Visual Culture Lecture Series

Visual Culture Lecture Series 2023 - 2024

All events are free and open to the public

Tuesday September 12, 2023 | Alumni Panel | 6pm in the Marshall Performing Arts Center

headshots of four individuals




Topher McCulloch
Class of 2007
BFA Graphic Design and General Studio Art

Topher McCulloch is a developer Time Out Chicago once called a “champion of the internet.” With his background in graphic design, he brings an eye for detail to every digital experience he creates or oversees as Director of Development & Technology at Pivot Design. When not deep in code, he volunteers for local arts organizations in Chicago, carrying forward his heavy student involvement with Art Guild, the Student Design Organization, Literary Guild, the Queer & Allied Student Union, and the Tweed Museum while at UMD. For over a decade he has created a near-daily daily art project called Make Something Awful Every Day.   https://tophr.org

Amber Mahlberg
Class of 2009
BFA Graphic Design

Amber Mahlberg is an Art Director & Designer working in Minneapolis on a wide range of projects, from product branding and social media campaigns to broadcast commercials. During her time at UMD, she ate a lot of pizza, volunteered at the Tweed Museum of Art library, worked as a Student Designer for UMD Health Services, and completed an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Project (UROP) in international design. Amber lives in Plymouth, MN with her husband and rescue dog. Her current workplace is Minneapolis design agency IdeasthatKick   http://www.amahlberg.myportfolio.com

Sarah Hample
Class of 2011
BFA Art Education
Master of Education / Educational Technology Concordia University St Paul

Sarah Hample is an artist and art educator who lives in Shakopee, MN and teaches at St Anthony Village High School. Her current creative work is focused on photography, drawing and painting. As Sarah recalls her time at UMD, “I snuck off to UMD because my dad did not want me to go to college, and I was determined to get the most out of it, and I did. I met amazing professors who encouraged me to think critically but most importantly to not leave learning in the classroom, but to learn to explore and teach myself in the future. This is something I try to impress on my own student now, to not just let learning happen to you but to actively pursue knowledge.“

Susanna Gaunt
Class of 2017
BFA in Painting, Drawing and Printmaking
BA in Philosophy from Boston College

Susanna Gaunt is an award-winning mixed-media installation artist and instructor living in Duluth. Using mediums such as drawing, photography and collage, she analyzes the human condition through a philosophical and scientific lens. Inspired by historic European curiosity cabinets, natural history museums and personal specimen collections, she tangles human anatomy with animal taxonomy, creating works that encourage curiosity and reflection.;

Tuesday September 19, 2023 | Dr. Emily Ruth Capper | Art Historian | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 

Headshot of Dr. Emily Ruth Capper

Emily Ruth Capper is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Minnesota and an Associate Curator at the Weisman Art Museum. Her research investigates the many ways in which postwar interdisciplinary art has intersected with the cultural and intellectual history of higher education. Her research has been supported by the Dedalus Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Getty Research Institute. Her current book project, Happening Pedagogy: Allan Kaprow’s Experiments in Instruction, is under contract at the University of Chicago Press. For the past few years, she has been working with the Getty Research Institute on an interactive digital publication that presents twelve experimental scores alongside a video archive of historical and contemporary realizations. 

Tuesday September 26, 2023 | Simon Pineda | Graphic Designer | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 

Headshot of Simon Pineda

I am a designer, illustrator and photographer specializing in visual communication in the retail environment. Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I’ve made pictures with pencils, paint and cameras since I was a child. I studied fine arts at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, along with religion and music. Always at the intersection of visual media and food, I worked primarily in kitchens before coming on as the principal marketing designer for a three-store cooperative grocer in Milwaukee. I’ve been with Whole Foods Market since 2013; a Senior Designer since 2018. From making price signs with chalk markers in city store basements to implementing a top-to-bottom overhaul of our in-store marketing strategy following Amazon’s acquisition, my roles have been many and varied. Projects include item-level price and storytelling signage, product and event photography, art direction, signage execution strategy, product packaging, national brand campaigns and design for the opening of 15 new store locations from Ohio to New York.
In that time, I’ve moved frequently, traveled extensively and try as best I can to maintain a personhood separate and distinct from my work. I currently live in Providence, Rhode Island, with my wife and daughter.

Tuesday October 17, 2023 | John O'Neill | Associate Professor of Graphic Design | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 

Headshot of John O'Neill

Professor John O’Neill is a disability advocate and designer who brings awareness to ableism and disability rights. He teaches graphic design with the focus on user experience (UX) design and accessibility.



His design work has been exhibited and awarded by:

  • HOW International Design Awards
  • Creative Quarterly
  • Graphis
  • Center for Plain Language
  • Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals
  • Graphic Design USA

He has presented nationally and internationally regarding graphic design, user experience, and accessibility. He is also a published author who speaks about web accessibility.

John received his BFA in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts and an MFA in graphic design from Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Design. He has also taught graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and Chowan University.

Tuesday November 7, 2023 | Mathew Zefeldt | Painting & Drawing | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 

Headshot of Mathew Zefeldt

Mathew Zefeldt (b. 1987, California) is Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Minnesota. He received his MFA in studio art from UC Davis in 2011 and received his BA in Art at UC Santa Cruz. He has had solo exhibitions at The Hole, NY; Celaya Brothers, Mexico City; Hair + Nails, Minneapolis; Big Pictures, Los Angeles; 5-50 Gallery, Long Island City; The Soap Factory, Minneapolis; Circuit 12, Dallas; Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis; Hap Gallery, Portland; and Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica. He has exhibited in group exhibitions at Joshua Liner Gallery, NY; Lisa Cooley, NY; MOHS Exhibit, Copenhagen; Left Field, San Luis Obispo; and The Minnesota Museum of American Art, Saint Paul; Akron Art Museum, Ohio; Currier Art Museum, New Hampshire, and The Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City.

Tuesday January 23, 2024 | SEITU KEN JONES | Multidisciplinary Artist | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 

Photo of Seitu Ken Jones
Photo by Rik Sferra

SEITU KEN JONES is a multidisciplinary artist, advocate and maker based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Working between the arts and public spheres, Jones channels the spirit of radical social movements into experiences that foster critical conversations and nurture more just and vibrant communities from the soil up. He is recognized as a dynamic collaborator and a creative force for civic engagement.





Tuesday April 2, 2024 | Aaron Delehanty & Connor Blacksher  | Annual Student Exhibition (ASE) Jurors | 6pm in Solon Campus Center 120 

Photo of Connor Blacksher

Connor Blacksher is a product designer that makes nonsense a part of his process. He's passionate about finding smart, user-oriented solutions with multi-disciplinary teams. Connor is an advocate of being your authentic self at work and making extra iterations. If he's not designing, he's going for runs with Emily, his wife, and Emerald, his daughter. 





Photo of Aaron Delehanty with two landscape paintings

Aaron Delehanty is an artist and painter. His work is an exploration of the interaction between the natural world and mankind. He is the staff artist at the Rochester Museum and Science Center in Rochester NY where he builds dioramas, makes hyper realistic replications of artifacts, paints murals and creates all kinds of convincingly realistic landforms for the museums exhibtis. You can see a lot of his work at the Field Museum in Chicago. Aaron is a co-founder of the Co-prosperity School, an artist-run school for and about the understanding of contemporary Chicago art. He has exhibited widely and his work has been featured in New American Paintings and TEDx Flour City.  A graduate from the Masters program at the San Francisco Art Institute, and the bachelor's program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; he lives, works in Rochester NY.