AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University integrated visual arts graduate student Alyssa Killin will share mixed-media artwork exploring her relationship to nature as an artist and a woman of color in her master of fine arts thesis exhibition Nov. 3-10 at the College of Design.

“Ecowomanist Aesthetics: Art, Ecology and Activism” will be on view from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays in Gallery 181, located on the first floor of the College of Design building on the west side of the Iowa State campus. The show will feature ceramics, photography, paintings and sculptures. A closing reception will be from 5–8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10.

Killin’s thesis, “Black Ecologies: Gathering and Art,” delves into the intersection of environmental justice and visual arts. The landscapes and ecosystems of the Midwest inspire much of her work, she said. She reflects on the environmental issues facing the Midwest region and works to inform the communities that could be impacted.

“Whether through installations that highlight the beauty and resilience of the region’s ecosystems or through events that bring together diverse communities to discuss issues of environmental justice and sustainability, my goal is to create art that is rooted in a deep connection to the land and people of the Midwest,” Killin said.

About the artist

Killin, from Des Moines, received her bachelor of fine arts in interior design from Iowa State in 2015. She is a graduate assistant at the Margaret Sloss House and previously served as a graduate teaching assistant for integrated studio arts courses.

In July, she was one of 15 inaugural fellows selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants to participate in the 2023 Black Midwest Initiative Summer Institute in Chicago. In October 2024, her artwork will be featured in the Black Midwest Symposium at the Dayton Metro Library in Dayton, Ohio.

Killin will graduate with her MFA in integrated visual arts from Iowa State in December.


Alyssa Killin, Integrated Visual Arts graduate student,
Rachel Connell, College of Design Gallery Manager,
Lauren Johnson, College of Design Communications Specialist,