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Past Events


The Mission


MARCH 11 - 22

This collaborative work, built for Art Basel Miami Beach, beautifully blends craftsmanship, musicality, and design. At the heart of this endeavor is the concept of a "mission." A mission, in its truest sense, represents an important goal, a vocation fueled by unwavering conviction.

It is with this spirit that Bryan Galloup embarked on this artistic journey. At the heart of The Mission lies a musical treasure—a guitar valued at over $25,000. This exquisite instrument was meticulously crafted by Bryan Galloup and his team of skilled artisans, including Zake Balwinski, Tyler Robbins, and Mathew Van Arnam.

Inspiration for this project was drawn from the iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Experience The Mission

Guitar and chair

Much Ado About Barbie

February 1 - 28

Much Ado About Barbie aims to celebrate the impact of the recent film and to explore the evolution of Barbie since her introduction by Mattel in 1959. Barbie represents both progress and controversy as her character has evolved over time to address the criticisms and changing societal norms of western culture while remaining a symbol of imagination and aspiration for generations. 

Barbie figurine


November 16 - December 15 


Reception & Art Talk: November 16 - 5-6:30 p.m.

“I find it hard to be vulnerable. Embarrassed, I try to keep my body and my emotions contained, neat and presentable. Despite my best efforts, my humanity always finds a way to slip through the cracks, like water in tightly clasped hands. My map-like imagery serves as a guide to the soft places, where my fragility lies. The rabbit represents where feelings of anxiety and vulnerability meet. The rabbit, much like me, is reluctant to show any form of weakness. They are notoriously cautious and reserved. Being vulnerable is hard without an invitation, however my painting process creates a space where I can express my thoughts and feelings without fear.”

Mikayla is an interdisciplinary artist who primarily focuses on drawing and painting. Getting her pet rabbit 'Lou' ended up being a catalyst for her future work. As she interacted and observed his behaviors, she found commonality in his fear of being a vulnerable animal of prey. Her work touches on topics of identity, womanhood, anxiety, and emotional intimacy. Mikayla currently resides in Grand Rapids Michigan and works with Grand Rapids local artists and KCAD students and alumni to sell their work in ‘The Spark’ retail space on KCAD’s campus.

Soft Spaces by Mikayla Portee

November 1 - 11


Reception & Art Talk: November 6 - 4-6 p.m.

The Faces of First-Gen display will highlight and celebrate our First-Generation students and the academic journeys they take to become generational trailblazers. This display will share a glimpse into the life of First-Generation college students as told through their eyes.

First-generation students are academically skilled, relentless, and eager to contribute to scholarly work and society. They navigate a tangled web of unfamiliar college policies, procedures, jargon, and expectations that can be extremely challenging for all students, but even more so for First-Generation students. Ferris State University is committed to helping support and celebrate the success of First-Generation students who embody the mission and vision that Ferris State University was founded upon. For this reason, Ferris has made a concerted effort to break down obstacles to First-Generation student success and celebrate their accomplishments.

Proud to be First Gen

August 28 - October 27


Reception & Art Talk: September 14 – 5:00-6:30PM

The Director, Carrie Weis will give a brief presentation about the FSU Permanent Collections, Assistant Director, Rosemary Graham will share her genius mystery puzzle.

Calling all fans of puzzles and codes! Do you have what it takes to follow the clues and solve the mystery? STOLEN: A Fine Art Mystery is crafted for the spirited intellectual and adventure-seeking thinker. If that sounds like you, visit the Fine Art Gallery at Ferris State University to experience specially curated anagrams, encryptions, and ciphers that will transport you on a journey through a selection of the art gallery’s permanent collections. You do not have to be an expert to follow the clues, but we recommend bringing your most resourceful friends. While challenging, each clue is solvable and brings you one step closer to the sweet gratification of victory when the treasure is uncovered, and the mystery is solved! All participants that solve the mystery will receive a prize and be entered in a drawing for a grand prize.

GAME PREMISE: One of the gallery’s most valuable paintings is missing, (but not really because this game is all in fun)! Clues have been left throughout the Art Gallery and you must use the selection of art on display from the university’s permanent and print collection to decipher each puzzle and find the missing artwork. 



Empty Frame

June 1 – August 4

Continuing the Journey - MARGO BERKE & MARLIES MANNING

June 6 5-6:30 p.m. Opening Events

Creativity is a continual journey and long-time friends Margo Berke and Marlies Manning have embraced an ongoing exploration in both fine and functional art. Continuing their respective journeys, both artists practice their medium focusing on the waters and rural countryside unique to Michigan. Manning hones her watercolor paintings with each brushstroke capturing textures, moods, light and shadows cast on environments indoors and out. Berke has set out on a relatively new path of pastel paintings showcasing the rural landscape, expansive skies, and grain elevators that dot our countryside.

