An art exhibit featuring the combined works of a William Woods student and art professor is getting top billing this month at a prestigious showing in Missouri’s capitol city.
“Missouri Rivers and Streams,” an exhibit by Bennet Zink ’19 and Professor of Visual Art Terry Martin, is currently on display at the Runge Nature Center Gallery in Jefferson City through February 28th. It is not only a beautiful depiction of some of our state’s scenic, natural wonders, but is also a great illustration of William Woods University’s unique Mentor-Mentee program.
The Mentor-Mentee Program at The Woods pairs a student with a professor to learn professional skills and develop a portfolio for their career. The program started in 1996 and was designed to encourage students to engage in research, publication and creative activities while practicing the skills they will be using after college. The program provides them with a look into professional life and beyond being just a student. The mentee works with their professor as a colleague and provides equal inspiration and work to the project. This program is available to all majors at William Woods.
“I can tell you how it got started – I had Terry in a couple classes and I really liked him as a professor,” said Zink. “We worked together on some things, and then one day he asked me if I wanted to do a Mentor-Mentee project of Missouri waterways and rivers with him,” he said.
“And so we started talking about some of the different locations and I think one of the first things we talked about was the Gasconade River,” added Martin, who has been involved in the Mentor-Mentee program at William Woods since its inception 22 years ago. “And then we kind of wanted to branch out and not just limit ourselves to a stream-like river, but maybe look at the Osage and Missouri Rivers.”
Which was how they came to entitle the exhibit “Missouri Rivers and Streams.”
The inspiration for the project came from their backgrounds. They both grew up in rural Missouri and enjoyed the outdoors. Both Martin and Zink have a passion for exploring, hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities. They were able to convey that love for the Missouri outdoors in their art, using many mediums to complete the project
“There was printmaking, oil painting, acrylic painting, ceramics, so it was really good experience working with various mediums,” Zink said. Martin added that they even used the art of Japanese gyotaku, which is the art of fish printing.
Martin and Zink worked together by visiting the streams and rivers and taking photographs. They would then go back to the studio and show each other the progressions of their work. Martin chose Zink because his talent stood out and he believed he could stand up the challenge of working on a professional project such as this.
Their gallery was first shown on the William Woods campus to fellow students and staff during the fall 2017 semester. When the semester was over, the gallery was moved to the Runge Gallery in Jefferson City, which Martin has worked with in the past. The Runge Gallery has about 10,000 visitors a month, allowing significant exposure to Zink’s work while he is still a student.
Zink was grateful for the opportunity and would participate in another Mentor-Mentee project if given the chance.
“It has been a really great experience,” Zink concluded. “I have learned a lot. I feel like I really pushed myself to accomplish new things and Terry has helped me along the way.”
Martin prides himself on what a unique opportunity the Mentor-Mentee program provides WWU students, and has made it a point to keep in contact with all his previous mentees while looking forward to taking on more.
|Learn more about the Mentor-Mentee Program|