Senior Exhibition 2017

Congratulations to the SNC Art Class of 2017! Here is a peek at the work each of the graduating majors presented in the Senior Art Exhibition:

Maria Deau


Emily Olsen



Becky Ratajczyk



Katie Vogel



Alex Velicer



Kerry Galvin



Alison Cordry



Jill Kleiman



Abbie Hausman



Haley Kropp



Rose Gilderson-Duwe



Caimyn Lutze



SNC Day 2016

There was much to see, learn, and make in the Bush Art Center on SNC Day this past Saturday!   Here are a few highlights:

Volunteers Coneria Nansubua and Emma Hanson demonstrating the flower making project to visitors. 


Detail image of a wall piece by April Beiswenger

Visitors made flowers out of organic cotton and recycled t-shirt fabric.  The project was inspired by a piece in the  April Beiswenger: 1000 T-Shirt Project exhibit. 

Visitors waiting to tour the tiny house on display as part of the Shelter and Clothing exhibit. 



Rebecca Rutter, tiny house owner, designer and builder, gave tours of the house from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The house drew a lot of interest with steady waiting lines all day long. In case you missed it, there are three more days to tour the house!  Open house hours are Wednesday, noon- 2 p.m., Thursday, noon-2 p.m. and Friday, 11:00-1:00 p.m., through Friday, Sept. 23.

Garments by Alabama Chanin on exhibit in the Baer Gallery
Map piece by April Beiswenger on exhibit in the Godschalx Gallery

On display throughout the day were, among other artworks, gorgeous hand-sewn garments by Alabama Chanin in the Shelter and Clothing exhibit and a map piece illustrating where t-shirts are made in the 1000 T-Shirt Project exhibit.

SNC alum, Hannah Kestly and student, Maria Deau visiting with professor Ben Chan in the Boot Making Workshop
A full shop! 
Professor Ries and her son at the boot workshop. 

A lot of boot making fun happened in the critique studio. SNC students and alums helped visitors craft boot models and handed out screen prints. The project was designed by professor Katie Reis and student collaborator, Maria Deau.

Creating tiny house designs
Tiny house drawings

Kids stopped in the Baer Gallery to draw their own tiny house designs.

Other events throughout the day included Art and Design lectures presented by Art professor, Fr. Jim Neilson and Theatre professor, April Beiswenger.  Cheers to another great SNC Day!

Ten Simple Ways to Transition to a more Ethical and Sustainable Wardrobe


Last night, as part of Fashion This, we screened the film The True Cost . The film explores the environmental toll and human rights violations surrounding the fast fashion industry. Afterwards, a question was asked about ways to transition to a more ethical and eco-friendly wardrobe.  

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Buy used clothing.  There are many great resources for used clothing–yard sales, consignment shops, thrift stores, and online consignment and swap sites like ThredUp and Poshmark
  2. Buy quality garments that will last many years. Uncertain about how to assess quality?  Inspect your clothing items that have lasted many years.  Study the feel and drape of the fabric, inspect the seams and overall construction of the garments.  Compare this to a garment you recently purchased that quickly stretched or ripped.
  3. Care for your clothes.  Read care instructions on labels.  Put delicate items in mesh garment bags before tossing them in the wash.  Line dry clothes whenever possible.  Learn and use basic mending skills.  Store clothes with care.
  4. Shop like my grandmothers did.  They both had lovely wardrobes and chose clothes based on their personal styles rather than the latest trends.  They also purchased well-made clothes that would last many years.
  5. Host a clothing swap.
  6. Create a capsule wardrobe.  Check out Project 333 for inspiration.  A traditional capsule wardrobe is one that lasts for years, not just a season.  Build a capsule wardrobe slowly, with classic pieces that won’t go out of style.  If you crave new clothes each season try building a capsule wardrobe from thrifted clothes.
  7. Buy fair trade clothing and garments made from organic fabric.
  8. Clean out your closet regularly.  Knowing what you have and what you need can curb the urge to make impulse purchases.
  9. Support artists and small creative businesses that produce one of a kind garments.  Shop Etsy, art fairs and small, local businesses.
  10. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Make a few manageable, sustainable changes. Build on that over time.

Meantime, check out the remaining Fashion This exhibitions and events!

Explore a Tiny House


As part of the exhibition Shelter and Clothing, a tiny house will be on display on the lawn outside the Bush Art Center.  Open house hours are M, T, W, Th, 12-2 p.m. and F, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Aug. 29-Sept. 23.  The house will also be open for tours on Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free and open to the public.



Upcoming Exhibitions

Mark your calendars for these upcoming exhibitions in the Bush Art Center:

A tiny house built by Rebecca Rutter.

Shelter and Clothing:  Using Sustainable Design to Rethink How We Live Today
Baer Gallery, August 29 – Sept. 23
Open for SNC Day on Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

“And where she ends she doth anew begin.”
– the 1000 t-shirt project by April Beiswenger
Godschalx Gallery, August 29 – Sept. 23  
Artist’s Lecture: Fashion This! Sustainable Clothing and You, Sat., Sept. 17, 3-3:45


Location: Elmer and Tiny Collar homestead. House and outbuilding. 1965 Lane 10, between Roads 19 and 20. HMID#: 153 Title: 153C-19617 (painting and quilt) Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki

Kevin J. Miyazaki: Camp Home
Baer Gallery, October 3 – October 28
Reception, Thursday, October 13, 5-7 p.m.

A Potter Collects: The Collection of Reid Schoonover
Godschalx Gallery, October 3 – October 28
Reception, Thursday, October 13, 5-7 p.m.


Student work created in the SNC Ad Design class taught by Brian Pirman

2016-17 Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition
Baer Gallery, November 7 – December 9
Awards Reception, Thursday, Nov. 10

Graphic Design and Rock & Roll – the Art of the Music Poster
Godschalx Gallery, November 7 – December 9
Reception, Thursday, Nov. 10

Undergraduate Research in the Galleries

BringtheWarHomeTwo current exhibitions in the art galleries feature undergraduate research.  “Bring the War Home” is a class research project directed by Brandon Bauer, Assistant Professor of Art at St. Norbert College. He describes this project as follows:

For this project we restaged and re-photographed an archival image of a Vietnam War protest that took place on the St. Norbert College campus in 1969. The project was inspired by class discussions about conceptual strategies contemporary artists use, including narrative approaches, staged documentation, and ideas of the cinematic in contemporary photography.


More about the “Bring the War Home” project can be read in the latest edition of St. Norbert College Magazine.

The Permanent Collection Gallery features a curatorial research project by Rebecca Swanson.  She completed this project as part of her Research Fellowship in the Art Galleries. Rebecca chose two works from the St. Norbert Art Collection to research and analyze, an untitled work by Daniel Dickhut, founder of the St. Norbert College Art program and a painting by Juan Soriano, gifted to the collection by BMO Financial Group and Kohler Foundation, Inc.

Stop by the galleries the week of March 28-April 1 to check out these exhibits (the galleries are closed for Spring and Easter breaks this week). Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. during the academic year.


Installing “Debbie Kupinsky: Terrain”

Debbie Kupinsky installing the piece, “Terrain”
Installing “Keepsake”
Exhibit installation

The installation of the exhibition, Debbie Kupinsky: Terrain will soon be finished and ready to open on the first day of classes, Monday, January 25, 2016.  The exhibition runs through February 19 with a public reception on Thursday, Feb. 4, 5-7 p.m.

The artist writes about her work:

My work investigates the role of objects and images as carriers of meaning and explores the role of layered images in the construction of metaphorical landscapes. Ordinary objects like flowers, teacups, bottles, and toys are some of the subjects and images within my work that come together to create larger, open narrative. The relationships in the work between sculptural pieces and found objects are meant to leave space for the viewer and allow them to find themselves, their memories and associations. 

This is a beautiful, visually engaging exhibition, not to be missed! To see more of Debbie Kupinsky’s work visit

The Art Galleries at St. Norbert College to receive NEH Grant

Collection Storage Image
SNC art collection storage room

The Art Galleries at St. Norbert College will receive a Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions  from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The award is for $6000 to support the purchase of storage furniture and preservation supplies for the St. Norbert College Art Collection.  The project includes the purchase of shelving and storage equipment for sculpture, additional flat files for unframed works on paper and slotted storage for large paintings.  It also includes the purchase of environmental monitoring equipment to assist us in monitoring the UV light, visible light, temperature and relative humidity in the galleries, collection storage area and other spaces on campus where art from the collection is displayed.

This is the second Preservation Assistance Grant awarded to the Art Galleries.  The first was also a $6000 grant, awarded in 2013 in support of a Preservation Needs Assessment Survey of the Art Collection.  The survey was completed in 2014 by the Midwest Art Conservation Center.  The survey included a list of short, medium and long term recommendations which we used to develop a preservation plan.  The project currently being funded by the NEH was developed as part of this plan.

Other recent strides made in ensuring the preservation of the St. Norbert College Art Collection include the installation of a new climate control system in art collection storage facility, cataloging the collection using PastPerfect museum database software, and participating in a Museum Assessment Program Organizational Self-Study and Peer Review.

The permanent collection at St. Norbert College is comprised of approximately one thousand works of art.  Works in the collection range from 13th c. illuminated manuscript pages to contemporary paintings and prints.

We are grateful to the NEH for its support of the humanities and the preservation of our cultural heritage.


Designer Interview: Julia Muscarello

This is the final post in our October series of interviews with the six designers featured in the exhibition By Design, in the Baer Gallery of the Bush Art Center through October 30. Two more days to see the show and choose a pencil (display and packaging design by Julia Muscarello, the designer featured in today’s post)!

Julia's fun gifts to gallery visitors!
Julia’s fun gifts to gallery visitors!
Shopko BTC vendor art
Shopko vendor art
Shopko Gift Cards
Gift card designs
Shopko Facebook posts
Shopko facebook pages

Would you describe a typical workday?

I start my workday around 7:30 a.m., commuting into downtown Chicago from Lake Forest via the train. People from outside of the Chicagoland area don’t really understand why I do this long commute but I really quite enjoy it. I finally get a chance to either design something for fun on my Mac or sketch out new project ideas for myself. It’s a way to keep my mind fresh and get the creative juices flowing for my day while the train is going into the city center.

After the train ride I walk about fifteen minutes from the train station to work. I’m a graphic designer for an ad agency and I work on team that manages projects for a Fortune 500 company. My workday starts at 8:30. I like getting to work a little early, before everyone else, so I can get organized, checking email and preparing for any meetings. Some workdays can be quite crazy and others are less hectic. It all depends on when a client needs a project done. For example, I could get assigned a project at 4 p.m. that needs to be done by the end of the day. Or, I could get a project that is due the next week. I’m always very busy and never bored! I usually have about five large projects I’m working on in a given week with project changes and quick deadline projects also thrown into the mix. We currently have about thirty open projects for one client’s account. If you can work under pressure, balance a few things at once, work fast, yet efficiently, and are fluent in all Adobe and Office products, you can be a good designer.

I work with a creative director and a senior art director on the account. We also have three account executives and they communicate directly with the client to receive feedback on pieces and take on new projects. They communicate with us in a very organized and efficient system.

I have a desktop Mac and I’m always working in Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and sometimes PowerPoint. I’m usually designing print ads, e-mails, and internal presentations for clients. There are always other miscellaneous projects too – for example, I’m currently designing a logo for a new product. I usually have one or two project meetings each day.

I also have a dog underneath my desk because you can bring your dog to work! For lunch, I sometimes walk around the West Loop or admire the Chicago skyline from our office rooftop if it’s nice out. I love being in the city because there is always something going on and each street has its own character. After work I usually head up to our bar on the 4th floor for a beer with my co-workers or watch the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field or on TV. I head home at 6:30 p.m. after a workout at the Crossfit gym next to my work.

What were your “next steps” after graduating from SNC?

