Master Mask Maker to Present Demo on Feb. 11

Master Mask Maker to Present Demo on Feb. 11

Jonathan Kipp Becker, a master mask maker, teaching artist and performer, will visit University of the Ozarks as an artist in residency in the theatre program from Feb. 9-15.

As part of his visit, Becker will present a production titled, “Facing Humanity: Masks of History and Culture, a Performance Demonstration,” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 11, in the Seay Theatre. The performance is free and open to the public and there will be a reception following the event.

Becker, who is currently an adjunct professor at Ball State University, will also be leading a mask workshop for Ozarks students and serving as fight choreographer for the University Theatre’s spring production of “Extremities.”

Becker has created hundreds of masks for theatre companies, producing organizations, individual artists and training programs in over 50 countries. His clients include Disney Theatrical in association with The Lion King, Focus Films, NBC, The Bravo Cable Network and Theater of Enchantment in Philadelphia.

Becker has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the United States and has worked as a member of the SunDance Institutes Playwrighter’s Lab, a laboratory founded by Robert Redford for the development of new works for theatre and film. He has appeared as an actor in programs with most of the major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Canada. Since 1988, Jonathan has helped in the development of 16 original works for theater. He co-founded and was Co-Artistic Director of two theatre companies: Les Senokrates in Luzern, Switzerland and The Brodeur Brothers in Paris, France.

In addition to performing and teaching, he is the owner/operator and master mask maker at, a full service production shop creating masks for the international theatre community. Educational institutions, professional theatres and individual artists in 50 countries are currently using Becker’s masks. You can visit the studio on line at

Becker recently founded The North American Laboratory for the Performing Arts (NALPA).  The intention is to create an incubator space in which artists can develop new work and learn from each other. In the first four years, NALPA has assisted artists developing dozens of new musicals and new plays and more than 3,000 people from the local community and the nation have visited NALPA’s spaces supporting the effort to build a community of change.

In his current hometown, Becker was the recipient of the first annual mayors’ arts award in Muncie, Indiana, where he lives as a Muncie Maker. His masks have been featured in gallery shows throughout the United States. Becker is a graduate of The International School of Theatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France. He has a BA in Theatre from The College of Wooster, an MA in Acting and Directing from The University of Akron where and an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also a recognized advanced actor combatant with The Society of American Fight Directors and has completed the level one professor training in the Margolis Method. His teaching is inspired by the principles of Lecoq, Grotowski, Roy Hart, Rodenburg and Alexander.

University of the Ozarks Associate Professor of Art Dawn Holder will showcase some of her recent work in the exhibit, “Whence This Glory Perish,” from Jan. 22 through Feb. 21 on the U of O campus as part of the University’s Artist of the Month series. The exhibit will be displayed in the Stephens Gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. There will be a meet-the-artist reception from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the gallery. Holder said the “Whence This Glory Perish,” is a selection of work that she created while on sabbatical during the Spring of 2019. Installation by Dawn Holder“During that time, I participated in three artist residencies,”  Holder said. “While at the Hambidge Center in the mountains of north Georgia, I focused primarily on research and writing, while experimenting with new techniques to create text-based works. I then spent five weeks at a ceramics residency in Rome looking closely at ancient monuments, which inspired a series of sculptures and site-responsive photographs. Next, I spent six weeks at Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Center in Denmark, where I continued to create sculptures, photographs, and built a new installation.” Holder said the sabbatical proved to be a very productive time for her as an artist. “I not only produced an abundance of new work, I also connected with artists from across the globe and participated in two international exhibitions,” she said. “I am grateful for the support from the university, my colleagues, and the other arts institutions that made this deep creative dive possible." The gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week when classes are in session. There is no cost to visit the gallery.

University of the Ozarks senior art major Kirsten Endicott of Rogers, Ark., will present her Senior Exhibit, “Patchwork Through Time,” from Nov. 24 through Dec. 4 in the Stephens Gallery.

There will be a reception to meet the artist from 6-7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2. Endicott will also present an artist talk from 2-3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, in Baldor Auditorium.

