College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department Successes

Garcia’s Work Celebrated

On Oct. 7, 2014, as part of IPFW’s 50th Celebration, the Department of Fine Arts revealed seven sculptures in the Auer Lobby of the Rhinehart Music Center. These sculptures were created by Associate Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts Hector Garcia. Professor and chair of the Department of Fine Arts John Hrehov and Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts John O'Connell, worked with the Allen County Public Library to acquire and display this series of historic sculptural busts begun in 1968. The artworks are on loan from the Allen County Public Library and the collaborative installation was made possible through a generous donation from Herbert and Lorraine Weier.

William Shakespeare, the first in the series, was commissioned by Allen County Public Librarian Emeritus Rex M. Potterf. Over the next two decades, 20 historic figures were completed. The busts are surprisingly lightweight, made of plastic, and weigh only two pounds each. At the time they were created the polyester resin fiber and fiberglass he chose for his work was relatively modern.

The sculptures will rotate through the display, giving patrons the opportunity to view all of the busts over time. The first seven sculptures on display are Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, George Washington Carver, Edith Hamilton, and Albert Einstein. The Rhinehart Music Center is open to visitors every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and attendance at a concert is not required to enjoy these wonderfully reclaimed works of art.

Garcia and his wife, Carol, also donated a bronze sculpture titled The Good Shepherd to the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. The sculpture, which depicts Jesus Christ as The Good Shepherd, was placed in the Rescue Mission's main entrance so clients and visitors will pass it as they enter and leave the building. The mission held a dedication and unveiling Tuesday, August 26, 2014. “We are beyond honored that Mr. Garcia has chosen our ministry to receive this beautiful, one of a kind piece,” said Mission Chief Development Officer Richard Cummins.

Garcia has completed hundreds of sculptures and commissioned works during his prolific career. He has produced medals and medallions for award ceremonies in Helsinki, Finland; Takaoka, Japan; Gera, Germany; Plosk, Poland; and London, England. Collections of his work are owned by notable individuals throughout the country including Ted Turner, Ray Bradbury, Herbie Hancock, Chris Schenkel, Bob Knight, Gene Keady, Richard Lugar, and Lance Armstrong.

Toni Lovell, program developer and corporate grant developer.

High School Students Compete and Win

The Visual Arts Building was teeming with talented high school student artists and their families on Nov. 20 as they celebrated having their work included in the recent IPFW High School Art and Design Competition and Exhibition. Seven cash awards and six honorable mentions were presented in Auer Performance Hall at 6 p.m., including Best in Show, chosen by Sachi Yanari-Rizzo, Fort Wayne Museum of Art curator of prints and drawings. The awards were followed by an open house featuring studio and lab demonstrations, along with viewing the artwork.

Designed as a recruiting initiative to identify promising high school art students and connect them with IPFW, 1,700 high schools and individual art teachers in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan were invited to compete. One hundred forty-three students entered for Fine Arts and 102 students for Visual Communication and Design, with more than 700 individual pieces of art submitted. Selected works will be exhibited through Dec. 14, 2014, in the Visual Arts Gallery.

Fine Arts Winners

First Place - $200
Renee Malomboza, Jefferson High School
Blue Daisies, oil on canvas

Second Place - $150
Aaliyah Miller, Carroll High School
Forbidden, wood sculpture

Third Place - $100
Savannah Swan, Mississinewa High School
Vagabond, oil on canvas

Honorable Mention
Rebecca Clay, Northrop High School
Music of the Heart, jewelry making

Honorable Mention
Lauren Haag, William Henry Harrison High School
Home of the Brave, soft pastel

Honorable Mention
Lillian Sprinkle, Huntington North High School
Love Affair, altered book/mixed media

Visual Communication and Design Winners

VCD First Place - $200
Taylor Terrell, Carroll High School
Twisted, photography

VCD Second Place - $150
Miranda Reagan, Jefferson High School
Convinced I’m Coming Clean, digital photography

VCD Third Place - $100
Erin Zehr, Carroll High School
Alzheimer’s: A Timeline, darkroom photography

VCD Honorable Mention
Madeline Barry, Bishop Dwenger High School
Generations, photography

VCD Honorable Mention
Joseph David Horn, Chesterton High School
Hagia Sophia-Church of Holy Wisdom, drawn on Autocad-3D Print

VCD Honorable Mention
Audrey Ottenweller, Carroll High School
Soiled, photography

Best in Show - $500
Emily Vandervate, Jefferson High School
Saving Grace, inkjet print

Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Sachi Yanari-Rizzo had the following remarks regarding the exhibition and the quality of work presented by the students, “I am always impressed with the technical skill and craftsmanship as well as the diverse ideas that high school students dare to create these days. It was a challenge to single out an overall award winner because the quality of the work was so high.  I responded to pieces that possessed technical skillfulness, strong composition and compelling content and imagery.”

