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Alumni News

Ann Dawkins

MFA, Painting

Ann Dawkins painting

Alumnus Ann Dawkins graduated in 2019 with an MFA in Painting. Dawkins had two solo exhibitions during her time here at SIU School of Art and Design.

She is currently an instructor of Drawing and Painting at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Check out her website at:

Joe Vachon

BA, Studio Arts

Joe Vachon SIU Alumni(Image Credit: Yakima Magazine)

Alumnus Joe Vachon was recently featured by Yakima Magazine for his career in blacksmithing—how he began, the stages of his education, and his post-SIU career:

"Now a movement is growing — to turn back the clock. Parents are paying life coaches to help them pry the screens out of their children’s hands. The coaches recommend simple things like giving the kid a ball to kick around or getting a dog. Millennials are embracing farm-to-table food and objects created by artisans.

Joe Vachon is one of those artisans. He is known as Joe the Blacksmith and he plies his trade in a small studio out back of his Goldendale home. He’s 35 now and he’s been a blacksmith since he was 22. He was in his second-to-last semester as a studio art major at Southern Illinois University when he took an Intro to Blacksmithing class. 'It just totally blew my mind,' he says. 'Definitely a life-changing thing. I got on the phone and called my dad after the first class, and he said ‘Oh yeah, your great-grandpa was a blacksmith in a rail yard, and his brother was a blacksmith in a shipyard.’ ' It was the first time Joe had heard that, and he had an epiphany. Blacksmithing was in his blood and this was what he was meant to do."

--Read full Yakima feature here»

Chintia Kirana

Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum Presents Chintia Kirana: Transient Penubra

Chintia Kirana's "Transient" exhibit was displayed at Southeast Missouri State University from September 6th to October 20th, 2019. 

"Transient explores the concept of growth and change, a representation of the fragility and temporality of moments, memories, and a metaphor for life itself. Chintia Kirana is a multidisciplinary artist. She received a Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her work has been featured at a multitude of solo, group and juried exhibitions across the United States and abroad. An opening reception will be held from 4-8 p.m. Sept. 6 with an artist talk at 6 p.m."

--View full Chintia Kirana: "Transient" Exhibition here»

Chintia Kirana

MFA, Painting & Drawing

kirana-wsiu.png(Image credit: WSIU-TV)

MFA alumna Chintia Kirana is a matchmaker for the art world. The founding editor-in-chief of Expose Art magazine—a digital/print arena that showcases early-career professionals to a captive global audience of art enthusiasts—Kirana has created a forum that benefits both sides of the artistic landscape.

Featured up-and-coming artists are more easily discoverable by the galleries, bottegas, and patrons whose stylistic preferences align with their own. At the same time, museums, agencies, and other professional institutions use the platform to cast a wider net for scouting new exhibit pieces, filling artist residencies, and more. Kirana's mission to facilitate simpatico partnerships between creators and audiences has seen great success through the publication's grand-scale-exposure approach.

It's no wonder, then, that Montgomery, Alabama's recent community art project was a perfect fit for her talents.

Montgomery recently joined forces with the "Inside Out" series, a worldwide initiative which uses collages of large-format portraits as street-art murals to offer new glimpses into the personalities who make up a community. Moreover, the impact of any of these "identity makeover" reaches far beyond visitors to the actual physical location. Once each community's installation is complete, the project is visually recorded and uploaded into IO's holistic world gallery, offering "digital tourists" the experience of visual immersion into the subtle piquancy and self-expression of any destination from their own computer. (To date, the project encompasses over 129 countries and more than a quarter-million individual participants.) 

In Kirana's case, she became involved in Montgomery's IO installation as part of a citywide effort to address the area's historical notoriety by providing old and new photo images in tandem, depicting a more visual and robust evolution of her community over time. As she explains in one recent Montgomery news article:

"They never hear our story from us...That was our history, back then, but this is us now."

Kirana knows a thing or two about changing political climates from her own personal history, too. Originally born in Indonesia during the heavily-militarized Suharto regime, young Chintia was only twelve years old when her family left Indonesia to escape the mounting governmental chaos and civil unrest. Despite none of them speaking English, her family found refuge in the United States.

The world of visual dialogue frequently offers a common vernacular transcending spoken language barriers. While Chintia's early passion for the arts had already taken hold in Indonesia, her family's immigration opened new doors to academically pursue those interests in America.

Her professional mastery of artistic communication is evident throughout Kirana's many career roles today, and the artist's studio website credits faculty mentors at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as having been "influential in shaping her artistic voice." SIU looks forward to finding out what new messages Kirana's projects will "speak" in the future.

