The show wasn’t scheduled to happen, but after the cancellation opened the calendar, the question became what it would be called.
Moss-Thorns Art Gallery director Colin Schmidtberger and graphic design student Morgan Choitz came up with “Cartulary.” In general, it’s an idea to keep things from the past, Schmidtberger explained Thursday in a gallery on the Fort Hays State University campus.
“Cartulary,” which opens on January 25, is a showcase of original work by two respected former department heads of the Fort Hays State University Department of Arts, Joel Moss and John Thorns.
“The Barbed Moss Gallery is the real name of our gallery, that’s the foundation,” says Schmidtberger, who is also an interior design instructor. “Cartulary is a unique name for attracting people to our exhibitions, but also sticks with the work of Moss-Thorns, because they are our founders.”
Visitors are not as usual, because there is no opening of the show and there will be no closing of the show. But the guest book reflects the general visitors who tour the exhibition, as well as students.
That’s how it should be, Schmidtberger points out, when John C. Thorns pushed for a gallery on campus, to showcase student art, as well as bring in art from others.
“One of his great influencers is Joel Moss,” says Schmidtberger, “so when they think of a name, he really wants the name Moss to be a part of it too.”
“Cartular” runs until February 19th.
“It allows students to understand how the arts department started, how we grew,” says Schmidtberger, “just get inspired.”
Much has happened since the department’s foundation was laid by Moss, chairman from 1946 to 1973, and Thorns, chairman from 1973 to 1990. The $14.2 million art and design building, which now houses the department, opened in 2019, soon to be followed by adjacent gallery in the historic FHSU Power Plant building.
“Especially with this show, I actually saw some students come in and I talked to them, and they were actually really inspired by the work they saw from John and Moss,” he said. “Obviously it’s not always on display, so it’s always fun to bring students back and show them the department’s past.”
With the Power Plant carved into the rock above the entrance to the red brick building, the campus power station was built in 1931 and 1932.
“The history of this small space is remarkable,” said student assistant Tyler Dallis, a graduate student in Ceramics from Exeter, Missouri, at the gallery on Thursday.
Closed and replaced in 1991 by what became the Akers Energy Center, the vacant stone building was later used as storage and studio space for art and design graduate students, Dallis said.
The 5,029-square-foot building was later opened as the new Lumut-Duri Art Gallery.
“I know students come here every new show, and they look at the art just to get inspired by what they’re doing in class,” says Schmidtberger. “Instructors drop their classes, just to see what other people are making, just to inspire themselves.”
The next event is a graphic design senior exhibition, said Dallis.
“That’s where all the seniors in graphic design class come together as a whole, come up with a concept and they name the show, design everything for the show, and they come together as a whole to put on the show,” he said. .
The show begins March 1, featuring student work over the past three years.
“It’s product designs, board games, paint cans, whatever they logo design, they put it on the actual product for display as if it were something you would buy in a store,” Dallis said. “Our slogan is ‘Do it for real.’ So instead of displaying it on a computer screen for the client, print it out, drop it into the actual product and display it in real life, so they can see what it’s like in real life, not just on a blue screen.”
This program is a stepping stone for the future for students, he explained.
“We had a lot of people going to Chicago, LA, New York,” he said, “and we saw a lot of people doing things for big companies, starting their own companies.”