Geer's Creations  Criis Geer Chagnon



Criis Geer Chagnon  at Artspace

Criis Geer Chagnon creating marble chips at Artspace, Valdicastello, Italy


Museum Specialist
Smithsonian Institution,
National Museum of Natural History,
Washington, DC.  2000 - Present


Exhibit Specialist - Model Maker
Smithsonian Institution,
Office of Exhibits - Central
1998 - 2000


Suffrage Monument Addition
Office of the Architect of the Capitol
U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC


Criis Geer Chagnon was introduced to stone carving by her mother, J. Gail Geer.

After Criis earned degrees in fine art from Mary Washington College and Hollins University, Criis and Gail studied marble carving together with Kyle Smith at Artspace in Valdicastello, Italy.

  Summer Dreams


  • Master of Arts, Sculpture, 1994.
    Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Portrait Studio Workshop with Michiel Van der Sommen,1998
    Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA
  • Graduate Study, Marble Sculpture, 1997
    Artspace Studios, Valdicastello, Pietrasanta, Italy.
  • Graduate Study, Illustration, 1992
    Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology, 1992.
    Bachelor of Science in Studio Art, 1992.
    Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, Virginia.


  • Sculpture Award
    Bath Count Art Show, Bath County, VA, 2002, 2003
  • Sculpture Award
    League of Roanoke Artists, 2001
  • First Place in Sculpture
    Heart of Virginia Festival, 1996
  • SCAD Merit Scholarship
    Savannah College of Art and Design. 1992


  • Fine Arts Instructor, Roanoke College, Salem, VA
  • Art Teacher, Roanoke City Schools, Roanoke, VA, 1994-1995
  • Environmental Science Instructor, Apple Ridge Farm, Copper Hill, VA, 1995


  • Historic Yellow Springs Invitational Art Show,
    Historic Yellow Springs Foundation,
    Chester Springs, PA, since 2000

  • Earth that Moves the Soul featured artist exhibition
    with J. Gail Geer and Bill Mould

    Artisans Center of Virginia, Waynesboro, VA, 2007

  • CHAIRS: On and Off the Wall
    The Jefferson Center, Roanoke, VA, 2004
  • Women in the Arts Exhibition
    Ripley Center of the Smithsonian Institution,
    National Mall, Washington, DC, 1997
  • Altered Chairs
    Greater Reston Art Center, Reston, VA, 1997
  • When the Spirit Moves - with J. Gail Geer
    E. Taylor Greer Gallery, Ferrum College, Ferrum VA, 2002
  • Bath County Art Show
    Bath County, VA, 1999-2003
  • Italian Summers - with J. Gail Geer
    Shenandoah Valley Art Center, Waynesboro, VA, 1998
  • Heart of Virginia Festival
    Farmville, VA 1996
  • Roanoke City Show
    Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, VA 1993, 1995
  • All Creatures (Individual Exhibition)
    Studios on the Square, Roanoke, VA 1994
Artist's Statement

I learned to carve the old fashioned way, as an apprentice to my mother. Although I hold Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Studio Art from Mary Washington College and a Master's degree in Sculpture from Hollins University, most of my carving expertise was acquired sanding and chipping on works with and for my mom. I used to joke that I was her "stone slave" and had to sand things to get my dinner.

After years of carving with my mom in our studio in Roanoke, we traveled to Pietrasanta, Italy during the 1990's to study traditional marble carving techniques. Working virtually in the shadow of Michelangelo, walking in the footsteps of the greatest carvers and choosing stone from their quarries added another dimension to my understanding of working stone.

As a "day job" I have been working for the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution and for the Office of Exhibits Central since the late 90's. I have built and installed exhibit components such as archival mannequins, fiberglass figures, cast stone pediments, giant microbes and synthetic elephant droppings. I have also handled and moved thousands of natural history specimens ranging in size from hummingbird eggs to whale skulls including: articulated skeletons, furs, textiles, sculpture, pottery, mounted birds and mammals, boats, meteorites, and dinosaur bones. Most recently I have been an integral part of the relocation and re-housing of oversized specimens, including the entire collection of Marine Mammals.

All of this varied experience in art, life and work has fed my intense interest in the natural world and helped me to express that interest and vision through the medium of stone.

My work consists of simplified form and line that always condenses a natural subject into its essential visual and emotional components. The fierce strength of a wild beast or the gentle cradle of a mother's arms is simply delineated with a minimum of fussy detail.

I also have a loving and supportive husband, Tofer, and a brilliant and beautiful son, Andrew.




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Images and text 2001-2007 Geer's Creations
Last modified Monday, May 23, 2016