Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 8)


Darlys Ewoldt is a metalsmith and sculptor who lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. Darlys has had an impressive career in the visual arts, and her works are well-crafted, colorful, and inspired by the natural world. Due to Covid-19, The Anderson Gallery and Drake University are closed until February 1, 2021. We are using this time to highlight Drake Alums who are making art and impacting their communities, and we are thankful for Darlys for sharing her work and process with us.

Darlys Ewoldt in her studio in Chicago, Illinois


Darlys Ewoldt was born and raised in rural Iowa. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University. Ewoldt lives and works in Chicago, and her work has been included in numerous exhibitions and collections. She has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards, including Ford Foundation Fellowship and Project Grants, three Fellowship Grants from the Illinois Arts Council, Projects Grants from the Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation, the George Sugarman Foundation, the city of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and the Governor James R. Thompson Award for Excellence in Craft.


Fragments of memories, or words that resonate and stay within my mind converge with observations of the physical world during the course of my creative process. Poetic forms and mutations found in nature are sources of inspiration. I enjoy the visual experience of diverse landscapes and the transitions of the seasons. My work is intimate in both scale and intention. Interior spaces and being drawn visually and conceptually into the heart of a form is intriguing to me. I intend to subtly suggest images that might evoke a feeling of discovery, memory, or contemplation in the observer. By using metals including copper, brass, silver, steel, and bronze, 3-Dimensional forms can be realized through hammering and fabrication processes. Surface coloration is achieved via chemical patination procedures.




Cat Rocketship, 2007 Art and Design graduate, shares their work on social media and during a livestream Artist Talk on Thursday, January 7, 2021, at 7pm on our YouTube Channel.


Cat Rocketship (they/them) is a white artist and organizer and future ancestor who grew up in Nebraska and moved to Iowa like a million years ago. They’re using their radical imagination plus drawing and internet skills to help shape a world that doesn’t exist yet.


Cat uses their work to lift up the history of working class people and the power of collective action. They explore methods of art making that make low-cost products and make ideas easy to spread, such as producing stickers, digital and linocut prints, and t shirts. These projects feature words and slogans, and common themes include nature, human interconnectedness with nature, queer identity, and concepts of solidarity and the power dynamics around race and class. Cat seeks to open up conversations about the politics of every day life, worker power, and capitalism. Cat also creates community-based projects in order to create strong connections between neighbors and build relationships. These include large art installations at events such as The People’s Presidential Forum, art builds with community groups, and projects like Portrait Studio and zine making teach-ins.

GENDER & SEXUALITY PROJECTS: Nature is Queer (and You Are Part of Nature)

This collection explores one theme of my work: gender and sexuality. “Are You a Boy or a Girl?” (2020) is a mixed media drawing of a crow over a blue background. Above the crow is a dialogue bubble asking, “Are you a boy or a girl?” The crow responds, “Caw caw.” This illustration came out of reading Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. An early chapter of this book explores how as a young child Jess feels like she is “making everyone angry” because of the way she performs gender. For a moment, she is alone in nature. She questions a crow about the bird’s identity and reflects, “Nature held me close and seemed to find no fault with me.”

As a gender non-conforming person who performs both masculinity and femininity, often at the same time, I have been asked, “Are you a boy or a girl?” in many circumstances. When children in a classroom ask, it usually comes from a place of curiosity (though sometimes even children are attempting to replicate gender shaming they’ve seen or experienced). When men ask it in a bar it is a question with no safe answer. They are asking, “Should I want to fuck you or fight you?” They are asking me to quantify how much discomfort they should feel about me and my presentation, and what form of violence they should inflict. In a world where queerness is increasingly accepted, transness is still a dangerous place to live. I felt moved to put this metaphor to paper. The conversation between child and bird leaves an answer hanging in the air – that gender is a construct.

“Nature is Queer” (2020) is colorful illustration captures a few of the endless ways life manifests, the endless variety that means survival, including all the differences in gender, ability, sexuality, and bodies that exist in humanity. It was commissioned by One Iowa to celebrate the completion of their 2020 LGBTQ Leadership Institute.

“Lord of the Butterflies” (2018) was commissioned by Button Poetry to be the cover of Andrea/Andrew Gibson’s (they/them) 2018 release, “Lord of the Butterflies”, a collection of poems exploring gender and sexuality. On it, a silhouetted androgynous figure releases a flock of whirling butterflies, each carrying a symbol representing a different gender identity. The illustration is an exploration of the beauty of carrying many genders inside ourselves, and the confusion of sorting them through in a world where we are assigned one tightly defined range of gender characteristics.


