Senior Show in Graphic Design

Congratulations to our Graphic Design Seniors! You’ve made it! For the past year, seniors have been developing and defending a fully-fledged design project that aims to incorporate their professional aspirations with their personal style and vision for the design. This past week has wrapped all that up and is now on display for all to see how hard our seniors have been at work to really show off how much they have learned during their time here. In total, fifteen seniors are in the Senior Showin Graphic Design:

Melanie Appel
Jessica Bourn
Stefani Cayten
Rebecca Corey
Gracie Fletcher
Christopher A. Franklin
Hannah Heneghan
Case Johnson
Cody Montefusco
Philip Mosely
Harley Perdue
Alyshia Rodgers
Amanda Seymour
Michael Tucker
Kari Zendejas

Earlier this week, the Opening Reception was hosted in the Gallery of Art + Design and students were awarded for their perseverance in the program with personalized dog tags. Harley Perdue was also presented with the annual Outstanding Student in Graphic Design Award because of her exceptional work that she has produced throughout her time here in the graphic design program. The event was well attended by friends and family in support of our graduating seniors.


The show will close next week on Tuesday, April 24th, so make sure to come by to see the awesome work our seniors have put together! Also keep an eye out for the announcement of the following senior show for the Sculpture and Painting and Drawing majors, so stay tuned on our social media!

DSVC National Student Show and Conference 14

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This past weekend, 24 Graphic Design students from the Creative Collective, our student design organization, traveled to Dallas to attend DSVC’s National Student Show (NSSC) and Conference in Dallas, Texas. Our students worked hard fundraising and organizing for the event and preparing work for submission into the juried exhibition. The DSVC NSSC, is the largest of its kind and truly a once in a lifetime experience for students. To quote Asst. Professor Cotton:


 “Having personally sat in on numerous breakout sessions through the years and I have been personally inspired by such greats as Wayne Geyer, and Jeff Barfoot. The conference has always done an amazing job of showing students and professors alike what is happening in the design world, whether with the studio tours exposing many students to the inside of a design environment for the first time or the keynote speakers laying down earth shattering design wisdom.

In my experience this conference does those things second to none, but as a student it did something more for me. Every year in the spring semester I begin to gear up the excitement in my classrooms for this event, trying to galvanize my students behind a singular goal: Get To Dallas. This has been my goal since before I was teaching. As a student leader in the university design club it became our focus every year. It gave us a common goal, a reason to be around each other, to put up with each other. What was a mere classroom acquaintance at the beginning became a trusted friend. You began to grow together as designers, sharing your skills, resources, and alcohol. Before long instead of a design club we had a community of late night owls and x-acto swordsmen whose strive for perfectionism and caffeine could not be rivaled. This community still binds many of us together to this day.”


Our students left Wednesday morning in order to partake in the studio tours which were on the first day of activities on Thursday. The studio tours allowed students to directly interact with active professionals in their field and gain a better understanding of their future work environment. The following two days were packed with keynote speakers who dropped great words of wisdom about many aspects of design and life as a creative. Between speakers, students were able to attend breakout sessions from Dallas area professionals and professionals from across the country that covered a wide range of topics such as handlettering and poster activism to freelancing and designing for a museum. The NSSC concluded with an awards gala and after-party which allowed students the opportunity to screen print their own posters in a fun and lively setting.

This year three talented students from our program were accepted into the exhibition marking the first time in program history that our students have been represented in this prestigious national show which had close to 2000 entries from across the country.

Asst. Professor Jacob C. Cotton also served this year on a panel of blind jurors made of nationally recognized educators from around the country to select session speakers for the education forum which covered two days of topics on how to better design education. The forum saw professors and psychologist from 5 different states present their research on topics ranging from sports psychology to community building and more.   

For more information about the conference please visit:


Stay updated on what the Art + Design students are up to by following SMAD and Creative Collective on social media!






2018 Annual Student Show


Congratulations to the 2018 Annual Student Show winners! Over the past couple weeks, the Department of Art + Design held its annual competition for students’ art, showcasing works selected from a larger group of submitted work. Students had the opportunity to submit up to five pieces of artwork that was done for any class offered through our department.

Last night, the Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony was hosted in the Gallery of Art + Design and students were awarded for their artistic efforts with monetary prizes. This event was well attended and the student artists were surrounded by supportive family and friends as awards were given for individual categories in Painting and Drawing, 3-D works, and Graphic Design. The exhibition will continue until April 6th. Keep up with the Department events by following us on social media!



Tad Carpenter Lecture

Last night we had the honor to host one of the most accomplished designers of our time, Tad Carpenter! All the thanks go to the USM Art+ Design department and USM’s RISE Creative student design agency. This unique event began with a tour of the Art + Design department building, allowing the students to interact with Mr. Carpenter before the actual event even began. Tad was able to sit in on design classes, listen to student presentations on current work, and also look at student portfolios. The evening lecture began with another opportunity to speak with Tad, especially for the visitors from LSU and MSU. Tad Carpenter was very open to talking to everyone individually and gave design students a memorable and positive experience to interact with a professional in the design industry. The lecture itself was a perfect insight into the professional world, his journey to get where he is today, and how he keeps his designs fresh (hint, its a constant practice). Tad Carpenter followed up the lecture with a workshop the next morning exclusively for the Rise students who worked hard to bring him here to USM.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and also thank you to all the people who came out last night, especially those who traveled from other schools! Keep up with us on social media and check the website’s calendar to stay updated on future events like these!


