PFW Gives Faculty the Opportunity to Express Themselves Through Art

By Bayley McDonald

Purdue Fort Wayne displayed artwork created by faculty members and put them up for sale, with all the proceeds going to the Department of Art and Design scholarships.

The “Creatives” art exhibition had an opening ceremony on Feb. 1 with 44 creative works by 22 members of the PFW community.

This was an exhibition specifically for faculty and staff who maintain some kind of creative practice outside of their work on campus. This exhibition includes drawings, paintings, fiber arts, photography, glass art, and wood art.

The exhibition was coordinated by Derek Decker, the director of the Visual Arts Gallery and a professor at PFW. Decker has taught at PFW since 2012 and is currently teaching two classes this semester on top of running gallery events.

“To show the community, as well as our students on campus, some of the ways that art can influence your life,” said Decker when discussing the importance of this event.

He also discussed how many of the staff members use art to de-stress and connect to their creative side, apart from their role or department on campus.

Decker believes that art can always impact your life in a beneficial way, even if you are not a professional, and that should be celebrated.

“Instead of just seeing them as your engineering professor…no, that engineering professor also likes to wood turn,” Decker stated. “He also has, like we all do, likes and hobbies outside of what we do.”

Decker also discussed how this exhibition is an important way to humanize PFW faculty, and for the students to see another side of them.

One of the artists, Bruce Kingsbury, discussed the importance of this event, and displayed his piece Modest Femme.

Kingsbury is currently a professor in the biology department, and previously served in other roles such as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and chair of biology.

However, he spends his free time creating unique artwork, like the one pictured here.

“It is a form of validation, that people appreciate what I do,” Kingsbury said. “I think they did a very good job and gave my piece some life.”

Kingsbury described this event as a great way to get to discuss his art with others as well as a great opportunity to bring people together and create interactions that benefit students and staff.

This event also benefits Kingsbury in another way. He said he experiences feelings of believing he should not share his art due to “imposter syndrome”. However, this event gives him an opportunity to experience people enjoying his artwork.

He also believes it has great impacts for students.

“I think it’s great for students to pursue their dreams, and this is a way that the college can help do that, and a way that I can help do that,” Kingsbury said after discussing how the proceeds from this event go to scholarships for PFW students.

These scholarships help current, or future, students pursue their passion for art. Just in the 2020-21 academic year, $91,213 were awarded from the Department of Arts and Design scholarships. 

Lauryn Wulliman, a communications student at PFW, was also in attendance at the opening of the exhibition.

“They get to put their artwork out there and to show the world, especially students…something that they have put their heart and soul into,” she said.

Wulliman believes that it is essential for students to see and experience art in a way they may not usually do. She thinks this is beneficial in general, but specifically to non-art majors.

Wulliman also said that this event was very enjoyable, and she plans on attending next year. She also hopes that more students will take the time to come look at the artwork and meet the artists next year.

The exhibition was open from Feb. 1 to Feb. 25. Since the exhibit is now over, the artwork is no longer up for sale and the remaining artwork has been returned to their artists.

 However, Decker reported that 16 pieces were sold from the “Creatives” exhibition. This totaled out to $1,199.04 put toward the Art & Design Student scholarship fund.

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