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Art + Design News and Events


Department of Art + Design's Gallery Director, Michael Dickins, opens new installation at the Browsing Room Gallery in Nashville

by Michael Dickins

Michael Dickins’ newest sound installation, Wailing Wall, opens on Saturday, October 6, as part of Nashville’s first Saturday Art Crawl, and runs through November 24, 2017. Wailing Wall is a 24-channel audio installation originally designed for The Browsing Room Gallery, located in the bottom of the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

When thinking about the presumed reasoning behind both the proposed physical border wall across the Southwestern U.S., and the metaphorical border wall of heavy restrictions on Middle Eastern refugees; Dickins began to empathize with the tens of thousands of people risking their lives for the safety and betterment of their families and children. As a father of two children, he is empathetic, but often question the level of his empathy.
Wailing Wall is an idea where faceless voices cry out from a slick, manufactured wall. It is an idea that asks the viewer to slow down, sit and listen. It is an idea that questions empathy and apathy. It is an idea of self-reflection.

 Michael Dickins is an interdisciplinary artist whose work takes the form of drawing, printmaking, sound and installations that are layered, textured and derived from appropriated imagery and audio from various social media platforms. For the past several years, his work has been focused on social and political commentary.

 Dickins earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and a BFA from Georgia Southern University. His work has been exhibited throughout the Southeastern U.S. as well as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Denver, Houston, San Diego, Portland, Oregon; Augusta, Maine, Istanbul and Berlin. He has twice been a featured artist at {Re}Happening at Black Mountain College, and has received commissions from the Pittsburgh Playhouse and the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company for original sound score and projection design. Dickins currently lives and works in Clarksville, Tennessee and is the Director of Galleries at Austin Peay State University.

 To see more of Dickins’ work, visit: michaeldickins.com


Professor Patrick Gosnell reviews TypeCon 2017 for Slanted

TypeCon in Slanted

TypeCon is an annual conference presented by the non-profit Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA), an international organization dedicated to the promotion, study, and support of typography and related arts.

Since the inaugural conference in 1998, TypeCon has explored type for the screen, printing history, Dutch design, type in motion, Arabic calligraphy, the American Arts and Crafts movement, experimental typography, webfonts, and much more. Special events include the Type & Design Education Forum, and an exhibition of international type and design.

Read the article here.


The Department of Art + Design and CECA annouce Andrew Scott Ross as the 2017-18 recipient of the Tennessee Artist Fellowship

Andrew Scott RossThe Austin Peay State University Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts (CECA, or “seek-ah”) is pleased to announce that Andrew Scott Ross, of Johnson City, is the 2017-18 recipient of the Tennessee Artist Fellowship.

The CECA Tennessee Artist Fellowship was created to celebrate contemporary art and to support the continued creative work of exceptional Tennessee artists. Unlike other fellowships, nominations and applications from artists are not solicited. A committee of APSU faculty compiles a list of outstanding artists from across the state from which the fellowship recipient is selected. Through support from CECA, the selected artist receives $5,000 to aid in the creation of new artwork and $2,000 for an artist lecture at a future date.

“Since APSU is the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts for the entire state of Tennessee, we wanted to find a way to support artists state-wide,” Barry Jones, chair of the APSU Department of Art and Design, said. “There is an incredible amount of amazing artists here, but unfortunately there isn’t much financial support for them. We hope that this fellowship helps a Tennessee artist maintain their practice and to know that we support what they are doing.”

Ross received his BFA from the Atlanta College of Art and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He subsequently studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and is currently an associate professor in drawing at East Tennessee State University. 

“We were highly impressed with Ross’ work,” a member of the selection committee said. “His gritty, yet refined, work is conceptually layered and rich with texture, and his drawings transcend the two-dimensional surface we associate with drawing media. His manipulation of the drawing surface into large-scale installations, along with his dedication in constructing a personal visual language, is what made him the top choice for this year’s fellowship. We’re excited that contemporary drawing is alive and well in Tennessee.”

Ross has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad, including The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta, The Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, The Knoxville Museum of Art and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

His work has been reviewed in publications such as Art in America, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Sculpture Magazine and the Village Voice. Recently, his work was included in the 2017 Atlanta Biennial (ATLBNL) at the Atlanta Contemporary, and the curated section of the Art on Paper exhibit at the Weatherspoon Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Past recipients of the CECA Tennessee Artist Fellowship include Alicia Henry, Nashville, and Maysey Craddock, Memphis. For information on the CECA Tennessee Artist Fellowship, contact Janice Crews, director of CECA, at crewsj@apsu.edu. To stay informed of upcoming CECA events, including Ross’ upcoming artist talk, please visit www.apsu.edu/ceca or follow it on social media.



