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College of Visual and Performing Arts

John O'Connell,  Dean

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
2101 E. Coliseum Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499

  • Office: Visual Arts Building
  • Room: VA102
  • Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 am-5 pm

  • Phone: 260-481-6977
  • Fax: 260-481-6707
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Fine Arts | Music | Theatre | VCD

Expressions Archive: March 2013

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IPFW Fine Arts senior Shelby Akers

Internship Creates Momentum

After completing two curatorial internships, IPFW Fine Arts senior Shelby Akers now is  working for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA). Akers’ history with the FWMoA began in the spring of 2012 when she applied for and received the first of two consecutive curatorial internships at the museum. “It was a great experience,” said Akers. “I did a little of everything from black tie events to packing and unpacking of art work. I learned about lighting, hanging art and did some matting.”

Originally from Plymouth Ind., Akers grew up in Las Vegas, Nev., but returned to the Fort Wayne area and IPFW specifically to attend classes in the Department of Fine Arts. Akers took a course with IPFW assistant professor of art education Laurel Campbell where Campbell required each student in the class to donate 30 hours of art related volunteer service in the greater Fort Wayne community. “That’s when I decided to try and do some work for the art museum,” said Akers.

The Curatorial Internship Program at the FWMoA provides a general overview of the curatorial department, which is responsible for the stewardship of the permanent collection as well as the design and installation of permanent and temporary exhibits. Amanda Martin, coordinator of the internship program at FWMoA, directed Akers to, the Indiana intern site that posts internship applications and job postings from around the state. “I wasn’t sure I would get the position, but I filled out the online form and within a very short period of time I was called in for an interview,” explained Akers. “I went through the same process for my second internship.”

“Shelby had many great qualities that led to us offering her not only one, but two successive internships, as well as sustaining contract work here at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art,” said Sarah Aubrey, curator of American Art at the FWMoA. “Shelby was hard-working, reliable and quick to learn new skills.”

Aubrey went on to explain that students who are well versed in the arts can quickly integrate into the major research and art handling aspects of the FWMoA internship program. “Shelby had a diverse and outstanding work resumé,” Aubrey continued, “and we were impressed that she was seeking out these internships for personal and professional growth; not merely as a course requirement.”

The museum’s internship program is designed to give students practical, real-world experience in the museum field. Aubrey explained that in this context Shelby also was able to develop her personal network and skills essential to the fields of research, art handling and exhibition design. “Even though I did the same internship both times, I ended up doing very different things,” said Akers, who was thrilled to receive the position.

Akers would advise other students not only to seek an internship, but apply for scholarships that are being offered through their department. Akers has been the recipient of both the 2011-12 Matthew J. Stein Memorial Scholarship and the 2012-13 Ione Auer Scholarship. “I didn’t know if I would be eligible for an internship or the scholarships,” said Akers, “but I found out that you won’t know until you try. People just need to try. I did and I was eligible for both.”

Scholarship information for the Department of Fine Arts.

  • Call secretary Sara Weber at 260-481-6705 for more information.

Scholarship information for the Department of Visual Communication and Design.

  • Incoming freshman will still be considered for scholarships after the deadline. Call secretary Jackie Warfield at 260-481-6709 for more information.


VCD Receives Silver and Gold!VCD awards

Eight students from the IPFW Department of Visual Communication and Design (VCD) received ADDY Awards during the annual American Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne’s 2013 recognition gala titled, “You’re My Type.” This year’s event was held in the Auer Performance Hall in the Rhinehart Music Center at IPFW on Saturday, February 16, at 8:00 p.m. The American Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and improving the advertising industry. Each year scores of outstanding designers, agencies and student designers are recognized with ADDY Awards, acknowledging those whose skills and talents help cultivate a better understanding of the economic and social values of advertising for all people. 2013 VCD student winners include:

