Senior thesis exhibition headlines downtown gallery in Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. –  Celebrate the artistic accomplishments of graduating art students, at the Indiana University Kokomo Downtown Art Gallery, 102 N. Main St

The Senior Thesis Exhibition opened Friday, featuring work created by December graduates and new media, art, and technology students Christopher Burke, Galveston; Nick Cottongim, Plainfield; Christy Russell, Peru; and Alyson Davis Williams, Kokomo.

“Each one of us has our own unique style,” said Williams. “This shows what we’ve learned in the last four years.”

Williams created an installation in seven sculptures, as well as an additional sculpture, all intertwined, inspired by becoming young mother.

“I used art as a way to reflect on that,” she said. “It reflects all of the emotions of motherhood, and post-partum.”

After graduating, Williams plans to be an art teacher, and would like to teach at the college level.

Burke created an interactive project with a controller and touch screen that allows the viewer to make designs and print their work.

“It’s a really good way to bring technology into the context of an art gallery,” said Burke, from Galveston. “You don’t see this as much in Indiana. A lot of the work here is more traditional. It’s good to have an element of interactivity.”

He plans to live in a large city and create websites and mobile apps after he graduates — not at all what he expected when he first enrolled.

“IU Kokomo has given me the chance to explore different mediums, different ways of creating things,” he said. “I originally planned on pursuing just graphic design. In the process, I started to enjoy web design, and that became my main focus.”

Cottongim’s entry is a 6-foot by 20-inch graphic, comprised of pictures his mother took each of the 19 years he played baseball.

“Being in this exhibit means a lot to me,” he said. “It wasn’t easy for me because this isn’t my area of expertise. It has allowed me to become more professional and gain experience feeling comfortable explaining my work and showing it off with confidence.”

He wants to use his graphic design skills in sports marketing.

Russell showcases intaglio printmaking in her work, a book with intaglio illustrations of little forest people. The book is displayed on an installation piece she created with a tree stump she hollowed out and filled with moss, leaves, and twigs.

Along with print making, she’s enjoyed water color painting, screen printing, and wood cutting.

“There are so many new things I’ve learned here,” she said. “I think I’ve grown as an artist, and I want to keep learning.”

She plans to continue her career in retail, and potentially start an online store to sell her designs. Russell is honored to be part of the show.

“It gives me a chance to show off what was important to me, what I’ve worked on, and what I’m passionate about,” she said.

The exhibition continues through Friday, December 20. Admission is free.

The Downtown Art Gallery is open 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana University Kokomo, which celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.