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Three Stetson MFA Alumni showcase work at Orlando Museum of Art event

Three graduates of Stetson’s Master of Fine Arts-Creative Writing program recently showcased their work at the Orlando Museum of Art during an experimental evening centered around “Text.”

On Thursday, April 25, the museum held a one-night-only event called, Night Shift: Text, which attracted a crowd from the Orlando area and beyond. Among the writers and artists presenting were Stetson alumni Nikki Fragala Barnes, Pablo Vindel and Wendy D. Wakeman, who all graduated in January from Stetson’s MFA of the Americas program.

Nikki Fragala Barnes
Photo/Jared Allen Smith

Barnes is an experimental poet who created an installation for the Orlando event that explored water and connections to it. Her installation included a video, pottery, images of words carved into wood and left at beaches, and pages filled with writing. 

Vindel is a visual artist and poet from Spain, and had two installations at the Orlando event, including an interactive installation involving salt and the connections between those who choose to walk through the salt that he poured across the floor. 

Wendy D. Wakeman
Photo/Jared Allen Smith

Wakeman is a former prose student who is working to share her creativity beyond simply reading from her novel. Her installation featured a wall with instructions for guests to write about a story, make lists, draw or give words of inspiration. 

“This was a special night for me because I never thought I’d present in a museum as a word on the page artist,” said Wakeman. “To do it with Pablo and Nikki made it all the more special.”

A number of current MFA students attended the event to support their classmates. The event was a high point for the program because three alumni were showcasing their work at the same event. MFA student Sarah Hicks said the installations made her see “our classmates as real artists.”

The Stetson alumni are working to change the way the public sees artistic work that is centered on text by removing it solely from the page. In that way, Stetson’s MFA of the Americas pushes students to step outside their comfort zone and achieve new forms of art. 

-Carley Fockler

Carley Fockler ’15, English, is a graduate student in Stetson’s M.F.A. of the Americas Creative Writing Program.