College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department of Visual Communication and Design

The Department of Visual Communication and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Haig David-West,
Department Chair and Professor

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
2101 E. Coliseum Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499

Office: Visual Arts Building
Room: VA213
Hours: Mon - Fri 8 am - 5 pm

Phone: 260-481-6709
Fax: 260-481-6707


Fine Arts | Music | Theatre | VCD


Ron Lewis, associate faculty member in VCD, has been appointed Digital Media Assistant in IPFW’s Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT). This new opportunity gives Lewis an opportunity to use his numerous talents in design and computer graphics and technology to help instructors across campus create a more contemporary learning environment for their students.

Andres Montenegro, assistant professor of computer animation, was a selected artist in the IDEAS 2014 Digital Art Exhibition, and International Digital Media Arts Association Conference, on November 5-7, at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. His piece, The Phenomenological Targets, is an installation based on interactive animations developed through augmented reality and mobile technology. He also presented an artist talk about his work in animation and interactive immersive environment based on his awarded-winning animation The Little Quest of Petrovsky as the creative focus. He also participated in the International Digital Media Arts Association Conference at Utah Valley University with a research paper titled “Two Phenomenological Notions Expressed in the Interactive Art of Jeffrey Shaw and Myron Krueger,” to be published in the International Digital Media Art Journal

Allen Etter served as a judge for the Garrett Indiana Chalk Walk show and the Garrett Museum "Art of the 60s" show.  Etter also published on-line the graphic novel “Darkness Aftermath” completing 84 illustrations

The post-production of Andres Montenegro’s animated piece "The Little Quest Of Petrovsky" was completed in July 2014, after a year of production that included on site shooting in Paris during March 2014, and many hours of video editing and compositing. The animation, a combination of CGI (3D rendering), and puppet animation is being distributed for broadcasting and screening by Doublemetre Animation in France and Europe. This short film got a registration in the French media through a Visa D' exploitation, and will participate in several animation events in the future.

Mikhael Antone, assistant professor of imaging and photography, was featured in a one-woman exhibit titled Sense of Place at Camera Work Gallery located at the Laundry Building at 513 Center Street in Scranton, Penn. The exhibition ran April 4 through April 29. She has also self-published a catalogue of her work from the exhibition with an introduction by Sarah Pollman.

Sarah Pollman holds a BFA (2007) and MFA (2014) from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University. Pollman is a 2013 recipient of the Art Writing Workshop from the AICA-USA and Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program and a 2014 Curatorial Opportunity Program curator at the New Art Center in Newton.

VCD associate faculty Gregor Roth and his work were featured in the May 15, 2014, issue of Whatz Up. “Walk into a gallery housing his work and you literally walk into Roth’s sculpture. With yarn lines that stretch from wall to wall, his sculptures envelop you physically, challenging you to simply reconsider a space that has possibly become ordinary,” explains writer Michele DeVinney. To find out more about his work visit

David-West Presents Research in Spain

Professor Haig David-West was invited to present a paper on his field research in Cuba at the International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities (ICNDH) at San Pablo University, Madrid, Spain from June 11 – 13, 2014. David-West is the chair of the Department of Visual Communication and Design and his research paper is entitled Ancestral, African Cultural Signifiers in Afro-Cuban Visual Art: An Analysis of the Presence of Ekpe and Abakuá Iconography.

The international conference draws researchers, practitioners, and scholars from a wide range of cultures and disciplines who have a shared interest in themes and concerns regarding the humanities. Delegates from more than 50 countries and all continents were in attendance.

The work of Allen Etter, visiting instructor in video and intermedia, recently was featured at Northwest Indiana Comic-con (NWI) on February, 23, 2014, in Schererville, Ind. While there, Etter’s work became part of an official NWI Comic-con video now featured on YouTube.

Mikhael Antone, associate professor of imaging and photography, was featured in a one-woman exhibit titled Sense of Place at Camera Work Gallery located at the Laundry Building at 513 Center Street in Scranton, Penn. The exhibition runs April 4 through April 29.
For more information visit

The sculptural work of VCD associate faculty member Gregor Roth and fine arts major Andrew Dubach were recently included in an exhibition entitled ALT at Wunderkammer Company in Fort Wayne from Feb. 8 - March 9, 2014. ALT was an invitational group survey of experimental and unconventional sculptural practices in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. 

Andres Montenegro, VCD assistant professor and coordinator of modeling and animation, was recently on location at the Double Metre Animation Studios in Paris, France. He was working with a French animation crew to develop the cinematic story of his award-winning work, “The Little Quest of Petrovsky.” Montenegro's two-week residency in the French capital is a sequel to the animation prize he won last summer at the prestigious International Animation Festival of Annecy.