 “However, the work that kept drawing me back was Emily Vandervate’s inkjet print entitled Saving Gracewhich seemed to possess a spiritual quality. Intimate in scale, the subject is of a young woman—ironically a child herself—cradling a young child. Wax on the surface created a more diffused effect, but reminded me of old Christian cathedrals. In this pose, particularly with the tender reaching gesture of the young child, it called to my mind a reference to Madonna and Child paintings.”

The event committee included Mikhael Antone, assistant professor of imaging and photography; Suining Ding, associate professor of interior design; Susan Domer, marketing and public relations specialist; James Gabbard, continuing lecturer in photography; Christopher Ganz, associate professor of drawing and printmaking; and Dana Goodman, professor of sculpture.

Full Accreditation Milestone for VPA

The College of Visual and Performing Arts has reached a milestone moment, having received notification in November of their first ever associate level membership accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Now all of the departments in the College of Visual and Performing Arts are fully accredited by their respective national organizations, continuing to offer students the same academic rigor and artistic opportunities available at more than 300 accredited colleges and universities across the nation.

The IPFW NASAD steering committee was responsible for preparing a 300-page self-study and hundreds of examples of student work for review. The self-study and site visit resulted in full accreditation through 2020.

The driving forces behind this effort are VPA Dean John O’Connell; John Hrehov, chair of Fine Arts; Haig David-West, chair of Visual Communication and Design (VCD); Suining Ding, associate professor of interior design and coordinator of the Interior Design Program, and the faculty and staff in the Departments of Fine Arts and Visual Communication and Design.

The following programs have been accredited by NASAD:
Bachelor of Arts – 4 years: Fine Art, Art Education
Bachelor of Science – 4 years: Interior Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts – 4 years: Art (Ceramics, Drawing, Metalsmithing, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture); 
  Visual Communication and Design (Graphic Design, Imaging and Photography, Modeling and Animation)

In Memoriam

Jamie Ranae (Cook) West, 27, of Austin, Texas, and formerly of Garrett, Ind., was one of three people who died on Thursday, March 13, 2014 when a car broke through barricades into a crowd of people at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in downtown Austin. West was on the back of a moped operated by her husband, Evan West, when they were hit, according to the Austin Police Department. Evan West was injured and is listed in critical condition. Jamie (Cook) West graduated in 2009 from IPFW with a B.A. in fine arts.

A Sense of Disquietude

The work of Christopher Ganz, associate professor of printmaking and drawing at IPFW, will be featured in an exhibition titled Shades: Contemporary Drawing, March 4-April 1 at the University Art Galleries (UAG) at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D.  The UAG exhibit hopes to raise the profile of drawing by presenting it as an autonomous discipline within fine art.  

“The purpose of the show is to display a cross section of approaches to contemporary drawing, with artists of different styles and technique,” said Ganz. “I will be exhibiting in a large space with artists Alison Denyer, Shelby Shadwell, and Michael Sleadd and will have 55 feet of wall space to fill.”

In speaking of his work Ganz said, “I use charcoal and printmaking media as their tenebrous values add a fitting metaphor. The nuances of light and shadow seduce viewers into a world their better judgment would have them avoid. This provokes a sense of disquietude that causes viewers to assess our world through the austerity of a colorless, yet not humorless, light.”

If you would like to know more about this exhibit or the work of Chris Ganz please visit: or

Forging Artistic Relationships

Department of Fine Arts metalsmithing students were once again able to forge new friendships and life-long collegial relationships during the annual Repair Days at the National Ornamental Metal Museum from Oct 2 - 6, 2013, in Memphis, Tenn. Six students attended the event, along with their instructor, associate faculty member Robert Schroeder, for a weekend of applying their classroom knowledge to the reclamation and repair of damaged metal items.

Repair Days is an annual workshop that benefits the metal museum and brings together metalsmiths from across the country to work and learn.  Individuals, groups and university programs are represented by instructors accompanied by students.  Each year about 200 people register to have the opportunity to repair objects that are brought in by the general public. These “customers” from the general public receive an estimate for their repair. Upon completion of the repair, they pay the “bill” to the museum and receive back their fixed object.  The sky is the limit in what might show up to be fixed!  Objects arrive from dented teaspoons and metal bowls to bird cages and fire place poker sets,  all the way to full size copper clad bottom sail boats!

The museum compound is an older southern estate on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  Two buildings comprise the museum galleries, with a third house used as housing for the blacksmithing students participating in year-long residencies, along with artists-in-residence working with master smiths who are also a part of the museum’s mission. A major exhibition of a master metalsmith’s work was organized and presented in the galleries along with lectures and demonstrations for students and the public throughout the event.

