Skip to Content

Elona Van Gent Announces Retirement

Artist. Educator. Associate Dean. Colleague.

Those are just a few words to describe Professor Elona Van Gent, a prolific artist and longtime faculty member who will retire from the Stamps School of Art & Design this year.

Van Gent will conclude her teaching career at the end of the winter 2022 semester. She then plans to spend the remainder of her time at the university on research and completing several projects. 

A recognized visual artist whose work has been seen around the globe, Van Gent borrows computer techniques typically used to create characters and special effects in film and video to investigate themes encountered at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Her work entails building speculative creatures and environments as rapid prototyped sculptures, digital prints, and 3D animations. She describes her pieces as depictions of characters that bear evidence of the struggle and challenge to adapt in an unpredictable and inhospitable world.


Her compelling creations are highly regarded and have been exhibited widely. A few highlights include exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, Beijing Today Art Museum, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St. Petersburg, Russia, Roda Sten in Gothenburg, Sweden, Sydney’s University of Technology, Goldstein Museum of Design at the University of Minnesota and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. She has also completed two large-scale public sculpture projects, and her work is in collections at Herman Miller, Inc., Alpha Genesis, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and Grand Valley State University. Alongside her practice as an artist, Van Gent served actively as a member of ACM SIGGRAPH’s Conference Advisory Committee, filling the roles of 3‑D Technology Coordinator, chair of the Art Gallery, and Art Communities Director. 

At Stamps, Van Gent made lasting contributions to the undergraduate and graduate programs through her service as the school’s Associate Dean for Academic Programs from 2013 – 2019. A strong advocate of interdisciplinary art and design education, Van Gent worked with faculty to expand and refine the open curriculum that has become the school’s hallmark. She also worked with faculty and staff to strengthen the student services operations that support the graduate and undergraduate students. Throughout her tenure at the school, she participated on many projects and initiatives with faculty colleagues to advance the vision and mission of the Stamps School of Art and Design.

Elona Van Gent, smiling, shakes a student's hand at commencement

Reflecting on her career at Stamps, Van Gent said, The highlights include working creatively within the context of a research university, teaching (and learning) through an open curriculum, and serving alongside brilliant and supportive colleagues. It’s been an adventure, for sure, and I am deeply grateful for the experience.”