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Graphic Art Exhibition Caps Year for Three Sterling Seniors


By Sterling College


STERLING, Kan. — What could a coffee-loving mountain goat, a loving grandma named Susan, and a corgi dog complete with top hat all have in common? All three are characters from the creative minds of three soon-to-be-graduating Sterling College graphic design majors. The trio will be displaying their work in an exhibition entitled “Taking Up Space: Women Breaking into Graphic Design” from May 2 through May 10 at the Sterling College Art Center Gallery. 

The three budding artists are Valerie Reynoso, Little River; Rachel Carlson, McPherson; and Faith Trowbridge, Santa Cruz, Calif. Reynoso said for the trio, “In a world where women are often conditioned to shrink themselves, our art show stands as a bold declaration of our right to occupy space within the art field. We challenge these constraints and assert our presence with unapologetic force. This show is not just about displaying our work; it’s about carving out a space where women artists can thrive, unrestricted and empowered.”

Reynoso’s portion of the exhibit includes her design and branding of her own coffee shop she’s calling “Vallie’s.”  She said, “Coffee, along with art, are two of the things I love most in this world. It has been so much fun to get to combine my two loves.”

As part of her exhibit, she created a mountain goat character logo complete with sunglasses. She explained that according to legend, mountain goats were the first to discover coffee. Reynoso plans to set up a coffee bar as part of her exhibit, too. 

Trowbridge came to Sterling from California to play basketball and to major in art. She said, “Art has always been in my life so for me it is a connection to all the people who have taught me. I love being able to look back on projects and being able to see a little piece of the moment that I created the piece and maybe even who I was with when I did.”

Trowbridge’s senior project is called “Susan’s” and is a line of personal care products: perfumes, soaps, candles, and such. She said, “My overarching brand is named ‘Susan’s’ after my grandma who lives back in California. She has been a really big supporter in my life, and I wanted to create something special for my final project in college.”

For Carlson’s senior art project, she created a line of dog-related products such as dog food, dog toys, and dog treats – all under the umbrella name of “RUFFINED.” Her company logo character is a corgi dog with a top hat. 

Reynoso said, “When I first came to college, I knew that creative fields were what was right for me. I became fascinated with how art and design are literally everywhere you look from the bottle your shampoo comes in, to the paintings displayed on the wall.”  

All three of the senior art & design majors created marketing, packaging, and promotional materials for their fictional business ventures. Carlson said, “When you can take a design from the 2D and bring it into the real world in 3D you feel a sense of accomplishment you do not feel when a piece stays 2D.”

All three graphic students cited the process of learning 3D modeling in a computer program called Cinema 4D as the most challenging aspect of their projects. They created everything from nutritional labels, signage, packaging and even websites for their prospective businesses. 

Carlson explained, “In building a website you have to make sure that everything that is needed by the customers is included while also making it artistically pleasing and making the user interface easy to understand. All that is no small feat!”

Reynoso has already begun her professional career as a graphic designer for Old School Screenprinting and Design in Lyons. Trowbridge and Carlson are pursuing graphic design careers as well. Both plan to stay in Sterling this summer to continue developing their graphics portfolios.

The trio’s exhibition – “Taking Up Space: Women Breaking into Graphic Design” – will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 2 and 3 and May 6-10. A reception for the three artists and a brief artist talk by each will be held in the Gallery on Friday, May 10 from 6-8 p.m. 

The Sterling College Art Center Gallery is at 306 West Washington, Sterling, and is open to the public free of charge. 

Sterling College is a Christ-centered, four-year college located in Sterling, Kansas, with a mission to develop creative and thoughtful leaders who understand a maturing Christian faith. For more information, visit