Art & Design faculty adapt amidst COVID-19 challenges

Art and Design mini supply kit - COVID 19

You can do a lot with a little. That was the perspective Katherine Fries had as she migrated printmaking classes to an online format during the COVID-19 pandemic. The circumstances were less than ideal, but, she decided, it was a perfect opportunity to instill in her students adaptability, improvisation, problem-solving, and creativity – valuable skills that will translate beyond their education at the University of Indianapolis. Afterall, Fries pointed out, what student leaves their undergraduate career able to afford a fully stocked art studio? 

“Printmaking at its core is paper, pressure, and some kind of ink. We can create stencils and stamps from pretty much anything,” said Fries. 

Fries collaborated with colleagues from around the country to identify ways students could continue engaging the creative process using affordable supplies they’d likely have at home. The content of each class remains the same, but the projects were adapted for functionality. Plans for a complicated carving now involve scissors and foam material, for example. And instead of touring the National Library Bindery Company of Indiana, she’s created online tutorials for a bookbinding project using a needle and thread. 

Because many students left their personal supplies on campus during spring break, she also shipped about 25 miniature art kits to students for projects during the last four weeks of the semester. 

“This is not the ideal situation, but we’re doing our best to make these classes meaningful for students even though we can’t be together,” Fries said.

Related: School of Occupational Therapy employs creativity in time of pandemic

UIndy artists collaborate for ‘Empty Bowls’ fundraiser

UPDATE: Per recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this event has been canceled. Visit for updates.

Empty Bowls - lunch for a good cause

Empty Bowls is an internationally recognized grassroots movement by artists around the world to care for and feed the hungry in their communities. This month, the experience is coming to the University of Indianapolis for the first time!

The concept is simple; participating artists create and donate bowls, then serve a simple meal. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit the Schwitzer Student Center on March 26 for lunch.
  2. Choose a handmade ceramic bowl to take home with you.
  3. Fill that bowl with your choice of soup.
  4. Make a suggested minimum donation ($10 for UIndy students, $20 for all other guests) *CASH ONLY
  5. Enjoy!

100 percent of the proceeds from this event will benefit Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. 

Three hundred ceramic bowls are being created by Department of Art & Design Assistant Professor Barry Barnes, current and former UIndy ceramics students and UIndy High School Day participants.

Empty Bowls, students making ceramics

See a bowl you like? Show up early on March 26 to make your selection!

An illustrated cookbook created by Department of Art & Design Assistant Professor Randi Frye and students in her creative digital practice classes will also be sold during the event for $20. *CASH ONLY

Empty Bowls cookbook

The cookbook features 80 recipes. University of Indianapolis faculty and staff were asked to contribute recipes that the students could use to work with, so a large portion of the recipes are from the Greyhound community.

Empty Bowls illustrated cookbook


Learn more about the event, taking place on campus Thursday, March 26

MacArthur Fellow and critically acclaimed artist Titus Kaphar to speak at University of Indianapolis Sutphin lecture Nov. 7 

The University of Indianapolis announces visual artist and social critic Titus Kaphar, who will present a lecture on campus Nov. 7, 2019, as part of the Sutphin Lecture Series.

The lecture, “Making Space for Black History: Amending the Landscape of American Art,” is scheduled from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, at the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged.

Titus Kaphar will discuss how his paintings, sculptures and installations seek to dislodge history from its status as the “past” in order to unearth its contemporary relevance. Kaphar is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and a distinguished recipient of numerous prizes and awards including a 2014 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship, a 2015 Creative Capital grant, a 2016 Robert R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist grant and a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grantee.

Titus Kaphar, "Behind the Myth of Benevolence," 2014

Titus Kaphar, “Behind the Myth of Benevolence,” 2014

Kaphar’s paintings are held in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, New Britain Museum of American Art, Seattle Art Museum and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Titus Kaphar on his work: “I’ve always been fascinated by history: art history, American history, world history, individual history – how history is written, recorded, distorted, exploited, reimagined, and understood. In my work I explore the materiality of reconstructive history. I paint and I sculpt, often borrowing from the historical canon, and then alter the work in some way. I cut, crumple, shroud, shred, stitch, tar, twist, bind, erase, break, tear, and turn the paintings and sculptures I create, reconfiguring them into works that nod to hidden narratives and begin to reveal unspoken truths about the nature of history. Open areas become active absences, walls enter into the portraits, stretcher bars are exposed, and structures that are typically invisible underneath, behind, or inside the canvas are laid bare, revealing the interiors of the work. In so doing, my aim is to perform what I critique, to reveal something of what has been lost, and to investigate the power of a rewritten history.”

Wilbur D. Peat exhibition explores work of longtime Indianapolis arts influencer

wilburpeatWilbur D. Peat, an art administrator who spent his life promoting art in Indiana and recognizing Hoosier artists, was a gifted artist in his own right. A new exhibition at the University of Indianapolis Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery celebrates Peat’s legacy with “Wilbur D. Peat: An Indianapolis Icon,” a collection of rare works on display through Oct. 5, 2018.

