A long-planned and twice-cancelled study abroad trip became the basis for “The Impossible Journey,” an exhibit set to open Monday, Dec. 13, and continue through Wednesday, Jan. 12, in the Spiva Gallery at Missouri Southern State University.

The group exhibition was created by students who participated in the “International Art Seminar: The Art and Crafts of Japan” course.

The class trip to Japan was cancelled twice due to the closure of national borders and travel difficulties brought on by the COVID pandemic. An alternative domestic trip was planned, resulting in students participating in a trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles, Calif.

The seven-day trip explored the art and culture of Japan by visiting collections, gardens and cultural neighborhoods in two of the nation’s oldest Japanese enclaves – Japan Town in San Francisco, and Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. Works created for the exhibit were inspired by objects, architecture, aspects and/or experiences. The trip was sponsored by the Institute of International Studies as part of Fall 2021’s Japan Semester activities.

The trip was led by Frank Pishkur, professor of art and chair of the Art and Design Department.

“The course was designed to push the students to explore contemporary and historical Japanese art and craft forms through several learning modes,” Pishkur said. “Experiential learning is maximized when the experience is followed by reflection.

“In this case, the experience of traveling and viewing artwork was followed by journaling and then maximized through the deep reflection of artistic creation. Essentially, students synthesized their travel experiences through their own artistic practice, with this exhibition as the end result.”

Students who participated in the trip and have artwork featured in the show are:

  • Sarah Clements – BA-Visual Arts, sophomore, Joplin
  • Sadie Maples – BFA-Studio Art, junior, Carthage, Mo.
  • Aspen Read – BFA-Studio Art, senior, Joplin
  • Norman Lewis – BFA-Design, junior, Joplin
  • Grace Maples – BFA-Design, junior, Carthage, Mo.
  • Olivia Martin – BFA-Design, junior, Gravette, Ark.
  • Cassandra Williams – BFA-Design, junior, Joplin

A reception for the artists will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13, in the gallery.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please note that the Missouri Southern campus will be closed for the holiday break Thursday, Dec. 23, through Monday, Jan. 3.