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Fine Arts Alumnae Return to Campus to Share Their Success Stories with Students


Two alumnae of UC’s fine arts program recently returned to share their success stories with students in two sculpture classes.

Date: 6/9/2013 11:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Colleen Toutant Merrill

UC ingot   Successful fine arts alumnae recently returned to campus to provide insights on graduate school and creative careers to today’s students.

Alumnae Colleen Toutant Merrill and Olivia Moore served as visiting artists lecturing in  fine arts classes in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The two spoke and showed images of their work in sculpture courses led by Linda Einfalt and Matt Lynch, both associate professors of fine arts.
Work by Colleen Toutant Merrill
UC alumna Colleen Toutant Merrill examines and compares traditional and modern communications, as in this embroidered representation of her father's obituary.



According to Einfalt, the visitors showed the possible paths open to today’s students, adding, “Colleen and Olivia are fairly recent graduates, so they are able to connect well with the students in the classroom today. Our students could definitely see themselves having the same successes as Colleen and Olivia since these lectures spoke to the reality of the art world as it is today.”

Merrill, 27, a 2008 graduate of UC’s fine arts program and originally from Anderson Township in Cincinnati, is currently working as the director of education and community outreach for the Lexington Art League in Lexington, Ky. She agreed with Einfalt that she is, indeed, an example of the next steps today’s students can take.

During her May visit to UC, Merrill displayed slide images of her own fiber sculptures and discussed her research: “I use found quilts to create sculptural forms that analyze and examine the history of quilt making as well as embroidery imagery obtained from social networking. I compare the history of these craft practices to contemporary methods of communication such as Facebook or Twitter. Quilting bees and embroidery traditionally served as social outlets and communication. Quilts and embroidery both have encoded symbolism and explicit messages as do digital communications.”

Moore, a 2002 UC fine arts graduate, uses found and altered objects with which to construct individual works that are part of a larger collection. All of the pieces within the larger body work together to create a narrative of place.

After receiving her UC degree, Moore worked in the automotive industry for six years as a creative clay modeler. She later moved to Berlin, Germany, after completing a 2011 master’s of fine art at the University of Texas at Austin. Moore currently divides her time between Berlin and the United States.