AMES, Iowa — Katie DuVal Mihelich, an Iowa State University integrated visual arts graduate student, will present her master of fine arts thesis exhibition, “The Intersection of Grief and Gratitude,” at the CASA Gallery located at 130 S. Sheldon Ave. in Ames.

Public viewing hours will be Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 10–12 and Nov. 17–19. A closing reception will be from 5–8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17.

Exhibition schedule

Friday, Nov. 10, 5–8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 12, noon–4 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 17, 5–8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 19, noon–4 p.m.

Expressing emotion through artwork

Using precious and semi-precious metals and stones, DuVal Mihelich creates wearable art and personal objects with mixed-media, jewelry and metalsmithing fabrication techniques. Following her mother’s diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma — a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that can be treated but is difficult to cure — DuVal Mihelich was inspired to create specific works about her mother’s cancer journey and how it affected her family – especially how they perceive life, death, faith and the world we live in.

“Grieving is usually associated with significant loss, but I found myself deep in the throes after learning of my mother’s diagnosis,” DuVal Mihelich said. “Humans have struggled to find meaning, purpose and closure within the context of loss, and I am no different.”

Her work comes together in an interwoven series to convey a meaningful story — one that promotes reflection and human connection and culminates at the intersection of grief and gratitude.

About the artist

DuVal Mihelich received her bachelor of fine arts in integrated studio arts from Iowa State in 2018. Originally from Harlan, Iowa, she is a certified Gemological Institute of America Applied Jewelry Professional. Her work has been featured in Midwest Metalsmiths, New York Jewelry Week in New York City and in national juried shows, including “Octagonal: The All Media Show” at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames. Last year, she won first place for her custom engagement ring design in the national March Bridal Madness competition sponsored by jewelry wholesale Stuller, Inc.

DuVal Mihelich currently teaches an Introduction to Jewelry and Metalsmithing course as an instructor of record in the Department of Art and Visual Culture. She has previously was a graduate assistant for visual arts and drawing courses. She will graduate from Iowa State in December with her MFA in integrated visual arts.


Katie DuVal Mihelich, Integrated Visual Arts graduate student,
Lauren Johnson, College of Design Communications Specialist,