Sandi (Monson-Flegle) Colaizy '68: From Creative Outlet to Studio 453
Sandi (Monson-Flegle) Colaizy’s journey from Minnehaha Academy days to the art that fills her hours and walls in 2019 hasn’t always felt brushed with the light seen in so many of her paintings.
Plunged into single-motherhood when her husband lost his battle with Hodgkin’s disease in 1995, Sandi found herself supporting three children through a job that constrained her creative nature to spreadsheets and routine. It was during this season, as she turned to painting for a creative outlet, that the seeds for Studio 453 began to take root.
“I believe that all people have been created to be image bearers of Christ; [we] have special and unique gifts to do that,” she says. Sandi found her niche in painting and, eventually, public speaking.
In some ways this is coming full circle: From the mid-80s and into the early 90s Sandi worked as agent, road manager, set designer, and producer of events for her husband, performing artist Richard Allison (aka. Rich Flegle ‘68). The two traveled the nation and Europe, with Richard onstage and Sandi behind the scenes. From there Sandi went on to produce concerts and consult with other Christian artists and churches, but it wasn’t until Studio 453 that she herself stepped into the limelight.
“I wouldn’t categorize [my art] as religious art or that I am a religious art painter…[but] my faith comes out in my paintings,” Sandi shares. She explains that she wants each piece to give “a glimpse into the Gospel.”
At times during a showing she’ll step into an opportunity to share the circumstances or scripture that sparked a certain painting, like the time she immersed herself in a work as she waited for news from one of her children who was facing a serious challenge. At other times her ministry is more overt, like when she spoke at the Day Set Apart for Women about what it means to be image bearers of Christ in everyday life.
This season also came with a beautiful surprise: While following this new path Sandi met Jim Colaizy, the man who became her husband in 2001. “He’s been a good living example of a godly husband and father to my kids and grandkids,” she says.
Today Sandi shows her art in churches, schools, and art shows. Once or twice a year she opens her home studio for a showing as well. You can also find her online at studio453art.com and on Instagram @studio453art.
Place of Influence: Studio 453 Art, Twin Cities
Role: Artist, Speaker
Personal Mission: To inspire others to maximize their God-given gifts while deepening their relationship with Jesus.
Biggest MA Takeaway: Being grounded in faith and the value of deep relationships.
Advice to Current Students: Don’t take friendships for granted, and don’t miss the opportunity to develop relationships with the teachers.