The Center for Prairie Studies recently acquired a new work of art for its collection: a pastel by Rachel Melis, '01, called "The CERA Prairie." The work was donated to the Center by Tor Janson, also '01. Rachel was an early supporter of the Center during her student years, and we were delighted to add this work to our collection, not only because it was done at the college's Conard Environmental Research Area, a place closely connected to the Center's mission, but also because Rachel did it while she was a student at Grinnell.
Rachel was a student of Professor Bobbie McKibbin, who also worked in pastels. Looking at Rachel's "The CERA Prairie" one can see Bobbie's influence in terms of composition and the use of color and shading. One can also see the early promise in Rachel's work, and in fact she went on to earn her M.F.A. at the University of Wisconsin and is now an associate professor of art at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University in Minnesota.
For the time being, "The CERA Prairie" is hanging in Nollen House, just outside of President Kington's office. We hope you have an opportunity to stop by and see it. And, as a special treat, you can see hanging on another wall in the same room Bobbie McKibbin's pastel, "CERA, Pearly Prairie in June," executed in 2005, shown in the photograph with Bailey Thompson, administrative support assistant to President Kington. We thank Dan Strong, associate director of the gallery and curator of exhibitions, for bringing these related works together in Nollen House.