Alumni Artists “Return” to EMU with New Artwork

The Alumni Art Show opened Saturday at the Margaret Martin Gehman Art Gallery located in University Commons. Artwork was also on display in the Hartzler Library Gallery on the main floor. The theme of the art show was “The Return,” featuring alumni artists Mark and Kathryn Fenton, Cyndi Gusler, Jerry Holsopple, Chelsea Eason Kight, Steve Kniss, Katie Landis, Justin Roth, Michael Spory, Steven Stauffer, Frank Ameka, and other alumni. There was also a special piece by Matt Styer, a 2005 VaCA grad who died of leukemia in 2011.

The art show was well attended by students, alumni, and faculty. It was a really special time for the family of Styer because they were there to present a scholarship in his honor. The recipient of this year’s scholarship was Scott Eyre. “My passion for photography really took off when my friends gave me my first DSLR camera as a wedding gift,” said Eyre.

Junior Karla Hovde looks at work done by Hannah Shelly.

Junior Karla Hovde looks at work done by Hannah Shelly.

Eyre gave up photography as a business to be a youth minister. Eyre came back to EMU in the Spring of 2013, wanting to use his sports major and become a PE teacher and minister to kids that way, but then he realized he liked photography too much to give it up. Eyre is currently in the Visual and Communications Arts program. To celebrate his achievement, he stated, “I guess me and my wife are going out to dinner.”

Some of the artists that presented their pieces had a talk afterwards about them. They related their pieces back to the theme of “The Return.” Some artists were returning to their childhoods. Gusler had a watercolor painting that symbolized a style of painting like that of a child. She said that when you are a child, you have unbridled creativity, and she looks at her daughter’s paintings for inspiration so she can try to regain her early days of creativity.

Other artists talked about specific items, people, or places that were unique to them. Holsopple chose to focus on a social movement that happened in Lithuania in 1989 and tried to recreate it in 2013 via photographs. Ameka, a Kenyan native, returned to his homeland and had 3 photograph pieces that were featured in the Art Gallery. One photograph was of his grandfather, a man who meant a lot to Ameka. Ameka said, “When I see my granddad any time, it is emotional, because he makes jokes about me. I told you he is a very funny guy. So the first time I meet him he is telling me how fat I am. He’s like ‘Hey, you! What happened? Why are you so fat? What are they feeding you in America?’”

I enjoyed seeing all the various pieces of art that the alumni created. It was interesting to see that each artist had a different perspective on the theme “The Return.” If you get a chance be sure to stop by the Art Galleries and check out the Alumni Art Exhibit on display all week. It is a great way to support EMU artists.

-Daniel Barnhart, Staff Writer; photo credit, Michelle Mitchell

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