University Relations and Communications

Big Timber student's art to carry MSUB holiday greetings far and wide

December 14, 2011


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Until she moved to Billings as a college student, Shannon Renskers’ experience rarely reached beyond Sweet Grass County.


Shannon with the Chancellor and instructor Kristin WilkinsNow her artwork is spreading across Montana and the United States, gracing the cover of the Montana State University Billings holiday greeting cards sent out by Chancellor Rolf Groseth.


Renskers, a 20-year-old junior from Big Timber double majoring in art education and history education, had her art selected from among 10 submissions in a recent contest among art students to design this year’s university holiday card.


A student who likes whimsical art and has spent considerable time in the ceramics area, used some photography and Adobe Photoshop skills to create electronic art that features a blue Christmas tree bulb, MSU Billings Yellowjacket logo and light snow on a dark blue background.


Groseth, who reviewed the submissions and chose the winner, said he was attracted to the imaginative nature Renskers’ work.

“This one caught my eye immediately,” he said.


Shannon's winning artRenskers said she liked the project, especially the opportunity to learn some of new skills developed in art class taught by assistant professor Kristen Wilkins. She admitted she fought the urge to go overboard with layers and filters, opting instead to keep the art festive and simple.


“It was simple enough that had a nice feel,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”


Her winning entry earned her not only wide recognition, but also a $250 prize to Jackets and Co., to be used for books or other materials.


Born and raised in the Big Timber area, Renskers admitted she seldom ventured far from home. But in high school she developed an affinity for art, which was encouraged by art teacher Cindy Epperson. A 1998 graduate of MSU Billings, Epperson had Renskers work with her as a teaching assistant in the extended studies program.


She followed her love of art and history to MSU Billings, where she may soon continue in her mentor’s footsteps.


Renskers has little time to bask in the limelight of fame, however. She works an average of 32 hours a week at a Billings Walmart and has 17 credit hours to wrangle.


“I think there was one day this semester that I wasn’t either at work or doing something school-related,” she said.

Now, however, she has “prize winning artist” to add to her school-related portfolio.


PHOTO ABOVE: MSU Billings Chancellor Rolf Groseth, left, stands with student Shannon Renskers, center, and art faculty member Kristen Wilkins in the art computer lab at MSU Billings. Renskers, of Big Timber, won a recent contest to design this year’s holiday greeting card for the chancellor. Below is a photo of the winning art and the cover of the card.