MSU Department of Art gallery director featured in Tupelo newspaper

October 17th, 2017 Comments Off on MSU Department of Art gallery director featured in Tupelo newspaper

Lori Neuenfeldt (photo by Adam Robison via djournal.com)

By Scott Morris | via Daily Journal

Mississippi State University’s Moore Hall houses a roomful of colorful history.

“We have approximately 2,000 objects,” said Lori Neuenfeldt, instructor and gallery director.

Specifically, the MSU Historic Costume and Textiles Collection preserves clothes, shoes and accessories. The oldest item dates back to the 1840s. Some were for everyday wear, others strictly reserved for special occasions.

“We don’t repair. We preserve them and protect them,” Neuenfeldt said. “We don’t try to bring them back to life. We’re more interested in the stories they have to tell.”

Some might not think of fashion as a serious topic, but it touches every aspect of human life. The differences between a store-bought silk dress and a handmade wool dress can speak to class, economic development, regional trends and down-to-earth realities of human existence.

“All of the garments have been worn by people,” Neuenfeldt said. “They have been lived in.”

In the past, clothes were constructed with the future in mind. A man’s coat or a woman’s dress could be passed down to children and siblings. Every ripped seam required needle and thread, rather than a trip to the department store or mall.

“If we get a hole in a shirt, unless it’s a favorite, favorite shirt, we don’t repair it,” Neuenfeldt said. “Victorians passed clothing down for generations and generations.”

When people first hear about a costume collection, they can get the wrong idea.

“They say, ‘Oh, I like the theater,’” she said. “No, costume is the academic term for historical fashion.”

But there has been theatrical interest. Professors and students from the University of Southern Mississippi traveled to Starkville for close-up views.

“They were interested in how they made those 1890s puffy sleeves,” Neuenfeldt said, holding up an example. “You can feel the horse hair in there that makes this leg-of-mutton-style sleeve.”

The visitors wanted to reproduce clothes for the stage. In the search for historical accuracy, they might use hooks and eyes, which were the norm until the zipper came into wide use during the 1930s.

“It was exciting for me to have them come,” Neuenfeldt said, “because they could elaborate on the construction of the clothing.”

The collection is affiliated with MSU’s fashion design and marketing program, so students can inspect and observe.

“It’s helping me learn the history and construction of clothing,” said Water Valley’s Taylor Anne Trusty, a freshman student worker who puts information about the collection into a searchable database. “I’ve learned fashion repeats itself. We tend to just make small changes to clothes over the years.”

Most changes are cosmetic, but others respond to momentous world events.

“During the 1940s,” Neuenfeldt said, “they had restrictions. People had to give their material to the war effort.”

If given the chance to add one piece to the collection, she might ask for a Christian Dior dress from 1947 or ’48. Dior remains a widely known luxury brand, but the time period is equally important when it comes to telling a story through fashion.

“Post World War II, Christian Dior introduced full skirts and used more yards of fabric than had been used in years,” Neuenfeldt said. “A lot of people saw it and said, ‘This is his way of saying the war was over.’”

Dior had his critics. Europe was devastated by the fighting. The end of open warfare didn’t rebuild homes, bring back jobs and return loved ones.

“Some were offended by the use of the fabric because there was so much poverty, and people were spending money on what many would consider frivolous fashion,” she said. “A Dior would symbolize so much about history.”

The collection has the capacity to surprise, as when visitors marvel at how long it would take to lace up an old-school pair of boots.

It also can offend. Several items incorporate fur, which was considered a symbol of status. Men wore their raccoon coats and women had their mink stoles. Babies even got into the act.

“We have a pair of baby slippers that look like rabbits and have rabbit fur on them,” Neuenfeldt said.

The collection focuses on U.S. items, but there are some international objects, including a pair of silk Chinese binding slippers.

“A female of high status would have her feet bound when she was younger,” Neuenfeldt said. “It would prevent them from growing. Small feet were considered beautiful. A lot of times the foot would grow around it. They would not be able to walk very well. They had to be carried.”

That might seem shocking, but Chinese women aren’t the only ones who underwent pain to attain a cultural ideal of beauty. Tight-fitting corsets are mostly in the past, but high heels are still exacting their price, and many women consider the cost worth it.

“Again, it’s a status symbol,” Neuenfeldt said. “Because you’re wearing high heels, you’re not doing hard labor. It sends a message. People will interpret the things you wear.”

The collection room at Moore Hall has undergone renovations in recent years. The carpet was removed and metal shelving was installed. Windows were covered to keep out natural light that could damage fragile fabrics.

“We have electronic devices that monitor the temperature and the humidity,” she said. “We need to maintain 67 degrees to keep the garments happy.”

