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Milligan’s photography exhibits displayed online

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"Community Baptist Church" by Amy Shumaker

"A Mother's Possessions" by Ashlyn Lightfoot

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (April 21, 2020) – Every April, Milligan College’s Art Gallery is full of activity as senior fine arts majors and minors prepare one of their final milestones, the senior exhibit. Every weekend involves a different exhibit, and students invest hours selecting their images, framing their photos and designing their layout for the gallery.

This spring, the ability to present senior photography exhibits required additional creativity. On Tuesday, April 21, Milligan’s senior photography exhibits will be featured online at milligansocialdistancinggallery.com.

The senior exhibit serves as a pivotal moment for fine arts majors and minors, where they can celebrate their hard work over the past four years with family, friends, professors and the Milligan community.

Senior photography and graphic design major Amy Shumaker, of Bristol, Tennessee, acknowledged that the transition to an online gallery wasn’t too difficult for her.

“Fortunately, my show contains digital photography with the exception of one image,” Shumaker shared. “I didn’t have to worry as much about logistics, like needing a dark room on campus or converting my images in the last few weeks. Overall, I’m grateful we will still have a senior exhibit, and I hope the transition online allows more people to view our exhibits.”

Shumaker’s exhibit, “Sola Ecclesia,” documents a diverse array of churches in the region. The phrase “sola ecclesia” means “through church alone” in Latin. With so many churches in the region and with aging church membership, Shumaker wanted to focus on documenting the buildings.

“At Milligan, incoming students receive a comprehensive list of local churches that includes over 300 churches and this vast number always stuck with me,” said Shumaker. “I decided to photograph the churches in my exhibit through an objective view. As I woke up early and drove around the region, I discovered that church can look very different. I photographed many empty church buildings, two Baptist churches that shared a parking lot, and one of my favorite shots is of a shed in someone’s yard with church written on the side.”

Senior photography major Ashlyn Lightfoot, of Orlando, Florida, focused her exhibit, “The American Menagerie,” on the objects and moments passed down to us and how inherited items give meaning to life.

For Lightfoot, her favorite photo in the collection is “A Mother’s Possessions.”

“It is a photograph of my grandma surrounded by the various decorations that are hung on my great-grandma’s walls,” she shared. “Both women have a passion for collecting objects that they find beautiful, and in some ways, I find we use these objects to talk about who we are.”

As Lightfoot reflects on her years at Milligan, she emphasized the impact of Milligan’s professors.

“Though I always loved photography, Alice Anthony was the reason why I chose to come to Milligan,” said Lightfoot. “Professor Anthony poured into my life. Over the years, photography has been an outlet for not only creativity but also for my anxiety. Because of photography, I go places and approach people that I never would without the camera.”

In addition to the photography majors, several photography minors have exhibits included in Milligan’s virtual exhibit. Photography minors include: Kayla Baker, of Clinton, Tennessee; Gabrielle Brown, Jonesborough, Tennessee; Ashlyn Jackson, Kingsport, Tennessee; AJ Trabold,Kalkaska, Michigan; and Cora Wymer, Johnson City, Tennessee.

To view the photography exhibits, visit milligansocialdistancinggallery.com.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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