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Filtering by Category: Creative Works

Dan Tembras

Communications and Marketing


There are certain things you can expect as a music major earning your degree or as a music instructor at a regional campus—one of these things may not necessarily be performing at Carnegie Hall.

For IPFW Director of Instrumental Studies and Director of Bands Daniel Tembras and his students, this fantastic opportunity became a reality last March.

“That trip was something that I think ended up surpassing our expectations for what it would do for the students and the university,” Tembras says. “I hope to partake in those experiences again with our students in the near future.”


Tembras came to IPFW four years ago after completing a doctorate of musical arts at the University of Texas at Austin—where he heard about an opening in Fort Wayne. Seeing as his family was a hop, skip, and a jump away in Michigan, the opportunity looked pretty enticing.

“The department also showed incredible potential,” he says. “Just coming in here, the facilities are top-notch. Most universities do not have facilities of this caliber. The students here were incredibly welcoming and open-minded when I came to interview. The faculty was very supportive and IPFW is an IU Mission School, so everything that pertains to Indiana University pertains here, too, in regards to the quality and expectations.”

In the four years that Tembras has been a part of IPFW’s faculty, he’s seen the university grow by leaps and bounds—particularly in the student body.

“The students are wonderful,” he says. “They come from all different walks of life and we see a lot of students that come from families where they’re the first to go to college, and some who’ll come here because of the IU name. We have a lot of different areas where our students are drawn from and there’s a variety of majors we have here—music education, music performance, music in an outside field, music technology, and music therapy are just some of the degrees we offer.”

The idea of stepping outside the classroom for learning experiences originated two years ago when Tembras took a group of students to Chicago to see the Chicago Symphony perform live—the group partook in an architectural boat tour and went to explore the Art Institute of Chicago.

“To see the students’ faces and to notice the need for our students to actually see these things more regularly than they do and to be exposed to great culture was a big tell for me,” he says. “Fort Wayne is a wonderful city, but we don’t have the resources that New York City or Boston have in regards to the arts. That’s how the Carnegie Hall trip started.”

Last summer, Tembras received a call from the New York Wind Band Festival—the department’s ensembles were recommended to come and participate in the annual spring festival at Carnegie Hall. Tembras approached Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts John O’Connell in hopes that he would be onboard.

“He thought about it for maybe three hours and then gave me a call and said, ‘Let’s do this’,” he recalls. “He’s been incredibly supportive in that regard. Once that started, the ball started rolling. The students were onboard from the get-go, with the idea of going to New York City and performing at Carnegie Hall. We traveled to the Museum of Modern Art and to the Metropolitan Opera to watch a production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.”

The group was comprised of approximately 50 students, a student photographer (also from the College of Visual and Performing Arts), and Tembras.

“What we set forth music-wise was a program about New York,” he says. “We performed the Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein—figured that was a good starter. I’m sure a New York program has been done a million times before, but we had a couple of extra special touches.”

Tembras’ ensemble also collaborated with Billy Hunter, principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, to perform Herbert L. Clarke’s “Bride of the Waves,” a famous cornet solo.


“One of our duties as musicians is to spread great art or artists who are a reflection of their society—that’s the hope that all our students leave here with,” Tembras explains. “The opportunity to engage our community is a really important factor and an important aspect of the students’ education. We try to let the community know what we’re doing, which we do through free concerts that are open to the public.”

In just the last year, they collaborated with the Penn High School wind ensemble from Mishawaka, Ind., and the Dekalb High School band.

“We want everyone to come to our concerts,” he says. “We want them to see the quality of musicians that we’re educating here and the types of students that IPFW has.”

All of the department’s students participate in smaller ensembles. Many of these ensembles are tasked with traveling around the community and performing at city functions, senior centers, or local high schools. They also serve multiple missions—everything from recruitment to the standard outreach and taking great art into the community.

