Seniors showcase their art in Conkling

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Effie R. Conkling art gallery is home to a multitude of showcases throughout the year that feature art from undergraduate, graduate and faculty members alike. Currently, Conkling is featuring the third of this semester’s Senior Showcases, which are opportunities for graduating fine arts students to display their work.

One of the featured artists, Lin Hilliker, is displaying a collection of nine acrylic paintings accompanied by an interactive element. The collection tells the story of a murder and it’s suspects and viewers are invited to be detectives and try to figure out the culprit. 

The paintings are filled with text and clues, so Hilliker encourages lots of sleuthing to figure out who did it and then for people to pin a note card next to their suspect. Hilliker likens her piece to a hidden object game.

“I’ve always been interested in True Crime narratives and film noirs when I was younger and I decided I needed to do something with it. You can start with the main characters and then continue building,” Hilliker stated. “It’s set in this town called Melville, and then you see the evidence gathered from the crime scene, then the suspects and the murder weapon is at the end. They really build on each other.”

Hilliker described her journey with art as something that came naturally to her and she continued to expand on as she got older.

“I had always been interested in art as a kid, similar to most people, but I really started to get into it freshman year of high school,” stated Hilliker. “One of my teachers at the time was a very popular local artist, and she was always telling me, ‘you need to keep working on this stuff, you have so much potential,’ and so I just kind of stuck with it.”

Hilliker came to Mankato with only the thought that she needed to pursue art in some form. 

“For a while I toyed with the idea of creative arts like film, just reaching for something. When I really started making steps, I decided that education is where I want my focus to be because I love it and I want to share my knowledge and values,” said Hilliker.

Next semester, Hilliker will be rounding out her career here at MSU doing student teaching. Hilliker wants to help others see that art is important and needed in life. 

“I’ll be really in the teaching world and getting some good experience. I would love to eventually be able to show works that I’ve made in more galleries and really get my name out there,” said Hilliker. “Art is an investigation. It’s how you portray what you think without using words because sometimes, not using words can be enough.”

The Senior Showcase’s opening reception was last night, Wednesday April 27. The Conkling Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Nelson Hall. The exhibit will be closing on May 5.

Header Photo: The final round of senior art showcases had their opening reception last night, April 27 in Nelson Hall. (Maddie Behrens/The Reporter)

Write to: Syd Berggren at sydney.berggren@mnsu.edu

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