NEA Chair Jane Chu to Present at Arts Symposium at IUPUI

 Jane Chu Image courtesy NEA

Indiana University alumna Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, will join arts leaders from around the country at a symposium in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 7.

The theme is “Community Engagement and Development Through the Arts” and it is led by arts administration faculty at the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“This is a great way to honor the work of Dr. Chu and a chance to share the experiences and insights of arts leaders from across the U.S. whose work is directly tied to the quality of life and development of their cities and regions,” SPEA’s Michael Rushton said.

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Basile Auditorium at the Herron School of Art and Design on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. It is open to the public, but organizers request attendees RSVP to soprsvp@iupui.edu.

Chu has been chair of the National Endowment for the Arts since June and formerly served as president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. She earned her doctorate in philanthropic studies from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis.

Chu will speak about the direction of the NEA as it relates to creative placemaking, including trends and plans for the future. Her address will follow a symposium with two panels. SPEA IU Bloomington professor Joanna Woronkowicz will moderate the first panel on the role of arts organizations in community engagement. Panelists include:

  • Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts in Nebraska.

Rushton will moderate the second discussion on the role of arts funders with panelists:

  • Jennifer Cole, executive director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.
  • Karen Gahl-Mills, executive director of the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture in Cleveland.

At the conclusion of the IUPUI symposium, Chu will travel to Bloomington for a visit to the Jacobs School of Music and to attend an IU Opera Theater production of “South Pacific.”

Chu’s visit to Indiana will also include a meeting with all current NEA grantees in Indiana and a site visit to the Indianapolis Art Center with the Indiana Arts Commission, as well as meetings with SPEA IUPUI students and with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s students, board of visitors, faculty and staff.

This is her second recent visit to the region; she delivered the IU Bloomington 2014 winter commencement address in December.

Support for the symposium has been made possible by grants from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, USA Funds, Tom and Bonnie Reilly, and the Ball Brothers Foundation, as well as from IUPUI. The host organizations for the Chu visit include SPEA IU Bloomington, SPEA IUPUI, Herron School, Indiana Arts Commission, Jacobs School of Music at IU Bloomington, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

To attend the symposium, RSVP to Nancy Bell by March 1.

 

Herron School of Art and Design is in the thick of IUPUI’s entrepreneurial culture

Herron School of Art and Design

IUPUI provides many pathways for students who want to learn more about the art and science of entrepreneurship. Herron School of Art and Design is one of the places on campus where entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged and supported. Here are a few examples:

Herron’s Visual Communication Design graduate curriculum focuses on design thinking and leadership. It engages students with diverse community members and organizations through projects where students use design thinking processes to lead stakeholders to solutions that address a diverse range of real concerns. A recent meeting about “Developing an Entrepreneurship Culture at IUPUI” provided an opportunity to illustrate the application of these processes. According to Youngbok Hong, associate professor and coordinator of the Design Thinking and Leadership Graduate Program at Herron, “idea generation during this meeting was enhanced through the use of visual modeling, which captured both the breakout session and large group discussions in real time. Students and faculty from Herron served as the visual modelers.”

The latest modification to Herron’s physical space will be the new Think It Make It Lab in Eskenazi Hall. With an anticipated opening this spring, the Lab will give students access to even more digital technologies, building on Herron’s existing equipment and curriculum. Other faculty and students from across campus will also use the equipment, which will create synergy across disciplines. Students will explore the broad applications of design, production and fabrication that are in demand in a variety of fields. The Lab will expand Herron’s capability to educate its students about rapid prototyping and cross-disciplinary investigations with schools and departments including Engineering and Technology, Interior Design, Informatics and Computing, Motorsports and Medicine.

The Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life at Herron offers students professional practice experiences integrated into the academic curriculum. Students have opportunities to collaborate on projects with businesses, not-for-profit organizations, communities and government agencies that provide professional-level engagement and enhanced experiential learning. There are a wide range of projects—from designing an award in bronze to creating a painting for a magazine cover to developing large-scale installations. Students develop and present their concepts based on the needs of clients. Since the Basile Center was established in 2006, more than 900 students have participated in projects serving approximately 105 community partners.

