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Acclaimed artist and WMU alum displays work on campus

by Mark Schwerin

May 6, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of artist Linda Rzoska.
Rzoska in Ameland, The Netherlands
KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University alumna, who has gone on to become an accomplished artist, is displaying her work during May and June at WMU in a show that conveys the spirit of the land where she was raised.

Since her high school years in Bangor, Mich., Linda Rzoska has been creating artwork, whether for her own personal expression or for commercial and business purposes. She earned her bachelor's degree in art from WMU in 1976 and continued her education with graduate courses at WMU and a master's degree focused on arts management and curriculum development from Aquinas College in 2005.

An exhibit of her recent work--inspired by her interest and research in nature, folklore, mythology and comparative religion--will be on display through June 30 in the second floor gallery of the WMU College of Health and Human Services.

Rzoska's work can be viewed from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A reception, free and open to the public, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, in the gallery.

Through the pieces, Rzoska strives to visually communicate the soul or spirit of a place she has witnessed and express a living relationship between humans and the landscape. The artist notes that this "spirit of the land" is present in folklore around the world, but is often rejected or ignored in our modern age.

"The artwork visually displays a personal sense of spiritual connection and an invisible and inaudible communication," Rzoska writes in her artist's statement. "It is created to honor all the living things that exist in every aspect of the landscape. ... On the whole, the imagery in the artwork is meant to represent a sense of life with no limitations of space and time, a sharing of spirit, mind and heart, a spiritual recognition and belonging, a joining in an ancient and eternal way."

Rzoska's experience includes being a designer and illustrator for Eaton Corp.; a freelance art director, illustrator and graphic designer; and the owner and creative director of Kalamazoo's Design & Illustration Associates. In 2000, she joined the faculty of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, where she is chair of the Center for New Media's Art and New Media Program. She currently teaches concept development and the history of illustration there.

She has received a number of awards for her illustration and fine art, notably two International Awards of Excellence from the Society for Technical Communications. Her artwork has been selected for numerous juried shows and is represented in many private collections. She has been an artist in residence at the Burren College of Art in Ireland and her most recent solo exhibits were in It Skildershuis Atelier in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, and The Burren College of Art, Ireland.

For more information, contact Gay Walker, program coordinator for the college's Holistic Health Program, at (269) 387-3839 or