Arts & Culture

Pop-up Show at Gatton Student Center showcases design students art

Photo by Emily Conley.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15. 2023) — As the Fall 2023 semester concludes, the Gatton Student Center is hosting its last Pop-Up Show, displaying three distinct student art projects in the final showcase.

The captivating displays adorn the handrails of each floor, grace the second-floor walkway and take center stage in front of the information desk, transforming the student center into a testament of Wiildcats' creative endeavors.

During the onset of the fall semester, a visionary art curator intern with UK Auxiliary Services, Katherine Gemperline, proposed an approach to highlight student work. These class projects took center stage through Gemperline's introduction of the Pop-Up Show at the Gatton Student Center. Throughout the semester, a diverse array of displays, ranging from cookbooks to posters and full-sized murals, turned the student center into an overnight art gallery.

The final show includes pieces from design studio courses in architecture and interior design, as well as a publication design class. Creative proofs decorate the walls of the student center, offering a glimpse into the students' artistic prowess. Intertwined among these grand murals produced by first year architecture students were smaller collages created by upper class interior design students.

A common challenge throughout the projects were text sizing and formatting for the cookbooks. Notably, "Modern Cuisine 5001" emerged as a standout piece, marked for its clever and humorous approach. Out of the 17 cookbooks presented in class, nine students chose to share their work in the final Pop-Up Show.

"I want students to have agency and freedom to be the kind of artists and designers they want to be," said Mia Cinelli, an associate professor in the UK School of Art and Visual Studies. "I believe firmly in design authorship, as designers aren't just formatters of content — we create new ideas, experiences and narratives, too.”

The larger displays around the student center consist of canvases measuring 70"x72". For many students, this marked their first foray into mural drawing on such a grand scale.

"I wanted them to have a sense of 1:1 human scale to draw BIG freehand without tracing on screen but more from intuition and experiencing the act of drawing the figure and finding it within a space of a large canvas," said Lily Le, UK design professor.

As the curtain falls on the semester's final Pop-Up Show, Auxiliary Services eagerly anticipates the artistic and educational wonders that will unfold in Spring 2024. Faculty within all colleges are welcome to submit their interest in displaying their class work in a future pop-up show by visiting

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.