Senior unveils eclectic ‘Mother Nature’ exhibition

Nurtured: Cassie Leigh remains all smiles during her senior exhibition “Mother Nature.” Both displayed pieces are a part of Leigh’s seven part acrylic series entitled “Envisioning Creation.”

Josh Setchel

“Art is a highly beneficial element to a well-rounded education,” writes senior art education major Cassie Leigh, who recently debuted her gallery entitled “Mother Nature” consisting of a collection of her proudest achievements for her senior show.

“I desire to share the wonders of art with students by becoming an art educator,” Leigh writes on her web portfolio. “Art has always been and continues to be my greatest enjoyment in life.”

Leigh was born in St. Louis and, by way of her grandmother, gained an appreciation for art at a young age, which led to her own pursuits. After two years at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City, Leigh transferred to Washburn where she’s finishing her Bachelor’s degree and plans to get her teaching license in the spring of 2017.

“Once I graduate I plan to teach at possibly the middle school level. But I would be grateful to teach at any level,” said Leigh. “Honestly, I just am looking forward to teaching no matter the level, because I feel most myself when sharing the joy I have for art with others.”

Leigh’s exhibit, which ran from October 24 – November 4, showcased a wide range of artistic vision, with acrylic paintings, photography and even origami on display. Each and every piece tied singularly to her nature theme and formed a vivid portrait of the artist as a person. Origami in particular stood out as a unique contribution with Leigh’s 2014 piece entitled “Freedom.” Leigh even had a pitch perfect explanation for why she practices the Asian art.

“For me, origami is like a therapy, because once you know the pattern you can fold without even thinking about it,” she said. “My goal in art is to never give up and always try new things. I have worked with many mediums and found aspects in each one that interest me.”

A running Biblical theme also shone prominently, especially in Leigh’s piece entitled “Envisioning Creation,” a series of seven acrylic paintings composed with the brightest of colors. Leigh made sure to emphasize the importance of singular vision when creating work.

“I would like to teach my students to take what they are reading and create the scene however they see it,” she said. “My seven paintings are by no means a statement of exactly how God made the Earth, but merely how I connected with the words in the scriptures.”

Leigh’s passion and aspirations show no sign of weakening over time whether it be as an artist herself, a teacher or both.

I will strive to cultivate a classroom environment that encourages students to feel inspired and believed in,” she writes. “I will, as a teacher, help train the artist that is within every student.”

For more information, contact Washburn’s Art Department at (785) 670-1125.