EPA raingarden ribbon cutting marks observation of Earth Day at MSU

April 27th, 2017 Comments Off on EPA raingarden ribbon cutting marks observation of Earth Day at MSU

(Photos by Megan Bean | Mississippi State University)

By Vanessa Beeson | Mississippi State University

Three cross-college departments commemorated a new raingarden at the university with a ribbon cutting Friday [April 21] in observation of Earth Day. The raingarden is located in the courtyard of the landscape architecture facility on the Starkville campus.

Landscape architecture students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences built the garden, funded by a $20,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to create a green infrastructure training and demonstration project. Those also contributing to the project include graphic design and engineering students, as well as the MSU facilities management department.

Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum spoke about the importance of sustainability at the ceremony.

“I am so pleased to see so many students who took an active role in leading this effort to make a difference. Having a wonderful raingarden to demonstrate the sustainability of water is something we are all going to learn from for years to come,” Keenum said. “Our university must address critical challenges like this for the future and instill in our younger generations knowledge of how to develop innovative solutions.”

Cory Gallo, associate professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture, said the raingarden manages one-fourth of the building’s rainwater runoff, but the project’s main purpose is to serve as an educational showpiece that teaches students, faculty and the broader community about green infrastructure technologies.

“The focus of this is really about education. This is the most comprehensive raingarden demonstration project in Mississippi and perhaps even in the Southeast. I don’t know of any that communicate what a raingarden does as well as this one,” Gallo said.

The raingarden’s focal piece is a 2,000 gallon cistern that collects rainwater and directs excess water into a 1,500-square-foot bioretention basin where it is managed with soil and plants. The raingarden is a sustainable water management demonstration in three steps — conveyance, storage and management. As water comes off the roof, it goes into the cistern for storage and then into the garden. Once in the garden, the water is cooled, filtered, absorbed and delayed.

Gallo explained the effects of the process.

“If you come here a day or two after it rains, you’ll hear water making its way into the basin because that’s how much water flow has been slowed down. When there is less water, it becomes much slower and takes more time, and it’s cleaner and cooler as it comes through. It’s an audible experience,” he said.

In previous semesters, landscape architecture students installed the basin in addition to surrounding benches. Part of that previous work included collaboration with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Bagley College of Engineering. Civil engineering students completed water quality testing prior to construction as part of the preliminary work.

“This is one of the most amazing projects where landscape architects, graphic designers and civil engineers worked together marching toward environmental sustainability. It is a win-win situation for all involved,” said Veera Gnaneswar Gude, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environment Engineering.

Graphic design students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design also worked alongside landscape architecture students to develop informational graphics to communicate the project’s purpose in an effective, concise manner.

Both landscape architecture and graphic design students enrolled in a cross-college collaborative course were tasked with designing, creating and installing the cistern; building out the garden; and developing, creating and implementing the demonstration component.

Suzanne Powney, assistant professor in the Department of Art, discussed how that hands-on collaboration, especially the opportunity for graphic design students to assist in the construction of the garden, resulted in a better design. She said while the work was challenging at times, the students took it in stride and did an incredible job.

“All of the students worked really hard. I am very proud of them,” she said. “This is a permanent structure they can come back to years in the future and say, ‘I built this.’”

In addition to Friday’s ribbon cutting, students also participated in a ceremonial first planting in the new MSU Community Garden immediately adjacent to the raingarden. Graphic design students contributed to this garden with a wall graphic, numbering system on the planters and educational graphic explaining when to plant various crops.

For more information, visit MSU’s Department of Landscape Architecture online at lalc.msstate.edu; the College of Architecture, Art and Design at caad.msstate.edu; and the Bagley College of Engineering at bagley.msstate.edu. The Water Resources Research Institute, housed at Mississippi State, facilitated the raingarden project’s grant and budget.

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

Renowned South American photojournalist visits MSU March 8

February 25th, 2017 Comments Off on Renowned South American photojournalist visits MSU March 8

By Karyn Brown | Mississippi State University

An Argentinian photographer recognized internationally for combining his art with humanitarian efforts will visit Mississippi State early next month.

Sebastián Suki Beláustegui comes to the university March 8 for a 6-8 p.m. address in Section U of the Colvard Student Union’s second-floor Bill R. Foster Ballroom.