Visiting Artist Stacey Rathert

USM Art + Design has had the honor of hosting a three day art experience this week with the visiting artist, Stacey Rathert, all thanks to The Artist Guild for sponsoring this event! Stacey Rathert is a sculptor and an adjunct professor for sculpture at the University of Mississippi. The first and third day of this event consisted of demonstrations on her process for sand mold making for metal casting. A specialty of hers is a multi-part mold of a three piece teacup set used as a test in foundries to determine skill. Stacey also went over techniques for the students to use in future projects.

The second day was split into critiques on student’s work and also an evening lecture. For the critiques, Stacey spoke to each sculpture student individually to discuss possible improvements on their work and gave them advice based on her own experiences and tips and tricks she has learned from other artists. During the lecture, Stacey Rathert gave the audience a personal background to explain her inspiration, discussed how she improved over time, and also talked about how she balances her teaching position with her personal projects. This was a fantastic experience for all those who had the opportunity to attend, so make sure to keep an eye out for future events like this by following USM Art + Design on social media or checking the calendar!


Lee Renninger Ceramics Workshop & Demonstration and Gallery Talk


On Wednesday, January 31, we were honored by the return of Lee Renninger to lead a ceramics workshop and demonstration, and later on in the day, revisit her ceramic installations in the Gallery of Art + Design to give a gallery talk and speak about each of the works individually. 

The event started in the morning with Renninger speaking on her artistic development and how her style of creation tended to be process based. She was enthusiastic in answering all questions, and encouraged the students present to strive to be open-minded and authentic with their work and ideas. Renninger gave insight to how she always pushed for success in getting exposure for her work, but accepted that she has to work other jobs for income. 

She also introduced a sneak-peak into her work in progress, revolving around the phrase “let them eat cake,” which Renninger feels that the public has been told by the government in relation to recent policies, and pulled out tiny, delicate, multicolored porcelain leaves, some of which she was already experimenting with how she would tie them together. This new body of art seems to be at its start, but is certainly something to keep an eye on in the future! The remaining time of the workshop, Renninger spent time individually with current students and those who had brought ceramic work in to discuss processes and troubleshooting.

Thank you to all who came and participated in the workshop, and a huge thanks to Lee Renninger for spending time in the studio with us and her wonderful advice! Follow SMAD on social media (@usmartdesign) for future updates and announcements for future events like these!

BOTANICA by Lee Renninger Opening Night

On Wednesday, January 24th, the USM Gallery of Art + Design opened its inaugural event of the year with a solo exhibition of Lee Renninger’s Botanica. Professor Stacy Reischman Fletcher opened the showing and introduced Lee Renninger. The Ben and Nan Stevens Fund was recognized and their representatives were 
awarded with framed prints of the event’s poster for their generous donation that made the Botanica gallery showing possible. The exhibition opening was well attended and showcased free-flowing installation art made up of complex sculptural ceramics. Thank you for all who came out and attended Lee Renninger’s gallery showing! Botanica will remain in the Gallery until February 16th.

Graphic Design Field Trips

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This week was a big week for our students filled with opportunities to see and experience design beyond the Hattiesburg campus. On Wednesday Nov. 15th close to 40 students and 3 of our design faculty traveled to LSU in Baton Rouge to view 2 great exhibitions on typography and to hear a lecture by one of the preeminent typographers of our time, Matthew Carter. The lecture, a presentation on the typographer Bruce Rogers and his typeface “centaur” covered many of the issues talked about in our required typography course. 

The very next day, students from Professor John Mark Lawler’s Print Production course traveled to Bourne Brothers Printing to tour their facilities, experience the offset printing process and to see a student designed poster series be produced. Pictured below are students from the course on tour and Gabbi Graham the student designer of the poster series. 

New Train Kiln and Wood Firing

Congrats are in order for Professor Allen Chen and our amazing students for a successful wood firing in our new student built train kiln. The train kiln build was a part of an advanced ceramics course taught this summer by Professor Chen. The wood firing of the kiln, which took place during fall break in October, was a great experience for students and faculty alike and resulted in exceptional work. 

2017 National Juried Painting Exhibition Awards’ Night

On Friday, September 22nd, the Gallery of Art + Design hosted their awards ceremony for the National Juried Painting Exhibition. The night began with a lecture by Peter van Dyke, who was also the juror of the show. During his Lecture Peter van Dyke showed slides of his painting process, which was enlightening to the students and community alike. The reception was lovely with many people who came out to look at and celebrate some of the best painted work in the nation! Thank you to everyone that came out!

The award winners were:
3rd place: Neil Callander for Early Spring Window
2nd place: Michael Nichols for the group: Slur, Blear and Brume
1st place: Allan Anderson for Red Roof in New Brookland