"Chehalis Hegner creates mesmerizing combustible windows through which longings, legends, fabulous and slightly ominous possibilities, peek their heads and wink."
~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Poet
Improvisation has always been my guide. Depth of engagement is extremely important to me because the art I make stands to measure the authenticity of the connections I have with my subjects.
Making art is as much a physical experience as it is intellectual and creative. There are positive aspects to even the worst things that happen to us. In my case, losing sight in my left eye gave way to the gift of unrestricted sight in my right eye. The reality of that loss led me to a new way of working. In the beginning I made photographs because of vision loss, but today it has nothing do with my work. Blindness was the crowbar that opened me up to my primary driving force, which is to experience life while giving presence to human emotions and connections through the process of making art.
Chehalis Hegner was awarded in two categories in the 2020 and 2018 Julia Margaret Cameron Awards. In 2010 she received the Gjion Mili Photography Prize (Kosovo.) She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the US and Europe including: The Griffin Museum (MA), Turn Park Art Space Museum & Sculpture Park (MA), The Photographic Resource Center (Boston, MA), The Art Institute of Boston, Maryland Art Place (Baltimore), St. Gauden’s National Historic Site (Cornish, NH), The Cultural Center (Varigotti, Italy), Perspective Gallery (Evanston, IL), Interlochen Arts Academy (MI), the MIT Museum (Cambridge, MA) The Rey Center (Waterville Valley, NH), University of Massachusetts (Lowell), University of Texas (Austin), Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME) and the National Gallery of Art in Kosovo. In 2005 Chehalis Hegner received her MFA in Photography at Lesley University's College of Art and Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Recent publications include solo features in Fotonostrum Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, Shadow and Light Magazine, and Tangram's Going Into Wonder Issue, photographs on the creative process and kinetic sculptures of Arthur Ganson.
Chehalis served as a faculty member within the Department of Art and Design at The University of Massachusetts until 2015. She is currently a full-time artist and co-founder of Halo Hill, a startup organization near Chicago whose mission is to foster arts programming and the environment.
Hegner has served on jury panels, taught photo workshops, is a member of ASMP and was a member of SPE during her photography faculty position at UMass. She served on the board of directors at The Photographic Resource Center at Boston University where she her efforts focused on strategic planning, development, and programming.