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New exhibit in Wallace Hall features work by young alumni

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – A colorful new art exhibit is on display in the foyer and hallway of Monmouth College's Wallace Hall through the rest of the academic year.

“We focused more on younger alumni this year,” said art professor Stacy Lotz, noting that last year’s inaugural exhibit featured pieces from works from current and former faculty, alumni and students, as well as pieces from the College’s permanent collection. “We were also looking for vibrant colors since it is such a high-traffic area.”

Lotz credits First Lady Lobie Stone for leading the effort last year to showcase student and alumni artwork in Wallace Hall. The first show was displayed during the 2016-17 school year, also curated by Lotz and Stone.

“I am so thrilled with the way this year’s show has come together,” Stone said. “It is such a powerful statement about the talent of our art students, many of whom continue to create wonderful work after graduation. So many people – visitors as well as our campus community – have expressed their joy at seeing such wonderful artwork on display. It is always a great pleasure to work with Stacy Lotz, who is such an inspiring teacher and mentor.”

Lotz said that the interaction between young alumni also helped the new exhibit come to life.

“I enjoyed watching the alumni interact with our brand-new graduates,” Lotz said of the time the artists shared prior to the installation. “They got together and gave Lobie and me their input on which pieces would be best in which spots. There was a lot of good interaction.”

A work by Rubi Nogueron ’17 titled “Mujeres Divinas” (“Divine Women”) represents both the youth of the artists and the dynamic colors in their work.

“I wanted something that talked about my people from the perspective of a Mexican person,” said Nogueron, who grew up in Chicago and has family in Mexico. “So it came from me as a Mexican woman, and from my perspective of what Mexican culture is, with my own twist on it.”

Nogueron said that her colorful work draws on the tradition of Mexican folk art, and she said that she hopes it inspires other artists at Monmouth.

“I'm really proud that Monmouth chose that piece,” she said. “Monmouth College is so open for you to talk about your story. Being part of the art department was very freeing. They give the the freedoms to do the type of world you want. It's tough work, but in the end you get a great show.”

Another May graduate with a piece on display is history major Shoshana McClarence.

“We want to showcase all of our students who create art, whether they are art majors or not,” said Lotz.

McClarence said it’s an honor to be included in Wallace Hall’s second exhibit.

“It’s such an honor to have some of the culminating pieces from my senior capstone being exhibited with so many other alumni,” she said. “Each of us bringing together different styles and content, all connected through our transformative years at Monmouth.”

Other alumni featured in the exhibit are 2017 graduates Kallie DiTusa, Anita Herrera, Samantha Schmitz and Kendall Thompson, as well as Michelle Diederich ’15, Dan Carlson ’14, Dusty Scott ’03 and Eric Olson ’02.

Lotz and Stone said they also appreciate the key role that College carpenters Joe Schreck and Bo Scott played in bringing the show to life.

“They hang it all, and it is very time-consuming,” Lotz said. “That's one of the things I enjoy so much about Monmouth College. Projects like this take a lot of folks.”