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Ohio Northern Art & Design Senior Candidates Exhibit Capstone Projects

April—It’s spring at Ohio Northern University, a demanding time for many seniors on campus. For students in the art and design department, the presentation of capstone projects is an intense but rewarding rite of passage that few undergraduates outside of art and design programs ever experience.

This April, six bachelor of arts and fine arts candidates in graphic design, studio arts, and advertising design have devoted a full year to producing a thematically focused research project as part of the required senior capstone experience. “During the students’ senior year,” explains William Mancuso, assistant professor art & design, “they begin to transform their attitudes from one of an art or design student working on assigned projects to one of an artist or designer engaged in a life-long process of development and learning.”

“This experience serves as the crowning point of the students’ education,” describes Prof. Luke Sheets, instructor for the capstone course. “Students know how to build a body of work. They know how to think about its connection to the broader world. They know how to integrate principles, theories and methods learned in courses in an applied context.”

One aspect of the capstone experience is the research project. The capstone project is designed to encourage students to define the complex intersection between personal voice, conceptual understanding, the ability to conduct and use research, and to effectively use their liberal arts education in a process of creating a compelling, professional presentation.

“This part of the process is largely self-directed,” describes Prof. Sheets. “The process presents to students an extraordinary opportunity to identify an area of interest, investigate it, and use art and design as the vehicle to present their findings.”

In addition to the capstone experience, students also design and install an exhibition of their work and give a presentation to the department faculty. “The gallery presentation is essentially the students’ portfolio,” says Prof. Sheets. “The body of work must demonstrate what the students have learned and must go beyond classroom exercises and assignments to incorporate complex problems, ideas and solutions.”

The BA/BFA candidates featured in the exhibition are:
Nicole Bregar, graphic design major from Grafton, Ohio
Abby Brown, advertising design major from Cincinnati, Ohio
Carmen Cano, advertising design major from Haskins, Ohio
Lauren Hector, graphic design major from Mt. Cory, Ohio
Tyler Jensen, graphic design major from Toledo, Ohio
Jordan Kimes, studio arts/2D major from Lexington, Ohio

The students’ portfolios will be on display during the closing reception of the Senior BA/BFA Exhibition, Saturday, April 25, 1–3p.m. in the Elzay Gallery Lobby. The exhibition is on view Monday, April 20 through Sunday, May 3 in the Elzay Gallery of Art.

Admission to the Elzay Gallery of Art is free and open to the public, daily from noon–5p.m. For additional information, to schedule a tour or to be placed on the arts exhibition mailing list, please contact the department of art & design (419) 772-2160 or

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.