“The benefits of IPFW for a potential student are numerous,” Tembras says. “First of all, starting from the IU degree that you receive here—in that aspect, everything up from your course numbers are all the same in Bloomington. We have the luxury of students being able to get two degrees from two of the greatest institutions in the nation simultaneously while they’re studying.

“I feel my job is to provide others with great experiences via my past experiences. When I’m in a classroom, I try to open the eyes of a lot of students, but I also try to play devil’s advocate quite often in our conversations. I challenge them on a regular basis because the activity of day-to-day existence is different than the activity of making art or making music—you have to put a lot more of yourself into those things.”


For the third year, Tembras has been invited to conduct during the Mid Europe Festival, based in Schladming, Austria, where university and professional ensembles from all over the world gather to perform.

“The university has been incredibly helpful in supporting me in my endeavors to partake in this,” he says. “A number of our students are traveling for the first time with us who have auditioned and have been accepted to perform. Not only am I a conductor, but there are probably three or four other conductors that will be there—world-renowned conductors. I think I just got lucky and slipped in.”

Tembras’ ensembles aren’t only making an impact in festivals outside the state and country—they’re making an impact on Fort Wayne, too.

“I think our department is not only trying to become engrossed in the cultural life of the city, but I also think it’s expanding it,” he says. “One of our goals here—probably an indirect goal as musicians—is to try to enlighten the lives of as many people as we can.”

Department of Music

A degree in music can take your passion for performance to new heights. In the Department of Music, explore the scholarship of performance, teaching, music therapy, and music production. Jam with one of our many ensembles, bare your soul on the acoustically superb Auer Performance Hall stage, or delight your audience with your own masterpiece. We graduate performance artists, teachers, music therapists, audio technicians, and more. Our program includes guitar performance, music therapy, instrumental performance, piano performance, music education, vocal performance, and music technology. Learn more.

Christopher Ganz

Communications and Marketing


In the art world there are a few ways to experience relief. One of these is by observing someone working with the process of relief printing—when an artist carves a design into a block and inks the raised sections to stamp on a surface and create an image.

IPFW Associate Professor of Fine Arts Christopher Ganz is the expert on campus when it comes to this method of printmaking and makes enduring efforts to pass on an art form that dates back over a thousand years.

“I think the visual perception that I teach in all my classes makes the world a little bit more interesting,” Ganz says. “When I was a student and started learning all this, it made me really excited to learn more because I found that the more I looked around and tried to understand what I was looking at, the more interesting it became to me.”


Ganz went to the University of Missouri Columbia for his undergraduate schooling and originally intended to use his art requirement for a metalsmithing course. However, the metals professor was on sabbatical and printmaking was the only open class that met the requirement standards.

“I was also a work study student in the art building,” he shares. “I was just a janitor for the most part. I would go into the print shop and clean up and I didn’t even know what was going on. Then I eventually took a class in it and got it right away. Drawing was my main media—I love to draw—and when I went into printmaking, I realized it was basically drawing. It was a natural fit.”

He says he fell in love with the printmaking process as a whole—including the parts that were normally out of his control.

“I’d get results that were unexpected and it expanded my visions of how to create a piece of art,” Ganz says. “I didn’t come into things with preconceptions like I had before and I thought that was really important. The fact that I could make multiples and there were tests along the way also liberated me to take more risks making art, which is something I encourage in my students. That’s why I think it’s important for them to take printmaking, regardless of what type of artist they want to be.”

Since 2002, Ganz has been using his artistic skillset to teach others—all because he happened to see an ad for the position in the Indiana University printmaking studio in Bloomington, where he attended graduate school.

“I was teaching part time after I graduated,” he explains. “I didn’t plan on staying in Indiana necessarily, but I’m glad I found out about the position. I went out for an interview at a national conference for the College Art Association and met the chair and another professor who would eventually be my colleague. I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”

Part of what attracted Ganz to IPFW was the faculty—those he met at the conference were just the beginning of a professional and supportive network of individuals. It was also Ganz’s opportunity to create a space—he was able to take charge of his own printmaking facility.

