Visual & Communication Arts Dept
Cyndi Gusler is an EMU alum and an MFA graduate of James Madison University. Cyndi has a background in painting and drawing and working with mixed-media.
Much of the current art work that occupies Cyndi’s mind and hands is ephemeral in nature. Pulling substances such as used coffee grounds from the waste stream and re-appropriating them as drawing mediums, is an integral part of the process and content of the work. While sort-lived, these drawings hold potency in the memory of the seer.
Meanwhile, in the studio, paintings are blooming. Cyndi and her daughter Lily, now age 11, have been creating paintings and drawings together for 6 years employing Lily’s free spirit and strong sense of composition to set the tone, pace and structure of a painting while Cyndi’s experienced hand finishes the work. The conversation builds as layers of paint, drawn lines, and instinct intermingle.
Cyndi is also know for her work with cast-off objects which are used as raw material create alluring three-dimensional forms. Her work includes paintings on found fabric, and intricate, found object sculpture. Her show, Conglomerate, a group of sculptures that reference raw minerals, is made from post-consumer found objects. Conglomerate has traveled to California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and to several galleries in Virginia.
Cyndi’s work includes a mosaic mural wall inspired by the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, commissioned by the Massanutten Regional Library in Harrisonburg, VA. The mural which depicts a mockingbird perched atop a tangling vine of bittersweet, is part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read Project.
Additionally, she has directed a series of Trash Fashion shows, runway fashion extravaganzas of innovative attire created from cast-off materials. This year Cyndi directs an invitational at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 4th. Click links below to read and see glimpses from two of the shows: Columbus, OH for Mennonite Youth Convention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40oh_qVE2ZU
EMU Trash Fashion Show:
Cyndi enjoys collaborative art-making, organic gardening, biking and hiking with her family, and attending fine arts performances.
Jerry Holsopple, an artist, photographer and renowned videographer, teaches photography and digital media-related courses. Jerry spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a Fulbright scholar at LCC International University in Lithuania. Jerry is the recipient of more than a dozen awards in recognition of his video, public service announcements, and websites. Journey Toward Forgiveness, a documentary that he produced, originally aired on ABC in December of 2001 and was aired again in 2003 and 2008 on the Hallmark Channel. Jerry’s photographic work has periodically been on exhibit and two series, “On the Way” and “Art of the Call” are permanently installed. While much of Jerry’s work focuses on the visual he also enjoys playing acoustic stringed instruments such as guitars, mandolins and bouzoukis, and writing songs. Jerry and his wife Mary, have two children, Dirk and Kate.
Kirsten earned her MFA in creative writing at West Virginia University. She is a contributing editor to The Tusculum Review and edited the anthology Tongue Screws and Testimonies: Poems, Stories, and Essays Inspired by the Martyrs Mirror. Kirsten co-chaired Mennonites Writing VI: Solos and Harmonies, a bi-national writing conference, in Spring 2012.
Kirsten is currently serving as interim director of EMU’s Core Curriculum.
She lives in Briery Branch with her husband, a bevy of backyard chickens and ducks, several hives of honeybees, and Sophie the cat.
Fast, a paper maker, has recently been combining interests in art history, politics, and current events in a series of “Madonna” mixed media pieces inspired by Medieval altarpieces.They involve such diverse media as gold leaf and handmade barbed wire and techniques such as collage, computer printing, and machine quilting on both fabric and hand made paper.
In the fall of 2011 Fast was one of 11 Mennonite Artists selected to have work placed in the new Mennonite Church, USA building in Elkhart Indiana. Her piece, Good Seed on the Land is a 9 ½’x 3 ½’ triptych of abaca hand made paper and pigments.
For a second year, she enjoyed being part of a three-person team as juror for the Art Exhibition at VMRC which draws hundreds of submissions from around the country. The exhibit has won the reputation as one of the top art shows in the area.
Spring semester of ’08, Fast was granted a sabbatical term in Egypt. In addition to a teaching assignment at the Coptic Cathedral under Mennonite Central Committee in Cairo, she studied major ancient monuments and artifacts in Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Alexandria, and the Sinai.
A second interest was an investigation into contemporary art in Egypt where she visited galleries in Cairo and Alexandria. She was also fascinated by life in one of the largest developing cities in the world and learning about the complexities of Muslim/Christian relationships in the Middle East.
In addition to teaching, Steve has a professional background as a Director of Digital Media, webmaster, and photographer.
