Department of Art

Alumni News

Essma Imady

Essma Imady

MFA, MCAD, 2016
BA Art, St. Cloud State, 2013

Essma Imady is an installation and film artist currently based in the Twin Cities. She grew up in Damascus, Syria, and was dislocated to Minnesota in 2011 where she finished her art degree at St. Cloud State University and later received an MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Essma is interested in the intersections of the political, religious and personal, and the complexities of being Syrian American today.

Her experience as an undergraduate student at St. CLoud State helped Essma better understand her strengths and provided a network of supportive mentors and colleagues.

Essma has exhibited in a number of galleries across Minnesota, including the Soap Factory, a solo show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and curating a show at the Walker Art Center. She received a Forecast Public Art grant and the Jerome Travel and Study grant. She is currently showing at the SooVAC while working towards the culmination of Artists On the Verge fellowship with a show at the Rochester Art Center.

Blake Weld

Blake Weld

MFA Studio Arts,  University of North Texas, 2018
BFA Photography, St. Cloud State, 2011

Blake Weld graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2011 with BFA in Photography. In 2018, he received an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.

Currently living in Denton, Texas, Weld is employed as the Technical Director and Gallery Manager at the Department of Visual Arts, Texas Woman's University He is also a member 500x Gallery, one of the longest operating artist-run galleries in Dallas, Texas.

In 2018, Blake received a Dallas Foundation grant to construct a kinetic sculpture exhibited at the Dallas Aurora Art Fair, Preview Days. Since graduating from SCSU in 2011, his work has been exhibited nationally, ranging from Tempe, Arizona and San Antonio, Texas to Portland, Maine.

Qiuwen Li

Qiuwen Li

MFA Graphic Design, MCAD, 2016
BFA Graphic Design, St. Cloud State, 2014

Qiuwen Li is a Graphic Designer and a Design Professor living and working in Santa Clara, CA. Born in China, she received her BFA in Graphic Design from St. Cloud State University and received her MFA in Visual Studies focusing in Graphic Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Qiuwen Li’s design has been exhibited at the MCSU Art Gallery of the Faculty of Art (Lublin, Poland), Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery (South Carolina, USA), Conkling Gallery at Minnesota State University (Minnesota, USA), Salmon Gallery (Alabama, USA), Paramount Center for the Arts (Minnesota, USA), Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center (South Dakota, USA) and CHEAP street poster art festival (Bologna, Italy). Her freelance design clients include James Dayton Design, Reverie, Medical Marketing Solutions. Qiuwen has been recognized with several awards during her career including Winner of Design and Design International Award (Paris, France), Winner of Creative Quarterly in both Fine Art and Graphic Design Category (New York, USA), first prize in LAG Festival Poster Competition (Katowice, Poland).

As a designer, Qiuwen Lee understands the need for legibility, but she is more concerned with communicating something more visceral, expressive, and imaginative. Her work engages viewers in a way that evokes playing games and figuring out puzzles; they simply can’t get enough of it, and that’s a good thing, because that’s the key to engagement. As a Chinese woman living in the United States, Quiwen considers herself to be in an in-between position, which also brings a distinctive perspective for her thinking, being and making.

In 2016, Quiwen co-founded E+Motion Lab that focuses on emotional visual signals and words and how they influence individuals’ perceptions, value shift and communication method changes. 

Joshua Stulen

Joshua Stulen

MFA Sculpture, California College of the Arts, 2015
BFA Sculpture, St. Cloud State, 2009

Joshua Peder Stulen (b. 1986, Spicer, Minnesota) received a MFA in sculpture from California College of the Arts in 2015 and a BFA in sculpture from St. Cloud State University in 2009. He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri and works at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation as the Assistant Curator of Public Projects and Engagement. Stulen has exhibited and performed at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (2016); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2015); Southern Exposure, San Francisco (2015, 2014); the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2015); the Lumberyard, Marfa, Texas (2014); the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2014); Art of This, Minneapolis (2009); and the Soap Factory, Minneapolis (2009), among other places.

Claire Mielke

Claire Mielke

BFA 2D Media, St. Cloud State, 2013
BS Art Education, St. Cloud State, 2013

Claire Mielke is currently working as a visual arts teacher at the Robbinsdale Cooper High School teaching painting and mixed media courses for grades 9-12. Claire completed two degrees from St. Cloud State University — a Bachelor of Fine Art in Two-Dimensional Media and a Bachelor of Science in Art Education. Claire student-taught in the Robbinsdale Area School District (RASD) in 2012 and was hired the following school year in the district. Claire's first year teaching was divided between four elementary schools teaching in classrooms from a cart. Claire's second and third years were in one building. During this time she was trained in Arts Integration by Turnaround:Arts— an initiative to infuse arts into the common core to reduce racial disparities in academic achievement.  During the fourth year in the RASD, she moved to the high school that she currently teaches in now. In Claire's fifth year teaching she was a finalist for Robbinsdale Area Schools Teacher of the Year award.  

