Online art education program to host exhibit, Oct. 30 reception

“The Kid is in the Corner” by Kenneth Walsh
“The Kid is in the Corner” by Kenneth Walsh
KEARNEY –The Masters in Art Education Online Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is partnering with The Walker Art Gallery to present an art exhibit of work created by students and alumni of the program.
The exhibit – “The Art(ist) Teacher: Works by UNK Art Educators Across the U.S.” – is on display Monday (Sept. 29) through Oct. 30 at The Walker Art Gallery on the UNK campus.
A virtual exhibit of the work also will be available online at
The event features individuals who have bachelor’s degrees in an art field currently teaching art in a K-12 school system or working in an art museum setting as an educator.
“Because of the online format, the students are from all over the country and all over the world,” said Lisa Kastello, assistant professor of art education and graduate program chair. “This exhibit is the first of its kind at UNK and, perhaps, a first for online programs in general.”
A reception honoring the artists and recognizing the Masters in Art Education Online program will be hosted from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at The Walker Art Gallery. Some of the featured artists will be in attendance, while others will join via Skype.
For more information, contact Kastello at 308-627-6224 or email
Artists whose work will be on display include:
Name, City
Brett Barker, Galisteo, N.M.
Cynthia DeCoste, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada
Andrew DeLeo, Deer Park, N.Y.
Julie Donaldson, Bellevue
Tamara Hilton, Tacoma, Wash.
Kyle Hoyt, Mullen
Susan Kleps, Jenks, Okla.
Nicholas Leonard, Omaha
Courtney Mimick, Omaha
Katie Morris, Holton, Kans.
Rebecca Moseley, Montgomery City, Mo.
Chad Petska, Lincoln
Kymi Johnson Rutledge, Omaha
Neil Thorpe, Hollywood, Fla.
Melissa Zimmerman, Omaha

Select Artist Statements

Julie Donaldson – Artist Statement

The three works presented here are from my Painting coursework of the spring 2014 semester. I wanted to get back to doing work that was personal, solely for myself, and experimental. The works are connected with repeated visual imagery and my own personal style. The use of embroidery, pasted images, watercolor canvas and tinting the paper with coffee were new techniques that I attempted to use successfully in these works. The results are surreal, dreamlike, and I hope thought-provoking for the viewer.

Kyle Hoyt – Artist Statement

In the past, I had always considered myself to be a 3-D artist. I have had a love for thrown and sculpted ceramics for a long time. Texture and contrast were my tools of choice. I tended to shy away from drawing and painting because I felt I would never have the skills necessary to produce artwork that I would technically be proud of. Over the past few years, I have started to develop my skills in pencil and watercolor. This has led me to create the work you see today.

My artwork, at this time in my life, is a combination of testing the limits of my own personal technical abilities and testing the limits of the mediums themselves. I strive for photorealism within my work and focus on the use of texture and contrast to achieve it. I like to think that my work is rapidly evolving as I gain experience in the mediums. As far as the mediums themselves go, I like to see just how far I can push them to get the results I desire. I experiment with their application, with the surfaces I apply them to, with the addition of different mediums, and with the introduction to outside items to create different textures, opacities, and values.

My biggest influences are my family, and the Sandhills of Nebraska that I call home. Many times they are also the focus of my work. I enjoy producing work that is personally meaningful to me because at the moment, that is who it is for. The subjects in my work are from specific moments in my life. For me, finishing them in pencil or watercolor secures them as important images from my life.

Susan Putnam Kleps – Artist Statement

My art is a never-ending documentation of life. Whether it is a past experience or simply an observation, all of my thoughts, hopes, dreams, beliefs, mistakes, failures and disappointments find a home within my artwork.

I was raised with a patriarch who was a “collector” of all things. Some would call this behavior hoarding, while others might view it as a quirky form of treasure hunting. Call it what you must, but I grew up surrounded by stuff. A lot of stuff! As a child, this was maddening to me, as I wanted to be the “normal” kid living in the “normal” house. But now that I am grown, I realize that this background had a profound impact on my art.

More often than not, my art is like my upbringing. As an artist, I can’t name one or two major artistic influences, but find that I have “collected” bits and pieces of inspiration from hundreds of different artists.

My previous work has focused on the topics of neglect, abandon, accumulation, overwhelm, excess and extreme detailing. These topics are rendered as both a physical environment and a mental state of being.

Kimberly Rutledge – Artist Statement

The reason I make art is to create a visual connection to the people, places and things that have meaning to me. As a child, we had few books in our home. But, we did have a set of encyclopedias, which I loved to read. Now, as an adult, my art represents a personal encyclopedic set of memories. Interpreting human connections and memories is the essential spirit and ethos of my artwork. Although we experience periodic restructuring of cultural knowledge as we grow, humankind continues to form subtle new understandings of ourselves. Attitudes, beliefs and challenges facing societies are found within my perspectives. My work is often oriented in the position of an observer in order to communicate the feeling or memory of a moment.

Neil Thorpe – Artist Biography

Neil Thorpe is an artist residing in South Florida. He has lived in South Florida since high school working in numerous creative professions from advertising to graphic design. Currently, Neil has returned to his artistic roots through painting and teaching. His style has been influenced by many contemporary artists such as Paul Gauguin, Horst P. Horst, Marisol Escobar, Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko and Olaf Hajek, as well as graffiti artists Adam Neate, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Dave Kinsey and Shepard Fairey (Obey).

His organic shapes and bright colors are characteristic of the early 2000 Miami and New York graffiti scene. Neil previously categorized himself as a street artist, but his work has evolved and he hopes to fuse his early graffiti street roots with more traditional artistic work such as portraiture, still-life and landscapes.

Many of the abstract paintings within his portfolio use natural references found in South Florida’s local vegetation and seascapes. Currently he has an interest in incorporating aphorisms and expressive statements into his artwork to expand its impact and meaning.

The materials used to create these layered works are recycled cardboard sourced from friends and neighbor as well as purchased and recycled board from packing materials. Although cardboard art is not a new medium, Neil wants to ensure that collectors understand its durability and versatility. Making sure his artworks withstand abuse as well as time, he takes great amounts of time to prepare the surface as well as ensure lasting construction. Neil Thorpe is new to the retail art world and within a short period of time has already gained attention from local collectors and national admirers. His belief is that “Art is always about love and feelings and deciphering the world we live in.”


“BLUE Lifeguard” by Kimberly Rutledge
“BLUE Lifeguard” by Kimberly Rutledge
“Brook St.” by Kimberly Rutledge
“Brook St.” by Kimberly Rutledge
“Memories of Merritt” by Kyle Hoyt
“Memories of Merritt” by Kyle Hoyt

Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454,
Contact: Lisa Kastello, 308.627.6224,

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