A lot of my work features loud slogans. This comes both from my work as an organizer, and from the memetic power of slogans on shirts and stickers. People want them. They don’t always know why, but they like the sentiment, they identify with it, they put it on their bodies, and they strive to embody it. Then, through exposure to the new idea, they have conversations about it. They connect with others over it. These pieces are created to create cognitive dissonance or, sometimes just to foster an unruly spirit and a reminder of the power of the people to disobey in order to make change happen (like the FSU sticker).

In order to create great social change, we must believe that it is possible. Artists have a role to play in this. As Toni Cade Bambara, black feminist leader and writer said, “it is the role of the artist to make the revolution irresistible.” As communist poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht said, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Fuck Shit Up sticker (2018) – I drew this sticker after sitting in a meeting with organizers who were planning direct action over an anti-immigrant pro-ICE bill in Iowa. The folks in the room promised that we would gum up the gears of state power in order to slow or stop the bill. I made the sticker on a whim – it’s not an incisive or witty piece, but people respond to it. Even without the power of being connected to a drive for human rights, for livable wages, for trans rights, it’s a reminder to its holders of the power we have to cause a lot of trouble.

Solidarity Not Charity sticker (2020) – As much as I love the FSU sticker, I’m striving to illustrate the need for and power of collective action and practicing solidarity, not individualized action. The first step is putting the word on everyone’s tongue. The practice of mutual aid is natural to humans, but it’s one that we are educated against here in late stage capitalism. Instead we’re taught that it’s everyone for themselves, and the emphasis on individual responsibility and power infiltrates every aspect of our lives. This concept reinforces and is reinforced by ableism, racism, and sexism. Producing stickers like this one that end up on bags, water bottles, notebooks, and light poles helps spread the idea and concept of mutual aid. It’s part of a greater effort by countless artists, organizers, and agitators to strategically shift culture toward collectivism.

No Borders Bunny (2018) – I drew this during a discussion with organizers about decriminalizing migration. Powerful voices in the room spoke about the inequities of borders: “There are no borders if you’re rich enough.” We recognize that both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. uphold borders as not just necessary, but the most natural thing in the world. But who do those borders serve? In this image of a rabbit jumping a wall, we are reminded that borders are man-made. They are a tool of the oppressor. We are reminded that borders inflict violence not just on poor and dispossessed humans, but on our non-human relatives as well. We are reminded that we are wild, just like the rabbit, and we can be ungovernable. This is a straight-up anarchist image, and I’ve been surprised by the swathes of people who buy this shirt, sticker, or print. Many of them identify with right wing ideologies. This image has created space for many conversations about radical change.

People’s Presidential Forum art direction (2019) – In 2019, Iowa CCI Action Fund, a grassroots political organization working to build political power with working class Iowans, cohosted a forum where fast food workers, farmers, field workers, and nurses asked questions of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigeg. I was asked to create signs, bandanas, a stage, an entrance, and a soundscape that uplifted the people and our collective values that put our communities above profits and our planet over corporate power. Our team was struck by the corporate feel of the event’s location – in Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines. We wanted to dress the space in a way that made the 3,000 attendees feel powerful and welcomed. We covered the facade of the space – 45′ tall by 100′ wide – with a hand painted banner and mural on kraft paper. We dressed the stage in portraits of our community leaders and words reflecting our commitment to each other. We spent less than $500 to build it all and we transformed the space and covered it in messy, human art.


The skeletons are a flexible character in my work. They’re fun, they’ve chill, and they’re a momento mori…in a cute way. To be honest I don’t know why I’m obsessed with death or why I collect bones. I’ve processed the major deaths in my life, but I like to carry a little death with me everywhere. Maybe it’s that any view of the world that doesn’t include death feels incomplete. Maybe it’s comforting to know that my bones and the elements that make me up are fleeting – that even in this very moment molecules are leaving me forever. The anima prints are fun and tie us to our non-human relatives. They also evolved as a big seller at craft shows where in The Before Times I made my circuit.