I could tell everyone here was really passionate about teaching as well as being an artist.

“I could tell everyone here was really passionate about teaching as well as being an artist,” he says. “I felt that environment was just really positive. I enjoy how the students here come from all different types of backgrounds—because of my own personal background, I felt that I could relate to them well.”


Ganz teaches all levels of printmaking from beginning to advanced—he also teaches drawing, including foundations and figure drawing classes. In terms of printmaking, he primarily teaches etching, woodcut and relief, and monotype and lithography—recently he has been incorporating digital and photographic methods into his curriculum as well.

“Printmaking is really about graphic design,” he explains. “It has a lot to do with just blacks and whites, positives and negatives. One of the design teachers a few years ago said that printmaking was one of the best graphic design courses there is. I do have quite a few graphic designers that are encouraged to take my classes. For anyone who wants to do anything visual, printmaking’s going to really help with that sense of design, pattern, process, and order.”

Ganz shows his work annually at a national printmaking show situated in the Art Link Gallery in downtown Fort Wayne, which is a great opportunity for students to see work from artists all over the country.

“Generally, I give a talk before the opening and explain printmaking techniques to the students,” he says. “One thing I like to do as well is bring in visiting artists from other colleges or countries to show students how international the printmaking field is, because it goes on in every country and every nook and cranny of the world.”

Ganz’s art students come from all walks of life, but their connective factor is their curiosity about art and the art world. He says a lot of them come into the program not knowing too much about art, and then—once the gears start turning, so to speak—they really take off and do outstanding things.

“I’ve had some students go on to be really successful and open up their own businesses and go into graduate programs,” he says. “It’s exciting when that happens. I’ve also found that this school allows a real chance to build relationships with students—you’re with them a lot. Over the course of four or five years, you get to see a lot, see them grow and change, and that’s what I really enjoy—seeing the beginning and the end of at least their academic career here. They go on and do other things, obviously, but it’s exciting to have that chance to work so closely with them. I don’t think that’s typical of most universities.”

Ganz takes his students to national printmaking conferences so they can mingle with artists from all over the world—he also leads the study abroad trip to Italy, where he teaches drawing.

“Just for them to go and to see the greatest artwork ever made and to be in the presence of it and to realize that a whole culture of civilization is built around its art— that’s something that I think is very important in order to see how powerful art can be,” he says.


As he’s passing on what he knows to his students, Ganz remains aware that these students have a direct impact on the community at large.

“They’re the future of the community and the present, too,” he says. “They’re going to be the leaders of Fort Wayne. There’s a lot going on right now and I think students are more interested in making changes where they see changes that need to be made. They feel like the arts scene needs improvement and can get better. They want to be a part of it. They feel empowered now, more than I’ve ever seen, to take charge and feel like this is our town and our community. It’s important to support that.

“I also feel fortunate to be a part of that. It’s exciting to see where these students go. I can tell usually early on which students are going to be the ones who are going to really make a difference. There are more and more of them, and it feeds off of itself. The more that you can support the arts at IPFW, the more it’s going to blossom in Fort Wayne.”

Ganz has watched IPFW and his department grow in the years he’s been teaching at the university and believes that he and his colleagues have a better vision on how to make students become better artists because of that.

“Every year we get more and more of them out in the world doing amazing things,” he says. “I think I’m the proudest of the students and what they have done and how we’ve helped them to get to where they’re going. We’re a small department. We definitely have finite resources, but we do a lot with what we have. I’m excited about where things are headed.”

Ganz has experienced a lot of support from the department, college, and university levels—last summer he was able to spend two months in Venice, Italy, at a printmaking studio thanks to a summer research grant from the university. He was also awarded travel grants to go to conferences for smaller visiting artists, where he can travel and take his artwork with him. Grants from both the department and the university have been large supporting factors for his creative endeavor.

