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Department of Art and Design
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Rarick Hall 102
Phone: 785-628-4247
Email: Art & Design
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Art and Design Testimonials


Michael Sizemore (2006)
Tigé Boats, Inc.
Abilene, TX

Tigé manufacturers inboard boats used in water sports. I work with our Senior Designer Danny Gutierrez (also an FHSU graduate) and our Web Developer. FHSU gave me the tools to go out into the world with confidence. The concepts we learned are priceless. I learned how to look at the world through different eyes. Being a designer, inspiration can be hard to come by and at FHSU I was taught from the very beginning how to use the resources we had to create top-level design, even on a small budget. The FHSU staff (especially my Graphics instructors) are second to none! I challenge any college to find professors who care as much about their students as the ones at FHSU. I interned at Tigé and attended gallery walks and shows while at FHSU. Being involved with the arts I became inspired by other artists. The artists/designers at FHSU are some of the best in the country and to see their work constantly on display at Art Walks and in galleries made me become inspired to bring my work to the next level.


Jenny Venn (2004, 2007)
Assistant Professor of Art, Graphic Design
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY

I am currently teaching graphic design at the University of Wyoming. I run the entire graphic design program here and have around 45 majors and several additional minors. I have also been working as a freelance designer on a body of academic/creative research titled Trashy Graphics. I constantly try to provide the same level of knowledge and inspiration that all of my professors at FHSU did. An internship with Associated Advertising Agency in Wichita prepared me for both work and life more that I ever thought possible. I was given a taste of what the advertising world was like and was able to work on actual accounts and see my work published in many different settings. FHSU helped me achieve my career goals by inspiring me to do my very best as well as preparing me to be the very best academically. The excellent faculty I was privileged to study under during my tenure in Hays was the primary reason for my academic success.


Luke Bott (2002)
Art Director
Gardner Design
Wichita, KS

Working at Gardner Design, my main focus has been logo design/corporate identity. Our client roster spans from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. Since my first day at FHSU, I was taught to think different. This forced my mind to explore new things and question everything. I still use this today in my logo work. I am constantly trying to push my ideas in new directions and come up with what I feel is the best result. The interaction with the professors and my fellow students was extremely helpful. Critiques were great, because they helped me become bullet-proof as an artist. If a project didn't go well, I didn't get upset; I learned from it and took those thoughts and experiences into my next project. Aside from teacher and peer guidance, the design work I did for AmeriCorps as a student helped ready me for my current graphic design work. Attending FHSU was a great learning experience because it helped me learn how to build relationships with clients and provided me with experience directly related to my planned career.


Jessica Finger (2004)
Admissions Counselor
Texas Woman's University
Denton, TX

I chose FHSU because it had the best graphic design program. Because I wanted to study abroad and speak another language, I also majored in Spanish. I loved FHSU! I know that I could walk on to campus today and all my professors would still know not only know my name, but would probably know what I've been up to over the past 5 years. They were always way more interested in making sure I did well than worrying about what was going on with them. At FHSU I was involved in Everything! Alpha Gamma Delta, Panhellenic, Order of Omega, Student Activities Board, Intramurals, TigerWild, Student Government Association…and I'm sure I'm leaving something out. I wanted a job where I could travel, meet people, discover new places, use my graphic design skills and speak some Spanish……working in higher ed allows me to do all of these. I was constantly challenged in all of my classes and pushed to think of every possibility. Being involved also helped me to figure out who I was as a person. When I graduated, I honestly felt like I could do anything - like we were told when we were little!

Jon Swindler (1999)
Assistant Professor
Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia
Athens, GA

I am an artist and a teacher. My work is exhibited nationally and internationally in commercial and university galleries and museums. My research has centered on the implementation of various printmaking and drawing media within a single matrix. As a teacher I am a member of the printmaking and book arts area in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. I teach graduates and undergraduates in printmaking courses including intaglio, relief, lithography, screenprinting, monotype, and digital practices. My success and standing in the field of printmaking is a direct result of my experiences at FHSU. Professors Frank Nichols, Gordon Sherman and Michael Jilg provided outstanding leadership through their unique approaches to art-making and instruction. Each professor tirelessly nurtured my visual language; leading by example through their own highly-productive artist practices. At FHSU, I was active in Creative Arts Society and Intramurals. Creative Arts Society was by far the most beneficial for me. It crystallized in my mind the importance and power of collaboration among a group of motivated individuals. I feel the time in CAS has made me a better colleague as I always seek to achieve the goals that will serve the greater good.

Deloris Thompson (2005)
Photography Teacher
Dodge City High School
Dodge City, KS

Following my graduation from FHSU, I received opportunities to both teach photography at the high school level and run my own photography studio. My academic experiences at FHSU aided in my ability to teach photography. While at FHSU, I interned for Don Thomas Photography, where I learned much about the business. The opportunity to learn the trade outside of a standard classroom helped prepare me for a future in not only photography, but in teaching as well. Don helped me set up my own studio and get established with a processing lab.

