‘Contact S16’ photography exhibit opens today at MSU

April 14th, 2016 Comments Off on ‘Contact S16’ photography exhibit opens today at MSU

“Identity” by Zach Boozer

“Identity” by Zach Boozer

“Memento” by Leslie Graham

“Memento” by Leslie Graham

“Fragment #3-Crashing Wave” by Sara Beard

“Fragment #3-Crashing Wave” by Sara Beard

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Works of three graduating art/photography majors at Mississippi State are on display through May 6 in the university’s Colvard Student Union Art Gallery.

Free to all, the “Contact S16: BFA Photography Thesis Exhibition” celebrates the final year of art department studies for Sara J. Beard of Pascagoula, Zachary S. “Zach” Boozer of Jackson and Leslie A. Graham of Forest. Beard also is pursuing an MSU degree in foreign language/French.

Also open to all is a 5-6 p.m. Thursday [April 14] reception in their honor taking place in the Union’s second-floor gallery. Refreshments will be provided.

Regular gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, as well as by appointment.

All three students have been guided over the years by professor Marita Gootee and assistant professor Dominic Lippillo of art’s photography emphasis area. Gootee is the department’s longtime photography coordinator.

Their images reflect the successful conclusion of departmental research, writing and presentation requirements, as well as four years of foundational coursework, survey, art history, and academic and emphasis classes.

Beard’s collection features “Fragment #3-Crashing Wave,” a piece focusing primarily on personal memories that have both changed and remained over time. She said her goal is to inspire viewers to reflect on their own memories and consider how they also may have evolved.

“Dasein,” the name of Boozer’s body of work, includes a piece titled “Identity” he said was inspired by the “hyperconnected age we live in today that has made it become increasingly difficult for individuals to be in the present and aware of their innerselves.” His goal: “Encourage the viewer to contemplate the manner in which the noise of modern society affects your personal introspection on your individual experience of being.”

In “Memento,” Graham’s tintype images pay tribute to her late grandmother. Indicative of a time now frozen since her grandmother’s passing, they are meant to intimately capture things at a distance that convey an absence of presence.

Additional information on the “Contact S16” exhibit is available from Lori Neuenfeldt, coordinator for gallery and outreach programs, at 662-325-2973 or LNeuenfeldt@caad.msstate.edu.

In addition to the College of Architecture, Art and Design, the exhibit is made possible with support from the Center for Student Activities.

Department of Art awards 2015-2016 scholarships/awards

April 2nd, 2016 Comments Off on Department of Art awards 2015-2016 scholarships/awards

The Department of Art Scholarship Committee has awarded the following awards and scholarships to students in the 2015-2016 academic year:

Anderson Ranch Scholarship

  • Darby Taylor: $1,500 (with support from the Grahame Brook Snider Annual Photography Fund for $1,800); total award: $3,300
  • Sara Beard: $1,500 (with support from Windgate and the Grahame Brook Snider Annual Photography Fund for $1,500 and the Grahame Brook Snider Annual Photography Fund for $300); total award: $3,300

Beverly B. Gulmon Scholarship


  • Laura Leigh Hicks
  • DeMarques Nevels

Ferretti/Karnstedt Endowed Scholarship

  • Kenan Simpkins (Photography Portfolio Concentration Award): $500
  • Katie Erikson (Photography Portfolio Concentration Award): $250
  • Samantha Sumrall (Photography Portfolio Concentration Award): $250
  • Claire Burgett (Fine Art Portfolio Concentration Award): $1,000

Grahame Brooke Snider Endowed Photography Travel Award

  • Katie Erikson: $1,000

The M. Ashley DuBoise Endowed Photography Scholarship


  • Zachary Boozer


  • Kamau Bostic: $750
  • Samantha Sumrall: $750

Rome Travel Award

$1,200 each

  • Randi Watson
  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Anna Katherine Erickson
  • Lorianna Livingston
  • Aubrey Pohl
  • Samantha McDougall

Penland Higher Education Partners Program Award

  • Jillian Wilson: $1,332
  • Austin Grove: $2,414

Windgate Charitable Trust – Fine Art Portfolio Concentration Award

  • Alex Cayson: $1,000
  • Claire Burgett: $500
  • Jordan Knight: $1,000

Donovan Dodd Award for Excellence in Ceramic Art

  • Jillian Wilson

Undergraduate MSU-Noxubee National Wildlife Artist-In-Residence

  • Kara VonKanel

Jefferson Clarke Wilson Memorial Award for Excellence in Photography

  • Sydney Armer: $100

Art alumnus presents ‘things I’ve learned on my way to wonder’

April 1st, 2016 Comments Off on Art alumnus presents ‘things I’ve learned on my way to wonder’

BParker new

parker 04012016_1 copy

Brian W. Parker, “artist, illustrator, entrepreneur and creator of the fantastical,” returned to his Alma Mater to share some life lessons with Department of Art juniors and seniors on April 1.

The 2003 MSU Bachelor of Fine Arts alumnus who holds a master’s from Portland State University presented “Things I’ve learned on my way to wonder.”

Parker, owner and creative director at Believe in Wonder Publishing, discussed his pathway from student to entrepreneur, and broke down his advice into six key points.

  1. Don’t wait until you think you are good enough. (If you do, you will be waiting forever.)

“Sharing your work helps you grow,” said Parker.

  1. Always be working. (When you’re not sleeping, eating or loving.)

“Keep a sketchbook with you all the time,” he said. “It’s where the ideas live at. They are there for a second, and you think, ‘Oh I’m a genius.’ And then you go to lunch, and the idea’s gone.” He added, “Creativity is like a muscle. If you are not working it out, it gets soft and atrophied – you don’t want your imagination to get to that point – you want to keep it robust and strong.”

