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Virtual exhibition showcases seniors’ artwork

Arts May 1, 2020
The IU Kokomo Art Gallery with a senior thesis exhibition sign
The IU Kokomo Art Gallery with a senior thesis exhibition sign

KOKOMO, Ind. – The Senior Exhibition is a much-anticipated rite of passage for students in Indiana University Kokomo’s New Media, Art, and Technology (NMAT) program, giving them an opportunity to showcase some of their best work in the campus Art Gallery.

When classes transitioned to remote learning mid-semester because of the Covid-19 pandemic, faculty wanted to be sure their seven graduating students were able to participate in the annual exhibition. It became a virtual exhibition, including photos of their selected projects.

Minda Douglas, associate professor of fine arts, said the exhibition demonstrates the diversity of the NMAT program.

“Even with the interruption of face-to-face classes, the students all forged ahead with dedication and focus to their thesis work and exhibition,” she said. “Students explored photography, book arts, graphic design, sculpture, installation art, digital illustration, and printmaking in a variety of approaches and conceptual directions.”

Several participating students shared their inspiration for the work they selected for the virtual exhibition, which can be viewed at IU Kokomo senior art exhibition.

Michael Marley, a graphic design student, was inspired by IU Kokomo’s 75th anniversary, as he wondered what sky its first students gazed at right before starting classes in 1945.

With a little research, he found an archive of historical sky maps online. He plugged in IU Kokomo’s original location, 508 West Taylor Street, and the time of dawn on that very first day of classes, September 24, 1945, 6:34 a.m. The result generated by the archive became the basis for one of the pieces in Marley’s senior project, the cover art for the 2020 edition of IU Kokomo’s premier student publication, Field: A Journal of Arts and Sciences

A deeply personal project in the exhibition is Frannie Ruedin’s loving tribute to her younger brother, who passed away two weeks before the fall 2019 semester started. After his passing, friends and family alike were effusive in complimenting his kindness, and this inspired Ruedin to create a piece that featured quotes about her brother interspersed with the words, “spread kindness.” As a physical reminder to exhibition viewers to follow this imperative, she also made individualized paper scrolls with those same words that included forget-me-not seeds in its pulp.

Because graduates have the option to be included in the December 2020 NMAT graduates exhibition, at the IU Kokomo Downtown Art Gallery, she plans to leave the scrolls out for viewers to take home to plant.

Seeds were also very much on Larkin Stephens-Avery’s mind when she began planning her senior project. Wanting to highlight the environmental dynamic between native and invasive species in Indiana, she began looking at the various ways museums present their collections of plant specimens.

She created a number of works that present the species from different perspectives, hoping to get viewers thinking about native and invasive plants and their role in the local ecosystem.  Stephens-Avery designed a show that features terrariums, a field journal, woodcuts, a seed collection, and clay impressions of various specimens. She believes the format offers viewers a variety of artistic portals to the scientific world of Indiana plants.

Additional featured students and projects include:

  • Drawing inspiration from fantasy art and comics, Jared Stanley created a wall-size collage of punk-rock style prints. The work includes over 1,000 sheets of paper, and is a homage to the busy flurry of promotional posters often seen on walls in punk concert venues.


  • Erica Teter based her project on three songs by the band Korn that had been particularly cathartic for her during her time at IU Kokomo. She based her three pieces on the Korn songs “Can you hear me,” “Idiosyncrasy,” and “Reclaim my place.” Erica hopes that her work will encourage people to remember how much music can reflect and impact our daily lives.


  • Bailey Hobbs’ collection “Intimate Insecurities” is a series of photographic prints of women models. The collection examines women’s body issues through the lens of five subjects. Bailey hopes that her project will help viewers stop and think before judging others’ bodies, or their own.


  • Combining her studies in art and informatics, Emily Mooneyhan created a set of pieces that challenge viewers to think about communication in new ways. She constructed her works out of computer parts. In “Unplugged,” the parts struggle to communicate with each other, just as people do, but nevertheless they keep trying.


Story by Kevin Soderman, assistant director of development.

Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.

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