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Megan Mahan

While one student designs a video game exploring mental illness, another creates a concept for an educational tree house. And while one student illuminates social constructs through sculpture, another promotes shared happiness through graphic design.

On view in MIAD’s 2017 Senior Exhibition, over 100 of Milwaukee’s emerging artists and designers are tackling projects that stress deep connections with fellow human beings and the natural world.

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The MIAD 2017 Senior Exhibition is on view April 21 – May 13 throughout MIAD galleries, with an Opening Reception on Spring Gallery Night, Friday, April 21, 5 – 9 p.m. It is generously supported by Presenting Sponsor BMO Harris Bank and Jacobson/Rost.

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Four students were awarded Alumni Thesis Scholarships for their projects: Brianna Barnes (Illustration), Joe Acri (Sculpture), Megan Wells (Time-Based Media, Communication Design) and Emily Dompke (ISA).

-Barnes designs a concept for an educational tree house called the “Observastory” that would be located in the Milwaukee River Valley. With “land,” “air,” and “water” stations, children would experience and learn about the natural world.

-Acri’s sculpture explores notions of identity, representation and sexuality. As a construction site, it emphasizes the state of flux in which minority groups and communities often find themselves.

-Wells creates an interactive exhibit in which visitors decipher clues to learn the circumstances surrounding Edgar Allan Poe’s disappearance and death. Through illustrations, objects, and visual effects, audiences come to know Poe’s life so they can better come to a conclusion about his death.

-Dompke traces the lifespan of a honeybee, considering the life-altering scientific patterns that threaten it.

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Happy Notes, Madyson Brady

Madyson Brady (Communication Design) designs “Happy Notes,” a gift box service. Each box contains tools that promote both personal and communal happiness such as a journal, stickers, cards, prints and more.

Christine Carr (Industrial Design) creates a project in two parts, drawing inspiration from her daughter who was diagnosed with autism. The first is a 360 degree video that simulates the kind of multi-sensory stimulation overload that those with autism spectrum disorders experience. The second is an assistive, artificially-intelligent drone companion designed to keep children with special needs safe using high-tech sensors.

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Ariana, LaNia Sproles

LaNia Sproles (Printmaking) produces work that is a combination of printmaking and drawing. It showcases a dark surrealism stemming from feelings of otherness and disconnect as well as pride in her self-identity.

Paige Lemley (Interior Architecture and Design) presents plans for Fado, a landscape hotel that would sit on the grounds of Whistling Straits, an internationally-renowned golf course. Her project includes interior and exterior renders and furnishing and material selections.

Megan Mahan (Illustration) develops the concept for “Mental Shift,” a video game in which five diverse characters battle mental illness.

Scott Sheffield (Photography) photographs small towns outside of national parks and highlights their tourist culture in a series called “Frontiers.”

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Fado interior, Paige Lemley

MIAD Define, a day dedicated to senior presentations, discussions and TED-like lectures within the Senior Exhibition, is open to the public Wednesday, April 26, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. In the morning, seniors discuss their capstone projects and academic paths.

The 2017 Senior Exhibition is on view April 21 May 13 throughout all MIAD galleries. It is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

View in-progress images of work from the 2017 Senior Exhibition on Flickr.

Image 1: Megan Mahan

Image 2: Madyson Brady; Happy Notes

Image 3: LaNia Sproles; Ariana – charcoal, pencil, collaged cut paper, collagraph plate on BFK Rieves, 4.5 ft x 3.5 ft

Image 4: Paige Lemley; Fado interior

2016 Senior Exhibition

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Riley Niemack preparing for a bronze pour

From devices that aid children with Cerebral Palsy to the exploration of humanity’s self destructive tendencies, MIAD seniors create innovative projects that emphasize wellbeing, both mental and physical.

Over 120 of Milwaukee’s emerging artists and designers exhibit their work in MIAD’s 2016 Senior Exhibition. Students seek to provide solutions to complex problems, creating innovative projects that illustrate the power of art and design.


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On view April 15 – May 14, with an Opening Reception Spring Gallery Night, April 15, 5 – 9 p.m., throughout MIAD galleries, the exhibition is generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank. 

Three students were awarded Alumni Thesis Scholarships for their projects: Elizabeth Rath (ISA), Pip Atkinson (ISA) and Emelie Troedson (Industrial Design).

  • Rath utilizes video recorded scripted performances to explore the internets effect on our identity. The central character is caught between two realms, digital and physical, she must econcile the two identities in order to find a balance.
  • Atkinson utilizes props sourced from 1960’s and 70’s pornography to recreate ancient works of art; most are representative of Ancient Greek Sculpture and Baroque painting. Atkinson pulls the images directly from the screen and recreates them as physical manifestations, bringing these lost works back to life.
  • Troedson builds a device that helps children with Cerebral Palsy to walk, and participate in everyday activities. Troedson works with a physical therapist to help design the product, which she hopes to use for Jeremiah, a four-year-old with Cerebral Palsy.