For a while I was attracted to using skeletons for a large body of work (including a full 78-card tarot completed in 2017) because they are non binary. They exist without race or sex, and I don’t give them gendered costumes. I struggle with this as well — am I attempted to create a world that doesn’t deal with race? What are the ramifications of that? The skeletons can also get away with more things than humans in drawings. The poly skeleton drawing is one of my favorites this year. It’s cheeky af. There’s a whole play party happening, complete with snacks, drugs, and oral sex. But it’s not all that obviously because these characters exist as scratchy skeleton drawings. I can (and have) draw fully fleshed-out humans engaged in sex, flirting, murder, betrayal, love…but there’s something Midwestern goth about only depicting these acts in skeleton form.


Market Day (2009 – 2020) is an Indie craft show and community of crafters, artists, makers, and especially women, queer, and femme makers. We’ve cultivated a place for artists to grow together, a place for young artists to get a toe-hold in the community, and a place to expand the audience for low-fi and accessible art in Central Iowa.





Students in Art & Design Professor Lenore Metrick-Chen’s class Curating Race, Fall 2020, studied issues of race and visual culture. Their starting point centered on how race is created by society and power systems: it is not a biological or genetic reality, but a social reality. Focusing on Iowan history, and contextualizing this study with national history, they examined how imagery has been crucial in promoting and in challenging ideas of race. The culmination of the course is their virtual exhibition, Race and Visibility- An Online Exhibition. Each student created a room in the exhibition that stands on its own, and collectively they offer a probing and visually engaging exploration of the representation of race and its consequences. This exhibition will be available online through March 31, 2021.

Screen Capture of Madyson Sklar’s virtual exhibition on “Black Hair: The History and Heterogenous Styling.”

Race and Visibility is curated by Professor Lenore Metrick-Chen’s class “Curating Race” in Fall 2020. Please click on each link below to start a “Guided Tour” of each virtual exhibition. Or, if you opt for “Enter Exhibition” instead, you will be able to click on individual art and objects to get more information and, sometimes, music, videos and sound.

Thanks for touring these exhibitions! Students would love your feedback so please send comments to


Marissa Hernandez is the recipient of the 2020-21 Drake Alumni Artist Residency at
Mainframe Studios. She recently completed murals for The Candle Bar, Slow
Down Coffee Company, Art Terrarium, and the Conmigo Early Education Center.
She graduated with a BFA degree in painting and graphic design in May 2020 during the
pandemic. Remarkably, Marissa is more active than ever and has used this time to
safely partner with Des Moines businesses and agencies to transform our city.

Marissa focuses on marginalized identities and places Black, Indigenous, and
People of Color in idealistic worlds. She uses murals and social media as tools for
accessibility and large-scale representation, and she is an extraordinary example
of someone using their creative talents to make a true impact to our community.

Watch Marissa’s Artist Talk and learn more about her ideas, inspiration, process and goals. You will be challenged and inspired!

And be sure to follow Marissa on Instagram and check out her website!


We are fortunate to have Jill Wells, Drake Alum ’05, living and working in Des Moines where she continues to paint and transform our community. Jill is widely known for her colorful narrative paintings and murals, especially those at the Des Moines YMCA and Blank Park Zoo. She is the recent recipient of the 2020 Iowa Creative Incubation Fellowship, and she is represented by the Great Frame Up Gallery. Throughout her career, Jill has worked to inspire at-risk youth and those in addiction recovery and has used her creative talents to advocate for disability rights. Join us Friday, December 11, 2020 at 7pm as we live stream Jill’s artist talk and painting demonstration. Click to tune in!


Iowa based artist Jill Wells is best known for her dynamic and colorful narrative paintings that investigate race, history, stereotypes, emotions, and the human condition. Born in 1980 in Des Moines, Iowa, Wells was raised in Indianola, Iowa. She studied at Drake University and earned her BFA 2005. An award-winning painter, Wells has been in practice for more than 18 years with public and private works in Iowa, Mississippi, Arizona and New Orleans. Her artwork is represented in the permanent collections of Iowa Lutheran Hospital, Blank Park Zoo, YMCA of Greater Des Moines, The Annette Nature Center, Polk County Jail (west wing) and Creative Visions Human Development Center. In 2017 and 2019, Wells was the recipient of the Polk County Heritage Gallery Merit Award. In 2020, Lavender and Lime profiled Wells in an online published portrait manifesto series, Black Lives Matter Portrait Manifesto. Most recently in 2020, Wells was selected as one of five artist fellows to participate in the Iowa Creative Incubator through Mainframe Studios. Additionally, Wells was selected as the mural artist for Disability Rights Iowa in October 2020.


