Homecoming With a Splash of Art

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Homecoming isn’t just about the football game, a large crowd and school spirit. It’s about coming together and celebrating The University of Olivet, a place that has left a mark on many.

Frank Corl ’94 (pictured right) and Amy Gardner Dean ’92 will be joining The University of Olivet during Homecoming to celebrate art, their niche at OC, by exhibiting their work in the Riethmiller Blackman Art Building Kresge Foundation Art Gallery. The exhibits will be available for viewing from Oct. 6 through Nov. 4. The artists will hold a special reception and gallery talk during Homecoming Friday, Oct. 7 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Corl and Gardner Dean are theming this exhibit as “work and play,” meaning that they will be showing studio artwork as well as work from their art-based day jobs.

Corl, of Woodhaven, studied fine arts at Olivet with a focus in medical illustration and furthered his education at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Medical illustrators work with surgeons and other medical professionals to create images of conditions or procedures that are too intricate to be caught on camera.

Corl has been illustrating for the radiology department at John Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. until last year. Then, he began working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he is working on a variety of projects – up to 50 at a time! Recently, an image Corl created was featured on the cover of Discoveries Edge, a magazine published by the Mayo Clinic, depicting an aortic aneurysm and the complications and risks of individuals with this condition. Corl’s other projects also include creating images of the abdomen, exercises and short surgeries. These are used to educate medical professionals, students, patients and families of patients.

Corl said one of the most rewarding aspects of his job is when his work is used to explain a surgery that a child will be having to parents. “It’s easier to explain with pictures rather than words, especially when so many medical terms are flying around,” Corl said. “Of course it’s overwhelming for parents to hear that their baby has to have surgery, but I know I’ve done my job if my illustrations can help them understand better and ease their mind.”

While a student at OC, Corl wrestled for a few years and also was a member of a Detroit-based band. Corl said he is excited to watch the OC football team take on Kalamazoo College during Homecoming; he has not been able to attend a game since his graduation. He is also looking forward to checking out the new art building and reconnecting with professors who helped mentor, challenge and encourage him during his time as an OC student, especially Thia Eller. In 2004, Corl was the recipient of the Young Alumni Award. Below is a preview of Corl’s work illustrating red blood cells that will be featured in the Homecoming exhibit.

Gardner Dean will also be returning to Olivet, but it won’t be a first for her since her time as a student. She’s been visiting OC on a consistent basis not only for art shows, but her son, Reiker, will be joining the class of 2020 this fall, pictured below at new student orientation. Reiker is also interested in studying medical illustration and is looking forward to meeting Corl. Gardner Dean is also looking forward to reconnecting with Corl. “Frank and I took a lot of painting and drawing classes together and would work late nights in the art building (back when it was the old drafty building behind Adelphic),” said Gardner Dean. “A lot of times when he would get back at three in the morning from his band gigs in Detroit, I would still be in there working!”

Gardner Dean works at Jerry’s Artarama for her day job as a resident artist and production specialist. She tests sample products and provides feedback to manufacturers during the process of production. Gardner Dean is also responsible for creating samples, writing directions and maintaining product information on the website and catalog. Recently, she worked with a manufacturer to create a synthetic blend Mongoose Oil painting brush; mongoose are now endangered and it is illegal to use them. Additionally, Gardner Dean created a painting for the Facebook campaign “Create Art, Change Everything” in only five days! The painting, which was of a coworker lifting up a palette of paints with “magical swirls emanating up from the palette,” was even selected as the cover art for the 2016 Full-Line Catalog, unbeknownst to Gardner Dean. “Usually the artists featured on it are nationally or at least regionally known and recognized artists, so it was a huge honor,” she said. “All I could think of when I saw the catalog cover was how relieved I was that the hands were good enough that I thought my old professor Thia Eller would approve!” The painting below is one of her works that will be featured at the Homecoming exhibit, The Relic.

Gardner Dean is delighted to be part of an exhibit at OC, her fourth since graduating. “Every time I come back to Olivet it is a homecoming, whether officially for OC, or not,” said Gardner Dean. “I will always consider Olivet my true home and where I hail from.” She is most excited about reconnecting with old friends from the art department and building relationships with current art students to help them learn and grow as artists.

Learn more about The University of Olivet’s visual arts program.


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