SAU Hosts Alumni Graphic Design Exhibition

By Emily Spencer
Ganton Art Gallery is hosting Spring Arbor University’s (SAU) first Alumni Graphic Design Show.

Ganton Art Gallery is hosting Spring Arbor University’s (SAU) first Alumni Graphic Design Show. Though Spring Arbor has held alumni shows before this is the first centered on graphic design. The show is up from Sept. 18 to Oct. 9.

In order to organize the alumni show, Associate Professor of Art, Brian Shaw had to contact the alumni and send out a call for entries. The art faculty then set up the show using the pieces sent in by the alumni.

Spring Arbor alumni, Kari Shimmel, class of 2003, spoke for the opening of the show. Shimmel worked for Daniel Brian Advertising in Rochester, Mich. for 11 years before going to work for another advertising agency, Campbell Ewald. Shimmel is now the chief marketing officer at Campbell Ewald where she oversees new business development. Along with a team of coworkers, she works to come up with a vision for the brand and pitch their ideas to the company. She has worked with many large brands, most recently, Travelocity and Harley-Davidson. Shimmel also oversees external as well as internal communications. This includes working on Campbell Ewald’s website, stationary and communicating the values of the company.

At the end of her talk, Shimmel gives four pieces of advice to the students. Her first advice was always try harder, stressing the importance of going above and beyond the work assigned. Secondly, said every class counts. General education classes Shimmel never thought she would need have proved to be essential to her job. Her third piece of advice was to impact culture. Her job in advertising gives Shimmel a great opportunity to make a difference in the culture around her. Finally, she said to be faithful. Throughout the course of her work, Shimmel has had to request not to work on certain projects because they did not coincide with her beliefs.

Shimmel is not the only alumni whose art pieces have made their way into the gallery. The other alumni participating in the show are, Lauren Nadrowski, class of 2011, Josh Smiertka, class of 2014, Beau Ulrey, class of 2013, Derrick Robbins, class of 2010, Emily Reed, class of 2011, Jake Fletcher, class of 2015, Kaitlin Lutz, class of 2015, Kevin Sharp, class of 2015, Kwade Joslin, 2013, Mackenzie Varnagatas, class of 2015, and Mark Adkins, class of 2013.

Shaw, class of 1990, also has a few pieces in the show. As an alumni of SAU, Shaw felt that it was important that he participate in the show.

“I felt like I should be represented,” Shaw said “I wanted to join my colleagues in showing work.”

Shaw said of his students, “I’m only going to feel successful if you’re successful.” Shaw feels it is important to showcase alumni as artists who have succeeded in SAU’s art program.

“I’m so proud of what they’re accomplishing out there,” Shaw said. This sense of pride and joy, Shaw said, is one of the main reasons that alumni shows are so important.

According to Lecturer of Art, Brianne Witt, another reason for holding alumni shows is it gives current students the opportunity to see what they could accomplish once they graduate from SAU.

“It’s great information for the students to just see the different ways they can take their skills that they’re learning within the art department,” Witt said. According to Witt, seeing the work of SAU alumni can provide direction for current students.

She said, “It’s good for them to see the different ways they can reach their ultimate goal.”

The show will run in the Ganton Art Gallery until Oct. 9 and a second reception was held on Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m.