Herron graduate students may also opt into experiences such as a new, interprofessional class that spans visual communication design, informatics and computing, nursing and more. With a working title of “Healthcare Revolution Challenge 2015,” the course is designed to offer one credit for each of three semesters. Students will go through the course as cohorts, collaborating on cases for actual healthcare clients and presenting their proposed solutions in a “Shark Tank” style setting. Eva Roberts, Visual Communication Design department chair, said “Herron faculty members are among the developers and presenters of this distinctively formatted course, the aim of which is a working endeavor to humanize healthcare and increase access by disrupting the current system.”

Gallery Talk and Reception for Rebecca Allan: Fjord/Glacier/River

Rebecca Allan's ArtworkReception
April 2, 2015 | 5:30-7:30
Basile Gallery, Eskenazi Hall

Gallery Talk
April 2, 2015 | 6:30-7:00
Basile Gallery, Eskenazi Hall

Fjord/Glacier/River presents Rebecca Allan’s most recent paintings which have emerged from her travels in Norway. In Geirangerfjord, Allan made extensive drawings and studies of the waterfalls, rocks, and night skies that distinguish this majestic World Heritage site. These paintings reflect a response to the Norwegian landscape which is both exuberant and joyful but also reminds us of how urgent it is to preserve and protect our Earth’s natural resources, especially its water. Fjord/Glacier/River is presented by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute (iahi.iupui.edu) and the Rivers of the Anthropocene Project (rivers.iupui.edu).

Known for her richly layered and chromatically nuanced abstract paintings, Rebecca Allan has for many years concentrated on rivers and watershed environments as primary sources of investigation. Her work explores the ecology, meteorology, and geology of the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, and the Gulf Coast, among other sites. Working from a studio that overlooks the confluence of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers in The Bronx, Allan is inspired by a deep appreciation for the beauty of the natural environment overlaid with an awareness of its fragility and endangerment.

Exhibiting in the United States and abroad for more than 25 years, Allan’s most recent solo exhibitions were presented at Hudson Opera House Gallery (Hudson, New York), ArtLab78 (New York), The American Church in Paris, Ringling College of Art and Design/Longboat Key Center for the Arts; Seattle Art Museum Gallery; John Davis Gallery (Hudson, NY); and Gallery 2/20 (New York).  Allan has been a Fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Dorland Mountain Arts Colony.  She received her MFA from Kent State University and BA from Allegheny College. From 2006 to 2014 she was Head of Education at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture in New York City.

Artist’s Statement

“My paintings are rooted in the dramatic cycles of nature as well as a deep curiosity about science, and the forces underlying what we observe on the surface of things. Even when it is grounded in the visible world, a painting is a sensual invention that conflates real and conjured experiences. Rivers, glaciers, and fjords are central to this dialogue with nature and culture. They are complex arteries of history, culture, commerce, and ecology. This exhibition explores my relationship to particular landscapes from Norway to the Atlantic Northeast.

My process involves mixing pigments and layer color over time, in response to observed and felt experience. The language of color is a sanctuary within which the questions and problems of artmaking — indeed, of life — are confronted. I work within a transcendental American landscape tradition that includes painters such as Frederic Church, Charles Burchfield, Joan Mitchell, and Neil Welliver but I also draw from the works of Renaissance masters such as Giovanni di Paola and Pieter Breughel in my desire to invent a new, cosmological landscape.”

Co-sponsored by the Herron School of Art and Design and Sun King Brewing.

Keira Amstutz, William Blomquist, John Dichtl, Valerie Eickmeier, Jonathan Elmer, and David Lawrence discuss “The Future of the Arts & Humanities”

March 5, 2015 | 12:00-1:30
Indiana Humanities
1500 North Delaware Street

Are the arts and humanities in crisis?  What do financial cuts ultimately mean for arts and humanities institutions and their publics?  What role should governments play in supporting the arts and humanities?  What does the future look like for arts and humanities in this country and around the world?  What functions do the arts and humanities provide in sustaining a democratic society?