The arts and instilling social justice in her students have always been a passion for Claire. She is currently completing a certificate in Culturally Responsive Teaching at St. Mary's University of Minnesota and is going on to complete her Masters of Education there as well. Claire also finds time to take continuing education courses and recently completed a course at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in Mixed Media and Experimental Drawing. 

Claire's personal artwork focuses primarily on the experimental and observational drawing in nature, the female form, and women's issues. Between teaching full-time, seeking higher education, and devoting time to her own artwork, Claire also coaches cheerleading year-round.

Britain Ogle

Britain Ogle

Masters of Landscape Architecture, University of Arizona, 2017
International Council On Monuments & Sites ICOMOS Fellow, India 2016
Return Peace Corps Volunteer,  Zambia 2012-14
BFA Drawing, St. Cloud State, 2008

Mr. Ogle comes from a strong background in visual arts. After completing his bachelor’s degree in mixed media design, he spent 27 months as a Forestry Agent in the Peace Corps developing proper land management techniques, improving living conditions for rural subsistence farming communities in Sub Saharan Africa. He received a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona where he expanded his knowledge of the arid Southwestern United States. His work in the arts and landscape architecture has taken him overseas as a representative of The United States International Committee on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS), where he worked on a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Jantar Mantar and Chittogarh Fort landscape master plans in Rajasthan, India. His interests are rooted in preservation of natural resources, cultural sites and monuments through design.

Mr. Ogle is the first Geodesign Consultant to be hired by the Natural Resources Team at the Environmental Science Research Institute – ESRI in Redlands, California. Geodesign is a cutting-edge land design and planning method, which couples the creation of design proposals with impact simulations informed by geographic contexts, data, and systems thinking, all of which is supported by digital technology. Leaning on his practice in fine arts, he aims to build on his experience, continuing to restore and preserve cultural and natural landscapes thorough investigative analysis and design. 

Clare Richards

Clare Richards

BFA Graphic Design, St. Cloud State, 2014

During her last semester at St. Cloud State University, Clare was lucky enough to land a great graphic design internship at a local advertising St. Cloud agency called Leighton Interactive. While in school, she assumed (along with many of her classmates) that the only opportunity for great marketing careers reside in the Twin Cities and beyond. That couldn't be further from the truth! Through Leighton Interactive, she had the opportunity to grow and advance in ways never imagined. She spent several years in design-related roles, but had the opportunity to lead and manage within the art department at a very early stage of her career. Now she has the opportunity to work with companies across the nation to execute marketing plans that make a difference.

Along with marketing, Clare has a great passion for helping the Central Minnesota community grow and get better. In 2015, together with her husband, Clare started a young professionals service club called Rotaract. It focuses on giving back to the community and offering professional development opportunities to their peers in St. Cloud and the surrounding area. Clare is also invested in helping marketing and graphic design students grow their talent and enter the workforce prepared. She is a regular presenter at St. Cloud State, St. Cloud Technical & Community College, and other Minnesota colleges. 

Kelsey Storkamp

Kelsey Storkamp

BFA Graphic Design, St. Cloud State, 2009

Kelsey graduated from St. Cloud State with a degree in Graphic Design in 2009. From there, her internships lead her to jobs as a designer in the industry. As of recently, Kelsey was managing a team of digital designers, specializing in the healthcare industry. She is currently on a sabbatical from her profession as a digital design director at an agency downtown Minneapolis. Kelsey enjoys digital product design, focusing on a component based approach, building pattern libraries and cohesive design systems. 

Kelsey believes in following the things that bring you joy. She says that design brings her joy, but so does gardening/farming and being outdoors. She will begin her journey volunteering on a farm in California in August of 2019 while doing freelance design on the side and eventually full-time.

Ryan Schoepf

Ryan Schoepf

BFA Graphic Design, St. Cloud State, 2008

Before co-founding Switchboard, Ryan worked seven years in Minneapolis creating visual identities, campaigns, websites and mobile apps for clients like Red Wing Shoe Company, Box Tops for Education, Pillsbury, and Cartoon Network. Beyond a keen eye for visual design, Ryan strives to communicate in the most user-friendly way possible. Ryan likes to work on big, corporate advertising campaigns (that feed the kids) and small, indie branding projects (that feed the soul).

