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.

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. 

New Student Organization of the Year

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On Wednesday April 26th at the Annual SOAR Awards sponsored by the Southern Miss Office of Leadership and Student Involvement, the Creative Collective, our newest organization in SMAD was awarded The New Student Organization of the Year Award. The Creative Collective is a group of designers whose goal is to provide a community for design students outside of the class, to provide opportunities for trips to see art and design, bringing lecturers to campus, arrange workshops, and perform community outreach. The organization is known for its social events such as laser tag and useful workshops on topics such as bookbinding and handlettering.  

This year the group was instrumental in helping bring students to the DSVC National Student Show and Conference in Dallas, as well as aiding students beyond the classroom with weekend workshops. If you’re a design student or prospective student interested in joining the Collective please email Asst. Professor Jacob Cotton for details. 

DSVC National Student Show and Conference


On March 29th, 21 design students and one faculty member from the Southern Miss Art + Design Department traveled to Dallas TX. to take part in the 13th Annual National Student Show and Conference hosted by the Dallas Society of Visual Communicators. The conference, the largest of its type for students, boasts keynote speakers who are design and advertising industry leaders along with studio tours, breakout sessions, portfolio reviews, a job fair, and an educator’s forum.

Students were lead to the conference by Asst. Professor Jacob C. Cotton. Cotton, is no stranger to the conference, he was awarded a gift set in the welcome ceremony for having been the one in attendance to have attended the most conferences to date, and was selected at the 11th Annual National Conference as Educator of the Year. This year Professor Cotton took on a more elevated role by being one of only three speakers in this years Educator’s Forum. His presentation entitled “Motivating Millennials: Sport of Design” was selected after a national call for abstracts and was well received by those in attendance.

Visiting Artist Series: Peter Christian Johnson

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February 6-8th SMAD welcomed visiting artist Peter Christian Johnson for a 3 day workshop which included lectures, demonstrations and workshops for students and visitors. The interactive projects included a team project in which students developed a large totem based on three words, synchronized wheel throwing, and a senior critique.

Congrats! Dr. Ventura

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A big Congratulations is in order for SMAD’s very own Dr. Cathy Ventura who was recognized as Staff Member of the Year by the University for her outstanding work. We are very proud and feel very privileged to have her in our department!