This roundtable will discuss these and many other questions in this can’t-miss event featuring several of central Indiana’s leaders in the arts and humanities.

Keira Amstutz is the President and CEO of Indiana Humanities.

Dr. William Blomquist is the Dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Dr. John Dichtl is the Executive Director of the National Council on Public History and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in History in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Dr. Valerie Eickmeier is the Dean of the Herron School of Art and Design.

Dr. Jonathan Elmer is the Director of the College of Arts and Humanities Institute and a Professor of English at IU Bloomington.

David Lawrence is the President and CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

This event is co-sponsored by Indiana Humanities

Herron art exhibit features the exchanges of pen pals with paint brushes

Art students Jessica Casey of Herron and Rachel DiCioccio of Youngstown State exchanged these paintings.

Art students Jessica Casey of Herron and Rachel DiCioccio of Youngstown State exchanged these paintings.

The official name of the exhibit running through Feb. 21 at Basile Gallery at the Herron School of Art and Design is “Material Muse.”

But perhaps “Pen Pals With Paint Brushes” more accurately describes the true inspiration behind the exhibit on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

The paintings on display are exchanges between students in professor Danielle Riede’s painting class at Herron and art students taught by Youngstown State University professor Dragana Crnjak.

Eighteen sophomores and juniors from Riede’s class were paired with Youngstown State students. They exchanged original paintings. As if they were pen pals conversing by letters, a Herron student would complete an original painting and mail it to her or his partner at Youngstown, who would in turn create and mail back an original piece in response.

“We wanted a way for our students to collaborate on paintings and didn’t have big enough budgets to take all of our students to each other’s campuses,” said Riede, associate professor of art at Herron.

“We also wanted students to explore the possibilities of painting as a medium,” she said. “Collaborating in this way also opens up students to risk, which is a necessary ingredient for growth.”

All the mailed paintings were between 2 and 5 inches square. Riede recommended her students create 10 pieces and then pick a favorite to ship to Youngstown in Ohio.

“At the time most of us had not worked on such small paintings.  I was excited to try something new,” student Amy Applegate said. “I ended up sending five of my 10 pieces — two works on cardboard, a small abstraction on canvas, a whited-out promotional button and a painting on a scrap of particle board.

“My response piece was another formal experimentation using bottle caps, magnets and acrylic paint. I pulled my color palette and natural iconography from the (Youngstown) piece I was responding to,” Applegate said.

While it was perhaps hard for her students to let go of their creations, “on the other hand, opening the works that had been shipped was a really fun experience,” Riede said. “The YSU students’ paintings felt like gifts for the (Herron) students; they were so curious to open the other students’ works.”

Herron student Jessica Casey was “super-excited about the idea of collaborating and working long distance with other students in the region.”

“I sent two small mixed-media collage pieces using paint skins, drawing materials, plastic, fabric and sewing,” Casey said. “My hope (was) to inspire the person receiving the work to create something with an array of materials.

“I received a large shell covered in paint; I altered it with wire and then on canvas did gestural drawings of the shell in chalk. I then used oil, acrylic, latex and melted wax to build up mass on the canvas and create an interesting depth on the surface,” Casey said.

The Basile Gallery is in IUPUI’s Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St. Gallery hours are 10 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free and open to the public.

Herron announces the Think It Make It Lab, where art, design and technology converge

The new Think It Make It Lab at Herron will include equipment and projects like these and more (clockwise): Art work from Herron's 2013 Undergraduate Student exhibition, printed with a 3-D printer; A Stratasys Objet 30 3-D printer; detail from a bench created by then Herron graduate student Vincent Edwards using a CNC router; an EZ Router CNC router. (images: Herron staff, Michelle Pemberton, Stratasys and EZ router)

The new Think It Make It Lab at Herron will include equipment and projects like these and more (clockwise): Art work from Herron’s 2013 Undergraduate Student exhibition, printed with a 3-D printer; A Stratasys Objet 30 3-D printer; detail from a bench created by then Herron graduate student Vincent Edwards using a CNC router; an EZ Router CNC router. (images: Herron staff, Michelle Pemberton, Stratasys and EZ router)

With the aim of merging technology with traditional creative processes, Herron School of Art and Design announces The Think It Make It Lab, a new physical space that will help art and design students, and others on the IUPUI campus, become better informed about the broad applications of design, production and fabrication in a variety of fields.

