Six Herron undergraduate students were chosen from 400 nominees for the 2022 Top 100 Awards. The IUPUI Office of Alumni Relations presents the awards each year to recognize academic excellence, campus leadership, and community engagement.
So, with a series of Q&As, we're shining a light on the accomplishments of Olivia Adam, Teaosha Cunningham, Denver Doub, Jessy Fearnow, Christopher Pack, and Ria Vavhal.
Jessy Fearnow, an Indianapolis native, is a nontraditional student in her third year at Herron pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in integrative studio practice. She spoke via email about returning to college and how she uses her creative practice for self-healing in the goal of inspiring others to work through challenging emotions.
HERRON: Was there an "ah-ha moment," when you realized you'd regret not returning to college? Did you feel like you stepped into a time machine, or did you notice that your college experience was positively different?
JESSY FEARNOW: It wasn't exactly an "ah-ha," but more of a mounting collection of moments. I had several times as I was working in my salon that I knew I wouldn't be able to do this anymore, and I didn't know what that meant for my future or my family's. I decided I needed to go to school to figure out a path forward because I started to worry so much and saw the end coming up on me. I knew it was time. I felt like this was exactly what I needed when I started classes.
HERRON: What made you choose integrative studio practice as your major?
FEARNOW: I believe art is a comprehensive practice, and we all have various gifts that we can develop. I chose two focus areas I lacked experience in – furniture design and sculpture – to develop my skillset and inspire new learning paths more fully. I love wood. It's so beautiful, and I am in awe of how challenging it is to create something new from raw materials.
HERRON: You stated in an artist's bio that you devote your days to "the noble quest of inspiring wonder and joy" through your creations. What does your current work or practice entail?
FEARNOW: The art that I make can bring connection and peace to the audience when feeling seen or understood. Hopefully, this shows in my pieces on mental health battles and focusing on feminine body autonomy issues. Other works are purely beautiful and focus on light and beauty, creating structures from unexpected materials.
HERRON: You've organized Herron's annual Wearable Art Show from behind the scenes. How did it feel to collaborate with your classmates to make this happen? And how would you describe the experience of showing your work at this event?
FEARNOW: I loved that! The whole experience was exciting. I missed out on the event in my first two years of school during the pandemic, so it brought a sense of kinship and camaraderie to be a part of the whole thing and celebrate our return to social events for Herron's studio classes. I have a lot of social anxiety so being on stage was terrifying, but I had to do it at least once before completing my degree just to see if I could. I was so happy to see all my classmates' work. They are so talented.