“I feel like we’re really lucky here,” he says. “I can’t say that I’ve ever been denied doing something just because someone didn’t feel it was worth it or there weren’t funds for it on campus. The dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts—John O’Connell—has been really supportive of faculty and their research, and so has the chair of our department, John Hrehov. Really, from Vice Chancellor Carl Drummond on down, the university been really supportive of faculty research and projects, and I just think there’s a lot of interest in the art program across campus.”

As an artist, Ganz wants to keep creating new work and developing his skills—as part of that, he hopes to continue his relationship with the Anne Nathan Gallery in Chicago, where he’s shown his work for the past five years. He would eventually like to show internationally and follow through with his plans to do a visiting artists residency in Venice again next year for his sabbatical.


What shape does your art take? The Department of Fine Arts can help you hone your craft in modern studio spaces and connect your work with major regional galleries and organizations. We graduate painters, sculptors, printmakers, and more. Our program includes ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, metalsmithing, and sculpture. Learn more.

George Kalamaras

Communications and Marketing


It takes a certain perspective to put words to silence—and it takes a certain mind to craft creative and scholarly work. Not only separately at once, but in such a way that they coalesce.

Meet George Kalamaras—Professor of English at IPFW and former poet laureate of Indiana—who makes incredible things happen on campus and in the Fort Wayne community with words, research, and projects that bring writers and readers together.

“How do we engage in poetry so that it’s not simply expressing one’s thoughts and it’s not simply about one’s own person?” Kalamaras muses. “The basic idea—the core of the initiative that I took into the poet laureateship—was how can I serve the poetic community? How can I serve even people who are not poets and see that art is really everywhere?”


Born in Chicago and raised in Indiana, Kalamaras found himself intrigued by the idea of returning to his Hoosier roots—which also meant nurturing his profession at IPFW amongst a faculty he admired.

“IPFW has supported me in a lot of ways,” he says. “They’ve supported my research through various grants and always acknowledging and seeing value in my work. I’ve always felt supported—not only as a teacher, but as a researcher, a writer, and a poet. There are some poets who have felt that academia is not the place for them—I have never felt that.”

He divulges that he often teaches his students lessons that he feels are good to review, himself—switching to “auto-pilot” can be easy to do unless one consciously slows down and reevaluates.

“If we slow ourselves down,” Kalamaras says, “and begin to translate out how to write a poem, how to look at the world, we can remind ourselves of what the process is.”


Kalamaras’ work doesn’t stop in the creative realm—he’s currently engaged in both scholarly research and creative endeavor at the university.

“My research is primarily on silence and my doctoral dissertation was on the rhetoric of silence—I was very involved in the ways that silence and language reciprocate and interact,” he says. “I’ve published many articles and a book on silence, particularly as it relates to the Hindu yogic meditative tradition.”

Kalamaras is also involved in composition studies and how writing can be made more accessible and available to students—on which he has published extensively as well.

And—of course—he is consistently active in the field of poetry with publication of his work and initiatives including the Wabash Watershed blog project, the Gray Barn Rising video series, and Project 411—a statewide collaborative poem for poets and non-poets alike.

“I know it has a funny name, but Project 411 is named such because the Wabash River runs untamed, un-dammed for 411 miles. What I did was I solicited lines of poetry and gathered 411 of these lines—from poets and non-poets—to emphasize that and bring others into this effort,” he says.

Kalamaras has published around 15 books of poetry—eight full-length books and seven chapbooks of poetry. His work focuses on the unconscious, perceiving it in a way that aligns with the conscious mind rather than as its rival.

“Surrealism as a literary and artistic movement is really delving into the intuition and our unconscious minds in deep ways so that we’re not simply intellectualizing about something,” he says. “This grows out of my interest in silence and how it reciprocates with language. I really am trying throughout my scholarly and poetic work to break down binaries and to not position things as ‘self’ and ‘other,’ but to see how they interact. The core of my poetry is built on breaking down distinctions.”


Poets come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t simply wear berets and dress in black and walk around and play bongos.