“We are so excited at the prospect of providing a collaborative environment for research and experimentation at the intersection of art, design, technology and culture,” said Herron’s dean, Valerie Eickmeier. “Centers like this are common in Silicon Valley, but there are few housed in schools of art and design and they are scarce in the Midwest.”

“The Think It Make It Lab promotes the creative use of new technologies in a collaborative environment for research and experimentation. The Lab expands Herron’s capability to educate students to work on concept design and prototyping using a variety of digital fabrication methods. Students and faculty working in this lab engage in research, design, digital fabrication and production methodologies that will be invaluable to their own creative and professional development and to 21st century industry,” she said. “It will also be interesting to see how the center helps to foster collaborations between programs on the IUPUI campus.

“Herron already has formed solid partnerships on campus with the IU School of Medicine, the Fairbanks School of Public Health, the School of Informatics and Computing and departments such as motorsports engineering. We look forward to seeing how this lab accelerates exploration and furthers the appreciation of art and design expertise across many types of applications.

“The resources and practices of the Think It Make It Lab will enhance the fundamentals Herron already teaches in its studio concentrations. The Lab will also equip Herron students with the knowledge to design and make, guided by an informed literacy about technology and a skill set that is in very high demand in the job market.”

Eickmeier said that associate vice president for learning technologies at IUPUI, Anastasia (Stacy) Morrone, Ph.D., was instrumental in bringing Herron’s vision for the Think It Make It Lab to life. “She grasped how our vision meshed with her mission of transformative teaching through the innovative use of technology. She advocated for the commitment of important startup funding.”

Morrone said, “This lab will be a new kind of learning space for students, and the first of its kind at Indiana University. A huge part of IU’s mission, and the mission of University Information Technology Services (UITS), is to provide the technology that our faculty and students need to learn, innovate and discover—key tenets of the maker culture. We are pleased to have played a part in ensuring that IUPUI students and faculty will have access to these exciting technologies.”

Recent additions to Herron’s equipment—a 3-D scanner, 3-D printers and a CNC (computer numeric control) router—started the ball rolling, quickly making a significant impact on the curriculum and training of Herron students.

The Lab will add a new design studio with the newest computers, cameras, scanners and printers—adjacent to a digital fabrication lab containing equipment including large-format CNC routers and laser cutters, plasma cutters and milling machines.

This combination, housed in Herron’s Eskenazi Hall in close proximity to the Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life, will accelerate exploration of digital production techniques, rapid prototyping and people-centered design research for undergraduates and graduates alike. The faculty and students currently using digital design and fabrication processes understand that the possibilities and applications in industry are boundless.

The Purdue School of Engineering and Technology on the IUPUI campus already has identified several courses that will benefit from the Lab. The School’s dean, David Russomanno said, “It will give students the ability to design for manufacturability, test their prototypes and become familiar with this equipment much earlier in their college careers. The faculty are seeking closer collaboration between research in engineering design and art. Aesthetics play an important role in mechanical design.”

The Think It Make It Lab also is expected to serve as a catalyst for visiting artist workshops, regional symposia and community based lectures and demonstrations, all of which will help establish connections that may spark exciting new partnerships with industries. Visiting speakers will be chosen from a diverse range of fields including art, architecture, engineering and manufacturing. These industry experts and scholars will expand the dialogue surrounding contemporary issues at the intersection of aesthetic expression, culture and emerging technologies.

Herron’s Community Learning Programs, which offer educational experiences to the general public, will also use the Think It Make It Lab to provide opportunities for teens to have project-based learning experiences in art and technology—experiences that help make connections to post high school careers and education.