Kyle Chaput (2007)
Graduate Student
Texas A&M
Corpus Christi, TX

Upon completion of my MFA degree in Printmaking, I hope to become a Professor of Art. As a GTA, I teach fundamental core classes such as Color Theory and Beginning Printmaking. At FHSU I explored many processes and techniques in the studio, especially Printmaking. Studying under Gordon Sherman opened my eyes to rediscover a new breath of work, through experimentation and utilizing his knowledge in and out of class. Studying him and other Fine Arts Professors helped me know what to expect when teaching and how to accomplish those goals. As a TA at FHSU, I gained excellent experience in developing into an educator. I was the first recipient of the Andrea Powers Memorial Travel Fellowship. This helped me gain the confidence I needed to take it to the next level in graduate school. It enabled me to travel and study in Germany and the Netherlands. While there I absorbed the different cultures, met local artists, viewed countless works of art in museums and those considered to be 'underground' in galleries. I truly feel that this entire experience loosened me up to take more chances in my art and life. It was one I will never forget.


Brian Simpson (2003, 2006)
Motion Graphics Artist
Barkley Evergreen & Partners Inc.
Kansas City, KS

As a motion graphics artist at a top advertising agency in Kansas City, I am one of a three-man team devoted to broadcast work for several clients. We work with several other effects houses and production houses to gather all of the assets we need to complete whatever a commercial might call for. My experiences in the graphic design department at FHSU were absolutely essential in the development of both my creative and professional skill set. Fort Hays was able to provide several opportunities to produce work for the school itself which was mutually beneficial for the low cost we could provide, and the high-end product the university received. A fellow graduate student and I were commissioned to create a set of DVDs as promotional material for the nearby Fort Larned School System, and we created an all-new identity as well. Through a fellow student, I also acquired two internships at Hatch Show Print in Nashville. These internships and the abundant experience provided by the school and staff prepared me for the rigorous schedules and environment anyone faces working in the creative sector.


Justin McClure (2000)
Self employed Motion Graphics Artist
Wichita, KS

I am an independent professional owning my own animation and design company "JUSTINMCCLURE.TV" in Wichita KS. I recently left CMT, part of MTV Networks in Nashville, Tenn., where I was a Senior Broadcast Designer for all on-air graphics on the CMT channel. Some of my past work includes work for ABC, Dell Computers, Discovery Channel, Sprint, Sonic, DirecTV, MLB and NFL. FHSU played an extremely huge roll in my career path and current success, and after working with other artists around the globe I can say without any doubt that FHSU has one of the strongest Graphic Design programs in the nation. The lessons and techniques I learned at FHSU served as a great foundation and although I have grown and matured as an artist, the basic and most important building blocks were ingrained as a student. I owe the school, faculty, and earlier teachers that pointed me to FHSU a huge "Thank you!" Ha! Ha! Extracurricular activities? Too busy working around the clock at the graphics lab to really do too much.

Travis Schlitter (2001, 2004)
Motion Graphics Artist
Barkley Evergreen & Partners Inc.
Kansas City, KS

What started as a small, inward facing group has grown to be a major asset to Barkley, the advertising agency at which I am employed. I work in motion design because I believe it is a logical progression from print and the direction the industry is moving. I've been fortunate enough to be involved with a lot of award-winning work over the last few years, and I can't see myself doing anything else. Fort Hays helped by teaching me about the power of a great idea. I learned how to work hard and challenge myself. The design knowledge I acquired as an undergraduate would have been sufficient enough to land a job, but the freedom to expand my skills in graduate school really put me where I am today. While attending FHSU, I had a built-in internship and completed a wide range of design projects for RANS, my family's aircraft and bicycle design company. Nothing can take the place of experience. Doing a job with real clients, real money and real deadlines while still in school is extremely valuable.


Morgan Higley (2007)
Graduate Student
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO

I work as a teaching assistant, teaching classes in art appreciation, American art history and 19th-Century European art. My thesis research is focused on three portraits by Anne-Louis Girodet from the early nineteenth century in an attempt to understand their placement within developing ideologies of childhood. The art history program at Fort Hays provided me with a strong art historical background that helped my transition into a graduate program. The one-on-one experience with my professor allowed me to better understand the field and the opportunities I would have in art history. I was able to travel to Italy within one of my art history courses. My trip to Italy gave me first hand experience that was invaluable to my field. Being able to see original works of art, as opposed to reproductions, offered me the chance to experience the empirical aspect of art history and its research. The trip also provided me with new cultural exposures, which will always benefit me in my future travels.

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