Two Southeast Missouri State University students have been selected for inclusion in Varsity Art XXVI, the 26th annual invitational visual art exhibition by Art Saint Louis.

Seraphina Mcateer and John Stringer, will join 42 other undergraduate and graduate level art students of all ages, representing 23 St. Louis regional colleges and universities from Missouri and Illinois. 

Varsity Art XXVI will take place from March 4-31 in Art Saint Louis’ downtown St. Louis gallery.

The exhibit is a collaboration between Art Saint Louis and the collegiate institutions, their art faculty and students. Art Saint Louis’ artistic director worked with the art professors, inviting them to select two outstanding art students to represent their institution in this group show.

“Being one of two students selected for this exhibition means a great deal to me,” said Mcateer, a Cedar Hill, Missouri, senior studying fine arts and ceramics. “It has gratified the hard work and care I put into each one of my pieces and it feels really good to be recognized for that.” 

Stringer, a senior from Cuba, Missouri, also said it feels great to be selected as a participant in the exhibition. 

“I’m very pleased and honored to know that there are people who are able to find appreciation in the work that I produce,” Stringer said, “I hope to represent the University and those in the photography program well during the exhibition.” 


Southeast student artist Seraphina Mcateer works on her ceramic sculpture, "Lists," for the Varsity Art XXVI exhibition. (Photo by Jon Stringer)

Mcateer makes ceramic sculptures and vessels using color and texture to emphasize mundane objects and thoughts. For Varsity Art XXVI, her displayed artwork is entitled “Lists,” which is a slab-made vessel that shows the natural form clay takes on during the sculpting and firing process.

“On the surface of the vessel is imagery showing ordinary objects and thoughts and feelings that I experience daily,” Mcateer said.

Stringer is a photography and new media major with plans to graduate this fall. For the Art Saint Louis exhibit, he will display “Glass Work 1,” an image composed of assorted glassware. 

“I always find the most joy in photography when it involves experimentation, taking materials or locations you find intriguing and essentially playing, without an orchestrated plan, until something new or exciting reveals itself,” Stringer said. 

Mcateer, who plans to graduate in May, said she is grateful for each opportunity and experience that Southeast’s Department of Art and Design has brought her, including the many skills she gained by learning from faculty, who have pushed her to succeed over the years. 

“Because of the department I have been able to meet so many talented visiting artists that have given me advice for my work and future,” she said. “I have gained experience in installing and uninstalling exhibitions. I have also been given opportunities to show my work throughout the community and in other states. And, I have been able to work with local businesses and other schools to make art and teach others in workshops.”


For the Art Saint Louis exhibit, Southeast student artist John Stringer will display his photograph “Glass Work 1.”

Stringer also praised the University’s department and faculty.

“If you are willing to ask and put in a bit of effort, the opportunities will never be sparse,” Stringer said. “In my time here, I have been able to do many incredible things that I never imagined, and I learned from all of them. I have had portfolio reviews from professionals in the field, a chance to work on commercial advertising sets and even have my own solo exhibition.” 

For Mcateer, teaching other students her craft has become a passion and a career aspiration. After graduation, she plans to apply to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in ceramics and one day become a professor.

Stringer has similar aspirations and hopes to continue his education in photography through a graduate program and one day become an educator in the field. 

“As much as I love learning in the medium, there is a certain flavor of joy in being able to gift that knowledge to those who seek it,” he said. 

This year’s Varsity Art XXVI exhibit presents 44 artworks in a variety of media, including ceramics, drawing, metalsmithing, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video. The themes the student artists will present in this show are representative of universal or global contemporary art trends. 

Art Saint Louis is a non-profit art organization working for more than 37 years to enrich lives through the creative activity of the St. Louis region’s contemporary visual artists. Through exhibition, education, and exchange, the organization hopes to connect and inspire its community and multiply the economic and cultural vitality of the region.

Art Saint Louis is free and open to the public Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and on major holidays.