Art Muse showcases WSU student talent


Morgan Reddekopp

Hailey Hellenbrand (left) explains to Kiri Sannerud how she created her sculpture at Art Muse on Wednesday, March 20 in Watkins Gallery. Hellenbrand’s piece was given a second place honorable mention out of the 31 pieces displayed. Over 100 pieces of art were submitted by students to be displayed in the gallery.

Hannah Hippensteel, Features Reporter

Art Muse, a juried student art exhibition, opened last week in Watkins Hall and will run until Friday, April 12.

According to Roger Boulay, Winona State University’s art collection and gallery coordinator, students submitted over 100 pieces to the exhibit. Thirty-one were chosen to be shown. The exhibition was an open call to students of all majors who currently make art or have made art.

“There isn’t a unifying theme to the exhibit, which allows for exploration into diverse forms of media,” Bouley said.

Boulay also talked about the submission process for student work.

“Every year, a juror who is an expert in the arts is hired to provide fresh eyes and limit potential bias,” Bouley said.

The juror spends time with the physical works students bring to Watkins Hall, then awards an honorable mention, third, second and first place to student works. All students who receive awards are given a small stipend toward their tuition.

This year’s juror was Lee Gundersheimer, the arts and culture coordinator for the city of Winona. Gundersheimer talked about what it meant to be selected as this year’s exhibition juror.

Gundersheimer said he was “excited, humbled, and honored” to oversee the works. He felt a sense of ownership to the pieces and would not mind the opportunity to borrow or even own the pieces for his own collection.

Art has interested Gundersheimer from an age younger than the students involved in the exhibition, which allowed him to appreciate different mediums and techniques.

“I feel very connected to the creative process. As human beings, we have a primal urge to create, to make sense of, to matter and to connect with others to get that feeling of ‘Yes, I’m understood’ and ‘Yes, I admire this,’” Gundersheimer said.

Gundersheimer expressed his excitement that the exhibit was open to all.

“This competition serves as a window for all involved to be brave and show off their work,” Gundersheimer said.

Kiri Sannerud, a sophomore at Winona State, received an honorable mention for her piece called “Triptych,” which she created in advanced drawing last semester.

Sannerud said the piece was inspired by Byzantine iconography, especially with the use of the gold backgrounds.

Her inspiration behind the piece was the “separation of body and self in the ways that everybody’s body belongs to themselves, especially in regard to sexuality.”

That idea was present with the repetition of flowers throughout her pieces to show the divide between masculinity and femininity.

Sannerud said although the person in the piece was supposed to be herself, she took inspiration from drawings of the hands from Renaissance Era art. She liked the idea that they are poised and beautiful, yet also impractical.

Skylyn Vaith, Winona State junior, received third place for her piece “Regret,” which is an open-faced-book with the word “regret” spelled out in the pages. Vaith said choosing any other word would have made it less memorable and got the idea for the piece while taking a free art class during high school.

Second place exhibitor, sophomore Hailey Hellenbrand talked about her piece, “Trees Are Our Lungs,” which she came up with in her Introduction to ceramics class last year.

Hellenbrand said the assignment was to confront an issue in the world, and she had chosen deforestation. 

“If trees are gone,” Hellenbrand said, “So are we.”

Maria Anholzer received first place for her piece “Lost,” which was full of acrylic paint, charcoal and vibrant uses of color and texture. Anholzer said “Lost” was based off an image of a friend, but she was inspired to incorporate the textures and color to be representative of emotions she felt throughout “crazy life events” in January.

Anholzer’s other pieces, “Lucas” and “Innocence in Youth,” are both in the exhibit and showcase aspects of her family life.

Boulay said for those who participated, it can be a risk to submit work. The exhibit is meant to be experience for the real world, in both rejection and acceptance.

As for those who visit the exhibit, Boulay said he hopes people see the rich, creative community Winona has and take time to appreciate unconventional arts and the people who create them.