  • Uzoma Albert, Student Gold Addy, Category: Business-to Consumer Campaign
  • Kezia D’Souza (class of ’12), Student Silver Addy, Category: Elements of Advertising-Visual Illustration
  • James Farr III, Student Silver Addy, Category: Direct Marketing
  • Isaac Fingerle, Student Gold Addy, Category: Business-to Consumer Campaign
  • John Ilang-Ilang, Student Gold Addy, Category: Non-Traditional Advertising Campaign
  • Simone LeClear, Student Gold Addy, Category: Collateral Material/ Poster
  • Emma McCarron (Class of ’12), Student Gold Addy, Category: Business-to Consumer Campaign and Student Silver Addy, Category: Promotion-Packaging
  • Curtis Waters, Student Gold Addy, Category: Business-to Consumer Campaign

Angela Ellsworth

Collage Brings Community Together

Fine arts senior Angela Ellsworth has been guiding 199 students and staff at the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington as they make a positive impact on their community by sharing their positive thoughts with each other. A unique collage-building project, supported by the LaFontaine Arts Council’s Art in Education Outreach program, involved students painting layers of positive messages in watercolor that were torn into pieces and used to create the accordion shape design.

“If you look at one side it’s the logo of the Boys and Girls Club and if you look at it from the other side it’s a heart,” Ellsworth said. “I wanted the kids to come up with something really positive; something that made them really happy, something they loved to do, just to get them thinking in a positive frame of mind.”

She also liked the idea because the children could paint their phrase however they wanted, which gave new meaning to art for the many children who thought they were bad at art. “It just reinforced that you do not need to be an artist to be creative or to create something beautiful and that, a lot of times, when we work together with positive thoughts and energy beautiful things can be done,” Ellsworth said. “I just tried to reinforce that throughout this whole project.”

The project will be signed and displayed with a plaque naming the 199 students and staff who participated in the project. The project will be displayed at different venues throughout Huntington County. The traveling display will start at the Huntington City Township Public Library and will be available to other businesses, schools and Huntington Parkview Hospital throughout the year.

Kirsten Ataoguz’s research project Light, Liturgy and Art in the Church of the Monastery of Saint John, Müstair

Forging New Frontiers

Fine Arts assistant professor and art historian Kirsten Ataoguz’s research project Light, Liturgy and Art in the Church of the Monastery of Saint John, Müstair (CH) was awarded $44,166 in the 2012-2013 Indiana University New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities competition. Collaborating on the project is Professor Beomjin Kim, director of the Information Analytics and Visualization Center at IPFW in the Department of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science.

The goal of the cross-disciplinary research project for January 2013 - December 2013 is to recreate in a 3D model where sunlight fell on the walls of the church of the Monastery of Saint John on any given day in any given year to test the hypothesis that the layout of paintings was coordinated with the windows so that sunlight would spotlight specific images on specific days and at specific hours.

To test this theory, Ataoguz and Kim are together creating a 3D model that visualizes passage of sunlight on any particular day onto and across the walls of the church. Ataoguz also is creating an annotated liturgical calendar that plots correspondences between highlighted panels and liturgical commemorations in order to evaluate the specificity and intentionality of any lighting effects. The developed software system then will be used with minor modification to analyze other significant monuments.

“Being awarded a New Frontiers Grant is a significant vote of confidence in a professor’s work,” explained Faith Hawkins, chief of staff to the Vice President for Research at IU. “We are able to support a wonderfully wide range of work that falls in the category of arts and humanities.”

Indiana University has provided funding for research, scholarship and creative activity through the New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities program since 2004-05. The New Frontiers grant, originally funded through a five-year Lilly Endowment, was of such groundbreaking significance that IU President Michael McRobbie chose to continue the funding for an additional five years. The objective of this program is to help Indiana University faculty members by supporting the initial stages of path-breaking and transformative programs of scholarly investigation or creative activity.

Other current and previous professors at IPFW have been funded through the New Frontiers program.  They include:

  • Clark Butler (2006)
  • Richard Weiner (2007 and 2011)
  • Christopher Andres (2010)
  • Richard Elaver (2010)
  • Ann Livschiz (2010)

To learn more about the New Frontiers program visit

Sayaka Ganz, Dances of Nature

Sayaka Ganz, Dances of Nature

The work of Sayaka Ganz, who previously taught in the IPFW Department of Fine Arts, will be featured in her first Italian solo exhibition Sayaka Ganz, Dances of Nature from March 30-May 26, 2013. Ganz has stepped away from her teachng for a time to persue her professional career. The exhibition is organized by the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation, Cecina, Livorno, Italy and curated by the art director of the foundation, Alessandro Schiavetti.

