Art and Design
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Art installation in Art and Design lobby

Art and Design

The Department of Art + Design's vision is to provide a creative environment that enables students to ask questions, think critically, and take risks as they gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary for a meaningful, productive life and work as critical makers in a global society.

Art + Design News and Events

Form Follows Failure: Experimental Clay Exhibition April 23 - 26

experimental clay

The Spring Experimental Clay class led by Professor Virginia Griswold will be exhibiting their work in a show titled Form Follows Failure in the Magenta Pod on the second floor of the Art + Design building April 23 - 26. 













BFA Thesis Exhibitions: Did It Really Happen? by Kaya Gasperich and We're Both Forever by Rachel Prince

Gasperick Prince BFA exhibition posters

APSU Department of Art + Design presents the senior BFA Thesis Exhibitions, Did It Really Happen? by Kaya Gasperich and We're Both Forever by Rachel Prince. The exhibitions will be held in the Barbara Beach Gallery, room 201, in the Art + Design Building. There will be an opening reception April 23rd from 5-7pm. The artists will give short talks about their work beginning at 5:30pm. The show will continue through Friday April 27th.

Austin Peay’s graduating fine arts senior Kaya Gasperich will present her Senior Thesis exhibition; Did It Really Happen? in the Beach Gallery. Her gallery will be filled with large scale black and white images. Kaya Gasperich says about her exhibition, “My work explores the huge gray area on consent and the effects and repercussion of being sexually assaulted.This work also tackles the bias against those that have been sexually assaulted. It incorporates not only imagery but also audio content so the viewer has an immersive experience to my work. An experience that will hopefully leave them asking questions about the ambiguity of some of the images and some of the straightforwardness of the other ones.”

Graduating senior Rachel Prince will present her senior exhibition We're Both Forever. Through automatic writings and paintings, Rachel chronicles the emotional isolation she encountered as she maneuvered through a long distance relationship. Rachel says of her work, "We're Both Forever is a letter to myself. The work forces me to remove myself from the isolating anxiety I put myself through and view it as if I am an onlooker. Thus, forcing myself to realize all of this turmoil is only alive in my mind." 

The exhibitions are free and open to the public.


Dr. Smithers Publishes Essay on How Michelangelo "Broke Bad”

 David by MichelangeloDr. Tamara Smithers recently published an essay entitled “Michelangelo: Going against the Grain” in an edited volume called Breaking with Convention in Italian Art. Few artists before his time ignored convention as much as Michelangelo did, especially in regard to established social norms, working practices, and artistic style. When dealing with colleagues and patrons, his no-nonsense, larger-than-life personality cast a large shadow. Whether requesting double pay or refusing pay in order to maintain full creative control, Michelangelo practiced art his way. For the most part, he refused to work with apprentices; the attempts to teach a singular student how to draw were so comical that the two could only laugh at how bad the drawings were. In his pursuit of artistic freedom, Michelangelo rejected the traditional bottega system (by claiming not to run a typical workshop) and eschewed guild membership. Moreover, his individualism reveals itself in his personal style, especially his carving technique. His tendency to refine parts of his sculptures while leaving others rough suited his multi-faceted persona, as he claimed to be both rozzo and aristocratic. As explored briefly in this study, Michelangelo went against the grain in more ways than one.


BFA Thesis Exhibition John Edmondson: The Word That Matters Opens April 16th

 John Edmonson Poster

On April 16th from 5-8pm Austin Peay graduating senior John Reid Edmondson Jr will present his Senior Thesis exhibition; The Word That Matters in the Barbara Beach Student Gallery. Located on the second floor of the new Art + Design Building, the exhibition will contain recent works of a Biblical nature. John will also have an outdoor public sculpture installed in front of the Art + Design Building entitled Genesis 8:21 and 22. This piece consists of a simulated rainstorm inspired by both Hurricane Harvey, as well as, the biblical story of The Flood.

There will be an opening reception April 16th from 5-7pm. The artist will give short talks about their work beginning at 5:30pm. The show will continue through April 20th. The exhibition is free and open to the public.



50th Annual Student Exhibition opens at The New Gallery
student show

The Department of Art + Design celebrates the end of the 2017-18 academic year with the 50th Annual Juried Student Exhibition. The professionally juried exhibition opens in The New Gallery on April 2 and runs through April 25. Join us in recognizing the achievements of our students during the reception + awards night on Wednesday, April 25 from 5-7 p.m.  Beginning at 5:30 p.m., we will announce the award winners for the juried student exhibition, CECA Purchase Award winners and Summer Research Award recipients. The closing event will be held in The New Gallery, and all are invited to attend. This event is free and open to the public.