Endicott said “Patchwork Through Time,” is a tribute to her late grandmother, who first introduced her to the world of quilting and art.

“The warm memories that I have of my grandmother before she passed away from cancer are ones that I will keep in my heart for the rest of my life, such as re-painting a garden bench, going around neighborhoods looking at other people’s houses decorated with Christmas lights, and helping her do little things like re-filling the bird feeder outside her dining room window,” Endicott said. “I even remember the time when my sister and I made a few quilts with our grandmother from old denim jeans and cotton fabric. Since gardening and quilting were my grandmother’s favorite hobbies, I wanted to put those two things together in one huge scene, as seen in ‘Bench in Grandmother’s Garden.’ I wanted to challenge myself with a different quilter’s skill in each of these cotton fabric pieces.”

Endicott said she uses numerous quilting skills and tools in manufacturing her quilts.

“For the smaller quilts, I use a needle and thread to hand-sew them together, but for the larger quilts I would apply fabric with my sewing machine,” she said. “I was inspired to give hand-sewing a try and challenge myself to this new way of making these masterpieces. I also incorporate found objects such as dolls' clothes, buttons and different styles of beads onto the quilt in order to give dimension, instead of being flat like other traditional quilts.”

Many of Endicott’s quilts utilize the skill of appliqué, a method of sewing a piece of fabric to another larger piece of fabric.

“Appliqué gives me the option of using organic shapes rather than using geometric shapes throughout the entire quilt,” she said. “Another technique I used to make some of my quilts is to take some old photos I found and print them onto a special fabric paper. In ‘A Birdwatchers’ View,’ I used applique on the birds, feeders, and the tree leaves. After cutting out all the necessary pieces, I then used basting spray in order for the fabric to stay in place while I ran it through the sewing machine. If the applied fabric moved even a little, then it would be very difficult to fix without accidentally tearing the fabric.”

Endicott said some of her larger quilts took several weeks to make.

“The ones that I make by just using a needle and thread sometimes takes me only around five days, so not as long as making one huge quilt,” she said. “The one important thing that I keep in mind, while sewing, is to ask myself, ‘why am I making this quilt? What purpose does it serve or who will it benefit?’ Mostly, I have been making quilts based on memories of important events and the people I love.”

Following graduation, Endicott plans to return to Northwest Arkansas and pursue a career in teaching art.

University of the Ozarks senior art major Willow Stratton of Fayetteville, Ark., will showcase her Senior Art Exhibit, titled, “Flock Life,” from Nov. 18-23 in the Stephens Gallery.

Willow, who is minoring in education and psychology, will present an artist talk at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, in Baldor Auditorium. There will be a reception to meet the artist at 5 p.m. on Nov. 23 in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

In her exhibit, “Flock Life,” Stratton honors her life-long attraction to birds.

“Most of my childhood was spent watching the birds and wishing for the ability to fly,” she said. “Now, birds are the main focus of the works due to my natural draw towards them. Each bird that I depict has a meaning, some from Celtic, European and Native American cultures. In each culture, items have different significance, occasionally sharing similar symbols. The cultures and symbols I am inspired by connect to my family lineage, making the works more personal to me.”

Stratton said each bird in her artwork represents a person in her life.

Wilow Stratton artwork“For example, the hummingbird represents my mother,” she said. “A hummingbird symbolizes endless insight and wisdom, and it seeks out the good and beauty in life. My mother, to me, has endless knowledge about the world and she is always the person I reach out to for problems. In addition to the bird totems, the drawings include items that represent each person, whether it is something they like or something in their possession. Each symbol and bird is researched and noted so that the imagery will represent the person before I start the piece.”

Stratton said that in Native American culture, the yellow cactus flower represents motherhood and unconditional love. 

“The Native Americans described the yellow flower as symbolizing patience and endurance,” she said. “My mother forever acts maternal towards me; taking care of me when I am sick or giving me motherly advice. The hummingbird and flower together represents her infinite patience and love for her children, resulting in its name, ‘Infinite Infinity.’ After the imagery is determined, sketches are created to plan a layout that includes their personality through cultural symbols and objects.  Colored pencils are used to form the bird while an array of mixed media are used to create the background.  The bird is drawn separately and then meticulously cut out and attached to the background. Other pieces are cut out and collaged in.”

