Barry McNamara  |   Published February 11, 2021

Artists Claim Four Awards

Monmouth students bring home majority of honors from Figge Art Museum show.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Two new artists were among a group of four Monmouth College students who brought home the lion’s share of awards from the opening reception of the Figge Art Museum’s College Invitational Art Exhibition.

Students in the exhibition at the Davenport, Iowa, gallery represented eight area colleges and universities, including Augustana, Black Hawk, Clinton Community College, Knox, Monmouth, Scott Community College, St. Ambrose and Western Illinois.

Art professors from each of the participating colleges selected works from their school to include in this year’s College Invitational.

Monmouth students received four of the seven awards presented at the reception, including the top first-place honor for freshman Grace Cornelius of Warrenville, Illinois. Another first-year student, Z Kendall of Rock Hall, Maryland, brought home one of two judge’s choice honors for Monmouth students, with the other received by 2020 graduate Amy Vellenga-Buban. Rebecca Quick ’21 of Moline, Illinois, received an honorable mention.

Cornelius’ winning work is a colorful photograph with a less cheerful message.

“Our art majors … are making art that captures complex facets of the human condition, and the juror really responded to the depth of these visual conversations.” Janis Wunderlich

“I wanted to capture the issue of the overwhelming impact plastic has in our society,” she said. “Even the youngest members of our world are affected by the plethora of plastic. I deliberately chose to create this installation outside, with sand as a base and a wooden fence as a background. This allowed for a contrast to the artificial nature of the plastic toys. I believe the most powerful part of this piece is the distressed facial expression on the three-year-old model.”

Monmouth art professor Janis Wunderlich said the winning work is just one example of Monmouth art students voicing “concerns.”

“I applaud our art majors who courageously use their art to voice concerns and concepts,” she said. “They are making art that captures complex facets of the human condition, and the juror really responded to the depth of these visual conversations. One of our art majors mentioned their gratitude for an art program that is both challenging and allows space for inserting individual passion. It is thrilling to work with such an engaging and creative artistic college community.”

“Being recognized at this exhibition is a testament to the abilities of our students and to our department as a whole.” Stacy Lotz

Stacy Lotz, one of Wunderlich’s department colleagues, said it’s an accomplishment for an artist to even be accepted for the exhibit, let alone receive an award.

“Being recognized at this exhibition is a testament to the abilities of our students and to our department as a whole,” she added. “I’m so proud of all of them.”

Lotz’s department colleague Brian Baugh cited the College’s “dramatic improvement” at the exhibition. He noted that the College Invitational is held every two years, and that Monmouth students had a combined two awards in the 2016 and 2018 exhibits, including one for Vellenga-Buban.

His wife, Stephanie Baugh, another member of the art department, said: “The Figge Invitational is a wonderful opportunity for students to have their work on display in a museum and to see their work alongside that of their peers from other institutions. But for Monmouth students to take home four of the seven awards, that’s fantastic and is a testament to the quality, thoughtfulness and creativity of what they do.”

Also representing Monmouth at the College Invitational are Ryan Dawson ’21 of Monmouth, Miranda Pasky ’21 of Paso Robles, California, and Mark Thigpen ’22 of Bellwood, Illinois.

The exhibit will be on display through June 6 in the Figge’s second-floor Katz Gallery.

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthscots.com/" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthcollege.edu/academics/only-at-monmouth/educational-garden-farm/" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Preparation</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthcollege.edu/offices/global-engagement/" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p><strong>Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Pi Beta Phi, the first such collegiate women’s organization, was founded at Monmouth in 1867. It was followed three years later by Kappa Kappa Gamma. The two pioneering organizations today boast a total of 275 active chapters nationwide.</strong></p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>