Chroma: Best of CCAD and MFA Thesis Exhibition go online

May 21, 2020
Peace Museum design by Gracie Morbitzer
Chroma: Best of CCAD features about 2,000 works of art and design from more than 490 Columbus College of Art & Design students, including Gracie Morbitzer's designs for the Peace Museum.

Enjoy two virtual art shows anytime, anywhere for a year

While much has changed over the decades—not to mention the last few months—one thing that hasn’t is the creative talent of Columbus College of Art & Design students. See and celebrate exceptional artwork from CCAD undergraduate and graduate students as Chroma: Best of CCAD and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Virtual Thesis Exhibition go online for the first time ever in the college’s 141-year history. What’s more, the virtual art shows will be open 24/7 for the next year to enjoy whenever and wherever the mood strikes.

Chroma: Best of CCAD
This year’s virtual exhibition features work from all 12 of our undergraduate majors, CORE program, and recently graduated Master of Design candidates. About 2,000 juried works of art and design from more than 490 students show off the college’s spectrum of education—from amusing animations and innovative industrial designs to amazing paintings and trendy fashion designs. This annual exhibition of student work is one not to be missed, so be sure to check out the event page at

Chroma is a display of the best of CCAD students across from first-year through graduate students,” said Dean of Undergraduate Studies Thomas Gattis. “This is a chance to see the brightest rising stars in the art and design world from across all of our majors. Chroma is an excellent tool to scout talent from students who graduated this year and are ready to enter the job market and those that are ready for internships.”

Two outstanding 2020 graduates featured in the show are Gracie Morbitzer, an Interior Design major, and Angelo Thomas, an Film & Video major. Both entered their senior capstone projects in Chroma this year.

Morbitzer, who plans to be an exhibition designer, found her niche in interior design as a way to translate storytelling into special moments and spaces. She has interned over the past year at experience design firm WD Partners and with the Ohio History Center around exhibit design and experiences.  
"My project redesigns a museum exhibition to promote social, interactive, and immersive museum experiences to help with issues, such as loneliness and knowledge retention," Morbitzer said.

Thomas used his experience with anorexia to write a screenplay about a teenage popstar’s secret battle with the disease. It became a feature film and his senior capstone project, The Incredible Jake Parker. The movie’s trailer is exhibited in Chroma

After graduation, Thomas will continue his work in the independent film industry as he develops additional screenplays and makes films. “The Incredible Jake Parker has been a passion project of mine for years,” Thomas said. “I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring that very personal story to life as a feature film with the support of peers and faculty at CCAD.”


Marcela Pinheiro in her studio at Columbus College of Art & Design
Marcela Pinheiro working on her MFA thesis project, “Vasalisa,” in March before the COVID-19 outbreak.


Master of Fine Arts Virtual Thesis Exhibition
The 2020 CCAD MFA Virtual Thesis Exhibition features works by the 15 students in the college’s Master of Fine Arts graduating class who have overcome the challenges of the last few months by rethinking the way they create work and to explore the role of art at a time of global upheaval. The show features several projects exploring a variety of societal issues, such as powerlessness, identity, and lack of connection. The exhibition, now online at, includes painting, sculpture, photography, video, illustration, animation, and other media. 

“At CCAD, we place a special emphasis on professional development and creative endeavor, so getting to know emerging artists and following their growing careers is one of the most exciting and interesting opportunities the art world affords,” said Kelly Malec-Kosak, Chair, Master of Fine Arts program at CCAD. “At this year’s Virtual MFA Thesis Exhibition, you’ll be able to view these talented students’ topical and cutting-edge projects, as well as understand what they are saying about themselves and their work.” 

Take Marcela Pinheiro, a storyboard artist, whose thesis project delves into female empowerment with her version of Russian folktale Vasilisa. The story resonates with Pinheiro. Like the main character, she also struggled with standing up for herself and had to learn how to trust her decisions to have power over her life.

“One of the most amazing powers of stories is to make people feel,” she said. “To make them have a strong, visceral response, creating a connection to another's imagination. Vasilisa is based on a folktale that uses the allegory of a doll, dressed like the main character, as intuition, to show how one needs to feel and trust it, in order to be independent.”


Marcela Pinheiro, Columbus College of Art & Design 2020 MFA candidate
Marcela Pinheiro, 2020 MFA candidate, at her Columbus College of Art & Design studio in March.


Another MFA candidate, Phil Weasley, explained that his two pieces are based on his and others' identities as queer individuals and how they often felt like outsiders growing up. He uses his art to create an experience for visitors that correlates with those in the LGBTQ+ community.   

“This culture forces the queer individual to question when their touch is appropriate while celebrating the predominant culture’s expression of public and private affection,” Weasley said. “I twist everyday construction and craft objects and methods, often designated socially to masculine and feminine bodies respectively, into new beings and forms. The relationship between the viewer and object arises in a public setting, emphasizing the act of touching an object in public we may otherwise only be inclined to touch in private or when no one else is looking.”

Meanwhile interactive media artist Kayleigh Fogle’s project focus is on video game experiences. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to play her game through a custom-fabricated console with unique soft controls. 

She explained, “Games are meant to be played, and in the act of play, or watching others play, I felt that a sense of togetherness and cooperation was necessary for ‘Apple & Worm.’ I investigate tangible and virtual softness. Positive interactions, things you can smoosh in your hands, and imaginary folks who want to say hello to you. I wanted to create an experience that embodies comfort, that is gentle and brings people together. ”

Other participating MFA candidates include: Autumn Cadle, Shannon Catron, Wei Ling Chang, Randi Chen, Rebekah Curtis, Tyler Lemmon, Evan Lockhart, Lauren Mitro, Michael Reynolds, C.G. Ryan, Shannon West, and Trevin Wyant. 

Dr. Jennifer Schleuter, Dean of Graduate Studies, added, “While the virtual exhibition is a great way to promote our MFA candidates’ works in light of COVID-19 crisis, it does not replace in-person presentations. CCAD is committed to installing and documenting these works in its Beeler Gallery as soon as it is safe to do so.”



About Columbus College of Art & Design 
Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, offering 12 four-year undergraduate programs and two graduate programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information on CCAD, visit For more information on CCAD’s MFA in Visual Arts: New Projects, visit


Media contact:
Kim Schuette
Interim Director of Public Relations