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ISU students and alumni dominate 2008 Des Moines Arts Festival Emerging Iowa Artists

AMES, Iowa -- For the sixth consecutive year, Iowa State University's students and recent graduates will rule the streets of the Des Moines Arts Festival. That's because 15 of the 24 jury-selected Emerging Iowa Artists hail from ISU's College of Design. Twelve are students and three are alumni.

The Emerging Iowa Artists Program identifies Iowa's up-and-coming young artists. It is an opportunity for young visual artists to showcase their talent at the Des Moines Arts Festival, June 27-29. Considered one of the nation's top arts festivals, the event attracts more than 200,000 patrons.

The same festival jury that selects artists in the professional divisions selects the emerging artists. In June, the awards jury will present a $1,000 Best of Show Award for the Best Student Artist.

This will be the first commercial art show for most of the emerging artists. Not only do they need to have several pieces of their art produced and ready to sell, they also must learn how to price, transport, display and wrap or bag their work.

For Jared Porter, a senior from Waukee majoring in integrated studio arts, the festival is "a great opportunity to get my name out there and sell my work."

Porter will exhibit gold, silver and copper jewelry, some set with diamonds. He says the biggest challenge in preparing for a show is "knowing how many different designs to create or if it's more important to have several of one design."

Porter hopes being accepted into the arts festival will help him stand out when he begins applying for jobs. He plans to move to Colorado after graduation and work for a studio.

Kate Brown, a graduating senior in integrated studio arts from Odebolt, will display stuffed animals cast in ceramic, "kitsch bunnies" (rabbit sculptures dressed in disguises) and mixed-media collages dealing with subjects such as violence toward women.

"Everything will be slightly disturbing," Brown said. "I'm interested to see how that will be received."

Brown is also eager to see how her work compares with that of professional artists, both in terms of its quality and its presentation.

This will be Anastasia Kral's second year in the Emerging Iowa Artists Program. She says she has a better sense of how much work to take to sell, how to price it and what pieces might be more appealing to potential buyers.

"I really value the feedback from people who visit my booth," Kral said. "They have different backgrounds and opinions from my professors or other students in my classes, which helps me see my work in a new way."

A graduating senior in integrated studio arts from North Liberty, Kral will show both traditional and digital photography that features abandoned or discarded objects captured in their natural setting, and mixed-media collages utilizing mass-media imagery.

Jon Kamrath, St. Paul, Minn., is the only Iowa State graduate student in the show. His booth will feature oversized custom chess sets made of wood and clay, and large ceramic jars with wooden lids.

"This is an amazing opportunity, and I'm excited to be a part of the festival," said Kamrath, who hope to make contacts and possibly attract commissions.

Kamrath, who will earn his master of fine arts degree in integrated visual arts in May, hopes to teach ceramics or sculpture in Minnesota.

The 2008 Emerging Iowa Artists from Iowa State University are:

  • Sarah Achtemeier, Dubuque, senior, integrated studio arts
  • Kate Brown, Odebolt, senior, integrated studio arts
  • Jon Kamrath, St. Paul, Minn., graduate student, integrated visual arts
  • Ryan Kappelman, Milo, senior, integrated studio arts
  • Andrew Kopp, Solon, senior, integrated studio arts
  • Anastasia Kral, North Liberty, senior, integrated studio arts
  • Jon Lemons, Waukee, integrated studio arts
  • Jared Porter, Waukee, senior, integrated studio arts
  • Anjana Rao, Urbandale, senior, art and design
  • Benjamin Ryan, bachelor of fine arts degree, 2006
  • Changsoon Shin, Seoul, South Korea, senior, integrated studio arts,
  • Willa Thornburg , bachelor of fine arts degree, 2007
  • Dean Vande Griend, bachelor of fine arts degree, integrated studio arts, 2007
  • Asa Wentzel-Fisher, Ames, senior, integrated studio arts
  • Dustin Whited, St. Charles, junior, integrated studio arts

More information, including a photo of each emerging artist's work is available at


Quick look

For the sixth consecutive year, Iowa State students and recent graduates will rule the streets of the Des Moines Arts Festival. Fifteen of the 24 jury-selected Emerging Iowa Artists hail from the College of Design.