Peru, Nebraska – The Peru State College art department will be hosting its annual senior exhibition in May. The exhibition will feature seven different senior artists.

An opening reception will be held Friday, May 6, at 5:30 p.m. in the Peru State Art Gallery, which is in the AV Larson building on the College’s campus. A second reception will be held following the College’s Commencement the next day.

Susan Moore, assistant professor of art, is coordinating the exhibition. Moore commented, “I am amazed with the level of work this group of artists has put out. Their dedication is evident through their complex processes and refined skill. These seniors produced an incredible range of works, each unique to their specific style and area of focus. We have seven unique and talented young artists, together making a brilliant show of Peru State’s finest!”

Those seniors participating in the exhibition include Grant Chance – graphic design from Nebraska City, Lily Ellis – graphic design and fine arts from Peru, Sylvia Foust – fine arts from Auburn, Alison Hermann – fine arts from Sabetha, Kan., Alena Montoya – fine arts from Lakewood, Colo., Emily Oestmann – graphic design from Johnson, and Marisa Spotanski – fine arts from Stanton.

Oestmann shared her thoughts on college and being an art major. She stated, "Peru State has given me so many diverse experiences. I don't quite remember what I thought college would be like; but it wasn’t anything like this. The last four years of my life were incredibly formative. I spent my time hustling back and forth between the art and the business buildings, learning about effective visual communication, and in less than a week, all my hard work will be on display in the gallery. I didn't think time would fly by so quickly. 

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in my campus ministry and in the dorms as an RA. I cannot put into words how much these two things worked in tandem to form who I am now. When I'm creating art, whether it be fine art or graphic design, my life experiences impact my communication. The world is a big broken place full of God's glory. It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron; but it's true. When I create art for myself, I do my best to hone in on the things that I see as beautiful or inspiring (things that remind me of God's power and sovereignty). It's easy to see the despair and the heartache, and art is a good outlet to communicate those feelings; but I want to help my audience to see God's goodness despite the brokenness. 

Everything 'art' embodies is so wild to me. The way light mixes colors together or how a wordless composition influences people to feel a certain way is crazy. God has the power to create massive tectonic plates that float on oceans of magma; but he also took the time to design delicate wildflowers, that only last a week or two. Things like this leave me awestruck at the incredible amount of care God went into creating everything. God is truly the best artist. 

All of this is to say, that college is an experience with many complex parts, and it wasn't only the classes that taught me how to design effective visual communication. The classes may have taught me the rules but, the highs and lows of everything else worked together to help me learn what I need to communicate: despite all the terrible things on this earth, God brings beauty through His creation and hope through Jesus."

Montoya added comments as well. She noted, “Throughout my four years of college I have been preparing myself not only for my degree but my overall goal to become an independent artist as well as an art curator. 

I am a surrealist artist who likes to express my thoughts, feelings, and life experiences to connect with others. Also, I specialize in color, lines, and out of the ordinary subjects. With these hand in hand, you will find my art style to be more dream-like as well as imaginative. Within the process of my paintings, you will also find my life story— portraying my sense of balance and tranquility. The overall message throughout my work is, “I want you to see you through me too.” I want my art to not only make an impression on my viewers but to also be a part of art history. It is one thing I am able to leave in time and impact more than just myself.” 

The exhibition will be in the gallery for the month of May. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday or via appointment through Professor Moore at