Alumni Artwork Approaching


ST. LOUIS — A face is the usual place where one would wear a mask. Not so, however, in the world of metalsmith and Maryville University graduate Maribeth Meyer, who creates metal necklaces featuring masks as pendants.

Meyer will be among the Maryville graduates showing their work in the University’s annual Alumni Art Exhibit, which opens September 24 in the Morton J. May Foundation Gallery, located in the University Library building. A reception with the artists will be held from 6-9 p.m., Friday, September 28, in conjunction with Maryville’s Alumni Reunion Weekend festivities. The exhibit runs through October 26.

Meyer said she creates her mask pendants using a new material called Precious Metal Clay or PMC. “PMC is a clay- like binder that has fine silver powder suspended in it,” she explained. “It can be molded and shaped like traditional clay but then is put into a kiln and the clay burns off. When the water evaporates, the silver molecules bind together and when it comes out of the kiln, you have 99.9 percent fine silver.” Some of her masks incorporate silver while others incorporate 22-carat gold.

“One of the masks is of an alien-like creature with little horns for ears and bulging eyes made from dichroic glass,” said Meyer, who earned a bachelor of fine arts degree with a concentration in painting from Maryville in 2002. “Another has gold, snake-like eyes that is surrounded by graduated turquoise beads.” Meyer draws upon the world around her and African masks as inspiration for her art. She works for a local art and glass studio and sells her work locally and at seasonal art shows. She is involved in numerous professional organizations, including The Society for Midwest Metalsmiths, Art St. Louis, and the St. Louis and national chapters of the PMC Guild.

Meyer said her Maryville art professors instilled in her the courage to continually expand her artistic horizons. “They pushed me past my comfort level and (encouraged me) to go beyond what I thought was possible,” she commented. “They pushed my work farther than I thought it could go.”

Another alumni artist, Kristi Ponder, will have one sculpture and two photos (one shown at upper right) in the show. “Right now, my art focuses on human wants and desires that are embedded in us at a young age due to our society,” said Ponder, who graduated from Maryville in 2004 with a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in drawing and painting. She has returned to the University to become certified to teach art in grades K-12.

Other Maryville alumni exhibiting their work will be Kristi Ponder, Alison Bader, Debra Bush, Tiffany Meulemans, Tenille Novinger, Melissa Villadiego, Jason Lenny and Andrew Schaefer. For more information on the Maryville University Alumni Art Show or upcoming exhibits in the May Gallery, contact gallery director Roxanne Phillips at

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.