BBergan Blommers senior exhibit includes a black and white image with the ASL letters B and S. The other is the back side of a person holding on to an IV cart.

Wartburg gave me the confidence to be a risk-taker

NAME: Bergan Blommers
HOMETOWN: Manchester
MAJORS: Art education and graphic design

INVOVLEMENT ON CAMPUS: St. Elizabeth’s Chorale, Kantorei, Dance team, Service Trips

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: Both times when I came to campus, it just felt like home. There are people who already knew me and were calling me by name, and it just it felt so right. I didn’t start out in art; I just remember the professors made me feel like this was the right spot for me.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: I’m hoping to be teaching art. Right now, I’m finishing up my second placement, but I’ve been looking at a couple different art jobs in northeast Iowa. My old dance studio teacher is retiring and has asked me to possibly take over that business. I might be teaching dance and art at the same time. I want to be an artist in the future; however, it might have to sit for a couple years, but we will see. There’s just so much to choose from.

WHY WERE YOU DRAWN TO ART EDUCATION: I had a field experience as an elementary education major and during that experience I realized that I just wasn’t quite drawn to the subject I was teaching and my endorsement. After thinking about the subjects in school that I enjoyed the most, I remembered my love for art. I’d met Barbara at a scholarship visit day, and I had remembered how friendly and helpful she was, so I thought that I should go talk to her again. I told her that art has always been a huge love of mine. It was a really easy switch and transition into doing some art classes and becoming an art education major.  

Bergan Blommers

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE ART CLASS AT WARTBURG: Printmaking was one of the first art classes that I took on Wartburg’s campus. I had never done printmaking prior to college, and it was such a fun class to take in May Term. I just fell in love with the process and the medium, which is cool because now that’s the medium I’m using in my senior exhibit. I never would have thought I would use a medium that I originally, never had any knowledge of. My second favorite class would be when we went to Italy. I took Advanced Drawing and Painting, and we went and stayed in Italy for a month and traveled all over. It was just so beautiful to be immersed in another culture and seeing artwork that I’ve always seen in textbooks and learned about that were right there in front of me. I loved getting to experience that with my classmates at Wartburg. I grew so much from that experience, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

HOW DID STUDYING ABROAD HELP YOU GROW: I got to understand where art came from and why people create art. So much art back then was based on the things that were happening in their lives, and I think that has been a huge thing, especially for myself as a senior. In the senior exhibit, our artwork is a translation of who we are and the experiences we have. My exhibit was based off the things that I’ve gone through during my time at Wartburg and what I’ve seen others go through. Being immersed in other cultures and being able to value those cultures has made me come back and see our world in a whole new light. I loved getting to hear the stories of others and getting a better understanding of people and the things they value in their cultures.  

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR SENIOR ART EXHIBIT: I did what is called block printing. I carved from a little block or piece of rubber to make prints that are based on invisible illnesses and trauma. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease during my third year at Wartburg. I was a student going through this chronic illness and trying to keep up with academics and my art. I had to go through a lot, and it was hard to stay strong, even though I was sick. I started to realize that I was not the only one on campus not only going through an illness, but other traumas and things that happen. I had a roommate my second year lose her mother to cancer. I have had friends with anxiety or depression during college. All those themes kind of started coming up in my head. I wanted to articulate the things that are happening in people’s lives that we don’t see on the surface. A lot of people put on that brave face and when they walk across campus, you would never know. I wanted to highlight the strength that people have, to carry on with their day and make it look like they’re fine. I wanted to create my exhibit in a very respectful way but also bringing attention to those diseases and things that have happened to people. I’m just make people aware of it.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH SERVICE TRIPS: I was in choir with the student director for Service Trips, and she needed someone to do the marketing for the organization. I had graphic design skills and even though I was new to it, I applied, and they were in instantly like ‘Yes, we want you and if you want the position, you can have it.’ Even though I wasn’t quite comfortable with graphic design at first, I knew this opportunity would help me grow. After joining, I went on a service trip to a conference to learn how to build our organization. This helped me understand what our organization was about and how others were doing it across the United States. I hope I’ll be able to come back and do service trips as a leader or adviser.

HOW HAS WARTBURG HELPED YOU SUCCEED: Wartburg has prepared me in more ways than just my academics. I’ve also learned to be an active citizen and to lead with a heart of service. I am so thankful for the people that my education has brought me. I know that I will always have them to go back to as comrades and future educators. Wartburg has given me the confidence to be a risk taker and make those moves.

WHY IS WARTBURG WORTH IT: The relationships. I would never give up any of the relationships I’ve had on campus. Everyone has been so supportive and has pushed me to become the person I never thought I could be but was always meant to be. Wartburg has helped me become someone that I am proud of, and I’m proud to be a Knight.