 Marlies Manning is a watercolor artist and retired landscape architect residing in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Margo Berke is a studio artist working in both ceramics and pastels. She and her family own a hobby vineyard near Big Rapids, Michigan.

Manning Cow

Marlies Manning

Margo Sky

Margo Berke

April 3 – May 6

Gwen Frostic Nature & Art in Michigan

April 20 4:30 – 6PM Opening events

Curatorial Team: Dr. Rachel Foulk, Gallery Director Carrie Weis, Gallery Assistant Rosemary Graham, and students in Art History 325 (Women and Art) 

Design Team: Professor Alison Popp, and students in Design 320 (Branding Experiences II

Community Partners: Artworks in Big Rapids and community art collectors

Print Management: Professor Pat Klarecki, Christina Bregg

Gwen Frostic (1906 - 2001) is one of Michigan’s most successful artists and businesswomen. Her hand carved block prints illuminate nature, depicting the landscapes and the native flora and fauna of Michigan.  Frostic founded her own printmaking business in Benzonia, Michigan, which continues to produce work using her original printing blocks.  Colorful prints, stationery, and books written and illustrated by Frostic form the core of this exhibition. This show celebrates Gwen Frostic’s love of nature and situates her pioneering work within the larger history of women artists.

Gwen Frostic

My Michigan

January 9 – February 28

Lynette Vought, MFA
Kathleen VandeMark, MFA
Carrie Weis, MFA

Opening & Artist Talk – February 9th 5:00 – 6:30pm

Myth Making

Myths and myth making are at the crux of this collaborative exhibition between three artists with a unique connection.  Working with imagery steeped in symbolism and metaphor, Vought, VandeMark, and Weis are either referencing myths and fables or creating new ones.  

Stylistically their paintings contain a sense of the surreal where unnatural pairings between plants and animals occur, where animals are comingling in ways not found in nature, or where dream-like imagery sets the stage for referencing the world around us with the intention of sharing stories that reflect upon life, love, and the nature of all things

Lynette Vought

Lynette Vought


Kathleen VandeMark

Kathleen VandeMark


Carrie Weis

Carrie Weis


Nov 7 – Dec 17

Karen BondarchuK

Talk with the Artist: Nov 10th 5:00 – 6:30

This series was largely inspired by research into the evolutionary connections between dinosaurs and present-day  birds.  This work aims to suggest a larger continuum of life and death by using material and methods that embody those evolutionary cycles as well: the limestone base of the underlying gesso contains calcified fossils of ancient creatures, and the bony structures and images have been revealed — excavated – by digging and sanding beneath the pigmented surface of the panel itself. 


September 5 – October 28


Jason Swearingen

Talk with the Artist: September 15th 5:00-6:30
Talk with the Art Historian: October 11th at 11am

Activity: Black Out Poetry

Jason has captured the soul of Schuberg's Bar & Grill in downtown, Michigan in the after-hours between last call and turning off the lights. His portraits are intimate moments of the people who serve the beers, cook the food, and build camaraderie over long shifts and late nights. He encapsulates each individual within close environments letting the myriad of objects in view reveal the stories and goings-on that most of us never get to see.

Schuberg's Bar & Grill

April 11 – August 12

unexpected choices


The West Michigan Graphic Design Archives makes both physical artifacts and digital representations available to design professionals, educators, students, business people, researchers, and others interested in the rich legacy of graphic design, paper manufacturing, and printing in West Michigan. You can be inspired by how design has helped successful businesses achieve their goals. See the connections in the world of graphic design– from right here in West Michigan.

Graphic Design

January 10 – February 26

Rufus Snoddy
Disappearing Man

The Disappearing Man series presents itself as a symbolic clarion call. It evokes a personal narrative of concern for future human existence.