Though space is limited, there’s room for more. Neuenfeldt isn’t interested in repeating items, but there are holes in MSU’s colorful collection of history. To make a donation or arrange a tour, go to www.historiccostume.msstate.edu.

Visitors will find themselves within one degree of separation between the present day and nearly 180 years of intimate human history.

“Really,” Neuenfeldt said, “you can study everything from clothing.”

Reception held for ‘Symbols of Our State’ exhibit

September 23rd, 2017 Comments Off on Reception held for ‘Symbols of Our State’ exhibit

(Images by Kelsey Brownlee)

A reception was held on Sept. 22 in the Old Main Resource Building Gallery at Mississippi State University for “Symbols of Our State: A Walk through Mississippi Culture and Industry,” a Museums and Galleries Bicentennial Exhibit.

Objects, images, and curatorial interpretation of items from our collections that reflect the history and diversity of the state of Mississippi. The first portion of the exhibit will display examples of official state symbols, while the second half of the exhibit will focus on the economic resources, industry and cultural diversity that have shaped Mississippi into what it is today.

Reception held for ‘Narratives of the Land’ Exhibit

September 11th, 2017 Comments Off on Reception held for ‘Narratives of the Land’ Exhibit

A reception was held on Thursday [Sept. 7], a 5 p.m. in the Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery for “Narratives of the Land,” an exhibit featuring quintessential scenes of Mississippi landscapes created by artists Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-65), Ke Francis (1945-), William “Bill” Dunlap (1944-) and Eudora Welty (1909-2001).

The exhibition is one of twelve celebrating the Magnolia State’s bicentennial and will be on display through Sept. 29. Read more here.

College of Architecture, Art and Design hosts second annual Jackson Design Camp

August 5th, 2017 Comments Off on College of Architecture, Art and Design hosts second annual Jackson Design Camp

Jackson Design Camp 2017 from CAADatMSU on Vimeo. (Video by Anna Barber)

Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently hosted its second annual design camp for students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi.

Held June 26–30, the five-day summer experience in Jackson had a goal of helping students in the Greater Jackson community develop their interests in architecture, art, community development, design, engineering, planning, social justice and related professional fields.

Students gained knowledge of design tools and media through individual and group workshops focused on design, sketching, printmaking, graphic design, model building, sculpture and construction, among other skills. Collaboration, leadership and communication skills were developed, which will help students increase their self-confidence in these areas, leaders said.

This year’s camp was co-directed by MSU School of Architecture Jackson Center Director Jassen Callender and Department of Art Assistant Professor Suzanne Powney.

“It was a wonderful experience to show design-centered entrepreneurship in Jackson to the students,” said Powney. “The range of presenters and activities really emphasized the many paths they could take in the future.” 

The faculty were joined by four student counselors from the College of Architecture, Art and Design – Kapish Cheema (May 2017 graduate, architecture), De’Andre Gaskin (senior, architecture), Carly Melton (senior, art), Garrett Yelverton (May 2017 graduate, architecture).

The camp experience included a variety of visits throughout downtown Jackson, including a tour of the New Capitol building and the Mississippi Museum of Art. The students also visited studios in downtown Jackson including NunoErin Interactive Furniture, Mississippi Light Collaborative with Jess Dalton, and architect and MSU alumnus Steve Davis’s firm – Canizaro Cawthon Davis.

The students visited Midtown to explore video work at Red Square Productions with Roderick Red, entrepreneurship at Offbeat with Phillip Rollins, art and design at Pearl River Glass Studio with Andrew Young, and furniture design at Reclaimed Miles with Chad Schwarzauer.

Speakers included interior designer and MSU alumnus Cristen Richard, animation and illustrator Assistant Professor Ginnie Hsu from the MSU Department of Art, and coordinator of recruitment activities Tabora Cook from the MSU Office of Admissions and Scholarships.

CAAD Associate Dean and Professor Greg Hall said the camp was designed to help expose students to the wide variety and scope of educational and career opportunities in design fields ranging from architecture to graphic design and interior design to fashion, as well as related fields such as engineering and construction.

“One of our primary goals is to help students form educational and professional goals that they can continue to develop during their high school education, regardless of their eventual career choice,” Hall said.

In addition to being funded in part by a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and $750 from the ChemFirst/First Mississippi Corporation Charitable Endowment Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, the camp is supported by MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design; its School of Architecture and Department of Art; the MSU Holmes Cultural Diversity Center and Office of the Registrar.

“I think one of the most rewarding things about this program is seeing the students develop an interest in design as it applies to everyday life,” said Jane Alexander, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. “Not all of them will pursue a career in this path, but they are motivated by the projects they do and the things they see and experience during the week.”

