38 different alumni from the art + design program will have their work displayed in The Schrott Center for the Arts. Photo by Adam Cvik.
SOPHIE ROBERTSON | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Butler University’s art program will open its first alumni art show on Jan. 24 at 4:30 p.m. in the Schrott Center for the Arts.
The exhibition will feature the work of 38 of Butler’s very own art + design alumni.
Steve Nyktas, an assistant professor of art, coordinated the show and admitted he has been wanting to plan one for some time now. The show will allow faculty, alumni and staff to reconnect face-to-face.
“Often, we’re all so busy planning for the future that it can be hard to find the time to check in with old friends, even when they’re close by,” Nyktas said. “I wanted to make that happen, for all of us, so this year I decided to jump in.”
Butler’s art + design alumni have found positions in organizations such as the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre, Newfields and Thomson Reuters. They are working as curators, creative directors, managers and more.
In preparation for the show, Nyktas reached out to various alumni, including Katherine Reed, the head graphic designer at both Rhoades Beverage Co. and RE/MAX Cornerstone.
After an inspiring undergraduate semester studying abroad at a fashion and design school in Florence, Italy, Reed decided to add an art + design minor to her strategic communication major.
Reed admitted that she initially felt like an “oddball” in the art program because she was uninterested in pursuing the typical art forms. Instead, she preferred the design aspect of the art + design degree because of her affinity toward advertising. Yet, with the support of Nyktas, Reed found her artistic niche in jewelry-making.
Reed now owns her own jewelry business, Katherine Reed Jewelry, in addition to her jobs at Rhoades and RE/MAX.
Reed designs necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings inspired by the Italian designers that she encountered while studying abroad. Her jewelry is found in small boutiques and online at katherinereedjewelry.com.
Both Reed’s jewelry and designs will be featured in the exhibition. Reed’s designs serve promotional purposes while her jewelry makes a fashion statement, yet both take on the same style.
“Very minimalist, bold and overall clean,” Reed said. “Simpler is better.”
Reed was glad Nyktas thought to reach out to her.
“You leave Butler and you almost feel like, from your university, you are long-forgotten, so it’s really nice to know that there are still professors that remember the work I did — that my work was not unnoticed,” Reed said.
Fellow alumna, Cass Bruner, was also touched by Nyktas’s decision to reach out, describing it as a “pleasant, unexpected surprise.”
Bruner is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at Eastern Washington University. At Butler, her love for poetry carried over into her art + design work. She focused largely on mixed media, weaving text into images and pairing photographs with poems.
Bruner submitted a selection of her more recent photographs and poems to the show. Her latest work often deals with sexual identity or explores myth, history and artwork.
“I try as much as possible to weave in personal autobiographical stuff with things that connect to the larger world,” Bruner said.
Bruner described her work — both her photographs and her poems — in three words: “surreal, lyric and texture.”
Reed and Bruner are only two of the 38 featured in the exhibition. The number of participants and the breadth of the art + design degree make this first alumni exhibition one full of varying artists, styles and mediums.
Caitlyn Zegiestowsky, a senior art + design major, is excited to see all the different talents that will be showcased at the Schrott.
“Some of the alumni that are participating in the show have been graduated for more than five years now, and it’s encouraging to know that they are still inclined to make work,” Zegiestowsky said. “I’ve always looked up to the older students in the program and now the rest of the school can see why.”
Nyktas expressed that the show is intended to inspire current students like Zegiestowsky.
“We want to make sure our students are always thinking about how their artwork impacts the people around them; to know that even when they are alone in the studio they are working as part of a social process,” Nyktas said. “The Butler community – past, present, and future – benefits from hearing their diverse voices.”
The opening reception for the exhibition is tonight from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Schrott Center for the Arts. The show is free and open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Jan. 26.