Students’ Arctic Circle trip provides inspiration, art for exhibit

By University Communications
October 12, 2016
UW-Stout art and design students visit the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, on Iceland’s south coast, during their summer trip to the Arctic Circle. Photos from the trip are part of an exhibit at Furlong Gallery on campus.

Photo: UW-Stout art and design students visit the black sand beach of
Reynisfjara, on Iceland’s south coast, during their summer trip
to the Arctic Circle. Photos from the trip are part of an exhibit
at Furlong Gallery on campus.

University of Wisconsin-Stout is far enough north for most students. It’s in the northern half of Wisconsin — approximately halfway from to the North Pole from the Equator.

A group of students recently learned that the concept of north is relative. They discovered the true north, traveling about 3,400 miles northeast, the rest of the way to the North Pole.

In early summer, a total of 13 School of Art and Design students from UW-Stout, Assistant Professor Ursula Murray Husted and internationally known photographer Stuart Klipper headed to the Arctic Circle. Their goal, along with experiencing the stark natural beauty and culture, was to capture the region in photo images and in drawings.

The results of their work can be seen through Saturday, Oct. 29, in the exhibit Above the Arctic Circle at UW-Stout’s Furlong Gallery.

An exhibit by Klipper, featuring U.S. landscape photos, also is on display. Klipper will give an artist lecture from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Furlong Gallery. His work has been exhibited in museums around the world.

Students ride horses through Iceland's lava fields.The three-week trip, May 24 to June 10, was taken to places that few people get to see in their lifetimes. Students believe it will impact them for years to come.

“This trip opened my world view farther than I ever thought it could. Though the world seems like a tinier place now that I’ve been to the top and back, I realize it’s filled with people who aren’t so different from me. And it seems much warmer than before,” said T.J. Sellers, of Kasson, Minn., who is majoring in game design and development.

AlexAndrea Hartmann, of Waukesha, said “this trip changed my life. I know that’s super cliché, but it’s true. It opened my eyes and taught me about these other countries and cultures and environments.” Hartmann is majoring in entertainment design.

The group flew from Minneapolis to Newark, N.J., and then to Oslo, Norway. They spent the first week in Svalbard, the world’s northernmost inhabited city. Svalbard, part of Norway, is part of an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

Students went dogsledding, hiked through mining ruins and took a ship to a glacier, doing some whale watching en route. With 24 hours of summer daylight in the Arctic, they literally had all day to do what they pleased.

The Goðafoss waterfall, in north central Iceland.

Then it was off to Iceland. The group drove around the entire island country while learning about its geography, culture, language and environment and seeing its many spectacular waterfalls and mountains. They also rode horses through lava fields.

The students had experienced trip guides with Husted and Klipper. Husted has traveled extensively to Svalbard; in 2014 she visited with scientists and other artists aboard a traditional tall ship. Klipper, of Minneapolis, has traveled six times to the Antarctic to take photos and has traveled widely in the Arctic. He is one of only 400 people who has been to the north and south poles.

Kaitlin Bruder’s photo of Ísafjörđur, Iceland, at Furlong Gallery. The scenery along with the trip itself inspired students. “My art world has enlarged because now I can see all that I’m capable of, so many ways that I can improve,” Sellers said.

Kaitlin Bruder, of New Prague, Minn., had an eye-opening experience as well. “This trip has definitely enriched my world view. We got to go to places I never even dreamed I'd get to see. Being immersed in different cultures and languages is so exciting and new, and I really hope I can continue to explore the world,” said Bruder, who is majoring in entertainment design.

Husted is director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in entertainment design, which has concentrations in animation; comics and sequential art; and digital cinema.



Second Photo: UW-Stout students ride through the southern lava fields of Iceland during their summer trip to the Arctic Circle.

Third Photo: The famous Goðafoss waterfall, in north central Iceland, serves as inspiration to UW-Stout art and design students as they take photos and draw during a summer trip.

Bottom Photo: Kaitlin Bruder’s photo of Ísafjörđur, Iceland, is part of the Above the Arctic Circle photo exhibit at UW-Stout’s Furlong Gallery.