She added, “Once you’ve been exposed to art and architecture, you learn it’s accessible. Knowledge is power, and now these kids have the power of ‘seeing’.”

For additional camp information, contact Hall at 662-325-2509 or ghall@caad.msstate.edu.

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(Images by Anna Barber, De’Andre Gaskin and Christie McNeal)

From the Gallery – July 2017

August 4th, 2017 Comments Off on From the Gallery – July 2017

Mississippi State University Department of Art Gallery Director Lori Neuenfeldt discusses the MSU Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Artist in Residence Program with recent Artist in Residence Dr. Gillian J. Furniss, Ed.D.

Art student, alumna featured as ‘State Spotlight’

June 28th, 2017 Comments Off on Art student, alumna featured as ‘State Spotlight’

Photo by Megan Bean | Mississippi State University

Shawna Williams, a senior art major from Hattiesburg, and art alumna Randi Layne Watson work on a mural on the back wall of the Dawg House stage in MSU’s Colvard Student Union.

The mural, which features Mississippi music with an emphasis on Black Prairie blues, is part of a larger remodeling of the Dawg House.

The revamped space, which is currently used for a wide variety of events and as a lounge space, will be unveiled this fall. 

See the image at msstate.edu!

Department of Art wraps up annual summer camp

June 26th, 2017 Comments Off on Department of Art wraps up annual summer camp

Images by Matthew Gordon

Fourteen campers ages sixteen and up were a part of this summer’s INvision art camp at Mississippi State University.

From June 12-16, students participated in workshops across all concentrations led by art professors and had the chance to interact with current art students.

  • Bookbinding
    • Campers started the week learning how to bind a sketchbook. They kept the book, which they used throughout the camp to draw and journal their experiences. 
  • Sculpture
    • The group made plaster casts of their hands, and learned to steam-bend wood and braze small pieces of metal together.
  • Ceramics
    • Campers learned to throw pottery on the wheel and do a hand building project.  They also got to see their pots fired in a Raku firing.
  • Drawing
    • This workshop taught basic drawing rules and skills to help with composition.
  • Photography
    • The campers learned about different studio lighting techniques and how photographers use lighting to take studio portraits.  The campers then got to take turns practicing their technique – both modeling and taking portraits.
  • Graphic Design
    • Campers were excited to get to design their own t-shirt for the camp.  Its was a collaborative effort, combining individual drawings into one for the final design.

On the final day of the camp, students installed their work from the week at the Visual Arts Center and had a reception for parents and visitors.

For more about the annual summer camp, visit: caad.msstate.edu/in-vision, or contact us at in-vision@caad.msstate.edu or 662-325-6900.

‘Who, What, Wear?’ collaborative exhibition features works by MSU students

June 23rd, 2017 Comments Off on ‘Who, What, Wear?’ collaborative exhibition features works by MSU students

MSU senior art/fine arts major Dionicio D. “Dion” Coleman of Rex, Georgia, presents his research at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel while standing next to an original fashion design by Gabrielle Martinez, an MSU senior fashion design and merchandising/design and product development major from Byhalia. Martinez’s design was inspired by Benjamin West’s oil painting “J. Fall,” c. 1765–1770. (Submitted photo/courtesy of Phyllis Bell Miller)

On display through Oct. 22 at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, the “Who What Wear?” collaborative exhibition features costume recreations and original designs displayed next to works of art and research by students from Mississippi State and the University of Southern Mississippi. Under the direction of Phyllis Bell Miller, retiring MSU professor of fashion design merchandising, far left, and Lori Neuenfeldt, MSU art instructor and gallery director, far right, the students include, from left to right, Neshelle Gilbert, Alicia Lemons, Candace Wheeler, Kristen Miller-Zohn, USM student Jacquelyn Loy, Heather Pace, Jennifer McFadden, USM costume shop supervisor Kelly James-Penot, Mackenzie Dunn, Dion Coleman, Kelly Byrd, Katye Drew and Haylee Upton. (Submitted photo/courtesy of Charles Freeman)

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Works representing the collaborative efforts of current and former Mississippi State art, fashion design and merchandising, and theatre students are on display through Oct. 22 at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel.

Featuring costume recreations and original designs, the “Who, What, Wear?” exhibition also showcases works of art and research by students from MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; College of Architecture, Art and Design; and College of Arts and Sciences, as well as students from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Lori Neuenfeldt, MSU art instructor and gallery director, said last year, she was approached by Kristen Miller-Zohn, curator at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Miller-Zohn proposed the idea for a collaborative exhibition featuring the recreation of garments seen in works of art at the museum.

