Student Activities Center

Current Exhibit

Focus Grant Exhibit 2021

Focus Grant Exhibit

March 21-April 25, 2021
Memorial Union Art Gallery, 1st floor
Monday - Friday 10am-4pm and Sunday 1-4pm

Students apply for funding for creative projects outside of class, and the annual exhibit showcases the visual art component of the program. This year's exhibit featured art, writing, and design by 10 students.




Helen Barton
Jumuia Series, Screenprinting 
Advisor: Raluca Iancu
Jumuia Everywhere, community and kinship are everywhere. Even in the heart of the US, almost 10,000 miles from our homes. East Africans come together to create community. These are their experiences, challenges, and celebrations navigating life as member of the East African Diaspora. The postcards inspired by ten powerful conversations with community members. Finally, I hope you will consider acting and actively impacting change through our partnership with Sustainable and Greener World, an organization based in Uganda. 

Abigail Paige Burnett
Knot Diagrams in Three Dimensions Series, Sterling Silver & Copper Wire 
Advisor: Dr. David Herzog
A mathematical knot is a simple closed contour in space, like a tangled string the ends of which have been connected seamlessly. Mathematicians use knot diagrams, simple line drawings on a 2-D plane, to visualize when two such tangles are “topologically” the same. Meanwhile, artists have been using knotted designs to create beauty and tell stories for thousands of years. This series of sculptures brings knot diagrams to life, taking inspiration from knotted and woven designs from around the world and through the ages. Allowing these mathematical knots to take up space as works of art reaffirms the simply connected relationship between mathematics and creativity which is foundational to both disciplines.

Natalie Deam
Woods Time, Woodburning & Prose
Advisor: K. L. Cook
Woods Time is a calendar project examining the way that the woods around Ioway Creek change across the year. Each woodburning and corresponding poem portrays a meditation on the personal, ecological, and meteorological events and encounters with flora, fauna, and fungi that have impacted the artist’s environment. Many portraits appear in these ecological collages, reflecting the way our environment intimately affects all of us, and celebrating the enduring richness of the natural world through its infinite richness of texture, its flexible transformations across seasons, and the invigorating strangeness of organic form.

Jordan Dunn
Reactor Woods, Artist’s Book (Edition of 25)
Advisor: Barbara Haas
A small natural area that surrounds ISU’s Applied Science Complex holds some of the highest quality woodland in Ames and offers a glimpse into Iowa’s pre-colonial landscape. It is known locally as Reactor Woods because of its association with nuclear energy and weapons development. My artist’s book, titled Reactor Woods, documents several walks around this woodland and considers the layered history held in the land.

Zach Frazier
TKTKTK — on White Supremacy
Anti-Black Racism, Special Publication  
Advisor: Andrea Quam
This publication seeks to interrogate white supremacy as foundational to the discipline and of graphic design. Through interviews with three Black graphic designers, counter-storytelling, as derived from Critical Race Theory (CRT), is used in order to uplift and honor our marginalized in a discipline which continuously chooses to dismiss, obscure, and even erase our histories. As CRT is used in this piece, we can then also more easily share with you how this systemic, racist oppression is indicative of what occurs in other disciplines — more often than not, in your own.

Brett Garrett
Breath, Epoxy Resin, Ash, White Oak
Terror, Epoxy Resin, Cherry, Walnut
Advisor: Chris Martin
Involuted lathe-turned forms meant to contain emotional or mental entities that work as opposites. Neither would have strength nor power if not for the presence of the other. One creates a calming and soothing stability while the other runs rampant and spreads chaos to all it reaches.

Sydney Schilling
Connection Series, Wool, Fabric, Paper Clay, Wood & Metal
Advisor: Olivia Valentine
This project was inspired by the forms of nature, the human figure, and the relationship between design and the world we live in. This is specifically embodied in the use of sustainable materials as well as imagery and placement of the pieces. The wall hanging and rug interact with the functional sculpture elements. It is meant to draw people in to take time to reflect on our connections to the world around us and to ourselves

Isaiah Sents
Aurora, Rayon, Silk, & Crystal 
Advisors: Megan Romans and Dr. Rachel Eike
Aurora is the timeless night sky distilled into the form of an elaborate gown. Stars twinkle on the skirt, the footprint of which echoes depictions of magnetic fields around the earth. Above the stars, silken panels billow and drape, inspired by the lights of the aurora polaris.

Nikole Vollmer
Metamorphosis Series , Sterling Silver & Bookbinding  
Advisor: Joseph Muench 
This piece is an embodiment of where my artistic journey began and how that has shaped where and who I am now. I can remember sitting in the back of my classroom in the second grade meticulously drawing the monarch butterflies we were raising as a class. Studying and portraying every detail in their anatomy transformed art into something that was not limited by my imagination, but could be inspired by observing the world around me. Over time, the knowledge we gain from studying the world around us forms who we are.

Claire Wessels
Siren Song, Fabric & Acrylic 
Advisor: Grit Sadtler
This garment is based on sustainability and ocean pollution. The goal with this garment is to bring attention to plastic pollution within the ocean as well as a lack of sustainability in the fashion industry. The entire garment has been created out of recycled fabric and plastics.

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