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BFA Graduates Find Common Thread

Kelly Casad became intrigued by a series of black-and-white photographs of working-class people from the early 20th century. She decided she wanted to give them new life, adding color and more detail, by painting them for her Marylhurst Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis project. A machinist by trade who once had ambitions of becoming an electrician, Kelly's been drawing since she was a teenager, and decided to pursue art during the economic downturn. Next stop: graduate school and a career as an art teacher.

"There are really only two places in the world where I'm comfortable," Kelly says. "In a machine shop or an art studio."

Joanne Radmilovich Kollman was driven to create authentic figures in undefined space, and created a series of paintings depicting real people for her BFA thesis project. Joanne, who enrolled at Marylhurst after she was widowed to complete an art education left unfinished
decades ago, uses the "theme of connection and the common threads that connect us" as the root of meaning in her paintings. Next for her: exploring graduate programs, continuing her studio practice, expanding her role as a teaching artist and pursuing gallery representation and a project grant.

"How do we use art to interact and interconnect in our communities?" Joanne asks. "This project gave me a really good start" on exploring answers to that question.

Kelly and Joanne are just two of the diverse BFA graduates who shared their work at the annual Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at The Art Gym in spring 2012. Seven graduating seniors displayed an array of paintings and sculptures that represented the culmination of many months of effort to create a coherent body of professional-level work.

All BFA graduates create a thesis report to accompany their studio work, and have their progress critiqued at each stage from conception to completion. The final installation and exhibition of each student's work in The Art Gym in the spring is a wonderful way to celebrate the achievements and launch the professional careers of these artists.

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