Free to all, the presentation will spotlight some of his efforts to document cultural diversity, specifically among minority communities and tribes.

Also free to all is “Africa in the Americas: The Heritage of African Communities in the Americas,” an exhibit of Beláustegui’s work on display through March 24 at the art department’s Visual Arts Center Gallery at 808 University Drive.

Self-taught in documentary photography, Beláustegui has extensively chronicled since 1991 life among Latin America’s minority tribes. These and his other images have been featured over the years in National Geographic, Time, Newsweek and other major publications.

His massive—more than three pounds—2003 book, “Guardians of Time: Portraits of the Spirit of Latin America,” illuminates more than two dozen native communities in eight countries. The book’s prologue is provided by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago of Portugal.

Beláustegui now is working on two additional books, “Africa in the Americas” and “Tribal People of Asia.” For more biographical information, see http://sebastian-suki-belaustegui.format.com.

“Suki’s work really tries to bring awareness about cultural diversity, and on some level, it rescues the forgotten communities around the world,” said Karina Zelaya, MSU assistant professor of Spanish.

“The thing that really sets his work apart from others is his use of light in a metaphorical sense,” she continued. “His photography looks into someone’s soul and captures their sentiment. He thinks of himself as beyond a photographer, more as a humanitarian.”

Beláustegui’s MSU visit and the related event are supported by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute for the Humanities and classical and modern languages and literatures department, along with the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s art department.

For more on the March 8 program, contact Karyn Brown, arts and sciences communication director, at 662-325-6650 or kbrown@deanas.msstate.edu.

For more on the gallery display, contact Lori Neuenfeldt, the art department’s gallery director, at 662-325-2973 or LNeuenfeldt@caad.msstate.edu.

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

Photos from the lecture:

‘From the Gallery’ – Episode 3

November 14th, 2016 Comments Off on ‘From the Gallery’ – Episode 3

From the Gallery October 2016 from CAADatMSU on Vimeo.

Gallery Director Lori Neuenfeldt sits down with Department Head and Professor Angi Elsea Bourgeois, Ph.D, to discuss MSU’s art program.

Art alumna Val Cripps gives insight to MSU art students

November 7th, 2016 Comments Off on Art alumna Val Cripps gives insight to MSU art students

By Kelsey Brownlee

On Fri., Nov. 4, Department of Art alumna and 2016 CAAD Alumni Fellow Val Cripps gave insight to art students at MSU.  She spoke on her experience in art and on how she got to where she is today.

According to Cripps, she has always identified as an artist/creator.  Her passions have always included drawing and painting.  She told the students, “Think about what you did as a kid.  What I did as a kid, I do now.”

For a time in her life, she always had ideas of what she wanted to create.  However, sometimes when getting these ideas to real life, it was hard for her.  She felt that there was something she was missing out on.

“I felt like everyone else was in on some secret art training that I didn’t know about.”

She gave inspiration to the students, explaining that with your brain and heart, you have all the tools you need.

“Everything you’re looking for out there that you think you need – that you don’t have yet, you have it now inside of you.”

Cripps wasn’t always so lucky and didn’t always have all the answers.  She explained that her parents began to question her decisions on majoring in art, saying she wouldn’t be earning much money and that, “money doesn’t grow on trees.”

This got her down for a while, but she eventually went out and started looking for work.  Before she knew it, she had an offer for a job – but no money.  A friend gifted her the money to boost her along, and she was quickly able to pay it back.

Cripps has now been working in feature animation and has worked on many popular movies and shows. She also has a coloring book out and sells digital portraits.

She left the students with a piece of advice to inspire them to keep going for what they want.

“It takes a lot of dedication to become good. Unless you really want it, you won’t ever get good.”

Art alumnus Ben Jenkins to hold lecture

October 24th, 2016 Comments Off on Art alumnus Ben Jenkins to hold lecture

Ben Jenkins (via onefastbuffalo.com)

Ben Jenkins (via onefastbuffalo.com)

Ben Jenkins, MSU graphic design alumnus, will be present a lecture, “Designer as Entrepreneur,” on Fri., Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. in Fowlkes Auditorium in the Union.  

Jenkins’s creative approach to living and working will be woven into his talk, where he will discuss how to turn a passion into a career.

