Art Alumni


Jared Flores ’10

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Jared Flores went on to seek an MFA from the University of California at Santa Barbara after graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan University. While at Santa Barbara, he was awarded the SBAA Ludington-Parshall Scholarship, the Howard C. Fenton Scholarship, and the Graduate Dean's Advancement Fellowship before graduating in 2012.

He currently works as a painting instructor at Grumbacher Paint/Chartpak Inc. in Santa Barbara, California. He has been included in recent exhibitions in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles. His work was also recently featured in Studio Visit magazine.


Dan Leatherman ’10

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Dan Leatherman is a web designer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked as a designer for several firms, including Sandhills Publishing, RecordSetter, and Barnum.

In 2011, Leatherman became the founder of Permalight, a self-described “small, friendly design shop.”

“Permalight focuses on enabling others through design. Permalight’s clients are passionate about their vision—failure is not an option—and Permalight aims to contribute to the success of our joint endeavors.”


Eric Norby ’10

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“All of my work, in its illustrations of impossibilities, ultimately intends to be humorous.”

After graduating in 2010, Eric Norby went on to graduate school at the University of Missouri at Columbia where he expects to receive his master of fine arts in painting in 2014.

Norby’s paintings explore the correlations between historically significant images and the popular images of today. Using a grid system, he references abstraction and ‘democratizes’ the paintings because “no square is inherently more important than any other.”


Aaron Joseph ’09

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Since 2010, Aaron Joseph has been a staff photographer and production assistant for a company called DQM in Brooklyn, New York. DQM has become New York’s premiere location for sneakers, menswear, and skate goods. It has also become a fully-fledged brand in its own right, sold in select locations around the world.

Joseph hopes to use his “abilities to remain constantly progressive.”


Emily (Morse) Leatherman ’09

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Emily Leatherman recently completed her MFA at Brooklyn College, graduating in 2012.

“My work is about failure: the slimy, the crawling, the deformed, the undeserving, the almost. I’m interested in natural anomalies and hiccups that exist in the natural world as well as flaws in science. By examining natural anomalies as specimens, but also elevating their status, I hope to find a redemptive quality in them. Harsh, white backgrounds accentuate the figures in order to separate them from any kind of environment as well as remove distractions.”


Tess Rousey ’09

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Tess Rousey is a photographer and web designer with an agrarian point of view. As the daughter of a dairyman, Tess Rousey and her family were living farm-to-table before the phrase became a buzzword. Her rural background is complemented by her Fine Arts degree and nearly a decade spent working in design for one of the outdoor industry's largest retailers, Cabelas.

She also runs Tess Rousey Photography which delivers photography and art direction specializing in the outdoor and agricultural industries. Because Tess understands both the lifestyle and the business of the outdoors, she can highlight products and people in an artful way that not only generates sales, but also creates an aspirational aspect to the brand.


Adam Schwaninger ’09

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Adam Schwaninger is currently working as an art teacher at Schoo Middle School in Lincoln. In July, 2012 he won the National Arts Program contest for city and school employees, receiving $300 for his award-winning piece.


Brandon Minch ’08

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“I’m a web developer and designer...simply put, I make pretty websites from start to finish. While my roots are in design, I primarily enjoy tinkering with code and turning static websites into rich user experiences.”

Since 2011, Brandon Minch has been working as a web designer in Denver, Colorado. In 2012, he graduated from an intern to interactive developer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a marketing firm who “specializes in making brands famous, turning brands around, and generating outrageous business results for our clients.”


Matt Nolde ’05

Matt Nolde is currently a teacher for pre–Kindergarten through 5th grade students, seeing over 800 students a week. Nolde is one very talented Denison, Iowa art teacher but he is educating his students about more than just art. Whether it’s a masterpiece or a work in progress, those kids are inspired.

“There are some kids that have known me for two years and they still ask me, ‘what happened to your hands?’ I tell them, I left them at home. I didn't need them today,” said Nolde. Matthew Nolde was born with a great sense of humor, but he was born without hands and feet. He uses two prosthetic feet but does not use artificial hands.

As a single father of two, he’s made it his goal to inspire the kids in his life at home and in the classroom to face challenges head on.


Chad Petska ’05

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Chad Petska is a photography and digital media teacher at Lincoln Northeast High School. Most of his projects place a great emphasis on experimentation and taking chances to achieve unexpected results. Outside of teaching, he also does commercial portrait work for graduating seniors and families.

In 2001, Petska received second place for his photograph, “Media Conglomerate” in an exhibit of artwork by members of the Nebraska Art Teachers Association.


Amos Sterns ’05

Since 2002, Amos Sterns has been working as a graphic designer for ISoft Data Systems, a Lincoln based software development company that specializes in custom web development and business management solutions for the recycling and salvage industries. He creates websites, logos, ads, and print materials using primarily Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash.

According to Sterns, his time at ISoft Data Systems has greatly improved his skills. “I’ve had the opportunity to make exquisitely painful mistakes (nailed to the tree of woe, seen my favorite designs trampled through the mud, heard the lamentation of my employer, etc.) but I’ve learned that skills are only truly tempered through adversity.”