Stratton said that not all of her artworks in “Flock Life” represent a positive relationship.

“One of the pieces, ‘You Ran Over Me,’ presents a dead owl, symbolizing the destruction this person caused on my life and self-esteem,” she said. “The background embodies the feeling of slowly being consumed by the feeling of dread and hopelessness, which ended up being a healing experience. The pieces will represent the positive and negative relationships in my life, some past and some present.”

University of the Ozarks senior Shelby Bosken will present her butterfly-inspired Senior Art Exhibit titled, “Betterfly,” from Nov. 11-15 in the Stephens Gallery.

There will be an artist talk by Bosken at 3 p.m., Nov. 15, in Baldor Auditorium as well as a reception to meet the artist at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

Bosken, an art major and psychology minor from Valley Center, Kansas, is scheduled to graduate in December.  She said the exhibit is a reflection of her personal journey.

“It is an accumulation of artworks that emerged from a time in my life where I was consumed in a cocoon of uncertainties and pain and that transformed into a journey of self-liberation,” Bosken said. “I am better. I will fly. I am a ‘Betterfly.’”

She said that the transformation of a butterfly, starting as a larva, forming into a cocoon, and finally as adult has “captivated and inspired humans for centuries.”

Bosken artwork“The process of metamorphosis is not easy; it is filled with many challenges, and the end result changes the character and appearance of anyone that goes through it,” Bosken said. “My artwork is focused around the physical appearance of butterflies, but it is deeply influenced by the rebirth, realigning and renewal of my life over the past year.”

Bosken utilizes a mixture of mixed media, such as charcoal drawing, watercolor, printmaking, collage and decorative materials in her artwork.

“My subconscious thoughts and emotions drive the overall composition and in turn create a therapeutic experience,” she said. “The majority of my show is focused on mixed media collage, however I have also incorporated two series of charcoal drawings.”

Bosken said that in two of her artworks, “Acknowledging” and “Deciding,” she focuses on the more somber aspects of transformation.

“The symbolic significance of ‘Acknowledging,’ is that oftentimes it takes an introspective look at oneself and deciding that change starts from within,” she said. “’Deciding,’ shows the other side, when support is needed, the butterfly must land on flowers for pollen, just as humans must also gain emotional nutrients from the environment around them.”

Bosken plans to apply for art therapy graduate programs after graduating from Ozarks.

The exhibit will be on display in the gallery from Nov. 11-15 and is free and open to the public.

University of the Ozarks alumnus Dylan Eakin of Seattle, Wash., will present his art show titled, “The Machines Are Taking Our Jobs So I’ll Take One of Theirs,” from Oct. 14 to Nov. 7 in the University’s Stephens Gallery.

The show is a part of the University’s Artist of the Month Series. There will be a reception to meet the artist from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, in the gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

A 2013 art graduate from Ozarks, Eakin was initially focused on sculptural art. He began training himself in photorealism in 2016 because “it was cheaper than pursuing a career in figurative ceramics.”

Dylan's Artwork“Adapting myself into the regiments of photorealistic drawing requires an assimilation into automata,” Eakin said. “There’s not a single facet of the genre that doesn’t necessitate a direct confrontation towards a shopping list of personal weaknesses. Reforming my process of art production becomes a reconfiguration of human habits into mechanical ones, a method of self-improvement via photographic translation and a stick of charcoal.  Delete subjectification. Delete inspiration. Draw the picture. Beep Boop.”

The exhibit is open to the public for viewing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday when the University is in session. There is no cost for admission.

University of the Ozarks Associate Professor of Art Dawn Holder will present some of her latest artwork during a Sabbatical Research Artist Lecture on Friday, Nov. 1.

The lecture will begin at 2 p.m. in Baldor Auditorium in the Boreham Business Building. The campus community as well as the public are invited to attend and there is no cost for admission.

Holder worked on her sabbatical project during the 2018-19 academic year. The project included doing research and creating art in reaction to local Confederate monuments.