Jim Gabbard, continuing lecturer in Visual Communication and Design (VCD), has been appointed director of the Garrett Museum of Art. This part-time position will include organizing 10 to 12 exhibitions a year, overseeing the expansion of the museum's permanent art collection, and coordinating membership efforts.

VCD visiting instructor in graphic design Kryste Wallen has been chosen as one of the 2014 Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly 40 Under 40 award winners. The 40 young professionals, all under the age of 40 were chosen by a panel of distinguished judges for their achievements in the workplace and volunteer involvement in their communities. The winners were honored at an awards dinner on Wednesday, March 19 at Ceruti’s Banquet and Event Center in Fort Wayne. For more information, visit

VCD Chair Dr Haig David-West

VCD Chair Dr Haig David-West discussing Cuban artist Manuel Mendive's imagery at the 2012 International Image Conference in Poznan, Poland.

Allen Etter

Allen Etter, Visiting Instructor of Video and Intermedia, won First Place in the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA) Chalk Walk 2012.

James Gabbard

James Gabbard, Continuing Lecturer of Imaging and Photography, won the 2012 IPFW Community Advisory Board's Service-to-Students Award. Mr. Gabbard (left) after receiving his award from Walter Branson (center) Acting Chancellor and George McClellan (right) Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.


VCD graduate and current associate faculty Swikar Patel was celebrated as having one of the Best Photographs of the Year 2012 by the Wall Street Jourrnal (WSJ). The image of the swan was captured on a Fort Wayne creek in early October. The WSJ editors pick the best photos of the year organized by category, date and location. These photos represent the key moments and defining images of the year.

Indiana Tech Law School recently commissioned a painting by VCD Visiting Instructor Allen Etter to hang at Barrister Commons on the main campus. The painting was commissioned to anchor the school’s 250-piece collection which focuses on the law, patriotic themes and Indiana. The collection is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and is located at 1600 E. Washington Blvd. in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Jim Gabbard has accepted an invitation to serve on the board of directors of the Garrett Museum of Art in Garrett, Ind. His voluntary services will include strategic planning and marketing of museum exhibits.

Jim Gabbard, continuing lecturer of photography has received Honorable Mention for Portraiture in the Wassenberg Art Center's 36th Annual Photography Exhibit. The photograph titled All Those Years was taken during Gabbard’s recent research trip to the Dominican Republic


During April, 2012 the newly formed IPFW Multi-Media Ensemble presented its first performance in Rhinehart Recital Hall. The ensemble is a collaboration of assistant professor Christopher Rutkowski’s music sequencing class, and  visual communication and design assistant professors Allen Etter (film and video) and Andres Montenegro (animation). Live electronic music was performed using a wide variety of computer programs and electronic instruments, as well as live video and animation and live dance.

The cover of the new 2012 Visual Communication and Design student handbook featured a photographic floral image by Jacqueline Warfield. Warfield is the VCD secretary and IPFW student.

The art work of Visual Communication and Design associate faculty Jim Martin was featured at Fort Wayne Cinema Center from June, 2012 during the run of Stephen Spielberg's War of the Worlds. Martin, a local industrial designer and concept artist had featured more than 30 works done in a variety of mediums.

With the help of continuing lecturer Jim Gabbard and photography students from the Department of Visual Communication and Design, student clinicians from the Department of Communication Science Disorders further developed their skills in working with gerontology clients who had suffered strokes and helped them make improvements in their speech. Photography as a Language was a collaborative project that helps stroke victims communicate again and was one of the methods that CSD students learned in order to assist their clients.

In March, 2012 photography instructor Jim Gabbard was asked by the IPFW nursing and dental hygiene programs to do both still photography and video documenting of the work being done by IPFW students and faculty in conjunction with the Barnabas task group and the University in Santiago-Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. There he documented sheer abject poverty, the lack of even the basic comforts most of us enjoy every day, while completely surrounded by the lush beauty and rain forests of the Dominican Republic. Gabbard had three photographs accepted in the 2012 National Juried Art Exhibition at the Great Frame Up Gallery in Longmont, Colorado. Two of the images were taken during the trip to Cien Fuegos in the Dominican Republic.