According to this year’s juror, Yvette Cummings, “I consider it an honor and privilege to have been asked to select work for this year’s 50th Annual Student Juried Art Exhibition. The difficult but enjoyable task of selection that falls to any juror was amplified by both the high quality and large number of the pieces submitted. This year’s exhibition saw 306 submissions with 47 of those selected. Those works selected represent, to a certain extent, the biases of the juror. As an educator and artist myself, I am faced with the challenges of evaluating artwork from a broad spectrum of artists. I use my curatorial experience to select the best examples of artworks submitted. Those exceptional objects that demonstrate sincerity, ambition, and uniqueness were singled out for special recognition.”


BFA Thesis Exhibitions: Misconception by Joshua Jenkins and Corporis by Blaine Gundersen

Joshua Jenkins and Blaine Gundersen

APSU Department of Art + Design presents the senior BFA Thesis Exhibitions, Misconception by Joshua Jenkins and Corporis by Blaine Gundersen. The exhibitions will be held in the Barbara Beach Gallery, room 201, in the Art + Design Building. There will be an opening reception April 2nd from 5-7pm. The artists will give short talks about their work beginning at 5:30pm. The show will continue through April 6th.

This week graduating senior Joshua Jenkins will present his senior exhibition of oil paintings. Josh Jenkins says of his work, “I believe that the writings in all forms of scripture and religions hold true and are a great starting point for a person's understanding of how they should attempt to live, but in these paintings I aim to showcase some grey areas where I hold reservations or might just think are obsolete to a world we live in. I want the viewer to leave this room seeing my point of view whether they agree with it or not.”

Austin Peay graduating senior Claudia Blaine Gundersen will present her Senior Thesis Exhibition & Undergraduate Research; Corporis at APSU’s Beach Gallery. The exhibition will be filled with anatomical organs of the human body shown through the techniques of papercutting. The artist wants to show to the viewer that the actions that we take on our bodies now will have negative long-term effects. The primary examples include drinking excessively, abuse of drugs, and smoking. These specific actions target organs such as the liver, heart, and lungs. Gundersen displays her body of work as grotesquely beautiful within our own bodies.

Both exhibitions are free and open to the public.


Dr. Smithers invited to speak at the University of Rochester

 Michaelangelo at S. CroceAs one of four scholars invited to participate in the annual Ferrari Humanities Symposium held March 26-28, 2018 at the University of Rochester in New York, Dr. Tamara Smithers will present her new research.

This year’s symposium theme is Michelangelo. Her talk is entitled “Michelangelo’s Artistic Sainthood,”  which discusses the cult following of Michelangelo known as “il Divino,” the Divine One, in Florence.





BFA Thesis Exhibitions: Phylum Mechanica: The Works of Alak Gene by Josh Coggins and Re-collecting by Abigail Damer

Josh Coggins and Abigail Damer 

APSU Department of Art + Design presents the senior BFA Thesis Exhibitions, Phylum Mechanica: The works of Alak Gene by Josh Coggins and Re-collecting by Abigail Damer. The exhibitions will open Monday, March 26th with a reception from 5-7pm. The artists will give short talks about their work beginning at 5:30pm. The show will continue through March 30th.

Josh Coggins presents Phylum Mechanica: The works of Alak Gene. Exhibition features the research and creations of renowned mycologist, Alak Gene. Known for his secrecy and advanced techniques, most of Gene’s work was lost or is still being discovered. The creations he made would pave the way for advancements in the field of mycology as well as advanced technology. The mechanized organism he created employed technology and skills well ahead of his time. His source of materials and techniques are still unknown as well as the fate of Gene himself. Viewers are urged to immerse themselves within the experience. To explore and investigate the work space of Gene. Perhaps finding clues to solve the missing information surrounding such an interesting character.

Austin Peay graduating senior Abigail Damer will present her Senior Thesis exhibition; Re-collecting. Loss and remembrance are strong themes imbedded in the installation. The loss of loved ones, memories, and emotions are reclaimed through the work as the artist shares the intimate spaces and objects found in her grandmother’s home that remind her of departed family members.


Professor Cynthia Marsh to Lead Letterpress Workshop in Australia

Cyndy Marsh

Professor Cindy Marsh will lead a one day workshop on April 7th titled, "BIG, BOLD and in your FACE: Using letterpress text in posters." The workshop will explore the potential of working with large scale wooden type from the F.T Wimble collection to create posters with a message and impact. This workshop is presented as part of the Wimble’s Wayzgoose 2018 Program at the New England Regional Art Museum in Armindale, New South Wales, Australia. 

For more information on the event, visit the website here.



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

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.