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ISAD 2020 BFA Diploma Works Virtual Reception Set for Oct. 22

October 19, 2020

Finlandia University’s International School of Art & Design (ISAD) will hold a Zoom celebration in honor of our 2020 Bachelor of Fine Arts Diploma Works graduates. Annah Smiddy (Graphic Design), Chelsea LaPalme (Art Therapy), Denia Bent (Graphic Design), Mindy Aho (Intermedia) and Shannon Chouinard (Graphic Design) faced many challenges as they completed their culminating artwork for graduation during the global pandemic. Rising to the unique challenges of this time, the seniors uprooted their studios, moved off campus, participated in virtual critiques and faced the economic and social stresses of having their senior year disrupted in unprecedented ways. They completed their final projects and graduated in May 2020.

Please join us October 22 at 7p.m. as Denise Vandeville, Dean of the ISAD hosts a Zoom presentation highlighting each of the seniors accomplishments and unique talents.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 989 4071 0172
Passcode: 635299


Mindy Aho, Intermedia, “This is not a Fairytale. This is not an enchanted forest.” Oil on Canvas, 2020

Mindy Aho

Mindy Aho addresses gender equality through the lens of  history, noting that change is constant and hopeful. Her work mixes realism, fantasy and symbolism to investigate cultural change through time.

“The definition of equality across all genders is something that has evolved since women were granted the right to vote,” said Aho.  Aho used collage techniques in the pre-planning phase of her work; scanning, combining and digitally altering images from fashion magazines. She used these collages to lay out the compositions of her final paintings.

“Not only does art have the power to express ideas, any idea, but the techniques that an artist chooses to use can also affect the emotion and feelings that a painting or any piece of art can emit,” said Aho.

Denia Bent, Graphic Design “These Curls Are My Crown”, 2020

Denia Bent

For my diploma works project, I am highlighting natural hair as the crown black women wear daily,” said Bent.  “Having natural hair shapes the way you move through the world, and how you are perceived on a social level. It is a political statement and a language that speaks volumes.”

Bent created a series of portraits of black women, with features representing not an individual person but the many women included in the discussion regarding natural hair. She approaches the project informed by history dating back to slavery, the standards of Western beauty, and the cultural forces of the work place and society.

“What I want to achieve within my diploma works, is to leave people more educated and aware of natural hair than when they arrived, “ said Bent.  “I am taking history and bringing more truth to light. I want people to realize that natural hair is not to be compared to straight hair. It is its own beautiful creation.”

Shannon Chouinard, Graphic Design, “Acceptance”, 2020

Shannon Chouinard

“What kind of social pressure has social media put on you toward your body image or self in general?” asked Shannon Chouinard in a survey she conducted about the effects of social media on people’s self-image and self-perception.  “Did you feel this pressure to look a certain way in order to be accepted toward society after or before social media became a thing?”  The results of this survey informed a series of graphic design posters addressing the role of the rise of Instagram’s popularity in the formative years of her survey participants.  Her work also looks at how advertising and celebrity culture have impacted how we see ourselves.

“Normalizing ones’ true body may better impact society, upcoming generations, mental health, acceptance all around, and reduce the amount of judgment in the world,” said Chouinard.

Chelsea LaPalme, Art Therapy, “Sgraffito Egg”, 2020

Chelsea LaPalme

Chelsea LaPalme is a graduate in Art Therapy and she conducted a study that evaluates two designed art programs focused on mental health, including increasing the sense of positivity and stress and anxiety reduction in veterans and caregiver populations. LaPalme enlisted five veterans to participate in an art program creating copper birdbaths.  She also created an art program for five caregivers, teaching them to make sgraffito eggs.

“This study could demonstrate how important the arts are for our mental health and how it can benefit individuals’ over-all mental well-being,” said LaPalme. “This study could influence researchers to design other art programs and to experiment with which programs are beneficial for particular populations. The study overall supported previous research that art can be used as a tool to help treat mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety.”

Annah Smiddy

Annah Smiddy used her experience as a goalie on the Finlandia University women’s hockey team as an inspiration for a business called “Puck Head”. Her business would use goalie masks to express the individuality of the players.

“When you picture a goalie mask what do you see?,” asked Smiddy. “For some, the first thought might be that it is for protection. But, to those truly in tune with all things hockey, the goalie mask is about more than protection, it’s a sign of individuality.”

“Puck Head is giving the goalies of the world their own personality on their helmets by custom design work,” said Smiddy. “The future of Puck Head is more than custom jobs on helmets, it would include cars and other types of jobs. ‘Puck Head’ would become the first in the world of helmets that shows that the goalie is more than just the last line of defense, but that they are the cornerstone of the team.”

Please call 906-487-7500 or email gallery@finlandia.edu for more information.

Learn more about this exhibit, other exhibits and the Finlandia University Gallery in general by visiting finlandia.edu/universitygallery

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