Andres Montenegro was invited to meet with Patricio Sanhueza Vivanco, the rector (president) of Universidad de Playa Ancha in Valparaiso, Chile, in April, 2012 to formalize an official academic exchange and cooperation agreement between the two universities. Montenegro received a New Frontier Travel Exploration Grant from Indiana University and additional financial support from VPA and VCD to create a collaborative animation called A Convergence Between Two Traditional Storyline Legends. Montenegro was also scheduled to present the first version of the animated project at IPFW in December 2012.  

James Gabbard, Continuing Lecturer of Imaging and Photography, won the 2012 IPFW Community Advisory Board's Service-to-Students Award.

Faculty and alumni were among the winners at Artlink’s 2nd Annual Visual Art Awards party held at the Auer Center for Arts and Culture in February 2012. Winners included Fine Arts associate professor Christopher Ganz in the drawing category, Visual Communication and Design continuing lecturer Jim Williams in the graphic art category, Fine Arts faculty member Sayaka Ganz in the sculpture category, and Fine Arts alumnus Eric Tarr (’04) in the mixed media category. All winning artists received the coveted AVA Award designed by Fort Wayne ceramist George Morrison, along with a cash prize.

Imaging and Photography instructor James Gabbard was awarded the 2012 Horace Chase Memorial Award by the Professional Photographers of Indiana. This award was presented to the highest scoring wedding album in its category to photographers who creatively told the story of a wedding.

Allen Etter, Visiting Instructor of Video and Intermedia, won First Place in the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA) Chalk Walk 2012.

The art work of VCD associate faculty Jim Martin will be featured at Fort Wayne Cinema Center from June 15 – 19, 2012 during the run of Stephen Spielberg's War of the Worlds. Martin is a local industrial designer and concept artist and the display will feature more than 30 works done in a variety of mediums. The exhibition will launch with a short reception from 8 – 9 p.m. on Friday, June 15, prior to the showing of the film.

Alma Hoffman, assistant professor of graphic design, participated in an online design discussion hosted by Diane Gibbs, assistant professor of graphic design at the University of South Alabama in June, 2012. The focus of the webcast was “the importance of doodling and sketching.”

Mikhael Antone, VCD assistant professor in imaging and photography, had her photographic work Train Yard published by 3200K, producing both a weekly online magazine and quarterly printed journal. 3200K seeks to create exhibition opportunities for emerging artists and features works made with light-based media employing traditional analog photographic methods.

The Women’s Bureau successfully helped educate the public on issues regarding sexual assault in October, 2012 as IPFW students in the Department of Visual Communication and Design were able to help aid them in accomplishing those messages. Students from the Photography V Special Projects course, taught by continuing lecturer Jim Gabbard and students from Graphic Design III Publication Design, taught by continuing lecturer John Motz, teamed up to create an educational brochure. Photographs generated by the students were given to student designers to create a brochure designed to educate the public about sexual assault and the effect it had on individuals.

VCD photography majors again are participating in Using Photography as Language, a gerontology practicum for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD).  CSD students, through practical experience, learn to help geriatric clients with compromised communication to more effectively communicate using photographs that are meaningful to the client.  VCD students Brittany Wilcoxson and Sarah Slatton, along with continuing lecturer Jim Gabbard, will work directly with the CSD students to increase their skills in photography as an effective way to communicate. 


Assistant Professor Andres Montenegro with the Department of Visual Communication and Design has been selected to receive a New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Exploration Traveling Fellowship in the amount of $2,500. The funds, awarded by Indiana University Vice President Jorge José, will assist in his continued research of the practical exploration of the synergetic effort of animators. The project will involve animators in two locations significantly distant from each other as they explore and create an animated narrative. The animation techniques, developed by using 2D and 3D digital graphics, will be based on two stories that will bridge oral traditions and legends related to Valparaiso, Chile, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Visual Communication and Design Assistant Professor Alma Hoffmann was recently presented with the 2011 American Graphic Design Award by Graphic Design USA, a news magazine for graphic designers and other creative professionals. Each year, roughly 1,000 pieces representing all media appear in the competition.

Chalk it up to Allen Etter, visiting instructor of video and media, as he continues his journey in sidewalk art. Etter was featured as a guest artist at the Hancock County Arts and Cultural Council’s 4th Annual Chalk Fest hosted by the Creative Arts and Event Center in Greenfield, Ind. Etter’s contribution to the chalk art extravaganza was a portrait of author James Whitcomb Riley, a Greenfield native and the author of Little Orphan Annie.

Continuing Lecturer Jim Gabbard’s photograph entitled "Those Eyes" received first place in the portrait category, along with special recognition, in the Wassenberg Art Center's 34th Annual Photography Exhibit.