“The space is under construction now. Faculty are very excited and they are developing curricula for fall,” said Peggy Frey, Herron’s assistant dean for fiscal and administrative affairs. “Some of the courses will be cross-listed with other schools. Additional equipment will begin arriving in January. We anticipate completion of the Think It Make It Lab by the end of the spring semester.”

The initial costs of the Think It Make It Lab are estimated $1.3 million and the project is Herron’s highest fundraising priority in 2015.

Alumnus Jason Ramey selected for $12,000 fellowship as 2014-2015 Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist

Jason Ramey welcomed his daughter, Eva Rae, on December 5. Other recent creations include It's Not Bulletproof. OSB siding, paint, found furniture. 60"x24"x70", 2013. (images courtesy Jason Ramey)

Jason Ramey welcomed his daughter, Eva Rae, on December 5. Other recent creations include It’s Not Bulletproof. OSB siding, paint, found furniture. 60″x24″x70″, 2013.
(images courtesy Jason Ramey)

Life’s been proceeding at a fast pace for Jason Ramey (B.F.A. ‘08 in Furniture Design) since he left Herron. He moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison to complete a master’s degree and currently teaches furniture design and 3-D foundations as a visiting full time faculty member at the Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD).

In 2014, Ramey discovered that he is among a five-person cadre of Minnesotans named to a 2014-2015 Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists. The honor comes with a $12,000 award for each recipient. (To round out the year, his daughter Eva Rae, all eight pounds and 20 inches of her, chose to make her arrival on December 5. He may be a little sleep deprived of late.)

According to MCAD’s website, the Jerome Fellows “…were selected out of a pool of 252 applicants by a panel of arts professionals that included Candida Alvarez, artist and professor in the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Shannon Fitzgerald, curator, writer and executive director of Rochester Art Center; and David Norr, independent curator and writer currently based in New York City.

Art Critic Michelle Grabner has described Ramey as admirably staking out “…. a psychological landscape taut with existential metaphors and personal narratives. At the same time, he unflinchingly confronts the problematic historical debates between the visual arts and crafts, furniture and props, display and architecture by employing the tropes of these dichotomies in his work”—the sorts of debates that occasionally can be found in the furniture design studios at Herron.

Ramey’s artist’s statement attributes his work to his youthful curiosity “about who might have constructed the walls in my family home, and what type of people they were. … These walls weren’t just inane parts of my childhood home, they were my childhood,” he said. His current work still explores these and other domestic themes as it binds up memory “in the space that enfolds our material world.”

Ramey characterizes Herron as “a huge part of my development as an artist. “I had very little experience before coming to Herron,” he said, “I was lucky to work with Cory Robinson, Phil Tennant and David Lee on the basics of design and fabrication. I continue to be amazed at the work I see coming from Herron students.”

In addition to a Jerome Fellows group show at MCAD in the fall, Ramey also has solo exhibitions in Cleveland and the Weber Gallery at Winona State University in the works for late 2015.

Ganci’s study of ubiquitous computing attracts Springer Family Innovative Faculty Award

Aaron Ganci was selected by his peers for the 2015 Springer Award.(image: Herron staff)

Aaron Ganci was selected by his peers for the 2015 Springer Award.(image: Herron staff)

Whether you’re resentful of being monetized by your apps or unconcerned about the data you provide with your every keystroke, Aaron Ganci’s research findings will likely be relevant to you.

Ganci, assistant professor of visual communication design, has been chosen by his peers as the 2015 recipient of the Frank C. Springer Family Innovative Faculty Award. The award is Herron School or Art and Design’s most prestigious and largest faculty research prize.

Ganci’s specialty is experience design—a subset of visual communication—that he weaves into his students’ coursework. His curiosity led him to propose a research project that will examine the potential of ubiquitous computing, that is, the integration of data gathering technology into everyday objects, to “enable extremely powerful interaction experiences and a new breed of smart digital interfaces,” he said.