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Sara Petrolis

Sara Petrolis (Communication Design) creates ‘Pawsitively Perfect,’ a campaign that encourages dogadoption, and features a handbook to help families confront potential issues associated with their new pets.

Gabriela Riveros (Illustration) creates an illustrated anthology of Latin American poetry titled ‘Alma y Hueso’ (Soul and Bone). Riveros works to highlight the underrepresented, providing a source of education on art and culture in the Latin American tradition. The project is aimed at Latino young adults, who, like her, want to learn about history as it relates to their own identities.

Jade Schmidtke (Illustration) draws from her brother’s experience with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue and joint disorder, and seeks to raise awareness of lesser known diseases and disorders. Schmidtke creates ‘Odds & Extraordinarys,’ a series of dolls which represent various conditions, with the proceeds of each doll assisting families with medical bills and funding ongoing medical research.

Amanda Millman (Drawing) turns paint peelings into small, abstract worlds on microscope slides. Each slide entrances the viewer, allowing them to look directly at the work through a microscope, bridging the gap between art and viewer.

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Amanda Millman

Hannah Lundgren (Photography) explores her past, her lost memories and the events that shaped her childhood through self-portraiture.

Jean-Marc Bastien (Industrial Design) creates a sustainable process for developing nations, Haiti in particular, to manufacture shoes in order to increase health and promote activity.

Debbie Sajnani (Communication Design) creates #FirstGenMKE, an online resource and guidebook for first generation college students at Milwaukee Public Schools. #FirstGenMKE is designated by school year and offers tips, exercises and important registration information.

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Caitlyn Doran


Lauren Glomski’s (Communication Design) campaign aims to promote health and wellness to MIAD students, providing motivation to partake in physical fitness and possess a positive self-image.

Katelyn Haseker (ISA) explores humanity’s self-destructive tendencies, researching the motives behind human action and transforming her findings into mixed media sculptures.

Caitlyn Doran (Drawing) creates drawings that feature young adults, objects and animals from various clashingcultures, melding them to tell stories of positive cross-cultural exchange. Doran draws from her experiences as an American visiting Japan.

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Lauren Glomski

Riley Niemack (ISA) explores human memory as it adheres to objects and shapes over time, aiding humanity in navigating the past, present and future. Hush, Hush and What Remains explore how a secret childhood moment and the aura of clothing reveal the intricacies of human memory.

Sierra O’Brien (Photography) creates a quilt of photos that embody her personal history, and that of her family. This quilt is a representation of a family heirloom, telling a story for future generations.

Audrey Jerabek (Sculpture) creates a series of scultptures that represent one restless person in multiple moments in time, stretching and distorting the representation of time by isolating each brief gesture.

MIAD DEFINE – a day dedicated to senior presentations, discussions and TED-like lectures andpresentations – happens within the 2016 Senior Exhibition, and is open to the public Wednesday, April 27, 9 a.m. – noon and 1 – 4 p.m. During the morning session, seniors discuss their capstone projects and academic paths.

The 2016 Senior Exhibition is on view April 15 – May 14, in throughout all MIAD galleries, it is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Image 1: Riley Niemack preparing for a bronze pour
Image 2: Sara Petrolis
Image 3: Amanda Millman
Image 4: Caitlyn Doran
Image 5: Lauren Glomski

2015 Senior Exhibition

se-2015-smith-working-webSeatbelts for those afflicted with arthritis; improving teaching and learning for those with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); confronting the desire to uphold perfection; challenging the literal definition of painting.

These topics only scratch the surface of the more than 130 emerging artists & designers in the MIAD 2015 Senior Exhibition. Seniors demonstrate their passion for service and creating innovative solutions to societal and economic challenges, and opportunities.

bmo-newlogo-2015On view April 17 – May 9 throughout MIAD galleries, the exhibition is generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

View work from the 2015 Senior Exhibition.

Three students received an Alumni Thesis Scholarship for their projects: Zeke Johnson (Industrial Design), Samantha Primuth (Communication Design) and Michelle Zealy (Drawing).

se-2015-johnson-webJohnson, inspired by his grandmother’s difficulty using a seatbelt due to her decreased hand dexterity, redesigned the automotive seatbelt and buckle. His redesign allows users with limitations due to arthritis and other conditions to independently buckle their seatbelt.

Primuth creates “The Skilled Daydreamers,” a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning for those with ADHD. She incorporates a variety of methods – including visual, auditory and kinesthetic – into educational platforms to improve engagement in the learning process.

Zealy’s “Electrical Towers” reflect her ability to see the ordinary in new ways, constantly questioning and challenging her seemingly mundane surroundings. “Electrical Towers” re-create a mundane experience for audiences to share.

se-2015-james-webKyle James (Time-Based Media) explores why humans have the urge to do dangerous things, and what it means to truly live in his short film, “The Death Drive.”

