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Students Recognized at RV Arts Center Competition

Students Recognized at RV Arts Center Competition

Several University of the Ozarks art students received recognition at the River Valley Arts Center’s 2020 Collegiate Competition, held this past weekend in Russellville, Ark.

The Collegiate Competition gallery will be on display through March 27, 2020, in the arts center, located at 1001 East B Street in Russellville.

Vicente Vazquez, an art minor, received second place for his ink drawing, “The Stars Are Trying to Say Something.”

Art major Blanca Claudia Almaraz-Martinez received an honorable mention for her porcelain sculpture, “Growth within the Family.”

Art major Madison Clary (pictured) also received an honorable mention for her mixed media sculpture, “Armored Skin.”

Other U of O students featured in the exhibit include, Shalley Coffin, Megan Johnson, Aaliyah Knowles, Victoria Rousseau, Kayla Newman and Willow Stratton.

“This is a great opportunity for students at the college level to participate in a juried art exhibition,” said Tammy Harrington, professor of art at Ozarks. “To display artwork in a different venue other than the classroom or in the art department hallway is exciting and it also gives the students an awareness of what their peers in the region are creating. I am proud of all the students that are exhibiting in the show and am extremely pleased that Vicente, Blanca and Madison received honors. It is important for art students to think beyond the classroom and to start developing their professional practices while in school and to continue these practices after graduation.”

Missouri textile artist Meghan Rowswell will present her exhibit, “Transmutation,” in the University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery from March 2-19, 2020, as part of the University’s Artist of the Month Series.

There will be an artist talk featuring Rowswell at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, in Baldor Auditorium on campus, followed by a reception to meet the artist from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

Rowswell creates large organic fiber sculptures and installations inspired by nature and plants using found fabrics and materials.

Meghan Rowswell “Transmutation”

Describing transmutation as the action of changing or being changed into another form, Rowswell said her exhibit represents a meditation on how our trash becomes our landscape.

“Some of the most persistent sources of ecological concern today are the fashion industry and the devastating amount of clothing waste that ends up in the worlds landfills every year,” she said. “What would happen if the heaps of discarded clothing became a living part of the world around us? This work is a cautionary tale of how our waste defines us through the plants we depend on. As well as a visualization of the stories discarded objects can tell.”

Rowswell said the plant forms in “Transmutation,” have reclaimed textile items as part of their structural anatomy.

“The transmutation of fabric into botanical structures allows me to reimagine exquisite biological designs,” she said. “Each of these pieces is inspired by a native plant species from an ecoregion that I have visited. Through arranging these structures, I reinterpret the space and synthesize an environment.”

Rowswell said, “textiles are an intriguing medium to explore these forms because of their energetic and tactile nature. The challenge is in adding a third dimension to otherwise two-dimensional medium that stretches and sags in response to gravity.  I incorporate and expand upon traditional textile construction techniques in my sculptural components. The seams and frayed edges of a work represent the act of creation. There is something lovely about a glimpse into the structure of a form and seeing the maker’s hand. These rough areas juxtapose ideas of growth and vitality with savagery of cutting.”

Rowswell, who received a BA in art history from Hastings College, has exhibited in galleries and art spaces across the United States. She has also lived and exhibited in Japan. In 2014 she became a fifth level instructor of the Ohara school of ikebana. She is passionate about bringing the tradition of Japanese flower arranging to American students through teaching workshops at the Kemper Contemporary Museum of Art and Powell Gardens.  Formerly a resident of Art Farm Nebraska and an Artist Inc Kansas City fellow, Rowswell is a member of the four-artist group, The Polyartery Collective, that are recipients of the Inspiration Grant from ArtsKC and the Interpretive Grant from Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, as well as semi-finalists for the Rocket Grant in 2017 for their immersive art experience, “Weaving the River”.

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.