Dr. Tamara Smithers presents conference paper in Rome Italy

Bregno's TombDr. Tamara Smithers travels to Rome, Italy October 5-7, 2017 to present research at the Early Modern Rome 3 conference, an interdisciplinary conference focusing on Rome from 1341 to 1667. Her paper "Competition, Camaraderie, and Communal Burial: Artist Memorials in Early Modern Rome” considers the development of the multi-faceted purposes of tombs in Rome for artists such as Fra Angelico, Andrea Bregno, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Raphael, Taddeo Zuccaro, Annibale Carracci, Pietro da Cortona, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Carlo Maratta: to celebrate the individual, express local pride, promote the visual arts, and establish corporate camaraderie. She will give her paper on the last day of the conference, which is held in the historic Castello Orsini-Odescalchi in Bracciano. conference.eapitaly.it/



Professor Paul Collins featured in the article "A Painter's Refusal" by Matt Christy in Number: 91

Professor Paul Collins in Number Magazine


Download a copy of Number: Ninety One Here 


The New Gallery Presents How Far We Haven't Come by Michi Meko from October 2 - 22, 2017

Michi Meko: How Far We Haven't Come

The New Gallery, with support from The Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and the Department of Art + Design, is pleased to present Michi Meko: How Far We Haven’t Come, to continue an exciting 2017-18 exhibition season.

At The New Gallery at Austin Peay State University, I am still thinking about space, but am shifting gears with the second exhibition of the season: Michi Meko: How Far We Haven’t Come. Unlike the Jamey Grimes exhibition, this work is not a celebration of space, but an investigation of space by asking, “How do you exist in public space when public space is a threat?”

According to Dr. Anthony Morris, Associate Professor of Art History for Austin Peay State Unviversity, “Michi’s work is an attempt to find a place for himself as a black man in 21st century American culture. He often uses the iconography of water, exploration, mapping, and found objects in his work to express a loss of trust, safety, and independence in a world that perceives him as a threat, a criminal, and identifies him first by his race and not his humanity.”

The exhibit opens October 2 at The New Gallery, located in the Art + Design building on the campus of Austin Peay State University, and runs through October 27. There will be a reception on October 5 beginning at noon, and a gallery talk with Michi beginning at 12:30pm. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., Michi will project select films and video onto the exterior of The New Gallery as part of Clarksville’s First Thursday Art Crawl. All are welcome.

Michi Meko lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has exhibited extensively throughout the Southeastern United States. For more on Michi and his work, visit: michimeko.com.

Hours for The New Gallery are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed on weekends and holidays, and follows the university’s academic calendar. For more information on this exhibition, which is free and open to the public, contact Michael Dickins, Director of Galleries, at dickinsm@apsu.edu.


Terminal presents Undone by Deanna Erdmann, September 25 - October 20, 2017

Terminal: Deanna Erdmann Undone

See more of Deanna Erdmann's work here 



Professor Billy Renkl is the 2017 Recipient of the Richard M. Hawkins Award

Professor Billy Renkl

The Richard M. Hawkins Award is Austin Peay State University's highest faculty award for scholarship or creative activity. 










Previous News + Events 


Where have APSU Art + Design alumni gone?
Lorilee Rager
Meet Lorilee Rager

Lorilee Rager is founder of and Chief Creative Problem Solver at Thrive Creative Group, LLC. Her passion for design began at a young age. As a farmer’s daughter raised in Allensville, KY, Lorilee found a creative outlet in drawing and photography. Eventually, she would grow up to attend Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN where she would earn her BFA in Graphic Design.

Robb Fladry
Meet Robb Fladry

Robb currently serves as the Dean of Students at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Robb is an established designer, artist and filmmaker, working professionally for over 15 years. Robb has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, including the First Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, the BEA Festival for Media Arts in Las Vegas and the Electronic Language International Festivals in Rio de Janeiro (2009) and Sau Paulo (2008).

Alexander Wurts
Meet Alexander Wurts

Alexander Wurts is a digital and interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Eugene, OR. He graduated from Austin Peay State University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Program in 2014. After graduating, he went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts from University of Oregon. He is a currently a Co-Director at artist-run installation space Ditch Projects in Springfield, Oregon. His work can be viewed online at http://alexanderwurts.com/

Young Kim
MeetYoung Kim

Young Kim received a BFA from APSU and a MFA from the Univeristy of Kentucky. He is currently Associate Professor of Photography at Elon University.

Chris Downes
Meet Chris Downes

Christopher Downes graduated with a BFA from Austin Peay in 1996 and later received a Masters Degree in Fine Art & Design from the Tasmanian School of Art in 2002. He currently works as an editorial cartoonist for The Mercury Newspaper in Hobart, Tasmania as well as regularly contributing illustrations for Crinkling News, an Australian newspaper for children. In 2015, he was awarded the Stanley Award for best editorial/political cartoonist by the Australian Cartoonists Association.