  1. Make your own opportunities. (Because, unfortunately, you can’t always expect them to come from somewhere else.)

The author encouraged students to join groups and apply for grants and residencies. “Take what you are passionate about, and fit that into a mold that an organization has set up – do the kind of work that inspires you.”

  1. Be open with your expectations. (Keep high standards, but be flexible with outcomes.)

“Don’t feel bad about your shortfalls – they are really great learning experiences that encourage your work. You have to expect that not all the work you are doing is going to find an audience right away. In fact, try your best not to try to cater your work to an audience – do the work you are inspired by that gets you fired up.”

  1. Meet your heroes. (Just ‘cause.)

“They want to inspire you and keep you going,” he said, encouraging students to go to talks and conventions and then sit down with their “heroes” and ask questions.

  1. Believe in something. (And make it a part of what you do!)

“You are building a fan base. How about build a fan base while helping others? That separates your work from your peers.”

Parker and his wife believe in inspiring creativity in schools and work to bring his other passion, storytelling, to schools that lack art programs. He has heard from numerous teachers the difference he has made in students.

“Stuff like that that gets you up in the morning. There are going to be ups and downs, but if you are really excited about the work, the ups and downs don’t matter that much.”

“In the end what’s most important about your work is sharing it with other people and having it inspire them.”

Be sure to check out Parker’s next book, “The Wonderous Science,” the first of a series, is set to come out this summer.

Art students honored at 44th Juried Exhibit

April 1st, 2016 Comments Off on Art students honored at 44th Juried Exhibit

See the story at wtva.com.

(Photos by Aaron McElfish)

The 44th Student Juried Exhibition opened March 31 at the university’s McComas Hall Art Gallery.

Free to all, the ground-floor exhibition through April 8 features 79 works selected from nearly 350 fine art, graphic design and photography creations submitted for consideration.

A public reception for the exhibitors was held from 5-6 p.m. on March 31, where the following awards were presented:

Fine Art Juror Awards

  • Best in Show – Haylee Upton, “Hive”
  • Honorable Mention – Catherine Ranager, “Crowd Pleaser”
  • Honorable Mention – Kenan Simpkins, “Hymnal Chapel”
  • Honorable Mention – Katye Drew, “Lisa: For the Forest”

Photography Juror Awards

  • Best in Show – Haleigh Parker, “Ironing Board”
  • Honorable Mention – Ronnie Robinson, “Play Nice, Deary: Portrait Series”
  • Honorable Mention – Samantha Sumrall, “Self Portrait”
  • Honorable Mention – Chaka Watkins, “Strangers”

Graphic Design Juror Awards

  • Best in Show – Jordan Hankinson, “DNP 2015: APS Division of Nuclear Physics”
  • Honorable Mention – Kelli Clayton, “WWF Illegal Wildlife Trade 2”
  • Honorable Mention – Daniel Jackson, “Dog Gone It”
  • Honorable Mention – Phillip Bajoras, “Alabama Shakes”

Sponsor Awards

  1. Starkville Area Arts Council Fine Art Award – Niki Johnson, “Land of Cerberus”
  2. RGH Artists’ Paint Award – Shaquita Woodson, “Glacier”
  3. Mount Vision Pastel Award – Randi Watson, “Self Portrait One”

CAAD Dean’s Purchase Prizes

  • Jillian Wilson, “The Five”
  • Jordan Hankinson, “DNP 2015: APS Division of Nuclear Physics”
  • Kenan Simpkins, “Jackson + Starkville”

Recent Awards and Scholarships of Special Recognition

Donovan Dodd Award for Excellence in Ceramic Art
Jillian Wilson

2016 Ferretti/Karnstedt Endowed Scholarship in Photography
Kenan Simpkins
Katie Erikson
Samantha Sumrall

2016 Grahame Brook Snider Endowed Travel Photography Award
Anna Katherine “Katie” Erickson

2016 M. Ashley Duboise Endowed Photography Scholarship
Kamau Bostic
Samantha Sumrall

Penland Higher Education Partners Program Award
Jillian Wilson

Rome Travel Award
Anna Katherine “Katie” Erickson
Lorianna Livingston
Samantha “Sami” McDougall
Katherine “Kaylie” Mitchell
Aubrey Pohl
Randi Watson

MSU Student Scholarship from Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Colorado
Sara Beard
Darby Taylor

2016 Undergraduate MSU-Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Artist in Residence
Kara VonKanel

Guests at the exhibit were asked to vote for their favorite piece, and the People’s Choice Award went to Shaquita Woodson for “Glacier.”

Department of Art student Jordan Knight designed the Best in Show, Honorable Mention and People’s Choice Awards for this year’s juried exhibit. Knight is a junior in the Department of Art and a gallery assistant for the MSU Department of Art Galleries.

Special Thanks to Lori Neuenfeldt, coordinator of the MSU Art Department’s gallery and outreach programs, and all of who made this event possible:
CAAD Dean Jim West                       Department of Art faculty
Matthew Gordon                               Jacqueline Posley
Jordan Knight                                    Brennan Byrne
Katie Trapp                                         Ashley Brewer
Nicole Jackson                                   Christina Vanderberg

Fine art, graphic design and photography judges for this semester’s exhibition were, respectively, Ryan Cobourn, a New York painter, designer and photographer; James Louis Walker, a multidisciplinary graphic designer and educator in Texas; and Laura Larson, an Ohio-based photographer.

Click here to see the awards show program.

Special gallery hours for the exhibition in McComas Hall are 1-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, as well as by appointment.

For additional information, contact Lori Neuenfeldt at 662-325-2973 or LNeuenfeldt@caad.msstate.edu.

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