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River Remnants: The art work of Ohio Northern alumna on exhibit in Colorado

December—The Town of Windsor Museum at the Art & Heritage Center in Colorado will showcase the work of Toby Baker (BFA/studio arts ’06) in an upcoming exhibit. “River Remnants” will run from January 14 through March 27, 2015 with an opening reception on January 10.

Following the flood of 2013, Toby went searching through the myriad sticks and debris, which washed up along the shores of the Poudre River in Windsor, Colorado. In this mire, she discovered a simple and intricate beauty in the items that remained following such a destructive force of nature. Pairing aspen branches with fishing wire, willow twigs with lost sandals, and burlap wrapping with shaped sticks, Toby created timeless sculptures capturing natural beauty and an amazing history. Much like the artists who created a whole artistic genre in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Toby took what was a disaster and turned it into art.

For those who live near the river in Colorado, their relationship to the water has always been a rocky one. Life is only possible on the Colorado Plains by means of irrigation. In River Remnants, early developers harnessed the power of water to make the semi-arid climate into an agricultural success.

Colorado is known as the Mother of Rivers in the United States. The North and South Platte, the Arkansas, the Rio Grande and the Colorado all make their beginnings in that state. Naturally the rivers play a major role in the environment, economy and the lives of so many people.

Born in Wyoming in 1954, Toby has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the University of Wyoming, an M.A. in creative writing from the University of North Dakota and a B.F.A. in studio arts from Ohio Northern University. She has worked in public relations, journalism and broadcasting and for the last 20 years served two universities, the University of North Dakota and Ohio Northern University, as the spouse of the president. While at Ohio Northern, she was commissioned to create a number of site-specific sculptures for the campus including her 2009 “School of Fish” for the atrium of the new Mathile Center for the Natural Sciences.

After moving to Colorado in 2011, she now pursues art and writing with abandon. A recipient of several awards and distinctions, she has shown her work primarily in galleries and exhibits in Ohio and Colorado.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: Tusami’s Wild Ride, w 47" x h 58" x d 12"