Campus Update -
Read about Ozarks' ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Campus Events Cancelled Through Semester

Campus Events Cancelled Through Semester

University of the Ozarks has cancelled all public, student and academic events on campus for the remainder of the Spring 2020 Semester and is limiting off-campus visitors in an attempt to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

There are currently no reported or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the U of O campus or in Johnson County.

On Friday, University officials announced that in-person classes were suspended for the next two weeks and that the University would transition to an all-online method of course delivery starting March 30 and lasting through the remainder of the semester. The University will continue most normal operations, but is asking departments to utilize remote work and "social distancing" whenever possible.

All University-sponsored events have been cancelled for the remainder of the semester, including the Walton Arts & Ideas Series, Ozarks Fest, intercollegiate athletic competitions, alumni events, University Theatre productions, art exhibits and music department concerts and recitals. The University has also suspended all other public workshops, meetings and conferences that were to be hosted on campus this semester.

In addition, the University is restricting off-campus guests from visiting campus. Campus Perks, the Rawhouser Fitness Center, Robson Library and the residence halls are among the facilities that are closed to off-campus visitors until further notice.

University officials said no decision has been made on the status of the 2020 Spring Commencement ceremony, scheduled for May 16.

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”.

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. The University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery will host the five-person exhibit titled “Curious Topographies” from March 1-28 as part of its Artist of the Month Series. There will be a reception to meet the artists from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, in the gallery. There is no cost to attend and the public is invited. The featured artists are all art professors at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville: Adam Posnak, an instructor in the department; Jeannie Hulen, chair of the department and associate professor of ceramics; Benjamin Cirgin, resident artist, instructor and ceramic technician; Mathew McConnell, assistant professor of ceramics; and Linda Lopez, an instructor. The gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week when classes are in session. University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery will host the exhibit, “Spoiled,” by Missouri printmakers and educators Hannah and Blake Sanders from Jan. 22 through Feb. 22 as part of the University’s Artist of the Month Series. There will be an artists’ talk from 4-5 p.m. on Feb. 22 in Baldor Auditorium and a reception to meet the artists from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the Stephens Gallery. The events and gallery are open to the public and there is no cost for admission. Hannah and Blake Sanders teach drawing, printmaking and art education at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo. In their artists’ statement, the Sanders said that humanity’s threat to the lasting viability of Earth was the force behind their work in “Spoiled.” “Much of the art we currently create is an acknowledgement of our complicity in ecological waste and destruction. These works provide a garish reminder of how our growing family, and the creature comforts that go with it, have a negative impact on the environment. We employ printmaking and traditional craft media to discuss how conventional notions of family, domesticity, and success affect our behavior as consumers and planetary neighbors. To practice what we preach, we use green methods and reused materials whenever possible. For example, all the material employed in the fiber works has been recycled or repurposed from various sources.” They said their work is both an indictment and celebration of domestic bliss. “Recent collaborations deal explicitly with the joys and trials of toddlerhood. The toddler metaphor is particularly apt as our society, which obviously needs to be changed, seems to be backsliding; we are less likely to share, more likely to throw a fit! The vibrant colors and bold shapes should evoke the garish effects of our mayhem on the planet as we extract, abuse, consume, and pollute. They also reference the thankfully exhaustible energy of the child, and the reserve of energy discovered by the parents during naps and cuddle time. To extend the family/environmental metaphor even further, parents/citizens must be diligent as we follow behind—cleaning up messes and teaching better habits—to preserve a happy home. The future is uncertain, and anxiety is the norm, but this work should evoke a feeling of comfort in our discomfort, hope in our hopelessness.”

