Creating a legacy_2

Shannon Hoyt —


There is becoming a legacy and then there is creating one. Either way, the journey requires intensive work and preparation.


Dr. Ursula Husted, assistant professor in Comic and Sequential Art, developed “Wisconsin Legacies: Roots of a generation,” an art exhibition of fictional lives throughout history.   


“It celebrates 125 years and a series of generations of folks who have either come to Wisconsin, or were born in Wisconsin,” said Husted, in regards to the exhibition.


Around two weeks into the beginning of the semester, each student received one name attached to a character that would soon join a family tree of legacies. However, the only information provided was the character’s location of birth and how they related to their branching relatives.     


“You can’t create a character without knowing who their parents are, without knowing who their children might be—if they choose to have children—or without knowing what their siblings are doing,” added Husted. “People don’t stand alone.”

Creating a legacy_1

Just as characters can’t stand alone, neither can the students. Since it was a collaborative project, the 24 artists relied on each other for constructive ideas, whether that dealt with location, physical traits, family heirlooms and so on.


“My character was born in Milwaukee,” said Kaitlin Bruder, a sophomore studying Comics and Sequential Art. “And then my daughter was born in L.A., and then my son was born in Kansas. So you have to figure out how that movement worked.”


Bruder, along with her fellow classmates, had to elaborate on a broad spectrum of history. Some students had up to five generations of material to interpret and connect.


Creating a legacy is no small feat. The intricate thoughts and hours spent creating life, creating a 184 page graphic novel is now displayed on the walls of the Applied Arts. In addition to the comic strips, the project also resulted in over 400 captured moments of the characters’ lives.


“It demonstrates the value of narrative,” said Husted, in regards to the exhibition. “It demonstrates the value of our students’ work.”



The exhibition will be up until senior shows.



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