An American born in China, Peat trained as an artist at the Cleveland School of Art and became director at the Akron Art Institute before moving to Indianapolis, where he became the architect of some of the city’s most prized arts institutions and societies.

“Starting in 1929, Peat was a significant and influential figure on the Indianapolis art scene for the ensuing 36 years. Hired as the director of the Herron Art Museum, he laid the foundation for the current Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields,” explained Mark Ruschman, exhibition organizer and adjunct instructor.

Katherine Fries, exhibition organizer and assistant professor of art & design, explained that Wilbur Peat’s son David is a letterpress printer and collector, and longtime supporter of the University of Indianapolis arts programs. Fries noticed some remarkable paintings during a visit to David Peat’s home. When he revealed that his father was the artist who had painted them, and explained his father’s role in the Indianapolis arts community, the idea for an exhibition was born.

“He was a remarkable man who was involved in a lot of different activities,” Fries said, noting Wilbur Peat’s work as an author, expert and leader of the artistic life and heritage for the city and state. Wilbur Peat was a prolific writer, popular lecturer and talented artist.

“Peat’s book, ‘Pioneer Painters of Indiana,’ published in 1954 by the Art Association of Indianapolis, chronicles the origins and exploits of the early Indiana artists and is considered a seminal work on the subject. It proved be to an invaluable resource for my 2016 ‘200 Years of Indiana Art’ exhibition, marking Indiana’s bicentennial at the Indiana State Museum,” said Ruschman, who serves as the Indiana State Museum’s fine arts curator.

Fries noted that some of the most prized works in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection by Rembrandt and Monet were the result of Peat’s efforts. Peat’s work also had an impact on the development of the Indiana Historical Society, Hoosier Salon and various public artwork projects.

“Wilbur D. Peat: An Indianapolis Icon” is a retrospective that covers Peat’s work from adolescence (around 1910) through his very last painting, made possible by the Peat family who are generously loaning the rare works to the University of Indianapolis during the exhibition.

“Most of it has not been seen by the public. He did it for pure enjoyment, for the sake of making art,” Fries said.

The work of Wilbur D. Peat will be on display at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery through Oct. 5, 2018, with a gallery reception 4-6 p.m., Sept. 24 and special Gallery Talk at 4:45 p.m. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

The letterpress collection of David Peat will be featured in an exhibition at the Indianapolis Public Library starting Oct. 1, 2018. More info.

Five Reasons to Register for Communiversity 2018

ADV_18_Communiversity_CoverVerticalThis year marks the 150th anniversary of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, a book T.S. Eliot described as “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels, in a genre invented by Collins and not by Poe.”

To celebrate this milestone, the University of Indianapolis is hosting a free, online class during the fall semester. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community are invited to explore this classic detective novel.

Here are five reasons to register for the class:

1. Return to the (virtual) classroom to read and discuss a classic novel! The course brings together community members, UIndy alumni and current UIndy students in an online discussion moderated by UIndy Professor of English Jennifer Camden.

2. The course has a “book club” feel. The weekly reading averages 50 pages, and the course is “credit/no credit” so you can spend as much or as little time on the class as you would like.

3. It’s free! 

4. This year’s novel is a page-turner!  A few teasers: a priceless, cursed diamond is stolen…twice!  Indian Brahmins, in disguise as jugglers, haunt an English country estate, using hypnotism to divine the whereabouts of the diamond.  A maidservant with a criminal past is behaving strangely…an opium addict with a mysterious past may be able to solve the mystery….Sergeant Cuff, aided by the steward, Betteredge, and the intrepid Franklin Blake are on the case!

5. You can join us for several in-person lectures. Taking place September – November, these discussions will present different disciplinary perspectives on the novel: Dr Chad Martin (UIndy-History); Dr Amy Allen Sekhar (independent scholar and disability rights activist); Dr Jonathan Evans (UIndy -Philosophy); Prof. Heather Williams (U Cincinnati-English).

*Register by mid-August to guarantee your spot in the class, which will begin the week of August 27. 

Students collaborate with expert on Shakespeare comedy

screen-shot-2018-02-13-at-10-07-26-amINDIANAPOLIS – Condensing 37 Shakespeare plays into 97 minutes is no easy task, but Bill Kincaid has done it with help from University of Indianapolis students and faculty along the way.

A dinner theatre production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)[Revised]” will be performed Feb. 23 – March 2 at the Schwitzer Student Center Dining Hall.  

Kincaid, guest director and a professor at Western Illinois University, specializes in Shakespeare, having worked on about 30 productions of Shakespeare’s plays. He recently finished writing a book about unrehearsed Shakespeare, which will be published in April 2018.

