Behind the Scenes Art in Bloom 2016

Sierra Trowbridge
Education Intern


May 20th-22nd, the David Owsley Museum of Art hosted its second Art in Bloom, an event in which six florists are invited to create a floral arrangement inspired by a work of art in the museum. I attended the opening reception on Friday, May 20th. I do not think I have ever seen so many different and strange flowers in one place. Nevertheless, each florist was able to take materials of their own choosing and create an arrangement that brought out elements of the artwork as well as adding personal interpretation that made each piece unique and exciting. Seeing everything and everyone come together and transform the museum into a floral paradise filled with guests was something spectacular.

DSC_0125For my part, I was privileged to help a talented local florist, Jackie Turner from the Flower Bin Inc., put her arrangement together. Not that I got to play with any flowers, but when she needed something I made sure she had it and I drove the cart holding her flowers and vases with the utmost care. My favorite aspect of helping, though, was asking questions. Jackie Turner is probably one of the friendliest people I have ever met, and was more that willing to talk all about her flowers.  She loves tropical flowers, a fact evident throughout her arrangement. When I asked her what the most difficult part of putting her work together was, her immediate response was the color. The textile art work she took inspiration from, Mariska Karasz’s Equilibrium, had a lot of muted colors; browns and somewhat dull reds, yellows, and oranges. Fall colors that are a might bit difficult to find in the spring. She found her inspiration, though, and forged ahead with a plan to incorporate those colors and the textures within the tapestry, resulting in a beautifully dynamic arrangement.

Now, when I was helping Jackie and providing assistance in other aspects of preparation during the day, it was more of a behind the scenes kind of adventure. When the guests arrived, all of a sudden the hard work everyone had put in was on view. It was fantastic. People wandered all around the galleries making conversation, appreciating the flowers. I got to talk to brilliant people I would never have come in contact with. Greeting people, checking them in, answering their questions in the galleries; all of that went into making sure they had the best time we could provide. The fact that I was able to help in that goal is an experience I will not soon forget, and hopefully, our guests remember their evening among the flowers as fondly as we do.

View more images from Art in Bloom 2016 at our Facebook page!


New Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence Brought to Life at the Opening Night of Neda Wants to Die

Ashley Vandervelde
Collections Intern

1 in 3: What Does it Take For You to be Outraged? As curated by the World Bank, was designed to be an educational format for the issue of gender-based violence (GBV). The World Bank brought together a large body of fine art, but also wanted to include the theatrical arts to humanize the issues and connect with audiences. Neda Wants to Die: How Thin is the Line Between Perpetrators and Victims? as written by playwright Luigi Laraia is a dramatic one-act play to describe the different perspectives and roles of victims, perpetrators, and social workers/officers affected by sexual GBV in a conflict-ridden country. The vagueness of the setting is intentional to push the idea that GBV does not just happen in a few areas of the world. It is a worldwide pandemic and one that we have yet to find the best way to solve it and promote peace.

unspecifiedNeda Want to Die sets out to help change the public’s understanding of GBV. John, a United Nations High Commission for Refugees officer as played by Dr. Richard Tanenbaum (a psychologist in his daily life), takes the role of the countless people worldwide who seek to control and ultimately stop the rates of GBV. His character has given up his life to commit to helping refugees seeking asylum. Karen Elle takes on the role of Neda, a woman who has come to UNHCR office to seek help and care for her unborn child, and to help escape her abuser. Laurent is a fruit salesman who is running from the ongoing war and who seeks protection services that John might offer. His character, played by Sean Gabbert, is a title character that changes the audience’s perspectives on GBV and gives the viewer a heart-wrenching twist as to the potential source and root cause of this violence . The actors gave an emotional and impactful performance that had audience members riveted.

john, laurent, neda
(left to right) John, Neda, and Laurent interacting and building the plotline during their first appearances on the stage.