About the artists

Blake Sanders is an adjunct instructor at Southeast Missouri State. He earned his BFA from University of Northern Iowa and an MFA from Tulane University and has taught art and printmaking at universities, as well as workshops at colleges and community-based art organizations around the United States. Recent juried exhibitions include the third Global Print 2017 in Douro, Portugal; neo-print prize 2016 in Bolton, UK; the 35th Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition; the 25th Parkside National Small Print Exhibition; and the 2017 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition. His work supports environmental mindfulness by illustrating the bond between people and the natural world. Hannah March Sanders is an assistant professor in the Department of Art and serves as the area head of printmaking at Southeast Missouri State. She is also the letterpress area coordinator of Catapult Press at arts entrepreneurship venture, Catapult Creative House, in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Sanders is currently the managing editor of the Mid-America Print Council Journal. The Sanders operate, an artist collaborative that organizes portfolio exchanges, exhibitions and other art events. She has exhibited work in group exhibitions across the globe in Estonia, Ireland, Japan, and New York. Recent solo and duo exhibition locations include University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.; College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif.; Gadsden Museum of Art in Gadsden, Ala.; and the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau. Arkansas Tech University Art Professor Jessica Mongeon will present a collection of her acrylic paintings in the exhibit, “Cascade of Scales,” from Nov. 1-21 in the University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery. The exhibit is part of the University’s Artist of the Month series and is free and open to the public. There will be an artist talk from 4-5 p.m. on Nov. 8 in Baldor Auditorium and a reception to meet the artist from 5-6 p.m. on Nov. 9, in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. Mongeon explores geographic formations, organisms and natural phenomena through the medium of acrylic paint. She said “Cascade of Scales” refers to a succession of devices or stages in a process, each of which trigger or initiate the next. “My work has evolved in a similar way: I started painting landscapes that have changed over a period of time, each series initiating the next step,” Mongeon said. “These paintings explore the idea of scale in nature based on self-similarity. Self-similarity is when an object is similar to a part of itself; if you change the scale, such as looking at an object in a microscope or from a distance, the object will look the same. Fractals are examples of exact self-similarity and scientists have studied river networks as natural fractal structures. I observe nature through photography and scientific illustration and then abstract it through intuitive painting. The selected hues are vibrant and expressive rather than naturalistic, evoking a strangeness that appeals to the senses rather than reality.” Mongeon said she often combines lichen and mushroom imagery with human neurons. “Temporality and scale are examined as I depict human neurons on the same scale as lichen or roots,” she said. “Lichen operate on a much longer geological time scale compared to humans, with some species of lichen living over 1,000 years. Neurons must connect and communicate to keep the mind and body alive. Similarly, lichen is made of a fungus, an alga and often a yeast that work in symbiosis. By acknowledging our embodiment of nature, perhaps we can care for the ecosystems that sustain us as much as we care for our own bodies.” Mongeon has shown her artwork nationally and internationally, including group exhibitions in New York City and Shanghai, China. Her artist residencies include Vermont Studio Center; the Anderson Center at Tower View, Red Wing, Minn.; and the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation in New Berlin, N.Y. She received a master of fine arts degree in painting from Montana State University and a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from the University of North Dakota. She grew up in rural North Dakota and now resides in Russellville, Ark., where she is a visiting assistant professor of studio foundations at Arkansas Tech University. Henderson State University Associate Professor of Photography Margo Duvall will present her exhibit, Returning Home, in the University of the Ozarks’ Stephens Gallery from Oct. 3-27. The exhibit is part of the Artist of the Month Series and is free and open to the public. There will be a reception to meet the artist from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center on campus. Duvall, who has taught photography at HSU since 2014, said Returning Home, is about “the space in between; in between the places we call home, in between the memories that are tied up in a landscape, in between the people we associate with it. It’s about a familiar space, where the light looks the same, but everything is different. Returning home after 10 years is full of contradictions. There’s both a longing for the sense of what we know, and a simultaneous fear of moving backwards.” Duvall said the exhibit is an attempt to find balance. “I’m trying to find a balance between past and present, between memory and possibility, between being connected and disconnected, to both the landscape and the people around me,” she said. “Through these images, I hope you’ll look for the space between. In between narratives. In between memories. In between fact and fiction. In between our feelings of being home.” Duvall earned her bachelor’s degree in studio art from Humboldt State University before earning an MFA in photography from San Jose State University. Her photographs have appeared in dozens of exhibitions, including the Arkansas Arts Council’s 2017 Small Works on Paper, and the Arkansas Art Center’s 59th annual Delta Exhibition. Dr. William Clary, professor of Spanish at University of the Ozarks, will present his collection of traditional Andean and Maya textiles as part of the University’s Artist of the Month Series. The exhibit will be on display in the Stephens Gallery from Aug. 22 through Sept. 26. There will be a reception to meet the artist from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, in the gallery. Clary, who has taught at the University since 2006, said the collection of woven items are a part of a much larger collection of woven indigenous textiles he collected in Bolivia and Guatemala during trips he took to both countries between 1980-85. “My purpose in collecting was to acquire pieces that were traditional in appearance and that reflected styles from a previous era, hence the emphasis on woven items that do not contain synthetic dyes,” Clary said. “Many of these pieces were purchased ‘on site’ or at the village where they were created. Others were purchased in antique stores specializing in indigenous textiles after long and careful perusal and considerable bargaining. Although I have tried to provide the origin of each item in this collection, in some cases it was impossible to ascertain the precise village or region the piece originated from. This was more often the case with items from Bolivia.” Clary said he struck by the diversity and aesthetic creativity inherent in the clothes and hand woven textiles produced by indigenous peoples in both Bolivia and Guatemala. “Acquiring some of these pieces was a bit of an undertaking,” he said. “Asking an indigenous woman in a remote village who scarcely spoke Spanish to sell one of her woven possessions was often met with distrust and rejection.” The Stephens Gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center, is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, when classes are in session. For more information, please contact the University at 479-979-1349. The University of the Ozarks art department will present its annual Student Art Exhibit through April 19 in the Stephens Gallery. Artwork from 14 students will be on display in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. There will be a reception to meet the artists from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the gallery. Tonya Palmer was selected by the art department to curate and organize the exhibit. Aubree Sisson was selected to prepare and hang the show. Both students worked with a team of other students to complete the work needed to organize and install the exhibit. "I always enjoy the Student Art Exhibit because it showcases the artwork created by students during the past year," said Tammy Harrington, professor of art. "It is not a requirement that only art majors and minors can participate in this exhibit. Any student can submit artwork to be considered for the show. Tonya and Aubree have worked hard to organize this exhibit. This is a great learning experience for the students." Palmer called organizing the exhibit "an amazing experience." "It has helped prepare me for my future as an art educator and artist," she said. "This opportunity has given me a roundabout experience of what it's like to operate gallery exhibitions, and my experience can be integrated into my future school district of employment. I can introduce the gallery setting to my future students and bring this opportunity to many. I have enjoyed my experience and would love to receive this opportunity again so I may gain more experience to improve my skills as a curator." Sisson said she has learned a great deal in her work on the exhibit. "It has been both wonderful and a little stressful," Sisson said. "From trying to wrangle together enough art pieces to fill the show to figuring out how to properly display pieces, we've had a full plate. However, I wouldn't change the experience even if I could. This experience is preparing us for not only our future senior shows but also our journey into teaching art and working with students of all ages. Also, getting to see works from students from all levels of art experience; ranging from no formal art classes all the way up to senior art majors, is just incredible. The amount of work that the U of O students put into each piece is just phenomenal." The students whose work will be on display include, Lillian Bostic, Patrick Brown, John Guthrie, Blanca Almarez Martinez, Azalia Molina, Ana Sofia Camargo Montenegro, Kayla Newman, David Nichols, Palmer, Stephanie Payton, Catherine Ryals, Sofia Sanchez, Willow Stratton, and Sisson.

