College of Visual and Performing Arts

Faculty Successes


One of Sara Nordling’s fiber works was included in The Red and the Black, a group exhibition at the World of Threads Festival in November, along with a solo exhibition of her work at another location. The shows ran the month of November at various locations in Oakville, Ontario. The festival examines traditional and contemporary art approaches to fiber arts, crafts and textiles.

Relationships on Canvas

Nothing gets the buzz going like an interactive public project by Professor Audrey Ushenko. Her most recent project, which has taken nearly two years to complete, has been received with open arms by the city of Chicago. She finally added the finishing touches to her painting in the atrium of the State of Illinois James R. Thompson Center from Nov. 3 – 7, 2014 during the third phase of the project.

Over the past two years, Ushenko has been sketching the building and documenting the people who go through the building each day. During the week-long interactive project the first week of November, she engaged the public in the creative process with her painting and public discussion.

In an article in Ushenko was quoted as saying, “I love working in public venues, where I can be inspired by the stream of life surrounding me,” said Ushenko. “I am fascinated by the web of relationships I see, and capturing the diversity of people coexisting in the same space, each bringing a sense of individual history and cultural identity. Juxtaposing the geometry of the Thompson Center’s post-modern architecture against this microcosm of individuals has been fascinating and inspiring.”

The James R. Thompson Center project was sponsored by the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery and featured on-line in Hyperallergenic and Half Stack Magazine. In addition to the support of the Illinois State Museum, Ushenko received an Individual Artist Development Grant from the Illinois Arts Council and materials and logistics support from Dean O’Connell.

Ushenko also participated in the Fourth Annual Art for Heart Exhibition that ran Oct. 4 – 11, 014

The juried exhibition features 15 artists selected through a competition and is presented by the Polish Museum of America, Chicago, in their Great Hall to benefit the Gift of Heart Foundation.

An intaglio print by Christopher Ganz titled Reclamation will be included for display in The Evolving System Themed Portfolio, an national/international invitational printmaking exchange portfolio exhibition at Whitdel Arts Center in collaboration with the Mid-American Printmaking Conference hosted by Wayne State, Detroit, Mich., on Sept. 12 – Oct. 18, 2014. Ganz work Fresh Impressions is included for display in an invitational regional printmaking exhibition at the University of Toledo, Center for Visual Arts from Aug. 25 – Sept. 28, 2014.

Sara Nordling learned this summer that one of her fiber works titled "The Red and the Black" will be included as part of a group show at the World of Threads Festival this coming November in Toronto. The shows run the month of November in various locations in Toronto.  Here is a link to the overall festival's website

This summer, Audrey Ushenko was once again appointed to residence at the Chautauqua Institution School of Art in Chautauqua, New York to teach  “The Figure in Landscape” which extended over two weeks. She has also have been working on three a large projects including a large scale painting for the 50th celebration of IPFW. The painting will be one of the contributions of the College of Visual and Performing Arts for the university’s celebration.

Over a period of a week Ushenko did the final stage of her interactive public project in the atrium of the State of Illinois James R. Thompson Center. The project was sponsored by the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery and the finished painting will be displayed by the gallery in November. In addition to the support of the Illinois State Museum Ushenko received an Individual Artist Development Grant from the Illinois Arts Council and materials and logistics support from Dean O’Connell.

Ushenko also was in residence for two weeks at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, NJ, executing a large interactive public project entitled “Homage to Mel Leipzig”. Mel’s long career as New Jersey’s premier artist was celebrated in this way. Leipzig participated, by himself doing a painting there, while Ushenko, in turn, painted him and the interior of the museum.

Professor of Fine Arts Audrey Ushenko will spend the summer once again demonstrating her painting techniques in the James R. Thompson Building Atrium in Chicago, Illinois, under the auspices of the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery. Ushenko recently received a grant from the Illinois Arts Council to continue her project started in summer 2013 and has been awarded additional funding for the project from the IPFW Department of Fine Arts.

McCroskey Wins Excellence in Service

Associate Professor Nancy McCroskey has received the College of Visual and Performing Arts 2014 Excellence in Service Award. McCroskey continues her tradition of dedication to her department, students, and colleagues by representing them on important, difficult, and time-consuming service commitments. For example, this past year Nancy represented our college on the University Taskforce on Promotion and Tenure; an extremely important committee to all of our faculty. Since 2000, McCroskey continues to serve her department as the coordinator of the Annual Department Assessment Report, time-consuming and taxing on anyone willing to undertake the endeavor.

Nancy continues to serve her students as adviser to the Ceramics Club and a driving force in bringing world-class regional and national artists to campus for workshops benefiting all fine arts students. In Fort Wayne, Nancy is recognized for the boards she has served on over the years and for the commissions of public art that are on display across campus and Fort Wayne, completed during her tenure here at IPFW.   

The Excellence in Service Award comes with a $1,000 stipend, the recipient’s name on a service plaque located in the Dean’s office and acknowledged during the fall convocation on Monday, August 25, 2014.

Erin Schwartz, adjunct faculty in art history in the Department of Fine Arts, successfully defended her dissertation in Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, on April 21, 2014. Her primary area of research is visual arts (African Contemporary Art, Post-Colonial Identity, European Modernism) and secondary area is aesthetics. Schwartz earned her master of arts in art history at Kent State University.

Decker’s Work Exhibited

Technological Dependence, a ceramic work by Derek Decker, was accepted into the Twentieth San Angelo National Ceramic Competition. The exhibition is in the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in Texas and runs from  April 11 through June 29, 2014. The juror, Leopold Foulem, selected 123 pieces by 123 artists from a total of 764 pieces submitted.

The works of John Hrehov and Audrey Ushenko recently were featured in a group exhibition at Denise Bibro Fine Arts from Feb. 13-March 29, 2014.  Solos Revisited II featured artists who have previously shown their work in solo exhibitions at the Chelsea gallery in Manhattan. The exhibition was presented in the Platform Project Space at Denise Bibro Fine Art.


Fine Arts associate faculty Derek Decker (’10) has been chosen to be part of the FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social and Politically Engaged Art at Eastern Tennessee State University, Johnson City Tennessee from November 1-29, 2013. Decker’s piece, titled Air Quality #2 was selected to be part of this exhibit at the Universities Tipton Gallery. The exhibition features 50 works by 50 artists from different parts of the country.  Each of the works were chosen for their significance and expression of  passion regarding social and political issues and injustices.  

Ushenko Painting

IPFW Fine Arts Professor Audrey Ushenko demonstrated her painting techniques in the James R. Thompson Center (JRTC) Atrium in Chicago during a week-long interactive project sponsored by the Illinois State Museum from July 22 - 26, where she engaged the public in the creative process and fostered public discussion. Ushenko sketched and painted for the public, documenting the people who go through the building each day. Ushenko did a similar painting for IPFW that hangs in the Rhinehart Lobby.

Laurel Campbell, assistant professor of art education and director of art education at IPFW will be a featured speaker at the Foundation for Art and Education (FAME) Multicultural Teachers Workshop on March 13, 2013, at Sweetwater Sound. Campbell will be speaking on “Cultural Sensitivity in Art Education,” which will address curricular decisions based on cultural awareness in the art classroom. Other visiting artists presenting at the FAME workshop will include Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a Balinese gamelan ensemble based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and paper cutting artist and fine arts instructor Janice Furtner. To register for this workshop visit