The Newest Ceramic Techniques

Clay artist Charlie Cummings conducted an eye-opening, hands-on workshop entitled Digital Clay: Printed Images on Ceramics on Friday, October 18, in the Department of Fine Arts hosted by the Ceramics Club. Cummings, who earned his M.F.A. at the University of Florida, introduced two methods of transferring digital images to clay through the creation of slip decals and through the use of silkscreen images that can then be printed on the surface of clay or green ware. Students learned to prepare ceramic “inks” and gained an understanding of the two processes, using the digital manipulation of images in the computer lab to create compositions for their pieces.
For more information on Charlie Cummings and this intriguing process of transferring digital images to clay visit

Study Abroad - The Art of Italy

Italy Study Abroad

The IPFW Department of Fine Arts has scheduled its 2014 Study Abroad Program, The Art of Italy, for June 7-25. This year’s trip will include the cities of Rome, Venice, Florence, Ravenna, Pisa and Lucca. The trip will be led by IPFW Department of Fine Arts professors Dana Goodman, head of sculpture, and Chris Ganz, head of printmaking.

This study abroad program is open to everyone; however, those under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Community members are welcome, as well as IPFW students in any major. Students are encouraged to take a three-credit hour class during the trip, but it is not required. Classes offered on the trip can work for both art majors and non-art majors by fulfilling general education requirements in areas IV and V. 

Cost of the trip will be $4,650 plus tuition for those taking a class and $5,100 for non-credit travelers. This price is based on 12 participants and could increase if fewer than 12 people participate.  Traveler can reqister for the trip through Continuing Studies.

Additional funding sources are available for students wishing to attend through the Office of International Education, located in Walb 145 and they also can be reached at 260-481-6034.  The Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts also has a program in place to benefit students.  Students can pick up a grant application form in the dean’s office located in Visual Arts 102. For more information please contact Professor Dana Goodman at or by calling 260-355-8264.

Ushenko Featured in Making Faces

Professor of Fine Arts Audrey Ushenko’s self-portrait was featured in Making Faces, an exhibition at Long Island University’s Salena Gallery from October 1-31, 2014.

Artist and art historian Robert Bunkin curated the exhibition, bringing together both portraits and self-portraits by artists who make portraiture part of their regular practice. Making Faces presented viewers with a unique opportunity to view the work of thirteen contemporary “visual biographers and memoirists” together.

Along with Ushenko, the exhibition featured the work of Philip Ayers, Robert Bunkin, David Campbell, Susanna Coffey, William H. Crist, Jenny Dubnau, Diane Edison, Donna Festa, Sedrick Huckaby, Karen Kaapck, Jenny Tango and Costa Vavagiakis.

Campbell - Art Educator of the Year

Laurel Campbell, assistant professor and director of art education at IPFW, received the Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award by the Art Education Association of Indiana (AEAI).The AEAI is a professional education organization dedicated to promotion, advancement and improvement of art education at all levels in the state of Indiana. Award recipients are nominated by their peers and are teachers who show outstanding artistic achievement and service in education. Campbell received her award at the AEAI’s annual convention, which took place October 18- 20 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Excellence in Research Award

Assistant Professor of Art Education Laurel Campbell

The College of Visual and Performing Arts Faculty Affairs committee has awarded Assistant Professor of Art Education Laurel Campbell the VPA Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor Award for 2013. Campbell’s recent project, an anthology titled, “The Heart of Art Education: Holistic Approaches to Creativity, Transformation, and Integration,” published in September 2012 by the National Art Education Association was the focus of her application.

The committee took note of not only her recent book publishing, but also her collaboration with other scholars who contributed to the book and her “myriad articles and presentations in publications and conference.” The committee noted this was all evidence of diligence in Campbell’s research and growing national reputation. Campbell received a $1,000 award and will be added to plaque honoring past recipients currently on display in the dean’s office.

Campbell co-edited the book with Dr. Seymour Simmons III from Winthrop University; they reviewed more than 70 submissions in order to end up with 36 chapters, and spent years editing the material to perfection. The 34 authors are from the U.S., Canada, Sweden and South Korea. Campbell’s research chapter was the culmination of many years of work on various topics, including spirituality in teaching, curriculum theory, theory in practice and teacher education.

Sara Nordling Exhibition

Sara Nordling Exhibition

The solo exhibition Plication, Weavings by Sara Nordling currently is being shown at The Arts Place in Portland, Ind., from May 17 – June 28, 2013. Her weavings celebrate the process of producing textiles that stand on their own; works that are simple yet very complex. Nordling, adjunct faculty in the Department of Fine Arts, teaches design and painting for non-majors. Visit The Arts Place online for more information.

Dereck Decker Artwork
Air Quality by Derek Decker was created using slip cast porcelain and molds with a glaze developed by Decker.

Environmental Awareness

Fine Arts adjunct faculty member and alumnus Derek Decker ('06) is one of 68 artists included in The Women's Caucus for Art (WCA) exhibition Petroleum Paradox: For Better or For Worse? Juried by Eleanor Heartney, the exhibition will run from April 6 through May 18, 2013 at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass. Co-President for New York WCA, Marcia Annenberg, states: "this exhibit seeks to raise awareness of the imminent danger of uncontrolled climate change, caused by an excessive dependency on fossil fuels... It is our generation that has been called to this task."

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.

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.