The burgeoning capability to gather data about users and their actions “will enable designers to achieve new levels of engagement, personalization and usefulness through digital interfaces,” Ganci predicted.

It is those kinds of interfaces that enable the bookseller on your device to make recommendations on what you might like to read, based on the types of titles you have already ordered, comments you have made about them and people with whom you’ve shared them.

Ganci said ubiquitous computing will impact many more facets of our lives. “Smart environments are growing exponentially. As this technology becomes more available in the mass market, connected environments—virtual and physical—will become much more prevalent.” A big part of what Herron Visual Communication Design graduates will be creating in the next five or ten years is experience design for all manner of digital interfaces.

Thanks to the Springer Prize, Ganci will do a deep dive into what this means for tomorrow’s designers through a very specific project that he was inspired to undertake by fellow faculty members Craig McDaniel and Jean Robertson.

In their soon to be published book, McDaniel and Robertson assert that a standardized alphabet has outlived its usefulness for expressive visual communication through text. They propose that people should have the ability to customize their own personal alphabet to better align with their communication needs.

Ganci will use this assertion as the basic premise for his work, integrating ubiquitous computing into a user interface that will make alphabetic translations passive and seamless. “This project is an important first step in understanding how and why designers might use this technology to create more engaging, personalized or useful experiences,” he said.

In the experiment, text translated into a personalized alphabet identified with a specific individual will be displayed on a smart wall in a room that can sense who is present. When the smart wall senses an individual is near, it will translate the displayed text to that person’s personalized alphabet. As more people begin interacting with the wall, only the area nearest them will translate. This will create a public-yet-personalized experience that would be impossible without ubiquitous computing technology.

The Springer family created the award to inspire Herron faculty members to expand their artistic, creative and scholarly work in memory of Frank C. Springer Jr., a long-time friend to Herron and beloved Indianapolis philanthropist.

Technology and Art Team’s website design contributes to spike in student visits at the Math Assistance Center

from left: Kevin Berkopes, Levi Hadley, Kelly Nauert, Josh Ragsdell, Miriah Remy and Patrick Burton in the MAC. (image: Herron staff)

from left: Kevin Berkopes, Levi Hadley, Kelly Nauert, Josh Ragsdell, Miriah Remy and Patrick Burton in the MAC. (image: Herron staff)

When a visitor walks into the IUPUI Mathematics Assistance Center—the MAC—housed in Taylor Hall at IUPUI’s University College, math anxiety does not come to mind.

It kind of looks like a party is going on at the United Nations. The place is full. Students are grinning and playing with markers on wall-to-wall white boards. There’s lots of excited conversation. Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the white boards are full of formulas and math problems and that some of the students are teaching their peers.

This is a fresh approach to getting math help—not textbook driven, hierarchical, isolated or intimidating.

Of course the MAC’s executive director, Kevin Berkopes, Ph.D., looks for employees with high mathematical abilities to be the center’s mentors and tutors. He also makes hiring decision based on their personalities and communications skills. There are 22 countries represented by the 95 students he has on his payroll.

Berkopes is smart enough to know when he needs expertise he does not possess. He recognized that the MAC’s branding should convey its welcoming atmosphere, expressed in part through website design. He turned to students for help, in part to provide them with professional practice experiences, a hallmark of IUPUI.

He hired Herron School of Art and Design students Levi Hadley, Kelly Nauert and Miriah Remy—all juniors majoring in Visual Communication Design—and computer science students Patrick Burton and Josh Ragsdell. The five formed a team called META—MAC Experience: Technology and Art—to focus on the look and feel of MAC services, including the redesign of its website.

“Kevin is hiring mentors and tutors from across programs as well, in the hopes that their presence will make IUPUI students more inclined to seek academic support if they need it,” said Shannon McCullough, Herron’s director of admissions and student services. “Art and design is very mathematical, but a lot of art students fear it. He is really making efforts to ease that, and the MAC gets positive reviews from Herron students who go there.”

Not only that,” McCullough continued, “but for our students to have gained experiences in design and branding for a client, including building a website, as sophomores, what a resume builder!”