Sarah Gross, assistant professor of art at the University of Kansas, will present her exhibit, "Continental Drift," in the University of the Ozarks' Stephens Gallery from Feb. 27 to March 31 as part of the university's Artist of the Month Series.


University of Kansas Assistant Professor of Art Sarah Gross will present her installation, "Continental Divide," in the Stephens Gallery from Feb. 27 to March 31.

There will be an artist talk from 4-5 p.m. and a reception from 5-6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27. The artist talk will be held in the Boreham Business Building and the reception will be held in the gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

According to Gross, "Continental Drift" is an installation that offers a space for meandering and contemplation.

"It is inspired by the geometric tilework of Islamic architecture, pays tribute to the artisans of handmade ceramics, and treats blue and white ceramics as carriers of ideas," she said. "The visual tradition of blue and white ceramics developed through an exchange between the Middle East and China, and has taken on many forms and embodied many geographic identities. Allow your eye to drift from the individual forms to the larger form, from independent pattern to interconnected pattern and experience the lack of resolution. I invite viewers to explore the work and fill the voids they see."

Dawn Holder, assistant professor of art at U of O, said her students are excited about hosting the visiting artist and her artwork.

"Our students will gain valuable experience assisting her with the setup of her installation in the Stephens Gallery," Holder said. "Seeing the other parts of being an artist?logistics, packing, thinking through how a work relates to a new gallery space?helps students piece together the multifaceted parts of the creative process. These informal experiences where students can work alongside professional artists are always inspiring and informative."

Gross received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA from Carleton College.  She has completed residencies at Greenwich House Pottery, Grand Valley State University, and the Lawrence Arts Center.

In 2010, she was named an "emerging artist" by Ceramics Monthly and she has work included in several collections, including the U.S. Department of State, The University of Costa Rica, and the Shiwan Ceramics Museum in Foshan, China. She has also taught at Berea College and Lawrence University.


"Continental Divide," by UK Assistant Professor of Art Sarah Gross.