Carolyn Wedel ’83 is director of the Watson Gallery, located in the Stiefel Theatre in Salina. Her work has been accepted into regional and national shows and she exhibits regularly in area galleries.

My inspiration, she says, is derived from life experiences, encompassing the spiritual, emotional and physical world. I begin innately, but while engrossed in the piece, it evolves into a deliberate manifestation of shapes, space, texture, shadow and color.

Carolyn’s exhibit, Stewards of the Land, was one of four special Bethel art alumni exhibits that Rachel Epp Buller ’96, assistant professor of art, planned for 2012-13 in the Fine Arts Center Gallery. Stewards of the Land hung from Nov. 2-30, 2012.

From Carolyn’s artist statement:

My creative process comes from the experiences gained while working in the art department of my parent’s printing business in Newton. In a time prior to the age of computer technology, cutting and pasting typography and graphics was the means of producing camera-ready copy. In early 1997, I began to incorporate this same method of cutting and arranging shapes of painted watercolor paper to create my art pieces.

For the Bethel College exhibit, I chose to commemorate the Mennonite farmer. Recently, my sister-in-law completed an over-1,000-page family genealogy project, where she compiled the stories and photos of our ancestors, many of whom were farmers. Both of my parents grew up on a farm, and Mark [Wedel ’81] and I still have extended family members who have dedicated their lives to the land, an honorable and respected profession.

I graduated from Bethel with a B.A. in art in 1983. For this exhibit, I thought it would be fun to do a piece using the faces of my graduating class. Coincidentally, that year the theme of the Bethel College Thresher was harvest, so I incorporated quotes from that yearbook into the art exhibit as well. I also created a piece depicting the faces of the past and present Bethel College presidents in honor of the 125th celebration.

Using paintbrushes to depict strands of wheat, plants, grasses, etc., was a departure from the norm for me, but I thought it would be interesting to discover ways to create art pieces from tools that are used to create art.

As stewards of God’s earth, we are called to care for the earth and to bring rest and renewal to the land and everything that lives on it. – from the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, Article 21