“I think that the poet laureate is extraordinarily relevant to the community at large because, if anything, the poet needs to break down the stereotypes that hem the poet into this idea or that idea of what a poet is,” Kalamaras explains. “Poets come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t simply wear berets and dress in black and walk around and play bongos. Some poets might do that and that’s perfectly fine, but—for example—the great William Carlos Williams was a pediatrician. Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive.

“The relevance of the poet is someone needing to speak deep inner truths. Someone needs to say that simply looking is of value. We often think that poets write about huge or extraordinary things—and sometimes we do—but the real importance of poetry is that it can be an attentiveness practice. It’s not the outcomes that I’m after so much; it’s the how and the why and in what ways?

“The practice of poetry changes my consciousness, and the yardstick for that is really, have I changed at all in writing a poem? Am I a better person? Am I kinder? Am I more open?”


Thoreau. Plath. Dostoevsky. You. Discover the works of literary giants, find your own voice, and research the origins of language in the Department of English and Linguistics. We graduate authors, teachers, linguists, and more. Our program includes communication, media, teacher certification, language, writing, and literature. Learn more.

Joshua Pyburn

Communications and Marketing


We tend to use the phrase “set in stone” to mean that something’s unchangeable, concrete, and stagnant. IPFW senior sculpting major Joshua Pyburn proves that this isn’t always the case—in life and in art.

“There’s that pride in working hard, and working hard with stone,” Pyburn says. “It’s heavy and it’s dusty, but when you’re done with it there is a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction.” 



Over the years, Pyburn has undergone as much formation as his pieces—he’s lived in at least eight different places and one of those was for his deployment. Pyburn was a diesel mechanic in the military and retains a love of cars—which he also considers an art form, particularly in the paint and bodywork.

“I was born in Nashville, Tennessee. My dad is a horse trainer, so we moved a lot in the South,” he explains. “I moved to California when I went into the military, and then went to Iraq for a year. Then I moved back to Tennessee, and then I moved to Fort Wayne in 2008.”

He attributes that last move to Fort Wayne as his main reason for starting at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)—but he started as as a philosophy major.

“I acquired some basic classes, but then—when I realized that I actually wanted to just make art and go for it—I pretty much only had studio classes left to do. The good qualities I find with a smaller program is that your professors are aware of you—they are willing to talk to you and help you resolve issues as an artist, as a student, as a person, and help you navigate all of those,” Pyburn says. “In my first semester, the ceramics professor here—Nancy McCroskey—got to know me a little better, and I mentioned to her that I was interested in stone. 

I went down there for a week in 2013, slept in my car, and bought a bunch of chisels—and I met and learned from some really impressive, friendly people.

“I’d never carved stone or done anything artistically with it, but she mentioned a stonework symposium down in Ellettsville just outside of Bloomington. I didn’t have the money to go, so she referred me to the dean and student government to get money—and the dean was gracious enough to help me. I went down there for a week in 2013, slept in my car, and bought a bunch of chisels—and I met and learned from some really impressive, friendly people.”

Pyburn describes his experience at the symposium (and sleeping in his car) as humbling and decided that—if he really wanted to reach his goal—he would have to look past the trouble it took to get there. 


Pyburn’s medium of choice is Indiana limestone, which is usually used in construction—Fort Wayne is home to several official buildings majorly constructed out of the native material. Other famous structures such as the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and the Washington National Cathedral also have incorporated elements of Indiana limestone.

I’m just a hard-working, blue collar kind of guy who’s trying to make it work.

“I think of limestone, in a way, as a blue collar stone because of its multi-use,” Pyburn says. “Sometimes it’s just a wall. Sometimes it’s used as a relief carving, and I like that because I feel that way too about myself—like I’m just a hard-working, blue collar kind of guy who’s trying to make it work.”

Sculpting, for Pyburn, becomes a meditative experience—and he hopes that his finished pieces will have that same meditative effect on viewers. 