My practice begins with a sound, a song, a sent, a texture, a look or glance, an emotion or injustice, a celebration, problem, or memory. Once inspiration strikes, I then move to creating: creating through materials, mediums, space, research, investigating, developing a narrative, creative-thinking and creative problem-solving. I am very mindful when creating and this involves thinking as well as “not thinking.” My practice is somewhat ritualistic when it comes to the actual production process. I work out of a home studio and most recently Mainframe fellowship studio. Art, for me, is about narration, connectivity and addressing needed areas. It is about having internal and/or external conversations with others, as well as myself, and making connections through one’s thoughts, emotions, space.

MOODS, MESSAGES, and PETTY REALNESS 2020 has been “a year” to say the absolute least. Moods, Messages and Petty Realness is an ongoing series that talks about all the many things Jill has and continues to experience and express in relation to 2020.


The mural was commissioned by Disability Rights Iowa in October 2020. The design captures the spirit of the fight for disability and human rights, equality and the love and care in the human experience. I said yes to working with DRI in creating this mural because I strongly believe in their mission and story. Being chosen to create this mural and to be a part of helping people with disabilities and mental illness deal with discrimination is an honor. Daily live streaming of this mural process provides viewers a behind the scenes look at creating artwork of this magnitude, quests and stories of individuals in the fight for disability rights. Location: Disability Rights Iowa 666 Walnut St., Suite 1440 Des Moines, IA 50309.



The Des Moines Symphony Academy commissioned a series of oil paintings celebrating their 15 years of history. Two large-scale paintings were part of this contracted commission in addition to one on-site, live-painting session of these paintings during the April 2018 for the 15th Anniversary celebration for the Academy. Material: Mixed Media | Oil + Piano sheet music + Epoxy on canvas. Size: 48” x 60” each = (96” x 60” total size). Location: Public Works – 5th Floor, Masonic Temple, 1011 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309.


The Cotton Memoirs came from the need to address a multitude of issues and learn deeper historical truths and facts. Like life, creating work is a process that does not end; it only evolves and changes. The Cotton Memoirs offers countless memories and accounts, public and private, for reflection. Oil on canvas | Original + Limited Edition Prints Available


Instagram and Facebook = @JillWellsArt



Michael Ruh, glassblower and Drake alum, now resides in London where he maintains his glass studio. He continues our series that highlights the impacts of Drake Art + Design graduates.

THE MICHAEL RUH STUDIO creates glassware for individuals and luxury brands. All pieces are designed and crafted by master glass-blower Michael Ruh from his studio in South London.

The Studio was founded in 2004 and is a partnership between Michael Ruh and wife Natascha Wahl (a fellow glass-blower), supported by several assistants. The creative emphasis is on a modern, discreet, purist aesthetic with minimal embellishment in harmonious colour palettes.

Alongside working on unique commissions for luxury interior and retail projects the studio produces exquisitely crafted collections of hand-blown glass tableware, objects and lighting, designed and made by Michael Ruh. Production is limited to a handful of pieces per day and all are made from pure, optical-quality glass. Many pieces feature delicate, abstract line-work spun round the inside. These are Michael Ruh’s signature lines – a process of incising into the near-finished shape when hot. The technique has similarities to Bokuseki calligraphy, in the sense that lines must be applied boldly and assertively – there can be no error as the glass records all.


Michael Ruh Studio Website







Kevin Callahan is graduate of Drake University where he studied painting under Jules Kirschenbaum. He now creates works in a variety of media, which include painting, sculpture, photography, crafts, and writing. Kevin studied with world renown Israeli artist Larry Abramson at a Painting Intensive at the San Francisco Art Institute and worked under Phil Hanson and Michelle Grabner at the Ox-Bow School of the Art Institute Chicago. Kevin’s award-winning art hangs in collections throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Israel. He currently works and resides with my wife in Parkville, Missouri, where they run The Elegant Line Gallery. Both of their sons are accomplished artists. His philosophy is simple: Composition, Story, Elegant Line. If you find the elegant line, your work will be lyrical. Check out Kevin’s website and support and follow his work


My acrylic paintings carry overtones reminiscent of both Edward Hopper and Thomas Hart Benton, but they are most often compared to Alex Katz. My work exhibits a slightly primitive look reminding the viewer of the relationship between the camera/canvas/painter/subject. Working from digital images, I capture subjects often unaware in a moment of space and time This invasion/observation offers a very personal connection between the viewer, the artist, and the subject. My work reveals everyday acts yet hints at mysterious unknowns. Individually each work offers a view of intriguing subjects, caught in a moment of time. As a body of work, they capture the essence of the subject in a kaleidoscope of color and movement. 



