When you picture an artist, you might imagine someone who likes to spend hours alone painting away on a blank canvas in a brightly lit room. But that is not the case with the student artists at Mount Mary University. These six Mount Mary artists – who specialize in music, dance, fine art, graphic design, art therapy and interior design – are passionate about their specialized art forms but also seek out ways to share their talents with others on campus and beyond.
Emily Williams, a senior majoring in studio art, decided on her major after exploring her skills as an artist at Mount Mary.
“I started with art therapy for career stability in my mind … as I began exploring the classes and my skills more, I found that (studio art) is where I was most comfortable,” Williams said. “I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Williams discovered her artistic talent in middle school as she started taking more art classes.
Williams said that she was inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ work.
“She comes from a feminist standpoint, and she has a history of really strong emotion and events in her past to make work that speaks for itself,” Williams said.
Williams said the visual arts are imperative to the development of the community.
“People talk about the visual recognition of art, but I think that there is a lot to gain in making art and helping others explore it as well,” Williams said.
While Williams has an artistic major, she feels she is gaining many different skills by getting an education from a liberal arts college.
“What’s really unique for the fine art department is that Mount Mary pushes us to be well-rounded and have an education in many different subjects, so we come to make art from a very educated standpoint in many different aspects.”
Carly Seefeldt, a senior majoring in interior design, does not necessarily come from an artistic family, but she and her sister have enjoyed creating art their whole lives.
“My sister’s really artsy,” Seefeldt said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say my mom and my dad are artsy, but my mom will keep everything. They encouraged our art.”
Seefeldt discovered interior design when her sister moved out of the house. She asked her parents if she could redecorate her sister’s room, and they allowed her to do so. From then on, Seefeldt has been interested in interior design.
“I definitely knew I was artsy … I loved art classes. I was never put down, so I thought I was pretty good,” Seefeldt said. “I think I’ve always known I was into art because it makes me happy, so that’s why I picked the field.”
Before Seefeldt chose interior design, she thought about going into other artistic fields as well.
“I was kind of debating on three different majors,” Seefeldt said. “I was thinking cinematography, advertising or interior design. I figured interior design would allow me to do more art and more design than advertising.”
In addition to creating artwork for school and projects, Seefeldt enjoys creating artwork for relaxation.
“I love making hall decorations … I’m the kind of person who likes doing things… I like doing things while watching TV – I can’t just sit and do nothing, so most of the time, I keep my hands busy,” Seefeldt said.
Seefeldt said that design helps people think about their surroundings.
“When I create a space, I want users to walk through and actually be impacted by it,” Seefeldt said. “I want people to have a good experience when they are utilizing the spaces that they use.”
Seefeldt said the Mount Mary University community has made an impact on her passion for interior design.
“I transferred in, but the interior design program is really small, so I’ve gotten to know the girls that are in the program really well,” Seefeldt said. “It kind of feels like a tight-knit family in a way … Everybody is super helpful. [My adviser] is super hardworking, and she really wants you to succeed.”
Grace Jentsch, a sophomore majoring in fashion design, started dancing when she was 3 years old, and hasn’t stopped since.
“My mom thought it would be a fun thing for me to do … I’ve loved it ever since,” Jentsch said.
She does any kind of dance style, but pointe and musical theatre dance are some of her favorite styles.
“I pretty much love all of the styles … I’m better at more of the technical ones,” Jentsch said. “I’m more of a pirouette than a bop.”
Jentsch not only has continued dancing at home, but she also has a very important role as one of the officers of the Mount Mary University Dance Association. Although it was difficult to start up this year with a new choreographer and adviser, Jentsch took initiative and got a team together as soon as possible.
“Dance is how I handle things, and Dance Association was the only secure way to always have dance as a part of it,” Jentsch said. “I put a lot of effort into creating the perfect leadership team so that we could really have a good time and continue that openness and fun for others.”
Her involvement in dance has continued in college, and her long-term goal for Dance Association is for it to grow in numbers.
“We are an arts school … the dancers are here,” Jentsch said. “It was just about giving them the opportunities to pursue (dance) as they wish.”
