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Art & Design Faculty, Staff & Directors
Our faculty and staff are committed to giving our students the
best possible education and experiences. They are active in scholarship/research, creative endeavors and professional practice. Our faculty remain devoted and accessible to students and engaged in student development, organizations and projects.
Prof. William Mancuso
Assistant Professor of Art
Chair of the Department of Art & Design
BS from SUNY-Brockport
MFA from SUNY at Buffalo
Prof. William Mancuso is assistant professor in art and chair of the department of art & design, a top 200 creative program in the United States (“Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers”). He teaches art history and foundation courses at Ohio Northern. He has an MFA degree in painting from SUNY-Buffalo and a BFA in studio arts from SUNY-Brockport. He has exhibited regionally and nationally, and has served as a juror for various exhibits and competitions including this year’s Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICUO) Art Award competition. Prof. Mancuso recently received an excellence in teaching award from the College of Arts & Sciences Student Advisory Board.
“For me, art is about seeing. Seeing the interconnectedness. Seeing the invisible behind the visible. When I consider what Gandhi said when asked about his message, ‘My life is my message,’ perhaps the trail one leaves is not only your message, but the ultimate form of art. By attempting to see, by participating in the process of seeing, I try to be responsible and conscious of the choices and marks one makes, regardless of the palette.”
Prof. Brit Rowe
Associate Professor in Graphic Design
BFA from Ohio Northern University
MFA from the University of Michigan
Prof. Brit Rowe is associate professor in graphic design and served as chair from 2002–2013. He joined the faculty in 1999 after receiving his M.F.A. degree in graphic design from the University of Michigan. He is a member of AIGA/The Professional Association for Design, the University and College Designers Association, Kappa Pi, Theta Chi, Order of Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa.
Prof. Rowe has considerable experience as a graphic designer, has exhibited regionally and has worked for clients such as Norwich University, the United Way, and many others. He also has collaborated with design students for local organizations such as the Ada Public Library, the Village of Ada, Restore Community Center, the Allen East Community Center and Ohio Northern. Since 2006, he has presented at AIGA national design educators’ conferences, the Hawaii International Conference on the Arts and Humanities, and the 4th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Chicago. He was invited as an external program consultant to review college art/design curricula, was selected as a juror for various regional and international competitions, and was included in Creative for a Cause, a social responsibility resource for advertising design educators. Prof. Rowe also was inducted into Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and recently received the Eleanor H. and Robert Biggs Endowed Chair in the Arts.
“My basic philosophy of education begins with teaching students the foundation of good design: composition, color theory, typography, visual syntax, etc. Then, as the student moves through the program, I feel it’s important to strengthen the understanding of conceptual skills, writing, verbal expression, semantics, narrative structures, design history and an understanding of the social, cultural and functional possibilities of design. Together, we investigate design thinking, the foundation of our program. But, ultimately, I want to engage students in the learning process so they learn how to learn.”
Prof. Melissa Eddings
Associate Professor of Art
Director of University Galleries
Certificate in Illustration from Ringling School of Art & Design
BFA from Ohio University
MFA from Edinboro University
Eddings is associate professor in the department of art & design, a top 200 creative program in the United States (“Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers”). She has taught at ONU since 1997, served as chair from 2000–2002 and currently teaches painting, printmaking and foundation courses in the department of art & design. Melissa has also been chosen for a sabbatical leave to pursue research relating to book arts and printmaking.
On campus, Melissa serves as the gallery director, the department’s study abroad coordinator and adviser for the Student Art League. In addition, she served as a member of the University’s Planning Council, the Committee on Curriculum, University Council, Committee on Professional Evaluation, Faculty Affairs, and the Cultural Affairs and Special Events committees. For a few years, she served on committees for ArtSpace in Lima.
Melissa has been accepted to numerous juried shows including ArtSpace/Lima, the Findlay Art League, and the Ohio Art League. She also has had work on exhibit at Thiel College, Bluffton University, Ohio Northern University, Edinboro University, and the National Small Painting Exhibition. She also was recently accepted into the Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books Project that traveled worldwide in 2010-12 and curated the exhibition “Undercover: 6 Artists/24 Books” held at ArtSpace/Lima in 2010.
“My philosophy as it specifically relates to the teaching of visual arts is based on a strong foundation of drawing and design, an in-depth exploration on idea generation, and a knowledge of contemporary and historical art. Art is a fundamental means of expression. As such, the mastery of techniques and media is integral. However, these aspects are but the grammar of art. They are the “how,” not the “why” of art. Meaning and intent play an integral part of the studio environment as well. Ultimately, great art and design is accomplished when the vocabulary (the principles of art and design) enhances the message (the concept and intent).”
Prof. Luke Sheets
Assistant Professor in Art
BFA from Ohio Northern University
MFA from Bowling Green State University
Prof. Sheets is an assistant professor in ceramics and director of the 3D program at Ohio Northern’s department of art & design. He earned his BFA from Ohio Northern University and his MFA from Bowling Green State University. His research interests include experimenting with clays and glazes to discover how they react with wood-kiln firing and incorporating local materials into the process. His work has been accepted into many national competitions including the Majestic Galleries’ National Juried Competition 2009, the “Drink: Functional Forms for Every Libation” international competition, the 8th Annual National Juried Cup Show and the 6th Annual “It’s Only Clay” National Exhibition. In 2005, he had work included in “500 Cups: Ceramic Explorations of Utility and Grace,” a book published by Lark Books. At ONU, Prof. Sheets teaches ceramics, sculpture and 3D design. He also is the adviser to the Kappa Pi art honorary.
“Nothing is created in a vacuum. I hope to show my students that they can have a better control over what they are creating if they are aware of what is being done now and what has been done before.
I find myself more concerned with the students’ mental development than with their development of skills. The skills develop with practice, but it’s the mental practice that gets overlooked and left behind.
I strive to push my students into new areas of creating. The learning of hands skills, while of critical importance, isn’t as important as the understanding of what it is they are creating and why they are creating it. If the artist or object-maker isn’t questioning what it is he is creating then why should the viewer or user spend any time interacting with the art object?”