“I examined how these public spaces, structures and sculptures have been utilized and aestheticized to promote racial segregation, reinforce social hierarchy and define ethnic and political boundaries,” Holder said. “My recent travels and creative projects in Europe have widened the scope of my research, allowing me to analyze the rich visual history of monuments, with a particular focus on Roman antiquities. My current sculptures, installations and photographs reference the equestrian and obelisk imagery shared by both Roman and Confederate monuments, as well as their inscribed texts and relationship to the landscape. By deconstructing these iconic forms, my art endeavors to destabilize their messages through the lenses of fragmentation, decay, and rearrangement.”

Holder said that during the lecture she will, “discuss this new body of work, and share images of sculptures, installations and photographs that I created while on sabbatical.”

Selections of Holder’s new artwork can be seen in the upcoming exhibition. “Whence This Glory Perish,” at the Stephens Gallery on the U of O campus from Jan. 23 through Feb. 19, 2020. There will be a reception to meet the artist from 6-7 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2020.

The University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery will host the Women to Watch exhibit, “Heavy Metal,” from Sept. 9 through Oct. 4 as part of the University’s Artist of the Month Series.

There will be a reception to meet the exhibit artists from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the gallery, which is located inside the Walton Fine Arts Center.

The Women to Watch exhibit series is part of a statewide tour and follows the international biennial competitive of the same name, “Heavy Metal,” initiated by the National Museum of Women in the Arts to increase the visibility of and critical response to promising women artists.

The 2018 national exhibit focused on the use of metal as an artistic medium. Long considered to be the work of men, metalsmithing was historically seen by many to be too physically grueling for women. But in modern and contemporary eras, women artists have used metal to create a broad range of objects ranging from functional furniture to minimalist jewelry to purely aesthetic abstractions and large sculptural works.

Holly Laws’ mixed media installations, “Three Eastern Bluebirds and Placeholder,” were selected for exhibit at the national museum during the summer of 2018. Laws is an associate professor of art at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. A third Laws installation joins the 2019 Arkansas state tour, to be exhibited with works by artists Michele Cottler-Fox, Amanda Heinbockel and Robyn Horn of Little Rock. Matthew Smith served as guest curator for the exhibit.

The gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday each week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts at 479-979-1349.