The performance was followed by a panel discussion with the playwright, the members of the cast, and three individuals from the community who work to help control GBV. Jim Duckham, the chief of police at Ball State University, informed audience members about how much has changed in favor of the victims of sexual crimes in the last 30 years. Chief Duckham said, “The vocabulary has changed, we no longer address them as victims, but survivors”. At Ball State, he and the other campus officers are reaching out to the women in a softer way. Events like “Lunch with a Cop” are meant to help students not feel threatened by the presence of the law enforcement, but to help create a better basis of trust, so that should individuals encounter violence, they can comfortably seek out the law for help and not remain silent.katie

Likewise, Katie Slabaugh, Associate Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator for Ball State University, spoke out about her position to help those who seek care after a sexual crime, such as an assault or stalking. Ms. Slabaugh was touched by the dialogue of the play and mentioned that some of the script moved her in such a way because it related to the things she hears from survivors on a regular basis.

Teresa Clemmons, Executive Director of A Better Way Services in Muncie, gave her perspective on what it is like to be an advocate in our community. She is proud to say that, “Our community is more proactive than most”. We have places where survivors of sexual violence can seek refuge including emergency shelter and counseling services. She regretfully claims that even though we have these resources the problem is not that simply resolved. John’s character once mentions in Neda Wants to Die, “I’m employable forever”. That dialogue struck a chord in her. Ms. Clemmons has worked fighting GBV for 20 years and she says that it “frustrates me that we haven’t solved the problem.” However, she noted that steps forward have been made and she is honored to have been a part of it. Her words of hope for the future of controlling GBV were not only caring and sincere, but also personally uplifting.

The impact of 1 in 3 engrained in me a new awareness for how this kind of violence exists all across the globe. Having seen Neda Wants to Die, my perspectives have been broadened even further. I can personally say that I now have a more profound sense of every party involved in controlling GBV. I have also been enlightened to the roles of the perpetrator and victim, and the multiple ways they can exist. But I am also considering my community and how grateful I am to know that there are numerous resources in the Muncie area. This theatrical portion of the exhibition was a valuable supplement and will not always be shown alongside 1 in 3. It gave me a new window of awareness and understanding. If I had not attended, I would have regretted not having the opportunity to see it. I hope every community is able to have the same experience of seeing the play—my world is better for it.

(Left to Right) Dr. Robert LaFrance, Karen Elle, Dr. Richard Tanenbaum, Luigi Laraia, Tania Said, Sean Gabbert, and Karin Orr

Meet the David Owsley Museum of Art Newest Staff Member!

Felicia Konrad
Collections Management Intern

The newest member of the David Owsley Museum of Art Staff is Shannon Bryan, our new Administrative Coordinator. Shannon moved here nine years ago with her husband and two children.

Having a degree in History, she took a lot of Art History courses that contributed to her interest in working at the David Owlsey Museum of Art. So going to work at DOMA was like “going back to where she has been.” She also enjoys the “enlightening and fast-paced thinking environment” that keeps her on her toes.

Thus far Shannon’s favorite part of being at Ball State University is the international outreach. For her it offers a sense of community and a new perspective. Mrs. Bryan’s favorite part about being at DOMA is working with the special events and supporting those events.

Shannon is particularly looking forward to seeing the culmination of everyone’s’ hard work on bringing Neda Wants to Die, a play written and performed in conjunction with the World Bank exhibit 1 in 3: What does it Take for You to Be Outraged, to Ball State University. The play was performed April 14 and 15 at 6 pm in the Recital Hall, across the hall from the museum’s north entrance. The other event that she is looking forward to is Art in Bloom, a fundraising event held on May 20 featuring floral displays inspired by works of art from the museum’s collection. Mrs. Bryan is looking forward to the community involvement for this event and expresses her love for seeing the melding of community, fine arts, craft arts, and business all into one amazing event.

When asked who her favorite artist or artwork is she responded that she prefers the creative process to having a favorite artwork. Mrs. Bryan likes to look at what was done to create a work and then understand the process.


All of us at the David Owsley Museum of Art would like to welcome Mrs. Shannon Bryan!

Intership Reflection: Mackenzie R.

Mackenzie Robinson


It was a fateful day of the fall semester when I received an email saying DOMA’s internship application deadlines had been extended for one week. Being the stressed college student that I am, I had somehow missed the original email about the internship among my sea of other emails I get daily. So, choosing insanity, I spent the next week collecting reference letters from teachers who are far too patient with me for their own good, writing and re-writing my resume, and over-thinking application questions until the words were burned into my brain. When I got that email confirming that I had indeed gotten the internship in DOMA’s collections department, I was beyond thrilled.

