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KU Design Department Open House Showcases Work by Past and Current Students – The Lawrence Times

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The University of Kansas Design Department held an open house on Tuesday evening, allowing visitors to view student projects in the studies of visual communication, animation, illustration, photography and industrial design.

The open house made use of three floors: the second floor housed photographic exhibitions and the fifth floor illustrations and animations. The third floor offered refreshments, works from the visual communication and industrial design studios, an exhibition of teachers and projects from the typography and basic design studios.


According to the design department’s website, the school aims to help artists “thrive as innovative professionals and socially engaged leaders in an ever-changing professional field.”

Eight students in the design department received undergraduate research awards during the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters.

Grace Worden, a photography and environmental studies graduate, said the award serves as a scholarship, allowing students to purchase the materials they need to continue their projects.

Worden received the award in December to fund “No Place Like Home,” a project that uses film photography to document Midwestern landscapes.

“I used it to buy materials for this project,” Worden said. “Film is expensive, darkroom paper fees, gas money, that sort of thing. I was very lucky to have him and I love that KU is so supportive of its students.

KU senior Tomas Andreas edited a photo in one of Chalmers Hall’s many studios on Tuesday.

Andreas, a New Jersey-born photography graduate, received a university research award last fall.

Andreas’ gallery, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ conveys feelings of uncertainty and anxiety resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Relying on in-camera movement techniques and blurring different images to eliminate the identities of various political figures, these devices are used to portray a sense of uniformity and representation of what the figures of power constitute as a whole,” reads the gallery etiquette.

“I think my influence largely comes from my upbringing,” Andreas said. “Growing up in the New York area, I think my first passion was architecture and skyscrapers, and New York was kind of full of that.”


Chalmers’ third floor was filled with work from the grassroots design studios.

Wesley Kemnitzer, a freshman from Kansas City, Missouri who studies animation and illustration, said much of his inspiration comes from nature, pointing to his charcoal drawing of a raven.

The Chalmers 300 Level also showcased work from Visual Communications, Industrial Design and Letterpress Studios.

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Many of Chalmers’ flat surfaces contain some form of artwork, whether drawn, painted or pasted.

Sophomore Hallie Harp, from Chicago, made these illustrations to convey different aspects of her personality.

“I’m a huge fan of any type of media that can tell a really compelling story,” Harp said. “So whenever I’m lacking inspiration, a lot of my sources of inspiration can come from consuming media, like movies or books that have this strong emotional direction as well as narrative.”


Kinsey McCormick, 23, holds up a paper model she drew in her senior year. McCormick graduated from KU in May 2022 and is currently working as a freelance illustrator in Lawrence.

The fifth floor exhibited the work of illustration and animation students.

Sophomore Gagani Liyanawaduge created the Caslon postcard. Liyanawaduge, originally from Olathe, studies visual communications with hopes of working in package design or branding after graduation.

He said students usually get prompts for each assignment before drawing up 50 to 100 project-based sketches.

“I spent about 20 hours a week in this study,” Liyanawaduge said.

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Chloe Anderson (s/he), The Lawrence Times Contributor, is a freelance photojournalist with work also published in Climbing magazine, Kansas Reflector, and Sharp End Publishing. As a recent graduate of the University of Kansas, she Chloe hopes to continue her career in photography, rock climbing and writing somewhere out West.

You can view his portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Find out more about his work for the Times here.

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