photography

“We are the Pigeons” student exhibition documents Italian refugee crisis

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 2, 2017 — The photography exhibition “We are the Pigeons: The Italian Refugee Crisis” opens at the Drury on C-Street Art Gallery with a reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3.

This month’s exhibition is the work of Drury senior Bre Legan and features a collection of photographs she captured during her study abroad trip to Florence, Italy. The project focuses on Legan’s encounters with refugees living in the city.

“Pigeons are closely related to doves, but are viewed as vermin,” Legan says. In a conversation with one of Florence’s many African refugees, she discovered that this is the way that many of the displaced men and women living in Italy feel about themselves.

“My brothers and sisters here, we are the pigeons,” one man told her in a conversation that sparked the project.

Touched by this event, Legan spent the rest of her time in Florence trying to better understand the city’s community of refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. “We are the Pigeons” documents their experience through the lens of Legan’s camera.

Gallery attendees can expect to see a variety of photographs featuring the architecture, people, and birds of Florence. Each piece is accompanied by a written narrative that provides context and ties the images together.

The exhibition runs through November 24. Drury’s C-Street gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, call (417) 873-6337 or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DruryCStreet.

About Drury on C-Street

The Drury on C-Street Project is an initiative by Drury University, in partnership with other local organizations, to establish a Drury Center on Commercial Street. This center includes an art gallery, a business resource center, and the weaving studio. The Drury on C-Street Gallery is a professional, student-run gallery featuring emerging and established artists. Drury University’s Drury on C-Street Gallery provides arts administration majors the experience of promoting the work of local artists. The gallery connects the community to new and relevant art in an accessible and welcoming environment.

Drury students offering free portrait photography to military families

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 26, 2016 — Drury University photography students will again offer free family portraits to active duty military personnel and veterans during the week of the Veterans Day holiday. This is the sixth year for the project, which allows commercial photography students to give back to those who have served our country while also sharpening their photography skills.

Jessica Barrows

“The students benefit from being able to photograph people from a variety of backgrounds and generations while applying the technical and communication skills they’ve learned in the classroom like studio lighting, camera operation, and interacting with the people they are photographing,” says Rebecca Miller, the program chair for Art, Art History, and Arts Administration at Drury.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to meet so many veterans over the years and hear their stories about time spent serving our country and their life experiences outside the military,” Miller adds. “Whether it’s a family of 10 or a single veteran, the interaction our students have had with those who have served our country in this indispensable way has been invaluable to their educational experience. It is an honor for us to take their photographs and we thank them for their service.”

The portraits are open to the first 50 families that make a reservation. The portraits are photographed in the Pool Art Center, 940 N. Clay Ave., at the following dates and times:

Saturday, Nov. 5 – 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 8 – 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10 – 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Saturday Nov. 12 – 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For more information or to make a reservation, contact Rebecca Miller at (417) 873-6337 or rmiller01@drury.edu.

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Professor’s photos capture small town “relics” & celebrations

Greg Booker has a keen eye for out-of-the-way places.

The assistant professor of art and communication at Drury has for several years now been photographing and documenting everyday scenes in small – sometimes very small – towns in Missouri, Oklahoma and some southern states.

A barbershop scene in Clinton, Missouri.

A barbershop scene in Clinton, Missouri.

An exhibit of Booker’s work, titled “Small Town & Quiet Spaces” is now open at the Lightwell Gallery at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Art and Art History. The exhibit will come to Drury’s Pool Art Center this fall.

It’s a passion project that began when Booker returned to Springfield to join Drury’s faculty in 2009. Born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis, Booker earned an art degree from Drury in 1987 before moving to Oklahoma, where he earned a graduate degree in art at OU. He later landed on the photo staff of the Kansas City Star.

An abandoned storefront in Niangua, Missouri.

An abandoned storefront in Niangua, Missouri.

When he and his wife returned to the area, they bought a home outside of Marshfield. That was the first time Booker had lived in the country.

“I’m used to city life,” he says, and the change of scenery brought small and sometimes even forgotten places into focus for him. With camera in hand, he began seeking out the kind of tiny towns that are today little more than places on a map because highways passed them by or because they were simply too small to survive.

“They’re almost like relics,” Booker says. “It just seems like that was a bit of history that needed to be documented, so it was a chance for me to explore the small towns and document them.”

A four-way stop in the heart of Houston, Missouri.

A four-way stop in the heart of Houston, Missouri.

Booker later began shooting the larger but still small towns where people live, work and play. He’s captured celebrations like parades and fall festivals and everyday moments in local shops and sidewalks – the “places where the community can come together and celebrate their heritage, their small towns and their neighbors,” he says.

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.

Students study future of genetics by examining their own past

DNA tells a story – a story about one’s past and, potentially, about one’s future.

A group of Drury science students learned more about their own genetic past this semester, and in the process learned important lessons about the future of medicine.

Twenty-four students in Dr. Roger Young’s advanced molecular genetics class took samples of their own spit before the class began and sent it to a company called 23andMe, which provides ancestry-related genetic reports for a fee. These reports, called genotypes, can help people generally understand their ancestry and also identify certain traits and health risks.

Just a few years ago, this testing was highly expensive, Young says. Today it can be done “for less than 100 bucks, which is incredible,” he says. That cost trajectory means genetic profiles will soon be an essential – and common – part of the medical industry.

“It seemed like a natural step forward to take this kind of modern business model and apply it to an academic setting,” Young says.

The students learned they each carry some Neanderthal DNA. They learned they might be pre-disposed to certain health conditions or be carriers for diseases that could manifest themselves in their children, if their partners are also carriers. The results largely remained private amongst the students, but it forced them to think about what they’ll do with the information.

“There’s the raw interpretation of the data, then there’s the philosophy and ethical implications of what you do with that information,” Young says.

In Drury’s typical liberal arts fashion, connections were drawn to other disciplines. Philosophy professor Dr. Chris Panza and a genetic counselor from CoxHealth spoke to the class about philosophical and ethical impacts. And the students even entered – and won – a photo contest with 23andMe. Titled “Human Karyotype,” the photo was of 23 of the students lying on the ground representing both the number and the shape of the 23 human chromosomes.

“Human Karyotype," by Drury student Ashleigh Spalding. The photo depicts Spalding's 23 classmates posing as human chromosomes.

“Human Karyotype,” by Drury student Ashleigh Spalding.

The students used a $300 prize from the contest to hold an event on campus and spoke to about 100 people about the process of genetic testing, condensing their 15-week journey into about a 15-minute presentation.

“A fair number of these students are going into the medical field on some level, and because genetics will be ubiquitous in a decade or less, these students will be prepared to understand this, and teach other people about it,” Young says. “When they sit for their MCATs or medical school interviews, they’ll be able to talk on a knowledgeable level about the future of medicine.”

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.