizations. They received the Allegheny College Art Department Award for Outstanding Distinguishment in 2021 and 2022.

Finn Dugan’s artistic practice delves into the dynamic interplay between the physical and digital realms, illuminating the impact of technology on perceptions, bodies, and daily experiences. They are interested in the objectification of the body and its pivotal role in accessing digital interfaces, illuminating the connection between technology and corporeal existence. At the heart of their practice lies the creation of ambient spaces within the digital ecosystem, providing moments of pause and reflection amidst the frenetic pace of modern life. Through this lens, viewers are invited to reconsider their relationship with technology, prompting introspection on the implications of an interconnected world.


Armanis Fuentes is a multidisciplinary artist from Holyoke, Massachusetts. They received a BA in Art History and Studio from Williams College and an AA in Liberal Arts from Holyoke Community College. Fuentes is a member of the artist collective hotbed and is based in Pittsburgh with their collective-mates.

Spanning painting, performance, and sculpture, Fuentes’s practice investigates the complexities of domestic interiority and the dignity of feminized labor. Prepping, cooking, sweeping, mopping, washing, mending, decorating, dreaming—the job of a homemaker is never done; the perpetuity of domestic work sets the stage for Fuentes’s unpeopled paintings, where a mop can pose as a female nude or a cup of coffee can hold the desires of the day. Drawing from art history, Caribbean cosmologies, and their own family history of domestic labor, Fuentes’s work injects fantasy into the mundane, underscoring a fragile truce between The Worker and The Home, between the body and the industry of homemaking.


Joshua Challen Ice is an artist working with traditional and non-traditional gallery spaces such as SPACE Gallery, Carlow University, The Sculpture Center, The Royal Danish Academy, and other found spaces. His practice is rooted in an improvisational way of thinking, designing, and building. Joshua graduated from Point Park University with a BFA in Lighting Design and Entertainment Technology. He worked as the Exhibitions Manager at Mattress Factory before becoming a full-time artist.

Ice’s work explores the idea of “the surreal everyday.” Engaging with the site and infrastructure within the spaces where his work is presented, he amends and adds elements to bring attention to the absurdity of construction practices. Questioning the preciousness of art that is site-specific and ephemeral, he places value in the time and labor of making, rather than in the materials or artwork itself. Though his works appear as deliberately crafted sculptures, they also embody a mindset of frantic troubleshooting, which reflects the nature of art as a problem-solving process.


Evangeline Mensah-Agyekum is a Ghanaian-American multidisciplinary artist, engineer, and designer, originally from Massachusetts. Evangeline’s work is currently on display in vacant storefronts in downtown Pittsburgh as part of Emerging Visions, through Silver Eye Center for Photography and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. She had her first solo exhibition, I still see you, even in the dark, at 38a Gallery in 2023. Her experimental short film Don’t We Look Pretty? was part of the Wick Monet Film Festival and the Youth Film Fest at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Evangeline received her Bachelor of Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Evangeline Mensah-Agyekum is a self-taught artist primarily working in photography, fashion, and filmmaking. Her work revolves around narratives of identity linked to Blackness and womanhood, and transformation as a pivotal means of revealing one’s true self. She draws inspiration from overlooked stories, paying attention to the distinct qualities of the people around her, and portraying undaunted characters through their vulnerability.


Sophie Thompson is a digital and mixed-media sculptor residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her BA in ASI (Art, Science, & Innovation) and Environmental Science/Sustainability from Allegheny College. Thompson is a legally blind artist and activist interested in visual explorations into the aesthetics of disability, self-care, and the function of community under capitalism. She is a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

Thompson primarily discusses aspects of everyday consumption through the casting of impermanent materials, such as glycerin soap, into elaborate sculpture. The objects pull inspiration from decorative ornamentation and hobbyist crafting techniques. In her work, soap is used thematically to embody societal standards for cleanliness, beauty, purity, and wholeness.  Ultimately, her work poses the question: When capitalism fragments us from our most basic needs—community, comfort, and care—who or what do we reach for?


Caroline Yoo is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in the United States to Korean immigrants. Yoo graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with an MFA in 2023. She has performed, exhibited, and produced at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Institute of Contemporary Art, San Francisco, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, and more. She is a co-founder and leader of Hwa Records, JADED, and Han Diaspora Group, all groups that focus on centering space for Asian American voices.

Through her art practice of performance, social practice, intimate gatherings, and video installations, Yoo uses translation as a tool to map forgotten histories—to reveal psychological shadows haunting the diaspora—and perform contemporary translations of rituals for the living. Tracing the edges of hidden and silenced perspectives of the past to inform the personal and political of the present, Yoo visualizes narratives using multiple voices in tension with each other to highlight the complicated structures of empire and power unraveling imperial illusions through geopolitical poetry.



Getting the Spirit Out, the 2024 Distillery Exhibition, will be on view from April 20 – June 17, 2023 at the Brew House Gallery.


The Mentors: