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By the Morning Light

Gallery exhibit celebrates Lake Michigan's beauty

by Stephanie Ortiz, Class of 2022
University Communications Intern

On March 14, 2022, a new photography exhibition opened in the Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery at Cardinal Stritch University. “By the Morning Light” features a collection of Lake Michigan photographs by 25 local photographers. The photos depict Lake Michigan at all times of day across all four seasons. The exhibition was arranged by Assistant Professor Steve Sellars.

“One of my oldest Milwaukee friends, Tim Holte, had been photographing the lake in the early morning for years,” writes Sellars. “I asked Tim about showing his work in the gallery. In our conversations, pre-COVID, Tim talked about meeting many photographers over the years who do exactly what he has been doing. So, we started to make a list of those we could contact. We sent out information about a possible exhibition of work focused on the lake. Then, post-COVID, [in] late 2021, we decided to try to revive the idea. We made a list and started contacting people. We ended up with 25.”

In addition to showcasing visually striking and enticing images of Lake Michigan, “By the Morning Light” is a collaborative effort between Stritch’s Art and English Departments. Creative writing students were asked to observe the exhibition’s photographs and respond with poetry. The students’ poems are displayed alongside the images in both print and recorded audio.

“We in Creative Writing are always excited and eager about the opportunity to have our writers show off their talents,” says Assistant Professor Laura Misco. “We were really excited when Steve approached us to collaborate with him and the photographers in this incredibly cool exhibition of Lake Michigan at different times of the year.”

Six students submitted their poetry to be included in the exhibition.

“I thought it was really interesting that we received work from six female writers ranging from people who are very strong in other genres but wanted to give it a try anyway, to people who consider themselves poets and are clearly established as such,” notes Misco. “I also think that the voiceovers work extremely well so that one can view the photographs and also hear the poems as performances by the writers.”

“By the Morning Light” displays an evident celebration of creativity and beauty within the Stritch community as well as the city of Milwaukee.