Kari Woolsey

MFA Ceramics 2018

AIRs Awards 2018-2019


Kari was awarded a year-long residency at Arrowmont School of Craft.

Sara Martinez

BA Art History 2018

Sara Martinez SIUSara was one of the top students in Art History who won the Tony Fehm Award in Art History.

Sarah Ballek

BFA Ceramics 2016

Awarded a year-long residency at Odyssey Clay Works in Asheville, NC

Jan. 2019-Dec. 2019.

Jam Lovell

MFA Sculpture 2018

Jam Lovell is currently adjunct faculty at Illinois Central College and is co-founder and owner of Black Dog Metal Arts, LLC. along with Danny Rohr. She is on the Steering Committee for 2019 and 2021 for the National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art and Practices at Sloss in Birmingham, AL. In June of 2018 she spoke on a panel called Iron and Materiality alongside Gina Miccinilli, Katie Hovencamp, Jenny K. Hager, and Cristin Millett at the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Scranton, PA.

Jam Lovell SIU GraduateHer work is currently on exhibit at the Jackson Street Gallery in Morton, IL. Her work was recently exhibited at the 16th Annual Waterloo Arts Festival juried by Ray Juaire in Cleveland, OH, and at the Hot CIAO V annual exhibition in Peoria, IL juried by Erin Buczynski where she won 2nd place.
She will be featured in an episode of the podcast Studio Break hosted by David Linneweh in November of 2018 where she will be discussing her current and past work as well as promoting an upcoming performance/exhibition in Peoria, IL.

Website: and
Instagram: jamlovellart and blackdogmetalarts

Ayako Kurimoto

MFA Sculpture 2018

Ayako Kurimoto is currently a resident at Paul Artspace in St. Louis, Mo. Her residency affords the opportunity to work alongside resident artists Alexis Rivierre, Steve Coplin and Director, Michael Behle. Ms. Kurimoto’s recent developments includes giving an artist talk and studio visits at the University of Mississippi and participating in Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Open Studios. While in resident, she also participated in the Western Cast Iron Art Alliance Conference in Granite City’s Art & Design District in Granite City, Mo. Prior to her residency, Ms. Kurimoto led a workshop at Blazing Paddles Studio in Macon, Georgia. During one her workshops she demonstrated animal origami sculpture and taught origami jewelry.

Ayako Kuimoto SIU SculptureKurimoto’s work has recently been featured in a multitude of juried shows and a solo exhibition displaying sculptures and artworks that are rarely seen. The exhibits include “MASTER PIECES” at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 2018; “Micro/Macro” at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, Missouri, Aug. 2018; “Green” at Webster Arts Center in St. Louis, MO., Sept. 2018; “Professional” at Granite City Art & Design District, Granite City, IL., Oct. 2018; “Japanese folktale” a solo exhibition at Blazing Paddles Showroom in Macon, GA., June 2018; “City” at Art Room Gallery, July 2018 and “Art & Fear” at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, Cape Girardeau, Mo., June 2018, where she received best in show.

Ayako Kurimoto’s current work can be seen at the Foundry Art Center, St. Charles, MO., "Child's Play" from Jan. 4th through Feb 15th, 2019 and forthcoming exhibitions at Indianapolis Art Center, IN., "Pushing Paper", Feb 8th - April 10th, 2019; and "Fired Works 2019", Macon Arts Alliance, GA., April 5th - 14th, 2019.

Kurimoto is also one of the finalists for the MANIFEST Grand Jury Prize. The works shown represent the highest ranking artworks out of roughly 8,200 separate works submitted for consideration across 21 group and 9 solo exhibitions during our 14th season. This Season 14 Grand Jury Prize features a pool of 52 works by 48 artists, representing 30 different exhibitions. The exhibits presented 505 works by 312 artists in 41 states and 12 countries. Details on the exhibitions, and all of season 14, can found at this link. The entire season, and all works shown, will be documented in the forthcoming Manifest Exhibition Annual publication planned for release in late 2019 or early 2020.

Instagram: @ayako.kurimoto
Facebook: @AyakoKurimotoArt

Anna Wonnell

BFA Painting 2017

Anna wonnell Shawnee acrylic on canvas artwork

Online exhibition for Fusion Art
Painting entitled “Shawnee” – Acrylic on Canvas

James L. Webb

MFA Ceramics 2017

James has been invited to present a guest lecture to the Harvard Ceramics Program on February 13. While James bases his work out of Somerville, Mass. as the current Artist-in-Residence at Mudflat Studio, he is originally a Kentucky native and will discuss his life and work in ceramics with the Harvard Arts community at this public event. Photos of James's work and more about his SIU narrative can be found in Harvard's event preview.