During the summer following my junior year, I was fortunate enough to intern at the Shopko Corporate Office in Green Bay. I was a graphic design intern there and got to design the fashion pages in the mailers and catalogues and gift cards for the holiday season. I’m really into fashion photography (and photography in general), so I was also able to take the photos during the photoshoots when we had models on site. I continued working at Shopko during my senior year, balancing school and another internship at Performa Inc.  Shopko hired me as a graphic designer when I graduated. I continued to design fashion ads and had a few more responsibilities, too. I also got to be really involved with Shopko’s Facebook page and designing social media images. After a year at Shopko, I decided I wanted to do something different to challenge myself as a designer so I took a graphic design position at an ad agency in downtown Chicago. I’m totally loving what I do now and I’m close to home. I’ve always been working since I graduated. I felt like I needed to jump right in after graduation in order to gain experience and advance my career.

Describe the journey to the work you currently do?  How has your design work evolved over the course of your career? 

A big change was definitely going from a corporate setting at Shopko to an agency setting. Even though there are some hectic days at the agency the working style there is definitely a “work hard, play hard” style. I went from designing the fashion pages in catalogues at Shopko to doing all sorts of projects at my new job. It was important for me to switch jobs because I felt like my creativity wasn’t being used enough. A designer’s work can always be evolving. I like to try new things and see new places. Seeing new things sparks ideas. I don’t respect people who like to “settle.” Doing the same thing every day, seeing the same things, and being comfortable with the same things does not help one grow as a designer.

What advice do you have for current SNC Art students?  What opportunities should they take advantage of at SNC?  What should they best do to prepare for life after college?

Get out and get out of your comfort zone. Don’t sit in your dorm room and watch Netflix. Everyone at St. Norbert is super social and there are so many nice people there. Heck, I probably met a new friend every day, whether it was at the library or in class. I played on the Women’s Ice Hockey team because I felt like that was a huge opportunity in itself to be involved. Try to socialize with other people and talk with your professors as much as possible. All of them are SUPER cool and very fun to hang out with! Also, I would suggest doing your homework and art projects in the art building after class – it’s so relaxing in the Bush Art Center! Try to do anything that you wouldn’t normally do because, you never know, it could lead to something else or bring a new idea to your mind.

Who and what are you artistic inspirations?  

This is probably a super cheesy and cliché thing to say but I have two people who are a big factor in my artistic inspiration, my mom and my dad. My mom is super artsy and creative, even though she was a chemical engineer at IBM. Drawing pictures with her when I was little helped me become who I am today. My dad is a pilot for United and I am so thankful that he has such a cool job! I’m his “world traveler” and will gladly use his profession (and employee discount!) to help me trek across the globe. Seeing the world has made me become SO imaginative and helps me think of new ideas. It goes back to the idea I mentioned before that to keep your mind fresh you must get out there and see something different. I definitely learned that from studying abroad in Florence, Italy.  Anyway, my parents have taught me to work hard all of the time and this is why I feel like I am pretty successful today.

Retail stores are very inspiring too. Target’s designers are so talented. Their ads are so fun and their concepts are so unique. If I don’t have much to do except eat my lunch during my lunch break, I’ll walk four blocks south of my work to City Target just to look at the in-store signs and designs. They have such different and colorful products and seeing them helps me stay imaginative.

I really like looking at Williams-Sonoma and Trader Joe’s for package designs, too. Both stores have great food and I can spend a long time picking up their boxes and looking at their innovative designs! There are also some really neat grocery stores in the North Shore suburbs that stock products with really cool package designs. I was supposed to buy something for dinner really quickly the other day but instead spent about an hour in the grocery store looking at all of the trendy designs!

Chicago is a huge artistic influence on me. Each neighborhood and street is so different. The buildings, people walking down the street, and restaurants are just so interesting to look at. I don’t need to go to the Art Institute of Chicago just to look at art – it’s already outside! But I do like the Art Institute and all kinds of art museums. The Museum of Contemporary Art is very interesting and innovative.

Julia Muscarello graduated from St. Norbert College in 2014, majoring in Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design and minoring in French.  She played on the SNC Women’s Ice Hockey team. She has a worked as a graphic designer for the Shopko Corporate Office in Green Bay, interned at Performa Inc. and currently works at an advertising and branding agency in downtown Chicago.