“Not only does he run a successful graphic design firm in Dallas called One Fast Buffalo,” said Department Head Angi Bourgeois, “he has also translated his life-long love of baseball into a successful brand of customized baseball bats, Warstic Bat Co. He’s a dynamic and energetic speaker, and he’s very interested in answering questions as long as students would like.” 


‘From the Gallery’ – Episode 2

October 1st, 2016 Comments Off on ‘From the Gallery’ – Episode 2

MSU Department of Art Gallery Director Lori Neuenfeldt talks with Elizabeth Williams, who discusses her mother Carole McReynolds Davis. Davis’s works are currently on display through Nov. 18 at Mississippi State’s Visual Arts Center Gallery.

From the Gallery Sept. 2016 from CAADatMSU on Vimeo.

Michelangelo, ‘David’ to share spotlight in MSU program

September 15th, 2016 Comments Off on Michelangelo, ‘David’ to share spotlight in MSU program

Victor Coonin (Photo submitted)

Victor Coonin (Photo submitted)

By Karyn Brown

An internationally recognized authority on one of the greatest artists of all time—and, arguably, his greatest creation—will speak Sept. 21 at Mississippi State University.

“Michelangelo’s David: From Renaissance Icon to Modern Activist” is the title of Victor Coonin’s address to begin at 4 p.m. in Foster Ballroom U of the Colvard Student Union.

Free and open to all, the event is co-sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities’ 2016-17 Distinguished Lecture Series and the Department of Art.

Coonin will highlight research undertaken for his 2014 book-length monograph titled “From Marble to Flesh: The Biographies of Michelangelo’s David” (Florentine Press). He is the James F. Ruffin Professor of Art History at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where he has taught since 1995.

Over his professional career, Coonin has been honored with a number of scholarships from the prestigious J. William Fulbright, Samuel H. Kress and Andrew W. Mellon foundations. His writings on Italian Renaissance art have been featured in such major journals as the Burlington Magazine, Metropolitan Museum Journal and Artibus et Historiae.

In addition to a doctorate from Rutgers University, he holds a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s study-abroad campus in Florence, Italy, and a bachelor’s from Oberlin College. For more biographical information, visit www.rhodes.edu/bio/cooninv.

“It is a great honor to have Professor Coonin share his expertise about one of the most important works in human history,” said art department head Angie E. Bourgeois. His presentation “promises to cause us to think critically about the evolving impact of Michelangelo’s David on cultures from its creation in the Renaissance to our own time.”

William Anthony Hay, Institute for the Humanities director, said Coonin’s professional work epitomizes “how an iconic artwork develops a life of its own as successive generations bring to it their own understandings.

“We are delighted to have him open the distinguished lecture series for the 2016-17 academic year,” Hay added.

MSU’s Institute for the Humanities is a unit of the College of Arts and Sciences, while the art department is part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. For more on each, see www.ih.msstate.edu and www.caad.msstate.edu/art

Other details about Coonin’s campus visit is available from Hay at whay@history.msstate.edu or Bourgeois at abourgeois@caad.msstate.edu. Karyn Brown, College of Arts and Sciences communications director, may be reached at kbrown@deanas.msstate.edu or 662-325-7952.

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

Students in Graphic Design Assistant Professor Suzanne Powney designed a poster to advertise the lecture:

‘From the Gallery’ – Episode 1

September 3rd, 2016 Comments Off on ‘From the Gallery’ – Episode 1

Gallery Director Lori Neuenfeldt talks with Tom Cowsert, Mississippi State University-Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Artist in Residence for July 2016.

From the Gallery 9-2-16 from CAADatMSU on Vimeo.

Department of Art holds summer camp

July 27th, 2016 Comments Off on Department of Art holds summer camp

(Photos by Mississippi State University and Aaron McElfish)

Upper-level high school students participated in the Mississippi State Department of Art’s annual INvision summer camp from June 13-17.

Campers participated in workshops on photography, graphic design, drawing, ceramics and sculpting, among other media. Artist presentations, gallery exhibitions, movie nights and field trips were among the planned cultural and social activities.

At week’s end, camper-produced works were featured at the department’s Visual Arts Center Gallery at 808 University Drive.

For additional information about INvision, contact Nicole Jackson at 662-325-2970 or njackson@caad.msstate.edu.

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.

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