Known for her work with reclaimed plastics, Ganz proves that one woman’s trash is truly another woman’s treasure. Her work pulls household plastic into harmony with the natural world. The end result is both inspiring and uplifting. “The best way for artists to help reduce waste is to show how beautiful these materials can be and what can be done,” says Ganz. For information on this exhibition visit or

SmartARTS ~ Take Five

SmartARTS ~ Take Five

What do you think of when you hear the words “take five?” Do you think of a candy bar? Or maybe a well-deserved break? For millions of people these words are forever linked to a jaunty syncopated tune written by Paul Desmond, alto saxophonist for the David Brubeck Quartet. The group recorded the tune on what would become a landmark recording, Time Out, in 1959.

Take Five, written in 5/4 time was the antithesis of all pop music held sacred at the time: three minutes, three verses and 4/4 time. To this day it is one of Brubeck’s most popular recordings, selling more than five million copies. On March 18 the IPFW Faculty Jazz Combo will present A Tribute to the Music of Dave Brubeck.

The music of David Brubeck, who died in December 2012 at the age of 91, was hugely popular in the 1950s and the 1960s. Those too young to remember the era might be current fans of the AMC period drama Mad Men, which harkens back to the ’60s or TV Land’s nostalgic hits like The Dick Van Dyke Show. The ’60s also are remembered for the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. During these years Brubeck made history not only with his music, but also by standing up to a number of college deans who asked him not to perform with racially mixed bands when performing at their colleges.

As a child Brubeck was forbidden to listen to music on the radio. His mother believed that if you wanted to hear music, you should play it. As a result Brubeck and his brothers played a variety of instruments at early ages. Born cross-eyed, Brubeck learned to play by ear because sight reading was almost impossible for him. Despite his poor eyesight Brubeck graduated from the College of the Pacific at Stockton, Cal., with a bachelor of music in 1942. Upon graduation Brubeck joined the U.S. Army, and served in northeast France during WWII, where Brubeck’s prowess as a musician was noticed by a commanding officer. It was decided that Brubeck’s skills would best be used as a military musician backing USO performers.

The IPFW Jazz Faculty Combo will be performing arrangements of great Brubeck jazz classics including Take Five, The Unsquare Dance, Blue Rondo ala Turk and Three To Get Ready on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhinehart Recital Hall. Admission is $7 and under with IPFW students and children 10 and under admitted free. For information call the IPFW Box Office at 260-481-6555 or purchase tickets online.

Expressions Archive


Blane Pressler (’09, Theatre) will join the Actors Equity Association (AEA) and receive his equity card when he begins work this summer with the Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla, Missouri, just outside St. Louis. He has been cast in The Wizard of Oz, Noises Off and The Diviners. He has also started work as an extra on the Showtime series The Big C starring Laura Linney.

Photographer’s Forum magazine has selected six IPFW Visual Communication and Design photography majors as finalists for their 32nd Annual College and High School Photography Contest, sponsored by Nikon, USA. VCD photographers include Daniel Dyar, Katrina McKay, Randy Jackson, Rachel Stauss, Keven Oswalt, and Lucas Carter. Their photographs will be featured in the hardcover publication Best of College and High School Photography 2012. Over 17,700 photographs were received from students in the U.S., Canada and around the world. This year’s judges were Dr. Janet Bonsall, University of Central Missouri; Christopher Broughton, Brooks Institute of Photography; and Mark Takeuchi, Art Center College of Design. College and high school entries were judged separately, and finalists will be featured in two sections of the book.

Art education major Nicole Metzger is on a mission. Each year since 2009, she has donated a portion of her work to raise money for charities and benefits. In 2009, Metzger painted a bust for the first Fort Wayne Bust-a-Move project with the Derby Girls. In 2010, she donated work to Promise Ministries which raised money for Fort Wayne's homeless and donated work to Old Crown Coffee Roaster’s Haitian benefit. Metzger recently contributed work to protect the island of Jeju in South Korea, as part of a Peace Camp project.