Berkopes said the team that brought his branding vision together, as well has his army of tutors and mentors is “a group of kids that are phenomenal in what they do.”

Remy characterized the website and other design projects thus far as “exciting and almost overwhelming at times. It is incredible to be able to say that I’m part of creating something that did not exist before. I have had a good time collaborating with Kelly and Levi on the design of the project. Working with Josh and Patrick to implement the design is great. I believe we have the perfect set of skills combined into one group.”

“As a designer, I judge almost everything I see, especially websites,” she said. “I want our interface to be the best that the users have seen. Overall, I have loved the opportunity to participate in such an interesting project, and I look forward to continuing it.”

Launched in summer 2014, the new website went a long way toward creating a virtual space that complements the MAC’s physical space and personality. Over a short time, the MAC has improved its service overall through a variety of initiatives, including synchronous online tutoring through the website. As of last semester, student visits had increased from 9,000 to 40,000.

Artist brings his brand of war to IUPUI campus

'OH YEAH!' Tank

‘OH YEAH!’ Tank

Artist Chris Dacre

Artist Chris Dacre

Mixed media artist Chris Dacre will bring his humorous, yet satirical depiction of the complexities of war to the IUPUI campus in January.

His “OH YEAH!” solo exhibit, featuring soft sculptures of military personal and equipment, screen-printed, surplus army tents, drones-printed kites, videos and audio recordings will run Jan. 16 to Feb. 16 at the Herron School of Art and Design.

Exhibit visitors in their 30s and 40s could have flashbacks to Saturday mornings spent watching “G.I. Joe” and other cartoons interrupted by commercials featuring the Kool-Aid Man breaking through walls and uttering “Oh yeah!”

In the Herron exhibit, “a big, soft sculpture tank and its driver — has replaced the Kool-Aid Man, breaking through a wall into a young boy’s room . . . while outside the room, life-sized sculptures of soldiers wage war,” Dacre said during a phone interview.

The subject of war has always fascinated the Denver-based artist who spent eight years in the U.S. Air Force before earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a master of fine arts degree in studio art and printmaking.

“What interests me most about war, is the way that we recruit for, stockpile and wage it around the globe, oftentimes in the name of freedom and liberty or some other guise,” wrote Dacre in an online artist statement.

His goal for his art is to spark conversation about the realities of war and the military-industrial-entertainment complex which surrounds it.  While he isn’t an expert in military history, his art, along with talks he gives based on his research, provide food for thought for exhibit goers.

“My job is to disseminate information that most people won’t get in everyday news. My art exhibit can become a platform to have a discussion about these issues,” Dacre said.

For example, the tank and its driver bring to mind the hundreds of inflatable tanks crafted for use in World War II. It provides an opportunity to discuss the little known history of the Ghost Army, a secret unit of soldier artists — including then budding fashion design Bill Blass — who employed the tanks and recorded sound effects to deceive enemy soldiers.

And many of the images of soldiers aren’t human in form. For example, the tank driver resembles a cartoon wolf. Making the players less human, serves to reduce the emotionalism often inherent in dialogue about war and violence, Dacre said.

“I try to take the human element out of it,” Dacre said. War “is a very depressing subject.  I am trying to make it lighter . . . I am trying to make it easier for us to talk about it.”

While viewers could come away from the exhibit thinking that Dacre is either pro-war or a pacifist, the artist believes that those who are willing to come “with an open-mind and take some time to figure it out, they can see what I am trying to say.”

Part of the exhibit’s message is that in a world where wars are often fought over the rights to natural resources needed to fuel our transnational consumer culture, we all play a role in world conflicts, Dacre said.

Dacre’s work is in the permanent collections of Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Palace of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria; Brazilian American Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; and several other museums.

He has held exhibitions at numerous galleries and universities, including the Ohio  University Art Gallery, the University of Wisconsin, and the LuLuBell Toy Bodega and Gallery, Tucson, Az., just to name a few.

“War will be a topic for me for a long time,” Dacre said. “I’m always learning something new that I can share.”