MURRAY, Ky. — The Department of Art & Design at Murray State University will host four visiting arts professionals for the Patricia L. Summerville Emerging Artist and Professionals Program, a lecture series and panel discussion about career possibilities for Murray State students in the arts.

The visiting artists include Emily Berger, Nick DeFord, Meghan Wnorowski and Jaclyn Stephens. They will participate in a panel discussion that is free to the public Thursday, Oct. 18, at 5 p.m. in the Fine Arts Lecture Room inside the Clara M. Eagle Gallery of the Price Doyle Fine Arts Building.

During the panel, the presenters will briefly discuss their paths to finding employment in the arts and will respond to a series of prompts about professional development opportunities, advice for young artists, how to be creative in the face of setbacks and how to balance a productive creative life. Audience members are encouraged to bring additional questions for the panelists.

Emily Berger leans over a table working on artwork.
Pictured: Emily Berger

Emily Berger was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1953 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of Brown University and received a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University. Berger has exhibited widely across the U.S. and abroad in addition to serving as vice president of the American Abstract Artists (AAA) organization. Her work has been well reviewed and included in many private and public collections as well as in solo exhibitions, such as 2017 showings in New York City for “Rhythm and White” at Walter Wickiser Gallery and “New Paintings” at Norte Maar. Notably, one of Berger’s pieces is included in “Blurring Boundaries: The Women of the AAA 1936–2018,” an exhibition currently on display in the Clara M. Eagle Gallery at Murray State.

Nick DeFord works on a piece of artwork.
Pictured: Nick DeFord

Nick DeFord is an artist, educator and arts administrator who resides in Knoxville, Tennessee, and currently serves as program director at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University and both master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Tennessee. DeFord exhibits nationally with recent exhibitions at Coastal Carolina University, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, University of Mississippi, Lindenwood University and East Tennessee State University. He has published work in “Surface Design Journal,” “Elephant,” “Hayden’s Ferry Review” and “Willow Springs” in addition to teaching at Penland School of Crafts and the University of Louisville. DeFord works on his fiber art practice from his home studio.

An official headshot of Megan Wnorowski.
Pictured: Megan Wnorowski

Meghan Wnorowski attended Murray State as an undergraduate student for two years before completing her degree in art with a concentration in 3-D studios in sculpture at the University of Louisville. Wnorowski continued her education at the University of Louisville by studying art therapy and earning a master’s degree in counseling and personnel services with a concentration in expressive therapies. She has worked as an art therapist for Our Lady of Peace, a not-for-profit psychiatric hospital, for the past 10 years. Wnorowski is currently a board-certified therapist with experience that includes art and psychotherapy sessions. She works with geriatric populations, adolescents and adults with eating disorders, children and adolescent survivors of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and adolescents and adults struggling with substance abuse.

Jaclyn Stephens works on artwork.
Pictured: Jaclyn Stephens

Jaclyn Stephens is a printmaking-based multidisciplinary artist. She has a Master of Fine Arts in studio arts from Miami University and a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from Art Academy of Cincinnati. Stephens is the Arts in Healing program coordinator and artist at Cincinnati Arts Association as well as an adjunct professor at Miami University and a visiting artist at East End Community Services. For Stephens, the connective power of art has never shown itself more than in creating with people struggling with illnesses, children coping with toxic traumatic stress and university students all in the same week. Stephens’ motivation for the arts in medicine movement as well as the arts education evolution has everything to do with the way she values the creative process as bodily, spiritual and intellectual instincts of being human.

This lecture series and panel discussion is made possible by contributions from Patricia L. Summerville. Summerville graduated from Murray State with a bachelor’s degree in art education in 1972. She then earned two master’s degrees and a Juris Doctor at other universities while pursuing successful careers in a variety of fields, including teaching art, serving as an administrator for hospitals and health care facilities and practicing law. In 2018, Summerville received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Murray State University Alumni Association.

“Murray [State] taught me to be creative as an artist, but it also taught me to think outside the box, to fail, to get up and try again,” Summerville said upon being recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award. “It taught me to be empathetic, to be compassionate, to listen to other people. And most of those things are transferable to any job and career field.”

If you are interested in donating to similar funds to support students in the arts, please contact Lucy Love, director of development, at llove@murraystate.edu.

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