- You can view a selection of his photography at his www.stevendavidjohnson.com
Photographic credits include Orion, National Geographic Traveler, Blue Ridge Country, Sufi Journal, Wings, Pastemagazine.com, npr.org, and The London Guardian. Steve’s photographic portfolios have been featured in the journals: Ruminate, Numéro Cinq, Flycatcher, Newfound, and Rock and Sling.
Moore currently teaches digital media production and research with Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA and a consultant with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland, creating films and a blog to promote gender justice and diversity within the organization.
From 2004 – 2009 Moore was the staff filmmaker at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA where she created independent documentaries, mentored student filmmakers, developed on-line programming and connected community through film. Her short documentary Wit, Will and Walls; the Betty Kilby Fisher Story explored desegregation in the Shenandoah Valley. The film was funded by a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Moore has produced, directed and written more than 25 hours of programming for broadcast and cable networks.
In 2007/08 she directed and produced the shows The Rob Andrew Murder and Methanol Mystery for Court TV’s (now truTV) stylized crime show Suburban Secrets. Moore traveled to Nicaragua and Puerto Rico in summer 2005 for National Geographic’s science unit where she produced and directed Is It Real?; a non-fiction program that debunks the existence of a mythical figure called El Chupacabras.
Moore directed/produced and wrote Halo Freefall Warriors for Discovery Channel in 2004. The 2-hour special profiles an elite school where special operations military trainees become extreme parachutists.
In 2003 Moore traveled across Romania to complete National Geographic’s Dracula Unearthed. The film uses crime-solving techniques to deconstruct the myth behind vampires and is part of the network’s Riddles of the Dead series. Her film Invisible People (aka Death in the Amazon) profiles remote indigenous tribes in Brazil and was completed in 2002 for the same series.
Moore produced and co-wrote the PBS documentary Juggling Work and Family with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith. The show won the 2001 platinum award for public affairs programming at Houston’s International Film Festival and the CINE Golden Eagle.
Other network programming includes the popular aviation documentary series Wings, the educational documentary series TeacherTV and the 1997 two-hour special on law enforcement titled Behind the Badge.
In 1991 – 92 Moore was based in Tokyo, Japan as a correspondent and video editor reporting Asian news and feature stories for the PBS/NHK co-production Asia Now. She returned to the U.S. to produce for TLC’s educational documentary series Teacher TV.
Other clients include the UN Refugee Agency, National Visionary Leadership Project, The World Bank, The Library Corporation, Marketplace Radio, National Education Association, Gideon Television, RAI television, ABC News, Entertainment Tonight, E! Television, Australian Broadcasting, Reuters Television, Christian Science Monitor Radio and the financial news website Capital.com.
Moore’s technical skills include proficiency on several cameras including Canon XL2, Sony Z1U and V1U, Avid Express Pro, Final Cut Pro and After Effects.
CENTER FOR INTERFAITH ENGAGEMENT
After a brief career in counseling children and families, Gretchen returned to EMU in 2008 to help launch the feasibility study for the Center for Interfaith Engagement. Her attraction to relationship building among people of different faith backgrounds stems from a combination of trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus by taking seriously his “Greatest Commandment,” and recognizing that Christians are called to relate to all fellow humans in love. Paired with a love of travel and meeting people from all walks of life in international settings, interfaith work is an excellent fit.
Gretchen’s background in counseling children and families has intensified her belief that interfaith relationship building should begin with children. The Center offered to provide administrative and logistical support to assist an ad hoc group that had begun an Interfaith Peace Camp for children in 2008. The group’s one-week pilot session had met with excellent response and provided a good jumping off point to launch Abraham’s Tent Interfaith Peace Camp through the Center. Working with the Interfaith Peace Camp organizers has provided a natural link to the Muslim and Jewish communities in Harrisonburg where many wonderful new relationships are paving the way for more interfaith programming.
When she hops in her little blue Civic at the end of the day, Gretchen heads off to a 63-acre partnership farm (another story) at the foot of Massanutten Mountain. A huge garden and a herd of grass fed Angus cattle go a long way in providing food and “entertainment.” Two dogs, a cat and a very old turtle are also family members. In the winter when the green beans are on the shelf and the berries and corn are in the freezer, Gretchen loves to spend her free time cooking, knitting and reading.
Gretchen earned a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in counseling from EMU and sandwiched in between raising three children with husband, Robert, worked here in communications and as support staff in the Social Work and Sociology Department. A true-blue EMU family, Robert, as well as the two oldest Maust offspring, Adam and Amanda, have all graduated from EMU. Annika, an elementary education major, currently attends EMU.
Love never fails…And now these three remain – faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ from I Corinthians 13