“I realized that, when working with stone or working with any medium, I find a great value in that meditation—why not make pieces that people can meditate to, in a way? I make my pieces abstract enough to where they’re not obvious forms. One day you might see a face—and maybe another, you’d see a tree. But that perception is something that’s in them—that’s why I try to make my abstract work as vague as I can, but I’m also aware of what I’m possibly making the viewer see.”

What it really comes down to for Pyburn is what the viewer takes away from seeing his artwork. He often considers his work “completed” based on how someone reacts to it and the feeling it evokes.

“That’s what I’m really trying to do—I’m trying to create some kind of magical effect within them that I can’t experience. I want it to be their own experience.”


Not only is Pyburn a college student, United States veteran, and a talented, thoughtful artist—he’s a husband and father, too. Balancing the two most important sides of his life can be tricky, but Pyburn is doing his best to nurture his family life and his art equally.


“I have to go to some strange or funky places within myself to bring something out that’s worth looking at. Then the kids need food. Suddenly, I have to snap out of it,” Pyburn explains. “Moving out of that and going back into my work is difficult. I feel like being a good father and a good husband is very important. I also feel like expressing myself honestly through art is just as important. As time goes on, I’m getting better at it.”

Pyburn hopes that traditional art makes a return to the community and society at large—to him, it’s a missing link in the way we live now.

“3,000 years ago, the process was the same,” Pyburn says. “A Michelangelo sculpture or a Van Gogh painting has an effect on people—how were our brains any different then? How should it be any different that art has an effect on an engineering student or a math major? Once you make the work, it’s almost out of your control. I don’t know what will happen, but hopefully it does something—lights a candle within them or gives them a mental stepping stone to another place.”


What shape does your art take? The Department of Fine Arts can help you hone your craft in modern studio spaces and connect your work with major regional galleries and organizations. We graduate painters, sculptors, printmakers, and more. Our program includes ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, metalsmithing, and sculpture. Learn more.

Art Herbig

Communications and Marketing

Making Sense of the Noise

The world is plugged in, even when it’s wireless. We’re constantly connected to the status updates, the Facebook likes, the viral videos, the retweets, the Buzzfeed lists, and the 24-hour news cycle. Every day, we encounter innumerable notifications, messages, alerts, chimes, bells, and whistles—and that’s just what’s confined to our smartphones and laptops.

How do we make sense of the noise?

For IPFW Associate Professor of Communication Art Herbig, to understand how we process all the voices competing for our attention, we must first recognize that meaning is made up of both content and form.

Herbig conducts an interview on location.

Herbig conducts an interview on location.

More than Words

Messages, particularly for a media scholar, aren’t just words.
— Art Herbig

Whether it’s an editorial in the local paper, an advertisement on the side of a website, or a conversation with a close friend, how a message is conveyed shapes its meaning for the audience.

“And when it comes to media,” Herbig explains, “this means that camera angles, lighting, and color—all of these things are part of the message.”

The way in which a conversation is framed, a news event is reported, or an ad is designed provides subtle cues in how we should interpret, process, and react to a piece of information.

“Being cognizant and aware of those things makes us more apt to understand the ways in which these messages now all connect, because they are all connected.”

In his classes, Herbig presses students to study the craft of communication critically—to look closely at not only what’s being said, but how.

The delivery or execution of a message provides context for the information we receive—and this, in turn, provides the audience with tools to evaluate the kinds of information we are receiving.

Talking with Your Hands

Herbig leads a classroom discussion on filmmaking.

Herbig leads a classroom discussion on filmmaking.

I teach a lot of hands-on skills.
— Art Herbig

In his classes, Herbig often moves his discussions of communication patterns out of the abstract and into tangible, application-based learning.

“I have smaller classes, but I have a lot of interpersonal interaction with students,” he says. “I’ll do a lecture maybe twice a week, but then we’ll have a three-hour lab where we’ll use light kits, move microphones around, and try to frame up camera shots.”

This practical application helps Herbig’s students apply what they’re learning and see first-hand how context and form shape the information they’re trying to communicate with an audience.

Just like moving the camera to the opposite side of the room creates an entirely new visual, adjusting the context of the shot creates a whole new perspective.

