Congratulations to Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk, recipient of the 2015 Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching! To read more about it visit:
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Amazing presentations!

On Wednesday evening, May 13 at 5:30PM, graduate art education student Zac Wanner will present his research “Artist Statements: An important tool for learning, assessment, and flourishing” followed by a short time of Q & A in SC322
On Thursday, May 14 from 10-11AM in the Alumni Board Room Arts 355 students will present the brand design work they did on behalf of Herman Miller this semester. Please join us for the presentations, coffee and donuts.
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Spring Arts Festival!

Call for submissions! Submit your art to be in the Spring Arts Festival: Opticks. Artwork can be placed in the painting studio under the Visual Arts Guild lights. Deadline is May 13 @ 6:30pm.

Please include a label with title, date, medium, and your name.

Also, we need volunteers for help with set-up! Please email Caitlin at if you are interested in volunteering. You get a free t-shirt for volunteering and/or submitting.

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CIVA Conference Volunteers

Calling all artists! The CIVA, or Christians in the Visual Arts, conference is being hosted this summer at Calvin College from June 11-14, 2015. We need volunteers for all sorts of activities; giving directions, sitting at the registration desk, set-up and take-down or photography. If you are interested, please email Betty Sanders: at



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Spend May Interim 2016 in Sweden!

ART W42 Sweden: From Neoclassicism to Ikea (MAY). The course is intended to introduce students to the art and architecture of Sweden, from 1633 (when six-year-old Kristina came to the throne) to the present, with particular attention paid to the reign of Gustav III (1775 to 1792). The role of ‘classical’ forms in a Protestant country, located far from the Mediterranean, will be a central concern. Based largely in Stockholm, the itinerary will include visits to nearby country houses, palaces, and museums including Svindersvik Manor (1740), the Royal Palace (completed in the 1750s), Sturehof Manor (1781), Drottningholm Palace (the Court Theatre is one of the best-preserved eighteenth-century theaters in the world), Skansen (the world’s first open-air museum opened in 1891 with buildings from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries), and the Nationalmuseum. In and around Uppsala, we shall visit the University Museum, Linnaeus’s museum and botanical gardens, Sigtuna (Sweden’s second oldest town), Steninge Manor (completed in 1705), and the Rosersberg Palace (the seventeenth-century building contains some of Europe’s best preserved interiors from ca. 1800). The relationship between geography, cultural adaptations, and external stylistic influences will be a primary concern throughout the course. Intellectually and artistically, how was Sweden like other parts of Europe and how was Sweden distinct? May 2016, Fee: $3400 (hopefully more like $3000). C. Hanson.

Photo: Rosersberg Palace, royal palace on Lake Mälaren, outside of Stockholm (Wikimedia Commons).


The trip is open to only 12 or 14 students. Please contact Professor Craig Hanson for more information, Don’t delay; space is limited!

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Ceramics Panel

On Friday, April 17 the Center Art Gallery will host a ceramics panel
discussion at 6pm in the CFAC Recital Hall. Professor Anna Greidanus will
moderate a discussion with panelists Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah
Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University, Joseph
Becherer, Chief Curator at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and
Daleene Menning, Ceramic Artist and Professor of Art Emeritus, GVSU. A
reception will follow in the West Lobby.

This event is held in conjunction with “EARTHWORK: Collected Clay from
East to West,” an exhibition curated by Anna Greidanus, professor of art
at Calvin College.

This exhibition would not have been possible without the enthusiastic
interest and support of Nicholas and Claire Wolterstorff, Aleicia and Bob
Woodrick, and Steve and Alice Zawojski.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 3.24.50 PMImage credit: (detail) Ray Vallo, Native American – Acoma, Black Stain Hand Drawn Geometric Surface Design Vessel, ca. 1998, slip cast white clay

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Julia LaPlaca Wins Calvin’s 2014–15 Honors Contract Competition

Julia LaPlaca’s essay “The Historiography of Savonarola and the Arts: From Iconoclast to Savior” was selected as the winner of the 2014–15 Honors Contract Competition. Julia is a third-year student at Calvin majoring in English and Art History.
Abstract: The historiography of Fra Girolamo Savonarola’s relationship to the arts presents perennial complexity. As the director of San Marco, Savonarola served as the de facto ruler of Florence from 1494 to 1498, after the Medici had fled from the French invasion. His dramatic career and sermons leave room for both an iconoclastic and ‘pro-image’ vision of Savonarola. Early biographers, such as Vasari, labeled Savonarola as an iconoclast citing his infamous ‘Burning of the Vanities’. However, nineteenth-century scholars such as Fra Vincenzo Marchese, Alexis Rio, and Pasquale Villari reinterpreted the friar as a pious force—the savior of Italian art from impending paganism. Savonarola’s sermons are filled with positive art-making metaphors that nicely paralleled nineteenth-century cultural interests in ‘purifying’ art. More recent views of Savonarola take a less polarized and more contextualized view of the troublesome friar. Ronald Steinberg argues Savonarola, though connected to art, should not be read as an art critic: instead, for Savonarola, art always served a theological (rather than an aesthetic) end. Likewise, Paul Barlosky posits that Savonarola’s art rhetoric makes sense in the context of Florence—a city full of art-aficionados. Thus the historiographical narrative of Savonarola comes full circle from iconoclast, to savior, to a reinvestigation of Savonarola’s complexities within his own time.
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