“The play is written in a broad comedic style, requiring quick costume changes, sudden character transformations and high energy,” he said. “The audience can expect lots of silliness, plenty of ridiculous jokes and a bit of audience participation.”

Learn more about Department of Theatre programs.

UIndy students are heavily involved several areas of the project: as actors, designers, stage managers and even as assistant director. Kincaid says he helped bring the production to life by incorporating students’ creative ideas and organizational skills into the project.

“When I thought about directing this play, I knew I wanted to expose the students to some mind-blowing ideas about Shakespeare, so they would have a better understanding of the material that the show makes fun of,” Kincaid said.

In many rehearsals, Kincaid sat down with students to read closely through a speech or two from Shakespeare, pulling them apart and looking at them in detail. The experience gave students a more complete appreciation of Shakespeare’s writing and influenced choices made in the production, he said.

Get tickets for the show.

Indianapolis Quartet presents “Secrets from the Masters”

The Indianapolis Quartet will present its second concert of the season featuring some of western music’s most important works of art.

Debut performance of the faculty artist series String Quartet in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall on November 7, 2016. Quartet is composed of Zachary DePue, violin; Austin Hrtman, violin; Austin Huntington, cello; and Michael Strauss, viola. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Debut performance of the faculty artist series String Quartet in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall on November 7, 2016. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 6, 2017, at the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center on the University of Indianapolis campus. Concert admission is free, although registration is required.
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UIndy Theatre students bring hilarious farce “Move Over, Mrs. Markham” to Dinner Theatre

Dinner Theatre is back at the University of Indianapolis with the debut this weekend of “Move Over, Mrs. Markham.” 

Pix of the dress rehearsal performance of "Move Over, Mrs. Markham" for the annual dinner theater show in Schwitzer on February 21, 2017. From the promo: "Hilarity ensues when three couples arrange secret rendezvous in the same London apartment. Playwright Ray Cooney is known for his many farces staged in Londonís West End, including last year's Dinner Theatre hit Out of Order. " (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Pix of the dress rehearsal performance of “Move Over, Mrs. Markham” for the annual dinner theater show in Schwitzer on February 21, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The University of Indianapolis Department of Theatre will perform the free-wheeling 1960’s farce by Ray Cooney and John Chapman on Feb. 24-26 and March 2-4, 2017 at the Schwitzer Student Center Dining Hall. Dinner is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. each night with the performance to follow at 8 p.m. A free preview will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 (no dinner included).

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University of Indianapolis Etchings Press announces 2016 Whirling Prize winners

Etchings Press at the University of Indianapolis has announced the winners of the 2016 Whirling Prize.

Students enrolled in ENG 479 reviewed the 83 submissions and selected winners in the categories of prose and poetry.

Students enrolled in
ENG 479 reviewed the 83 submissions and selected
winners in the categories of prose and poetry.

Helen Klein Ross won the 2016 Whirling Prize in Prose for her work “What Was Mine.” Ross’ work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and in literary journals and anthologies.

Amy Ash, an assistant professor at Indiana State University, won the Poetry prize for her work “The Open Mouth of the Vase,” which is her first full-length collection.

Both Ross and Ash will read excerpts from their work at the 2017 Kellogg Writers Series event later this month, with a book signing to follow. The event, scheduled for 7:30 pm on Monday, Feb. 27, in Schwitzer’s UIndy Hall C, is free and open to the public.

University of Indianapolis students reviewed 83 submissions to select the winners. This year’s prize welcomed submissions of published books written by women or books that feature leading female characters.

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Crowd packs the house for Letterpress Hullabaloo

A standing-room only crowd turned out Monday evening at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center for the opening reception of “Letterpress Hullabaloo,” a celebration of the history and modern expression of printmaking.

Letterpress Hullabaloo is an invitational exhibition of contemporary printers and bookmakers that examines the continuing practice and historical context of letterpress, the original technique of printing with an inked, raised surface. Printers from around the United States were selected for this exhibition based on their Indianapolis connections, preservation of historical practices, contemporary innovations and/or unique experiences or techniques. The opening reception with hands-on exhibits and a presentation/lecture by Erin Beckloff, Co-Director of "Pressing On: The Letterpress Film" on on January 23, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Letterpress Hullabaloo  (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Curious visitors had a chance to try their hand at printmaking and assist in the traditional craft of bookbinding. Letterpress fans strolled through the gallery to chat with Indiana-based printmakers and peruse colorful posters. It was all to celebrate an antiquated technology that has newfound meaning in the digital age.

Erin Beckloff, an assistant professor in graphic design at Miami University of Ohio who directed and produced the documentary “Pressing On: The Letterpress Film,” spoke to a capacity audience about how the passion of a small but dedicated community is keeping the art, design and craft of letterpress alive. Some significant figures in the letterpress community operate right here in Indiana.
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