Having grown up in the town ball hotbed of Cold Spring, Minnesota, it’s perhaps no surprise that Heidi Schmitz became a big baseball fan.
And her love for the sport inspired the exhibit she put together for this year’s College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Senior Art Exhibition now on display at SJU’s Alice R. Rogers and Target galleries through April 30.
Schmitz, a senior art major at CSB with an emphasis in design, created her own fictional team – the Starlings. The exhibit comes complete with designed and illustrated posters and playing cards depicting the individual players, a designed logo and uniform and even a team Instagram account.
Newly-added graphic design classes strongly influenced the project.
“I really love baseball and this was a chance to do some design and illustration,” she said. “I wanted to do something that incorporated all that stuff. I didn’t want to just pick a random, existing team. I thought it would be more interesting to make up my own and create a whole new set of designs.”
The annual exhibition is open to all fine arts students. It marks the capstone of the two-part Senior Studio Thesis course, which consists of a full-semester, four-credit class in the fall and a half-semester, two-credit class in the spring.
“During these classes, the students develop their skills and create a focused personalized body of work,” explained Sam Johnson, Chair of the Art Department at CSB+SJU and the instructor for the Senior Studio Thesis classes.
This year, the work of 12 different students is on display – two from SJU and 10 from CSB. The students put together their own artist statements, websites and artist bios. Faculty members from the Art Department will critique their work on May 2.
Participating seniors will also be at the gallery from 1 to 2 p.m. on Celebrating Scholarship and Creativity Day April 21 to talk about their work.
“It’s a nice way to conclude their experience at CSB and SJU,” CSB+SJU Gallery Manager Becky Pflueger said. “It gives them a really nice opportunity to exhibit their work and learn all about that process – like how galleries work. They take a class beforehand to prep, then I go in and give them a gallery contract. I go over it with them so they know what everything means and the expectations gallerists are going to have when they exhibit their work in the future.
“It’s a way of helping them prepare their work for those kinds of spaces.”
Pflueger said students come up with their own themes, as well as the medium in which they choose to work.
“They all go over their exhibitions with me to make sure that it abides by the rules for the gallery,” she said. “But the medium and what the themes are for their work is completely open.”
This marks the first time since 2019 that students have been able to show off their work in person and a reception has been able to be hosted. It was cancelled entirely in 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and held virtually a year ago.
“It’s a great way to learn about putting together a cohesive set of work and about how to display it all,” Schmitz said. “Coming into this, I wouldn’t have known how to compile a set of work that all hangs together like this.”