While focusing mainly on dance, Jentsch expressed her love for the performing arts and how the arts contribute to the development of Mount Mary University.
“It keeps you very involved and inspired,” Jentsch said.“It keeps you in touch with other people who are as or more creative than you … it keeps you in the loop of everything creative. The arts were a place where I excelled … that’s where my heart was.”
Jessie Minkley, a senior majoring in graphic design and fine art, hopes to pursue a job in illustration.
“My ultimate plan is to create my very own cartoon TV show,” Minkley said.
Minkley has always been into art, and she knew that she wanted to pursue an artistic career, so she started studying fashion.
After she took an Adobe class, she realized that she was more passionate about computer art, so she decided to pursue a major in graphic design.
While Minkley does not come from an artsy family, she is able to share her artistic talents with her family, as she made almost every painting that is hung up in her house.
Minkley enjoys the artistic elements of computer games and video games. When she was in high school, she started doing photography and retouching her photos. This sparked an interest in doing something with the artistic digital world
“With graphic design, it’s pretty much everything you see,” Minkley said. “Every single poster here (at Mount Mary) is graphically designed. If people stopped to look around and realized that almost everything in their life has been probably affected by a graphic designer, I feel like people could appreciate it more.”
Minkley designed the posters for the Teaching Excellence Awards, and they can be seen around campus.
Michelle Domanski, a sophomore majoring in theology, has been an active participant in the Mount Mary University Gospel Choir. She has been in choirs throughout her educational career.
“I’ve always been in music classes since I was in elementary school,” Domanski said. “I didn’t take choir my first semester at Mount Mary, and I really missed it. I decided to join Gospel Choir.”
Domanski said that singing is a way of expression and allows her to relieve stress.
She is also a part of the Modern Dance class this semester, but her heart really is invested in singing in Gospel Choir.
“When I hear a song, I want to sing it,” Domanski said. “It’s hard not to sing.”
While she loves listening to the radio, she likes singing sheet music better. Gospel Choir has been a good fit for her, she said.
“Music allows you to fully express yourself without judgment,” Domanski said. “It doesn’t matter how good you can sing as long as you allow yourself to be vulnerable. It makes the world a happier place. People can enjoy music and relieve stress.”
Tricia Hohnl, a senior majoring in art therapy and art education, comes from a family of engineers. She decided to pursue her artistic side as an art therapist.
“I chose art therapy because I enjoyed art, and I wanted to help people,” Hohnl said. “[My mom] knew I was good at art, so she did a lot of investigation for me when I was going into college.”
Hohnl has been an artist almost her whole life. She remembers a specific moment when she really got into creating art pieces.
“[My dad] drew my dog in my house, and then on the backside he drew our yard, and I held on to that picture for like 10 years,” Hohnl said. “That was the start of my creative side.”
As an artist, creating works is therapeutic to her.
“I like to paint, and I also like to work with yarn, doing crochet, blankets, scarves,” Hohnl said. “Anything that requires repetition is really therapeutic to me.”
Hohnl started to recognize her passion for art when she was in middle school and high school.
“Once I started getting into the advanced art classes, I could see myself going into some type of art-based career,” Hohnl said. Since then, she has been creating artwork and hasn’t stopped.
Hohnl’s favorite type of art is pop art.
“I enjoy pop artists like Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg because of the bright colors and simplistic design,” Hohnl said. “I also enjoy the fact that they base their work on popular culture and the controversy surrounding their work.”
Art is very important for today’s society, Hohnl said.
“I think there’s a big need for art as a creative release in youth all the way up until you are in your 80s, 90s,” Hohnl said. “It’s something to take your mind off of things, and it helps you release some of that tension that builds up inside of you. You can’t spell earth without art, and I think art in general helps society move along. Anything you see is art. There’s an art to creating a computer, there’s an art to advertising, there’s an art to building things, so we need it in order to function.”
Hohnl said her educational career at Mount Mary has given her a chance to explore what she loves. She feels that people in the Mount Mary community are able to build each other up and depend on each other.
“That’s very hard to find in a college atmosphere – people who actually want to see you do better instead of the competition,” Hohnl said.