Join us online on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7pm for Judit Hersko’s virtual performance lecture followed by questions from the audience. This event is designed for students and faculty in all disciplines. A registration invitation and Zoom link will be sent in February.

Judit Hersko is an installation artist who works in the intersection of art and science. She collaborates with scientists on visualizing climate change science through art and narrative. Her work is rooted in extensive research as well as in a playful exploration of materials and phenomena of light, shadow and transparency. Her current practice involves story telling through performances that incorporate the objects she makes.

Judit Hersko is the recipient of the 2020 Myron “Mike” Marty Arts + Humanities Lectureship awarded by the Center for the Humanities through a generous donation from the Ralph & Sylvia G. Green Charitable Foundation. 


Join us in person for a safe and socially distanced collage workshop in the Anderson Gallery on Friday, March 26, 2021 from 1-4pm. This is limited to 16 students from any discipline. Learn more about climate change as Judit leads the group through brainstorming sessions and short demonstrations to create books made with found materials. Individual workstations and art kits are free and available to those who participate. Invitations to register will be sent in March. 

Judit Hersko’s work has received national as well as international recognition. In 1997 she represented her native Hungary at the Venice Biennale, and in 2007 her work was featured in Weather Report: Art and Climate Change, curated by Lucy Lippard for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2008 she received the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Grant and spent six weeks in Antarctica working with scientists. She has presented extensively on this work at universities, research institutions, conferences, and symposia around the world, and she has published several articles and book chapters. Hersko is a Professor in the Department of Art, Media, and Design at California State University San Marcos, where she initiated the Art and Science Project.


Claire Sedovic, published illustrator and the 2019-20 recipient of the Drake Alumni Artist Residency at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines, kicks off our Alumni Impact Series.

Tune in tonight at 7pm on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, as we livestream Claire’s talk on the Anderson Gallery’s Facebook page and on our YouTube Channel. Claire will share her latest projects, her process, and inspirations, and she will update us on how she used her residency and studio to further her career. Her recorded talk is available below:


By age six, Claire Sedovic knew she wanted to be an illustrator. Growing up in a family that prized creativity and a good bedtime story, she developed a strong appreciation for the interplay of words and pictures. Childhood experiences such as visits to the zoo and botanical garden continue to provide inspiration for her work today.

In 2015 she graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, IA with a BFA in Graphic Design. Originally from St. Louis, MO, she currently resides in Des Moines. Odd Animal ABC’s is her first children’s book.


In 2019 I realized a lifelong pursuit of becoming a published children’s book illustrator. But the journey for me, not only as an illustrator, but also an author, and most recently an educator, is still on-going. I come from a long maternal line of teachers and as I continue to grow as an artist, I understand even better how my words, pictures, and actions can help shape younger generations. I aim to create art that not only fulfills my artistic desires, but also art which resonates with and brings joy to children (and the child in each of us adults).


Children’s book written by June Smalls and Illustrated by Claire Sedovic, Published by Blue Manatee Press, May 2019. A is for Alligator, B is for Bear, and so on, right? Not in this book. The odd animals are taking over! It’s time to meet Aye-Aye, Fossa, Numbat, Xenops and more curious, yet real animals that are ready for their spotlight. Laugh along as they introduce the letters of the alphabet in their own odd way!


Children’s book, unpublished, 2019-2020, watercolor, written and illustrated by Claire Sedovic. Marcella starts kindergarten with an unlikely companion: a monarch butterfly! Her struggle to make (human) friends recognizes the importance of staying true to oneself despite the push to join the pack (or rather, the ‘flutter’)!


Children’s book, unpublished, watercolor, 2020, written and illustrated by Claire Sedovic. In search of a hug, Theodore, a plush toy bunny must avoid becoming the plaything, or worse – a tasty treat when he is left behind at the zoo!




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The Anderson Gallery is pleased to announce our winter virtual showcase that will feature projects by Drake Art + Design Alumni. These selected artists are actively creating and making impacts in their communities. Stay tuned for weekly stories and artist talks by these talented artists and designers!

Scheduled Features:

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