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Investiture-inspired art celebrates student creativity, Columbus State’s uniqueness

COLUMBUS, Georgia — In honor of Dr. Stuart Rayfield’s presidential investiture on Oct. 20, the Columbus State University Alumni Association commissioned original student artwork that depicts what the university means to them.

Five students answered the Alumni Association’s challenge and used artistic mediums of their choosing — which ranged from traditional materials like paint and porcelain to contemporary ones like digital design. The works were unveiled and displayed at the Presidential Investiture Ceremony, and they will be placed at other locations throughout both campuses in the coming weeks for all to enjoy.

“The Columbus State experience is as unique and personal as each of these works of art,” Rayfield said. “Each of these pieces capture that so visually and are collectively, for me, an inspirational way to mark this moment in our university’s history.”

The five works include:


Campbell Eubanks, senior, fine arts, Columbus, Georgia

Eubanks took to the kiln to create a porcelain vase inspired by both the community she has gained while at Columbus State and Chinese porcelain design techniques.

“Much like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the shape of the vase is modeled after a traditional Chinese porcelain style called Fengweizun. The porcelain material signifies the exceptional education I have received so far,” she explained. “The main face of the vase depicts the most significant takeaway from my academic journey: community. The people — from classmates to faculty and staff — have all contributed positively to my growth as an artist, a student and an individual. For me, this vase serves as a testament to me of the importance of human connections in education and beyond.”


Emma Gaines, junior, fine arts, Columbus, Georgia

Gaines’ work depicts the Dillingham Street Bridge, which stretches over the Chattahoochee River and is a well-known backdrop for RiverPark Campus landmarks like Woodruff Park, the Corn Center for the Visual Arts and the Yancey Center at One Arsenal Place.

“I wanted to communicate my love for Columbus and how that affects my art. I wanted to convey just how lush and bright the scenery is looking across the Chattahoochee River,” Gaines explained. “My other goal was to reflect how art education affects the way I view my surroundings; instead of a picture-perfect rendition of trees, water and the Dillingham Street Bridge, I wanted to show the scene as it feels to an art-enamored student in 2023.”


Vinh Huynh, senior, fine arts, Vietnam

Huynh is one of two students with international roots who contributed artwork — artwork inspired by his journey to Columbus State and his experiences as a CSU student.

“I created this piece to represent my journey coming to America, Columbus, and Columbus State — carrying my ‘American Dream,” Huynh said of the painting that centers around the Riverside Theatre. “The RiverPark Campus is where I have spent much of my time over the years, and it is like my second home. The dove symbolizes my dreams and my journey of flying to the United States from Vietnam.


Greysen Strumpler, senior, art education, Waverly Hall, Georgia

Anyone familiar with Columbus State knows the Whitley Clock Tower is the center of campus life on Main Campus. It is the center of campus life, the site of numerous student events, and a common meeting spot for many.

“For my piece, I really wanted to focus on the community aspect of Columbus State,” Strumpler explained. “There are so great things I can say regarding CSU, but I feel that at the core of all of those things is community and the love for one another that CSU fosters. Community and love for each other within that community is essential for other good things to grow because all other good things — opportunities, success, empathy, grace — are the results of first caring for one another.


ShuLin Zheng, senior, art with a focus in graphic design, China

An international student from China, Zheng’s digital artwork illustrates the guidance and mentoring from which she’s benefited while a student.

“I wanted to show my appreciation for Columbus State University’s faculty members in my piece,” Zheng said. “It depicts them guiding students, like how the cougar is leading her cubs. At CSU, I see how much the faculty want to help students succeed. They are always so caring and accepting. At CSU, I have been able to make great friends, and I want to see us head to a brighter future.”