Nika Kaiser’s work The Passage, was displayed until November 5th. Photo Credit: Ellie Rensenbrink 

Article written By Ellie Rensenbrink  

St. Cloud State University’s Kiehle Gallery in the Kiehle Visual Arts Center was exhibiting Nika Kaiser: The Passage until November 5th. Nika Kaiser is a photo, video, and performance artist from Tucson, Arizona. According to her website, Kaiser has a BFA in Photography from the University of Arizona, and MFA Fine Arts with emphasis in photography, video, and installation from the University of Oregon. Nika Kaiser is also the Jim & Beverly Pehler Endowment 2021-2022 Artist-in-Residence.   

Kaiser’s four pieces feature Arizona’s Lake Powell, according to Kaiser’s artist statement: “In the past decade as hydrologists have studied Lake Powell the reality of climate change-impacted decline to water level has already transpired, and the inevitable outcome is the reemergence of Glen Canyon from beneath its depths.” According to a July 2021 article by CNN titled Lake Powell hits lowest level on record in climate change-fueled water crisis, “plagued by climate change-fueled drought and increasing demand for water, Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the United States, has fallen to its lowest level on record since it was first filled more than 50 years ago.” Lake Powell had fallen to roughly 3,554 feet in elevation — just 33% of capacity — according to the US Bureau of Reclamation, below the previous all-time low set in 2005. Kaiser’s The Passage “conveys an imagined future in which the past human, animal, and botanical elements of Glen Canyon reemerge from revealed slots in drowned canyon walls.”   

Kiehle Gallery has exhibited many artists over the years, visiting artists provide a valuable service to art majors according to gallery director, Peter Happel Christian. “Visiting artists augment everything that happens in the classroom,” said Happel Christian. “Sometimes having a fresh perspective and new voice drop in out of nowhere and share their work is the best thing to help students connect dots to coursework or conversations already happening.”  

The gallery and exhibition are not just for art majors. All students and faculty are welcome, in fact Happel Christian encourages non-art majors to check it out and bring a friend. “Many people think art exists in some kind of bubble,” said Happel Christian, “The big surprise is that art doesn’t, and it actually shapes who we are and makes us better people because it teaches us new things about other people and/or ourselves.”   

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