“I utilize an array of generic, wide-eyed, naïve appearing, repetitive portraits of man. Like artists from the past, I am reflecting a contemporary narrative of social and cultural concern.” - Rufus Snoddy

Snoddy’s “Construction Paintings” are beautifully organized assemblages of paint, wood, and found objects, as sculptural as they are painterly.  Originally from Los Angeles, Snoddy now resides in Traverse City, Michigan.  He has established himself regionally and internationally with shows in Michigan, California, New York, New Mexico, and France.

disappearing man


November 1 – December 18

November 4 - Humanities Colloquium with Dr. Adrian Ormsby

November 11 – Presentation by Lynette Vought: Printmaking: Old Techniques and new Technologies

Francoise Gilot: 100 Years of Perseverance in Life and Art

curated by Dr.  Adrian Ormsby

2021 marks the 100th birthday of Francoise Gilot, painter, printmaker, writer, poet, mother and grandmother. A half century ago (1971), Ferris State University hosted a special exhibit of graphic works following Francoise’ generous donation of rare color proofs to the University for the learning and enjoyment of fine art students, faculty and the viewing public. The exhibit brought together 29 rare graphic works from 15 private Michigan collectors demonstrating the popularity of her work in the United States. Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery once again celebrates the remarkable life and artistic career of Francoise Gilot, bringing together many of the same lithographs exhibited 50 years ago and key graphic works representing important developments in her artistic career as a fine art printmaker spanning an incredible five decades. Works on paper, especially color lithography, is a major theme and focus of this exhibit, demonstrating Francoise’ genius and talent for printmaking and her success across multiple artistic media

Grancois gilot

September 16 – October 23

September 16, 4-6PM  Reception & Presentation by Artist

Mabel visits Palo Duro Canyon

By Kathleen VanDeMark

Mabel, one of VanDeMark’s beloved horses, spirits to Palo Duro Canyon to pay homage to her ancestors and unveils the truth of a history left untold.

Maybel Visits is a commemoration to the horses that perished during the altercation between First Nation peoples of the Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa tribes and the 4th US Calvary lead by Colonel R.S. Mackenzie.  Archiving with symbolic imagery, this group of 100 paintings raises awareness of this historical event.

Mabel visits Palo Duro Canyon

June 7 – September 11

September 2 Founders Day Reception 2-4pm
Remarks from Dr. David Pilgrim, V.P. Diversity & Inclusion Office 2:30-2:45pm

Time of Change: Documenting the Civil Rights Movement

through the lens of Bruce Davidson 

The exhibition, Time of Change, presents 30 photographs, each representative of Davidson’s talents, but more importantly, the images document the struggle for justice, equality, and desegregation during a time of Freedom Rides, protests, marches, and police violence. We see glimpses into the everyday lives of the people who fought against the daily cruelties of life under Jim Crow, including racial terrorism, delivered upon them by their fellow citizens, often under the cover of law.

In 2018 the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Objects was the recipient of a sizeable donation of works by the renowned photojournalist Bruce Davidson.  Davidson is best known for his photo-essays documenting subversive and counter-culture groups.

How Far Have We Come

The exhibition, Time of Change is made possible by a grant from the Michigan Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. These original Bruce Davidson images were a gift from an anonymous donor to the Jim Crow Museum.

March 1 – April 23

How Far Have We Come?

Mini-Moso is a carefully curated exhibit showcasing main themes within the Museum of Sexist Objects.  Through funding from a Ferris Foundation Grant a group of committed Ferris faculty collectively designed and curated this exhibition that is now available for traveling.  Topics researched and highlighted include The Body Image, Gender Norming, the Happy Housewife, Body as Object, gender stereotypes and many others.

How Far Have We Come


February 1  – February 28

Kaitlin Beebe
Diary Pink

 Diary Pink is a collection of paintings and drawings documenting a time of self-reflection. Exercising the faith-based method of blind contour, abstract self-portraits are created.  With an exacting intent to map out the evidence of growth, drawings are layered abstracting the portraits more and more. In a meditation, overlapping shapes are highlighted allowing time to reflect and clarify a new perspective.

bio: Kaitlin Beebe is an artist that lives and works on the North Fork of Long Island. Beebe received her BFA in Printmaking from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017. Additionally, Beebe has participated in several artist residencies, including, Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), Drop Forge & Tool (Hudson, NY), and Golden Apple Artist Residency (Harrington, ME). 


Diary Pink

January 13th – February 15th

Reception & Artist Talk: January 16th 5-6:30pm
MFA Graduate Competition Exhibit – Emily Mayo
Chorbah - Chadash

"Pronounced “khor·bä' “ and “khä·dash' ” these two words originate from the Hebrew writings of the Bible. Rarely seen together, “Chorbah” was used in reference to “a place laid waste, ruin, waste, desolation” and “Chadash” means “to be new, renew, repair.” Butting these two words together I suggest the transition between these two states, and reference the undeniable hope for this transition - not specific to the home or the plight-ridden neighborhood, but also to the human."

Chorbah - Chadash

Archived Events