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All day and evening in-person classes in Cullowhee and at Biltmore Park instructional site are suspended for Tuesday, Jan. 18.

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2021 School of Art & Design Faculty Biennial

Exhibition: January 26 - May 7, 2021


Reopening Announcement & Current Visiting Guidelines



David Skinner, Pink Flood, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

David Skinner, Pink Flood, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

Every two years, the WCU Fine Art Museum offers faculty in the School of Art and Design the opportunity to share their artwork with the University community. For this year’s Biennial, each faculty member contributed work that connects with the University’s 2020-2021 campus theme of Water. 

Often, water is not only part of the process of creating art, or the inspiration behind a piece, but an integral, and occasionally moving, element in the final product.

Nathan Ellis Perry, Beach Signal, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Nathan Ellis Perry, Beach Signal, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches. 

In the context of artmaking, water has endless purposes, for example:

  • the ability to suspend and move other materials
  • create temperature changes
  • clean surfaces
  • bond materials together
  • allow paint to move with ease
  • help clay to conform to a mold
  • adheres wool fibers to one another
  • cool glass tools to during use
  • makes pulp to create paper

Matt Liddle, Perforated, 2020, artist book, handmade paper with perforations, 6 x 64 inches open, 6 x 4 inches closed. Image courtesy of the artist.

Matt Liddle, Perforated, 2020, artist book, handmade paper with perforations, 6 x 64 inches open, 6 x 4 inches closed. 

On a practical level, the works encourage us to think about how water functions in our everyday lives and how we depend on water to perform day-to-day activities, whether at home or in the studio. While many of the faculty use water to produce their work, the presence of water is most powerful when it is used to create meaning. 

Laura Sellers, Atmospheric, 2020, acrylic on wood, 36 x 48 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Laura Sellers, Atmospheric, 2020, acrylic on wood, 36 x 48 inches.

The exhibition highlights representations of water, such as steam, rivers,  flooded landscapes, and even the atmosphere around us. You will notice allusions to water in the form of toy boats, maps, andmonsters. All of these experiences come together to illuminate the important role water plays in human myths and legends, memories and identities, histories and rituals, and even our safety in the era of COVID-19.

These works ask us to consider our physical and psychological relationship with water, as well as its spectrum of impact on our lives and ecosystems, as both a destructive force and sustainer of life.

Take the interactive 360° tour

The instructors train students in a variety of studio-based practices, from sculpture, ceramics, and book arts to painting, drawing, and design. As professional artists, they pursue their own research outside the classroom and express ideas through visual form.

Exhibiting Faculty:

Tom Ashcraft, Heather Mae Erickson, Ben Hamburger, Matt Hellgeth, Jane Hughes, Morgan Kennedy, Kevin  Kirkpatrick, Ron Laboray, Mary Anna LaFratta, Matt Liddle, Susan Alta Martin, Greg McPherson, Martha Neaves, Nathan Ellis Perry, John Seefeldt, Laura Sellers, David Skinner, Erin Tapley, and Richard Tichich.

Due to COVID-19, the WCU Fine Art Museum is currently closed to the general public and the WCU community.

In addition to the content available on this page, please explore the interactive 360° tour.

If you are interested in scheduling a virtual guided visit, please visit our group visits page for more information.


Virtual Reception Video


Take the interactive 360° tour
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