University of the Ozarks senior art major Stephanie Payton will present her Senior Exhibit, Atmospheric Anomalies, from May 6-18 in the Stephens Gallery. As part of her senior show, Payton will present an artist’s talk at 7 p.m., May 8, in Baldor Auditorium in the Boreham Business Building. There will also be a reception from 7-8 p.m. on May 11, in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. Payton, from Hackett, Ark., is a sculptor and installation artist who creates compositions that express the idea of contrast by exploring the complexities of geometric forms in relation to organic forms. She experiments with techniques such as slip casting and sculpting with plaster. Payton said she uses art to communicate her life experiences and to express what she cannot through language. “My fascination with geometry and abstraction is based in an attempt to control forms because of an inability to control certain areas of my life,” she said. “My work is a response to dramatic changes in my life and demonstrates my inner struggle with perfectionism and control. I am drawn to geometry and simplified forms because they exemplify the possibility to dominate and minimize the complex. The soft, organic forms serve as a relief from the throes of the strict order of the geometric pieces.” Payton said Atmospheric Anomalies juxtaposes clean lines and crisp geometric forms with unconstrained organic shapes. “This contrast, both intentionally and unintentionally, manifests through form, surface detail, or color,” she said. “I simplify imagery, reducing it to abstraction, which can be seen in Domicile Disparity, in the clouds, mountains, and houses. Imagery in my work includes forms seen in nature such as cubes, spheres, and pyramidal shapes. A variety of surface textures provide contrast as is seen in Order >>> Atrophy.  I favor sharp, defined lines in my structural pieces and allow loose lines to describe softer, organic forms. The color palette accentuates my aesthetic of contrast through the duality of deep black and pure white. I also use gray and slate blue to balance the color scheme, to accent or to emphasize important elements of the piece. Additionally, I vary my use of matte and glossy finishes to communicate contrast and to emphasize elements of a piece.” Payton’s three-dimensional sculptural forms use a variety of media, including plaster, plastic and wood. She primarily creates work using molds, slip casting and hand-building in clay. Her artwork is predominantly installation based. “The slip casting technique is essential because it allows me to create a repetition of forms that I arrange into diverse compositions,” Payton said. “These compositions contradict how forms traditionally interact and can cause discomfort due to the viewer’s expectations of a gallery setting and of reality itself. This concept is found in Domicile Disparity, where clouds are arranged on the floor and mountains are installed upside-down from the ceiling. To further enhance the atmosphere, I include sound and lighting effects in my work. These sectioned installations form a larger environment, which creates a gallery experience that is unified by my aesthetic of contrast, color scheme and texture.” A life-long Arkansan, Payton will graduate with honors from Ozarks on May 18. She has received several awards and scholarships which include the Amanda Alders Pike award in Art, an art scholarship from the University of the Ozarks, a scholarship from Carroll H. Rowbotham, and more. Payton also served as the president for OzArts art club. In addition, she has served as an intern at Terra Studios in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has worked with artists in Project Space at the NCECA conference and has worked as a tutor and studio assistant for several years. North Little Rock artist Virmarie DePoyster will showcase her exhibit of pastel paintings titled, “Bits and Pieces,” at the University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery throughout March as part of the Artist of the Month series. There will be a reception to meet the artist from 5-6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. The gallery is open to the public throughout the week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there is no charge for admission. DePoyster, who is a visual artist in residency with the Arkansas Arts Council Arts in Education program, was born and spent her childhood in Puerto Rico before moving to Arkansas at the age of 15. “There’s a little dictionary I’ve had since I was a teenager. When I look at it, I can still remember the aroma of strong Puerto Rican coffee in the kitchen as my sisters and I sat practicing our English,” DePoyster said. “Thirty-five years later, the pages and I are both well worn, each stain and tear a reminder of the past that has shaped us. As an artist, I feel like that little translational dictionary. My work connects my past with my present and gives me a voice. It also allows the viewer to experience courage and vulnerability as I explore issues of spirituality, racial identity, and connection. In many of these works, words manifest as layers of my past. Some have a base layer of printed words from the Bible, and others come from sources that are personally meaningful.” DePoyster said that in many of her pastel paintings, the printed layers are clearly visible, and in others, they are obscured. “This method is meant to illustrate the meaningful selectivity we use in deciding which layers of our personal stories to share with others and which to withhold,” she said. “Additionally, in the acrylic works, I explored the use of symbols as an alternative way of storytelling. As always, color is a technique, a tool, and a language I use to emphasize an overall mood. Although diverse, these paintings are unified by their manipulated shapes, gradation, and incorporated textures that evoke an emotional response. Art eternalizes moments in time, bits and pieces of all our journeys, and brings us closer to understanding the human experience.” Driven by her love of fabric, textures and bright colors, DePoyster studied apparel merchandising and design at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. In 2004, she decided to take her creativity in a new direction and enrolled in classes at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School.  She quickly fell in love with the bright pigments of soft pastels and developed a love for painting with pastels on different types of paper, especially on textured surfaces that she creates. DePoyster was an instructor in drawing and pastel at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School for seven years. In 2012, she developed and implemented a therapeutic art program for Community Services, Inc., teaching at-risk youth in Conway and Russellville how to heal through art expression.  In 2016, she began providing art therapy services to children and adolescents in acute care at The BridgeWay. She has also facilitated professional development workshops for schoolteachers, focusing on how to add more art into their curriculum. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in numerous group and solo exhibitions.  Her piece, Hay Field Glow, was awarded the Purchase Award from the Arkansas Arts Council and toured throughout Arkansas as part of the 2008 Small Works on Paper Exhibit.  Furthermore, her portrait, Diagnosis = Ovarian Cancer, was awarded honorable mention at the 50th Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center. Her paintings are included in private and public collections internationally and throughout the U.S. She and her husband, David, live in North Little Rock and they have two college-aged children, Grant and Anna.