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story.lead_photo.caption Olivia Garrett/For the News TribuneDigital illustrations and pillows inscribed with hopeful mantras line the walls of the annual faculty art show at William Woods University. The works represent a “utopian version” of what she wants life to be, said graphic design professor Bethanie Irons.

Every year, William Woods University's art faculty invite the public to view their work.

This year, the annual art show will feature artwork by new faces.

Artwork by photography professor Rachel Deutmeyer, studio art professor Charles Dodoo, graphic design professor Bethanie Irons and studio art professor Valerie Wedel is currently on display at the Mildred M. Cox Gallery in the Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts at William Woods.

Recent change-ups in the university's art department mean this is the first time three of the four faculty artists — Deutmeryer, Dodoo and Irons — have been featured in the show. All three were hired in 2019. Though Wedel has participated in the show in past years, this is also her first year as a full-time professor at William Woods.

"It will be a nice introduction to Fulton," Irons said.

The public will have the opportunity to meet with the artists and view their work 4-6 p.m. Jan. 16 at an opening reception. Additionally, the exhibition is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday until Feb. 17.

"One thing I think everybody will realize when they walk into the show is that we are all very different," Irons said.

Each participant's art reflects a different theme as well as different methods of creating artwork.

The walls of the exhibit are lined with digital illustrations and pillows representing "idealized circumstances" made by Irons, photographs reflecting rural land management made by Deutmeyer, and abstract paintings inspired by the night made by Dodoo. Curving rows of drying native grasses and wildflowers form a pathway through the center of the gallery space, making up Wedel's art installation "Recollection," which is focused on the resilience and beauty of native plants.

The show is an opportunity for the faculty to display their "artistic research," Wedel said.

Irons hopes the show will create a more "reciprocal" teaching experience, as students get the opportunity to see work by their professors.

"The most important thing is to show students that we actually make work too," Irons said.

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