Artist Spotlight: Ryan Stewart: Saxophonist and senator


A talented musician and multi-instrumentalist, sophomore Ryan Stewart is active in the music scene at Whitworth. His ability to play the saxophone, clarinet and piano gave him the opportunity to play professionally throughout high school and college.

“I had jazz combo in high school; it’s like small jazz band with four or five people playing from the same high school,” Stewart said. “We got a gig to play for a big regional company in downtown and played professionally.”

He also performed several times in public places and hotels.

“I performed in Riverfront Park, and at Red Lion Hotel a couple of times, and I played at Davenport hotel for a New Year celebration,” Stewart said.

Although Stewart has had experience playing professionally since high school, he never stops practicing and learning more.

In 2014, Stewart started his music education at Whitworth and is majoring in music performance with a focus on classical and jazz saxophone.

While Stewart has a tight schedule with studying, work and Warren Hall senatorial duties, he is also active in off-campus activities. He joined a local jazz band to play with other music students and professional musicians.


“It’s a jazz band called The Master-Class Big Band,” Stewart said. “It’s kind of a cool local band that lets student and professionals get together and play gigs around town.”

In addition to playing saxophone, Stewart is interested in classical music history.

“I feel like music in the past teaches us a lot and I always will be a fan of older music,” Stewart said. “I love music stuff from the classical era. Its very cool to see, all the music we have today comes from music of the past.”

One of his favorite musicians from the classical era is Dexter Gordon, an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He admires and looks up to Gordon’s music performance skill.

“His tone and the way he plays, it’s very edgy and simplistic,” Stewart said. “I’d love to go to classical theater, either in France or in Italy. I’d love to perform as a feature. But I’d also enjoy to going to watch professional symphony orchestra.”

Stewart wants to continue his music education beyond Whitworth.

“I’m planning to go to graduate school to get doctorate in saxophone performance, and also hope to teach at a university,” Stewart said.


Hana Hetty Manuela

Staff Writer

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"The Devil is in the Details" exhibit features intricate pieces made from unusual materials

Hana Hetty ManuelaStaff Writer

If you are a detail-oriented person, come and explore the details at the art exhibition “The Devil Is in Details” put on by Whitworth University. As the title suggests, the art exhibition expresses a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details. Photographer: Stuart Beeksma  Anna Osten (left) and Dana Bretch admiring the details in Andy Messerschmidt’s work.

The artists used recycled materials such as bed sheets, blankets, gift-wrap, pillows, rubber bands and even doll house flooring, and transformed the materials into beautiful artworks with deep details.

The collaboration between materials, colors, textures and shapes create the beauty of 17 pieces by artists Benjamin DeMott, Claire Hedden, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Andy Messerschmidt and Joetta Maue.

The opening reception for the exhibition was held in the Bryan Oliver Gallery in the Lied Art Center on Tuesday, Sept. 15, and was attended by students, professors and community members. After attendees viewed the pieces for an hour, the event continued with an artist talk with O’Connor and Messerschmidt.

During the talk, the artists explained their pieces and their creative process. Messerschmidt, who is predominantly a painter, spoke about his inspiration to include gift-wrap, stickers and other ornaments in his artwork.

O’Connor, who creates large animalistic sculptures, said she drew inspiration from the original illustration of Alice in Wonderland that haunted her imagination when she was child. She described the behind-scenes process of her art, and explained about the characteristic of her artwork.

"It becomes mysterious,” O’Connor said. “They are animals, but they are not animals, they are some kind figure, but we don't know who they are."

Ayobami Adedeji, a freshman art student who attended the event, enjoyed and was intrigued by O’Connor’s work.

“I got the idea that the artist is not only painting or using the computer,” Adedeji said. “[The art] is about life.” Adedeji appreciated the exhibition and the artist talk and question and answer session that accompanied it.

“I think this is a nice event for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors," Adedeji said. "It was creative, different and inspirational.”

Many other students attended the opening event, including junior Mykaela Hendrix.

“I enjoyed the variety of artwork that was presented in the exhibition and I enjoyed that the artists talked about their work,” Hendrix said. “It’s so inspiring.”

For Whitworth students who have interest in art and would like to gain experience, some of the featured artists will teach workshops this fall. Covering a wide range of mediums from clay and sculpture to embroidery, the workshops are open to everyone regardless of skill level.

“The Devil Is in Details” is open until Oct. 30 at the Lied Center for the Visual Arts Bryan Oliver Gallery. It is free and open to the public. Gallery hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday

The exhibit is closed on official university holidays. For further information, please call (509) 777-3258.