Ryan Aasen

Ryan Aasen

BFA Integrated Media, St. Cloud State, 2013

Ryan Aasen is a practicing artist whose work deals with the politics of consumer technology, particularly ideas around privacy, surveillance, and identity. Since graduation he was a 2015 Northern Lights.mn Art(ists) on the Verge fellow, and his work has been exhibited nationally, including shows at the Walker Art Center, the Soap Factory, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is currently a Master’s candidate at MIT’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology, and a teaching assistant for MIT’s photography courses.

Madison Holler

Madison Holler

BFA Studio 2D, St. Cloud State, 2018

Madison Holler received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from St. Cloud State University in May of 2018. Madison worked as a graphic designer to pay her way through school, first at St. Cloud State University, then at the marketing agencies in St. Cloud, including Dayta Marketing and Jive Media. As a student, she also did pop-up events selling her jewelry. In the last few years of her education at St. Cloud State, she took photos for weddings and creative small businesses. Now, Madison owns and operates Rubinski Works with her husband and partner, Mike Thienes. Her experience as a student involved in exploring many creative disciplines helped her start the business. As an entrepreneur, she has to not only produce the work, but photograph it, create promotional materials, market it, take care of accounting, etc. The exposure to various media and the classes at St. Cloud State informed all her modes of making and built her expertise in the field.

Nate Mueller

Nate Mueller

BFA Graphic Design, St. Cloud State, 2005

Nate Mueller is a 2005 St. Cloud State University graduate with a BFA in Graphic Design. He is currently working as a Sr. UX designer for Amazon in Minneapolis. Nate has been at Amazon for over six years (four years in Seattle, two years in Minneapolis) and has worked on a variety of products like Amazon Prime and the shopping experience. He is currently the lead designer on the Amazon Relay app which helps truck drivers hauling Amazon loads. Outside of work, Nate enjoys spending time with his wife (who he met in the art department at St. Cloud State) and two daughters.

After graduating, the biggest benefit to Nate’s career was joining AIGA and MIMA. Attending events and volunteering design services to both groups helped him meet people in the industry and ultimately lead to one of his first jobs.

Tom Wixo

Tom Wixo

MFA Painting & Drawing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 2018
BFA 2D Studio Art, Minor in Graphic Design, St. Cloud State, 2014

Tom Wixo is currently employed as the Preparator & Operations Coordinator of the Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University. In his current role, he manages day to day museum operations, exhibition installation, and the museum guide program. Before starting at the Samek in the Fall of 2018, Wixo had worked at the Ewing Gallery at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville during graduate school, co-curated an exhibition for the Spring Break Art Fair in New York, interned at Midway Contemporary Art, and was a member and director of The Gallery Vault while a student at St. Cloud State University. Along with his work in museums and galleries, Wixo maintains a full time studio practice with recent group and solo exhibitions at H Space (Cleveland, Ohio), Holland Projects (Reno, Nevada), Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, New York), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Crosstown Arts (Memphis, Tennessee ), and Mild Climate (Nashville, TN). Having the well rounded foundation offered by a BFA program with rigorous Art History courses combined with the experience gained while managing the Gallery Vault are what set Wixo up for developing a hyphenated career as both an artist and gallery professional. 

Trae Story

Trae Story

BFA 3D Media Ceramics, St. Cloud State, 2018

Trae Story attended St. Cloud State University from 2013-2018, and graduated with a BFA in 3D Media, ceramics focus. He was a part of the St. Cloud State wrestling team. Trae also attended workshops at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. After graduation, Trae moved to Bozeman, Montana to attend Montana State University as a post-baccalaureate student in the ceramics department. His time at MSU consisted of taking creative risks in a supportive community, and many trips to the nearby Archie Bray Foundation. He is currently preparing to move to Fort Collins, Colorado to attend the post-bac program at Colorado State University under the guidance of Del Harrow and Sanam Emami. While at CSU, he will be assisting Sanam and Del in the classroom, as well as exploring his own work and building his portfolio in preparation to apply to various residency programs.

Kevin Eldstrom

BFA Studio 3D, St. Cloud State, 2018

Kevin’s works at The Paramount Center for the Arts in St. Cloud as Ceramic studio technician. He loads, fires and unloads kilns as well as manages the ceramics studios. He also taught summer art camps to kids there. Kevin taught ceramics at Rum River Arts Center to people of all ages and a couple of summer ceramics art camps at St. Paul Public Schools. 

After graduating in the fall of 2018, Kevin pursued a Jerome Grant and was lucky to receive it.