Change is in the air within Concordia’s Visual and Performing Arts Department.

A new department chair. A new department name. New experts on staff. A refurbished space. Revamped programs. … Upgrades abound within Concordia’s Visual and Performing Arts Department.

After more than 30 years with CUW, Concordia’s former art department chair Dr. Gaylund Stone retired at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, opening the way for longtime faculty member Dr. Tess Kenney to step into a new leadership role. Among her first changes as chair, Kenney renamed the department to better reflect the umbrella of programs housed within it. Formerly the Art Department, it is now called the Visual and Performing Arts Department.

Revamped programs

The Visual and Performing Arts Department is home to seven bachelor’s programs:

Also offered within the department are:

New experts on staff

In addition to the wealth of expertise available to students through Concordia’s MIAD collaboration, CUW has brought on some new talent this year for its own faculty roster. Mario Macari, MS, joined CUW’s faculty as a visiting professor, and new adjunct instructors have come on board. Concordia’s art instructors now include:

  • Jeff Shawhan, MFA, assistant professor
  • Charlene Nemec Kessel, MFA, assistant professor
  • Paul Calhoun, MFA, assistant professor
  • Mario Macari, MS, visiting professor
  • Sandra Buhk, MFA, adjunct instructor
  • Amy Cannestra, MFA, adjunct instructor
  • Jill Engel, MFA, adjunct instructor
  • Michael Frerickson, MFA, adjunct instructor
  • Sheryl Guse, MFA, adjunct instructor

Refurbished spaces

The “art hallway” received a sprucing over the summer with a new paint job. Wall decals were added to bring visual interest and better promote the department’s offerings. Kenney also undertook the task of pruning and reorganizing the painting and drawing rooms over the summer.

Now on display in the university’s gallery spaces:

12 Frames Gallery

In the 12 Frames Gallery, interior architecture and design student Grace Charvat has her work on display. Over the summer, Charvat worked as an intern for Katie Bowe Design. She’ll graduate in December with her bachelor’s degree.

“As an interior designer, I strive to design spaces that are functional, beautiful, and that reflect my clients’ unique personalities and lifestyles,” Charvat says.

Art Gallery

Through Oct. 23, the CUW Art Gallery will feature the paintings of Troy Tatlock. The exhibit is titled, “Plein Air and Where It Leads.” The plein air painter aims to go outside of his or her studio walls to capture landscapes in their natural habitats. Tatlock says in his artist’s statement:

In fourth grade I got in trouble for “decorating” my desk with scissors and permanent markers. The principal made me stay after school for a month with the meanest teacher the school had. She turned out to have a love for art.

She taught me perspective and gave me perspective. She taught me to look into those dark shadows. What many interpreted as mischief, irresponsibility, and avoidance, she realized was a refuge.

I am drawn to subjects that plein air painters tend to avoid. I step over boundaries, peer through barriers, and I often leads to the wrong side of a fence. Painting does not come easy for me. When it does come easy, I suspect I did something wrong.

I am most proud of paintings that look like they emerged from a bar brawl, as if the artists was bashed over the head with an ash can but managed to get in a few good strokes.

Let the bar patrons debate who won.

Better Together Art Gallery

The photography of Corporate Communications Manager Mike Zimmerman is currently featured in the Better Together Art Gallery. Zimmerman shares scenes of Concordia’s Fishers of Men statue with a variation of seasonal backdrops and ties in how the statue perfectly encapsulates what Concordia is really all about.

Read more here.

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