Michelle Sharp (Photography) dissects her favorite novel, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” and creates a collaboration with the novel’s protagonist, Francie. Sharp merges and inserts her images into Francie’s experiences, connecting with the character’s life and history.

Emily Ebert (Communication Design) creates a solution for the increasing demand for creative problem solving with “Primer,” an online publication and framework for dynamic learning that provides tools and insights for prime creativity. Ebert was the first place winner of the AIGA Wisconsin Student Excellence Awards.

se-2015-salgado-webWhitney Salgado (Illustration) couples her editorial and medical illustration passions to create work based on contemporary poetry written from the perspectives of patients with illnesses and their families. 

Integrated Studio Arts student Kayle Karbowski creates a series of sculptural objects and video performances in “Landscaping” that confront the trivial desire to uphold an image of perfection. She renegotiates materials, colors and patterns as private aspirations and public performances collide.

se-2015-motzing-webNoel Motzing (Industrial Design) looks to foster communication between police and their communities through RingRing, a police motorcycle based off of a full-size, functional dirt bike. RingRing challenges the image of police as enforcers or punishers.

MIAD DEFINE – a day dedicated to senior presentations, discussions and TED-like lectures and presentations- happens within the 2015 Senior Exhibition, and is open to the public Wednesday, April 22, 9 a.m. – noon and 1 – 4 p.m. During the morning session, seniors discuss their capstone project and academic path.

The MIAD 2015 Senior Exhibition is on view April 17 – May 9 throughout all MIAD Galleries and is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

View images from the 2015 Senior Exhibition on flickr.

Top image: Alexandra Smith (Photography) at work in her studio.
Second image: Zeke Johnson’s (Industrial Design) sketches for his Seatbelt design.
Third image: Kyle James’s (Time-Based Media) The Death Drive poster.
Fourth image: Whitney Salgado (Illustration), Islands
Fifth image: Noel Motzing (Industrial Design), RingRing

2014 Senior Exhibition

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A daughter’s diabetes diagnosis, childhood struggles with Asperger’s, understanding human identity through anatomy.

These were only a handful of the captivating inspirations for the MIAD 2014 Senior Exhibition, on view April 18 – May 10 throughout MIAD galleries, and generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

bmo-logo-web-largeMore than 150 seniors representing MIAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts majors showed their impressive and intriguing work. Gallery Night and Day offered the public opportunities to speak with seniors about their work during an Opening Reception Gallery Night, Friday, April 25, 5 – 9 p.m., and Gallery Day Conversations, Saturday, April 26, 1 – 5 p.m. Regular hours for the Senior Exhibition are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 


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Rourke Senior Project

Three students received the Alumni Thesis Exhibition Scholarship: Aaron Rourke (Industrial Design), Amy Trompeter (Integrated Studio Arts) and Indie La Londe (Integrated Studio Arts). Rourke was driven by his six-year-old daughter’s diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes to create Echo, a life-saving device that extends the range of Continuous Glucose Monitors and helps prevent hypoglycemic comas, also known as Death in Bed Syndrome.


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Natalie Eichers

Natalie Eichers (Integrated Studio Arts) draws on her past experience with Asperger’s for Wolves in the Woods, an exhibition combining narrative, printed shapes, figures and colors to expose the details and often dreamlike aspects of her childhood experience, in which she found situations like everyday sounds in the grocery store over-stimulating.


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Aiesha Anglin

Aiesha Anglin (Painting), passionate about the human anatomy, sees skin and its marks as significant indicators of life and human perseverance. Through her work, she demonstrates her belief that the marks on one’s body show life.


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Ashley Adams

Interior Architecture and Design student Ashley Adams loves the idea of living with the landscape, and having a home become a part of the landscape. Her design, Underground Earth Home, blends with a hillside, merging urban and natural contexts into one structure.


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Laura Holton

Recently named to the 2014 Society of Illustrators’ Scholarship Competition, Laura Horton (Illustration) draws influence from the Buddhist term Sangsara, meaning continuous movement. Her work, Sangsara, is composed of various visual development artwork for a mysterious, spiritual puzzle/adventure game that reflects the influence of an ancient culture in tradition.

As part of the 2014 Senior Exhibition, the fourth annual MIAD DEFINE – a day dedicated to senior presentations, discussions, and TED-like lectures and presentations – was Wednesday, April 23, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Seniors discussed their thesis projects and academic paths with underclassmen during a morning session, 9 a.m. – noon. The public was invited to join in the day.

Work from the 2014 Senior Exhibition is available on flickr.

View images form the 2013 Senior Exhibition.
View images form the 2012 Senior Exhibition.
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Top image: Ayla Boyle (Sculpture) creating her work.
Second image: Aaron Rourke (Industrial Design)
Third image: Natalie Eichers (Integrated Studio Arts)
Fourth image: Aiesha Anglin (Painting)
Fifth image: Ashley Adams (Interior Architecture and Design)
Sixth image: Laura Horton (Illustration)