John Jessiman, Stack #6 2015, ceramic, Donated by the artist in memory of Alice Nichols and Marvin Rechle, 2016.001.000.  A piece I have worked with and catalogued the last few weeks, now on display on the 3rd floor for a limited time

As an intern in the collection department of our campus’ prestigious art museum, I work with Rebecca Vaughn, our registrar, and learn how things run behind the scenes. All those beautiful art works and historical masterpieces hanging up on our walls or resting on pedestals must be studied, purchased, processed, and preserved before they go out on display. As an intern here at DOMA, I am directly involved in this process. Each time I come in I have the privilege of studying recently purchased or loaned artworks and cataloging them into our database. My first few weeks here I was trained on how to handle art and how each piece needs to be carefully tended to in its own unique way. I help unpack new acquisitions and find homes for them among our mass of storage space until they are ready to be displayed. Museums are much more intricate that I originally thought. The art on display in our various galleries is only a small portion of what needs to be taken care of and juggled to keep our museum growing and improving.


I am an art major here at Ball State, and I have always been interested in art history and famous artists. However, coming to DOMA has taught me more than I ever imagined about the intricacies of art history. Each time I come in I get to examine art made by incredible craftsmen and gain new knowledge on how I can improve my own art. I learn about religions and cultures that I have never heard of before. Best of all, I get to work with other lovers of the arts and constantly be surrounded with what I am most passionate about. Interning here at the David Owsley Museum of Art has been a dream come true, and I am so glad that this internship program can continue so more people can learn about art in such a unique and exciting way.

Spring 2016 DOMA Insider Contributors

The DOMA Insider has been providing the community with behind-the-scenes stories and reviews of events in the David Owsley Museum of Art for over two years. Content for the DOMA Insider is written by students, with the goal of providing the community with an insider’s perspective of the museum. We hope the blog posts allow you to experience the museum in a new way and allow you to keep in touch with all that is happening at the museum. Below is an introduction of the new DOMA Insider writers

My name is Hailey Beard. I am a second year graduate student Capture5654working on a master’s degree in public relations. I decided to work as a public relations assistant here because not only do I love museums, but I also love the David Owsley Museum of Art. I feel as though this museum is able to offer a great deal of cultural diversity, as well as a vast variety of events. My ultimate goal is to be able to use my time here as the basis for my final capstone project. I would love to do public relations work at a museum after I graduate, and I appreciate the experience that working here will provide me.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 9.20.08 AMMy name is Kyrra
Clevenger. Currently, I am a senior at Ball State with a concentration in art history. My passion for working in an art museum sparked when I visited The Getty Center in Los Angeles. I stepped into a space exhibiting the existential sculptures of Alberto Giacometti and immediately was filled with excitement. I chose an internship in education at DOMA because not only am I passionate about art history, but I am also passionate about educating people about art history. My goal is to gain a doctorate in museum studies and eventually become a director of education at an accredited art museum.

IMG_2560My name is Felicia Konrad. I am a second year anthropology graduate student with a focus in historical archaeology and museums. I am a collections management intern with Rebecca Vaughn. I chose to apply for this internship because it was a great opportunity to learn about collection management in a different museum setting (i.e. art museum versus history museum). I have used my time here this semester learning a new cataloging system and how to research and offer suggestions for museum policies.


My name is Mackenzie Robinson and I am a sophomore Visual Communications major here at Ball State. I am also pursuing a Spanish minor. Currently, my work here at the museum includes cataloging new acquisitions, handling and storing the items not on display, and managing files and forms for Rebecca, our registrar.

IMG_6704My name is Ashley Vandervelde. I am a senior Photography and Intermedia Arts major, with a minor in art history. I have a great love for the arts, as well as educating and inspiring others. I plan to obtain my master’s in fine arts and teach students at a university level. I work in the Collections department at the DOMA. I enjoy getting to learn how a museum runs behind the scenes. My position entails a great deal of critical organization and learning how to care for delicate objects. As a hyper-organized, art enthusiast I really enjoy the opportunity of getting to work in Collections.