Andrew Marinkovich ’02

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Andrew Marinkovich is a photographer curently living in Omaha, Nebraska. He has been an image maker and techster at Malone and Company since 2002.

Andrew's subjects always have fun on his shoots; his belief that he can find something in common with anyone is probably one of the main reasons why.


Andre Watts ’02

Andre Watts is a multidisciplinary artist working in both clay and paint. He says that “the clay forms became the subject matter of the paintings and my glazing style continues to teach me how to paint.” His primary goal is to achieve balance between limited subject matter and the art elements of line, color, and space.

Currently he is teaching kindergarten through sixth grade art at two schools in Papillion, Nebraska.


Andrew Weatherl ’01

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Andrew Weatherl is currently living in Denver, Colorado, and working as a character artist at a video game company called Idol Minds. He builds characters using Maya, ZBrush, and Photoshop.

“I have had a chance to gain experience in nearly every part of the character creation process including concept art, modeling, texturing, rigging, and animation. Working in the game industry is challenging but rewarding. I would highly recommend it to any art students who are interested in following a computer art path.”


David Alles ’96

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David Alles, currently living in Lincoln, Nebraska, has worked as a self-employed visual artist since 1994. However, his life also revolves around his family, running their organic farm, and martial arts. Alles is also very active in the community, participating in community service projects that often include fundraising for those in need.

“In general, my work tends to flow with the freedom of a child's scribble. Expressive gestural lines are counter balanced by vibrant colors and rhythmic textures, combined with a wide variety of varying styles and thoughts, in the spirit of the expressionists, within each composition.”


Dana Zak Cotter ’96

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Dana Zak Cotter has owned her own freelance graphic design business, Dazcot Dezign, since 2002 and works on a wide variety of marketing projects for individuals and companies including logo design, brochures, postcards, packaging design, invitations, announcements, and holiday card templates.

She also recently started designing and creating jewelry that she sells to a few surrounding retail shops as well as online.


Chandra L. DeBuse ’96

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The pottery created by Chandra L. DeBuse incorporates narrative imagery, pattern, and form to reflect her attitudes toward play and to encourage a playful approach to life while remaning functional pieces.

DeBuse graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology but went on to pursue post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Nebraska in ceramics. She eventually received a Masters of Fine Arts in ceramics from the University of Florida in 2010.


Audrey (Hastreiter) Ramaekers ’95

Audrey Ramaekers has been employed by Haberfeld Associates for 12 years as a designer and, recently, as creative manager.

In May of 2011, she participated in her first art show since graduating from college. She looks forward to more shows in the near future.


Chris Smithberg ’95

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After eight years of working in the field of architecture, Chris Smithberg left to work in a cabinet shop where he designed and fabricated modern furniture. However, six years ago, Smithberg decided to start a photography business which specializes in sports photography.

He played on sports teams, at both the high school and college levels, that received little, if any coverage, and he knew that there was a need for athletes to have quality images of their experiences. With his background in art and design and also a strong desire to provide for others what was not available for him, he decided to launch double6photography.


Lonna Keller ’94

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The jewelry and body adornments of award-winning artist, Lonna Keller, have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad. Major collections of Keller’s work are held by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and by private collectors, John and Louise Rauh. She has also been included in Hanging Around: MAD Necklaces, an exhibition by the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY.

Keller received a BFA in metalsmithing and a BS in sociology/anthropology in 1994 from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She then went on to complete an MFA in metalsmithing in 1998 from the University of Iowa.


Matthew Landkammer ’94

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Matthew Landkammer received his art education at Nebraska Wesleyan University, graduating in 1994. He is currently working as a senior associate and markets manager at an architectural firm called NBBJ while also painting late at night or early in the morning.

“I make paintings about the Pacific Northwest. They exist somewhere between abstraction and landscape painting, as they exist somewhere between clouds and sea, and somewhere between pacific and violent. The practice of painting is a vehicle to gain an understanding of my place—the bioregion of Cascadia.”


Liz Vercruysse ’93

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Liz Vercruysse’s work may be best described as a funky, organic meld of seed pod inspired forms and botanically inspired texture. Her award-winning clay work is exhibited both locally and nationally, most notably at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Joslyn Art Museum, the Museum of Nebraska Art and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. Her work resides in numerous public and private collections and has also been published in Ceramics Monthly, American Craft and Niche magazines.

On top of her nationally recognized work, Vercruysse also co-founded Big Table Studios in March 2003. Big Table Studios is committed to creating functional and sculptural wood-fired ceramics using local materials.


Nancy Fairbanks ’84

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Nancy Fairbanks is a professional potter/sculptor in Grand Island, Nebraska. She has been making a living by exhibiting in art festivals across the Midwest and by selling in galleries and stores.

She is currently an artist-in-residence for the Nebraska Arts Council, which keeps her on the road several weeks during the winter months. She spends time in several different schools, teaching the students various forms of pottery and sculpture.


Janet (Price) Denison ’81

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Janet Denison’s 25 years of professional graphic design experience for print media and trade shows led her to launch her own company. Together with her husband, Scott, she created Vision Exhibits, a company that provides trade show and permanent exhibit solutions for businesses.

Denison enjoys painting watercolors and canning salsa, but most of all, spending time with her granddaughter, Lydia.