Capturing Memories in Content and Form

That critically engaged citizen needs to be distinctly aware of the ways in which the messages that they’re interacting with in their everyday lives impact their everyday lives.
— Art Herbig

As part of his ongoing scholarship of rhetoric, Herbig launched a project to study public memory through filmmaking, and how people choose to remember and commemorate events from their past.

On the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, he set out to create an academic inquiry into contextual rhetorical cues with an academic film created for non-academic audiences, titled Never Forget: Public Memory of 9/11.

Herbig and a student production assistant capture footage at Ground Zero in New York City.

Herbig and a student production assistant capture footage at Ground Zero in New York City.

“So we started by going to Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and we interviewed over 60 people there,” Herbig recalls. “The opening of the memorial was going on, but there was something about that moment that drew people to that physical space.”

In his interviews with memorial attendees, Herbig wanted to know: What brought you to Ground Zero on the anniversary of these attacks?

“We ended all of those interviews with one question: How should we remember 9/11? And to a person, every single person started with, ‘Huh.’ And it’s that moment that we were trying to capture, because memory is a process.”

Program Snapshot: Department of Communication

The ways in which we communicate have changed dramatically in recent years, but the fundamentals remain the same: the ability to communicate effectively underlies professional and personal success. Study the art of exchange with the Department of Communication. We graduate public advocates, media professionals, filmmakers, and more. Our program includes interpersonal and organizational communication, media and culture, multimedia newsgathering and reporting, rhetoric and public advocacy, and film and media studies. Learn more.

Audrey Ushenko

Communications and Marketing

An Authentic Miracle

It’s late in the day.

The natural light that normally floods the long hallway connecting Walb Student Union to the Gates Sports Center is fading, and IPFW Professor of Drawing and Painting Audrey Ushenko is hunched close to her canvas.

With deft strokes of her brush, she fills in the details of a cheekbone, a gesture, and a thousand-yard stare.

Ushenko is trying to capture something genuine.

Ushenko works on a new mural in a public space on campus.

Ushenko works on a new mural in a public space on campus.

Virtually everybody I see, I would like to depict.
— Audrey Ushenko

Ushenko describes her work as being about the individual. She’s interested in the stories and hidden universes behind the eyes of those she passes by.

Even in murals—including those created on behalf of IPFW, featuring plenty of recognizable faces from around campus—Ushenko takes care to individualize her subjects within a crowd.

For her, the subject speaks loudest when in public.

Public Art

Many artists labor over their works in private. Not Ushenko.

She can often be found in public spaces on campus or in the community, her works-in-progress on display for everyone to see.

This public workspace affords her opportunities to be in the spaces she’s depicting on canvas, but also provides the curious passerby the chance to speak with her and ask questions about her work.

“I realized that most of the world’s great art was done in public places, not in proud isolation,” she says. “Particularly children spend an incredible amount of time watching. And so, I felt as if I was doing something useful.”

Art as Service

It’s a window into the way different mental disciplines think.
— Audrey Ushenko

Ushenko rejects the common stereotype of the artist working in “proud isolation,” locked away in a studio far from the public eye. Instead, she believes art can be—and often is—created in service of something else entirely.

“And in fact,” she says, “art is not just easel painting and sculpture. It’s not only carved stylizing, but the design of motors. Art has many manifolds and it has a million different forms according to its function.”

Ushenko flatly rejects the common idea that art is an act of self-expression.

Instead, she says, it is a search for truth—just like any other mental discipline taught in the halls and classrooms on campus—that becomes self-expression in the act of being learned.

Ushenko shares her art philosophies with a student.

Ushenko shares her art philosophies with a student.

Program Snapshot: Department of Fine Arts

What shape does your art take? The Department of Fine Arts can help you hone your craft in modern studio spaces and connect your work with major regional galleries and organizations. We graduate painters, sculptors, printmakers, and more. Our program includes ceramics, drawing, metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Learn more.