Despite being forced to go virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Concordia University Wisconsin's annual Senior Art Show premiered tonight without a hitch.

While the gallery technically opened last week, Art Department Chairman Dr. Gaylund Stone hosted the official opening of the gallery, an Artists Reception, tonight via a Zoom. Works of 12 seniors were showcased under the theme: Explore the Undiscovered. Each student spent nearly 10 minutes describing their creations and their thoughts behind them, before fielding questions. In closing the reception, Stone indicated this inaugural virtual rendition offered several advantages to the customary artist’s reception, where students may not normally get to talk to everyone and explain their works.

“When our senior design students selected a theme for their spring exhibition, nobody knew just how unimaginable their journey would be,” said Stone. “This process challenged their creativity and flexibility, and has resulted in a set of virtual galleries representing four years of study and devotion to their craft. The entire art faculty is extremely proud of the work they’ve accomplished, and it’s our hope that visitors will spend some time in each gallery and enjoy the culmination of their academic preparation.”

Here’s a peek at what was revealed tonight at the Gallery Opening. Visit to access all 12 of the Class of 2020 artists’ works.

Allie Abler is earning her degree in Graphic Design with a Marketing minor. She was an intern last fall with the Commons in Milwaukee, working with other area university students at companies including Kohl’s, The Zoological Society and Direct Supply,

Artist Statement: “I love learning how to create in different ways and I thrive in dabbling in different areas of design; for it keeps my mind always turning on the problem I am trying to solve. My designs are meant to function and fit the needs of a problem I am solving, while also being an enjoyable experience.”

Autumn Harrington will earn a degree in Graphic Design, with a Marketing minor. She indicated one of her biggest accomplishments this year was designing a Milwaukee Bucks cap along with BMO Harris Bank that was to be distributed at a Bucks’ home game at Fiserv Forum to the first 10,000 fans.

Related: Concordia student announced as designer of custom Milwaukee Bucks giveaway cap

Artist Statement: “When looking at art, you should be passionate about your work. Looking at an art piece, my goal is to have a person connect with it. A successful result of the design process should be a sense of joy and fulfillment for both designer and client.”

Taylor Oestreich is majoring in Illustration, with a minor in Animation. The Wisconsin native has a passion for creating and bringing ideas to life, and cannot wait to explore his undiscovered journey that lies ahead.

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Artist Statement: “There is something about bringing thought and imagination to life that captivates me. I hope that my illustrations capture attention, are dynamic, and ignite a spark of inspiration and creativity in anyone who observes them.”

Kristen Pearson who noted she had a dream internship that allowed her to meet several Wisconsin sports icons, will graduate with a degree in Graphic Design. I love to spend my time outside exploring and capturing its beauty; that is where most of my photographs come from.

Artist Statement: “The best parts of life – travel, discoveries of hidden beauty, and shared experiences – should all find a place within our work. It is my hope that my work reveals a full life.”

Angela Penterman will graduate with a major in Graphic Design and a Theater minor. She has also taken several classes at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design to deepen her understanding of design.

Artist Statement: “My favorite college professor taught me an important lesson that I will carry with me the rest of my life and exemplify through the art that I create. As a graphic designer, every single time I get to create something beautiful, I do it as if it were my last day on earth and to bring glory to God’s name.”

Elena Runge is graduating with a degree in Interior Architecture & Design. She seeks a career with a design firm focused on creating world-class healthcare, hospitality, or living spaces, after interning at Direct Supply for 18 months.

Related: Local woman hires Concordia student as interior design intern after home burns down

Artist Statement: “In 2019, Darren and Jennifer Ray experienced the unimaginable; their Slinger, Wisconsin home was destroyed in a slow burn fire. Jennifer quickly reached out to interior design firms within the state, and I jumped on the opportunity. While reflecting on their home visions, I’ve been able to give them back their Paradise on Paradise Lane.”

Taylor Rystrom is studying illustration, graphic design and animation toward his degree in Art. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with a loving family who have always supported my decision to pursue art.

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Artist Statement: “We all have stories that need to be told. I love how one piece of artwork can tell years of a story. Through multiple media, I can tell and envision new ones. I love learning and I want a career where I can make all of our stories visible.”

Related: The 2018 Milwaukee Irish Fest Poster was illustrated by a Concordia student

Nicholas Schmeling is majoring in Graphic Design with a Marketing minor. My goal after graduation is to find a great job where I can learn and grow not only as a designer, but as a person. There is so much that can be done in design and it’s always changing. I hope to explore it all.

Artist Statement:”I was always the quiet kid growing up and found different ways of expressing myself through art. I love to do logo and branding design, signs, packaging, posters and ads. I love the challenge of finding that one great idea.”

Amber Scholz has attended Christian schools her entire life. While at CUW, I focused on Graphic Design and minored in Computer Science. After finishing my degree, I will be working in New Berlin for LPi, designing new brands and bulletins for churches and nursing homes.

Artist Statement: “I see every working experience as a way to develop my graphic design skills and learn more and more about my trade. There is so much more to be learned from everyone and everything around us. Keep your mind sharp and your eyes open.”


Kendall Stribling is double majoring in Graphic Design and Business. Combining a passion for mental health advocacy and communication design is his biggest goal, both professionally and personally, and an internship with Catholic Charities helped achieve that. One of his fondest memories was meeting the author of the poem that inspired his type animation project.

Artist Statement: “Untold stories and unspoken truths – that’s where my work begins. I tell my story and the stories of those who have felt unheard, alone or forsaken. I hope to bring light and hope to a world that is often dark and troubled.”

Sophie Zang is graduating with a degree in Interior Architecture and Design, with a minor in Marketing. With experience at highly regarded interior design firms and a successful business of her own, Sophie knows first-hand the importance of mixing creative ability with a strong work ethic.

Related: Take Five—Meet Sophie Zang

Artist Statement: “My goal is to create calm and restorative spaces that allow my clients to live both productively and luxuriously – all in a wonderful harmony. I am a passionate creator and planned, whose work extends beyond the design of living spaces to a much broader platform of photography, social media and content development.”


Mason Zehren will earn a Graphic Design degree with a minor in Marketing. My work mainly includes logo design, typography, photography and illustration. Mason also has a great passion for illustration and digital drawing, and hopes to eventually have his own online store where he can sell items like T-shirts and enamel pins

Artist Statement: “I believe art is made in order to portray our thoughts and messages we wish other people can see in a way that words might not be enough to express. I want to make sure that I am satisfied with myself as an artist above anything else and continue creating works that I am proud of.”

“I am thrilled with how our students rose to the occasion and assisted in creating our Virtual Art Gallery,” said Art Gallery Director Dr. Theresa Kenney. “We are so excited about the prospects of our new online gallery that we are going to permanently incorporate this feature into our regular art gallery.”

For complete artist excerpts and biographies, visit

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