“For this exhibit, we sought to involve professionals and students in different fields including art, fashion design and theatre,” Neuenfeldt said. “This idea led to the creation of a special topics course at Mississippi State titled ‘Understanding Fashion in Art’ that combines my interests in the overlapping of art and clothing history.”

Neuenfeldt taught the “Understanding Fashion in Art” course this past spring, but the work featured in the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art exhibition is that of students who were enrolled in her 2016 spring semester course.

As part of the 2016 spring semester “Understanding Fashion in Art” course, 30 undergraduate students investigated different ways clothing and accessories are used to communicate ideas of power, gender, wealth and wisdom through works of art from ancient to modern periods.

Throughout the semester, the students conducted research and developed sketches and dossiers on pieces from the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

“Students interpreted the way clothing functions in specific pieces from the museum’s permanent collection,” Neuenfeldt said. “This was no easy task, but they showed me that they were eager for the opportunity to access the collection, study the objects and provide information to the museum.”

MSU art students Alex Cayson, Jennifer McFadden, Haylee Upton, Dion Coleman and Katye Drew passed their research on to fashion design and merchandising majors Neshelle Gilbert, Gabrielle Martinez and Alicia Lemons, who were enrolled in MSU Professor Phyllis Bell Miller’s fall 2016 intermediate construction course. Miller’s students used the research and images as inspiration for new fashion designs, Neuenfeldt said.

Additionally, former MSU communication/theatre major Mackenzie Dunn and Kelly James-Penot, costume shop supervisor at the University of Southern Mississippi, produced historical recreations that are displayed next to paintings from the Lauren Rogers museum’s permanent collection. Dunn created a 19th-century folk costume from the Swiss Canton of Bern, while James-Penot created an 18th-century style “robe á la française.”

Neuenfeldt said this yearlong project is “an exciting example of how artwork can inspire collaborations across research fields and educational institutions.”

“The Mississippi State University Department of Art is happy to partner with the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and the University of Southern Mississippi for this special project,” she said. “An investigation of fashion and costume is a fascinating way to explore works of art and culture, and it is exciting to see how the work of our students is being used to actively engage visitors of the museum.”

For more exhibit information, visit www.lrma.org/exhibition/who-what-wear or contact Neuenfeldt at 662-325-2973 or LNeuenfeldt@caad.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Graphic design student to bike across country raising funds, awareness for cancer

June 6th, 2017 Comments Off on Graphic design student to bike across country raising funds, awareness for cancer

Beth Wynn | Mississippi State University

Via msstate.edu | Our People

Heather Hardman wanted to spend her last summer before graduation “doing something bigger than herself.”

In her search, the Mississippi State graphic design senior stumbled upon the 4K for Cancer website. The program allows 18-25 year olds the opportunity to give and get support within the cancer community as they bike or run 4,000 plus miles across the country.

Now part of Team Seattle in the program, Hardman joined 24 other college students in Baltimore, Maryland, this week.  Together, they are biking across the country (through sites such as the Appalachian Mountains, Lakes Michigan and Chicago, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and the Olympic National Park), and plan to end their journey in Seattle in mid-August.

Hardman and her teammates will be raising funds and awareness for cancer along the way, visiting treatment centers and delivering scholarships. They will dedicate days of the journey to people they know who have battled cancer by writing these names on their legs. Hardman has had friends and family members who have had cancer, as well as her childhood figure skating coach. (See her dedication list here.)

The graphic design student has taken on several additional roles for the trip.

She was part of the committee that designed the team jerseys.

“I think we rotate out three all summer,” she laughed. “Hopefully there will be laundry facilities at some of our host sites.”

And, some of that responsibility is on her. As a leg leader, she was in charge of finding hosts (lodging and food) for twelve of the cities they will stop in – all around 50-100 miles apart.

“It was easier than I thought it would be to find people willing to help,” she said. “Anytime I called a church or others who have helped in the past, they have been so welcoming.”

Hardman won’t have much time to relax at these stops, though; she is social media coordinator for her team and will be blogging about the experience at seeyouinseattle.tumblr.com. She will keep an updated map with her team’s current location and post photos and details from each day.

She is excited about the journey – getting to know this group of like-minded students, exploring new states and pushing herself to the limit – all for a good cause.

Read more and see how you can donate here: https://ulman.z2systems.com/heather-hardman

From the Gallery – May 2017

June 1st, 2017 Comments Off on From the Gallery – May 2017

Mississippi State University Department of Art Gallery Director Lori Neuenfeldt talks with Professor of Biological Sciences Diana Outlaw. Outlaw discusses a special project dealing with photography by autistic children. An exhibit of this work will be on display through July in the Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery.

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