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The Origins Exhibit was the second part of a three-phase vision to establish an institute for origins at Southern Adventist University. The first phase involved recruiting qualified faculty to support the endeavor. We are currently developing an origins institute which is creating resources for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and for others who believe short-term creation theory.

The Artists

A team of artists (students and alumni from SAU)were led by Ron Hight to transform the hallways of the Biology Department into a 3-dimensional museum.

Ron Hight, Art Director

Freelance artist Ron Hight worked for 15 years as an artist for The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) near San Diego before signing on to direct the artistic production of the Origins Exhibit in Hickman Science Center.

“Our goal,” says Hight, “is to present the creationist viewpoint in an attractive, professional, and educational way.” He believes that his time at the ICR, working with creation exhibits, was a perfect preparation for this project. “The issues involving the creation and evolution debate are more complex than others realize,” says Hight.

“When people visit these hallways, we want them to get insight into what goes on in the classroom by what they see in the exhibit. The more complex the world, the less likely that evolution could ever begin to account for the biological or cosmological structures we see. It is not a leap of faith to believe in God, but a reasonable faith based on the evidence we see all around us.

Gina (McIntyre) Graham, attended

Gina Graham can add museum painter to her already full resumé of freelance illustrator, elementary art teacher, and community art instructor.

“It’s a museum-quality undertaking, and it’s way beyond what I thought I’d be doing,” says Gina. “There’s the faith factor of knowing I’m here because I’m supposed to be.”

While researching the details and grappling with geometry to get the images right, she realizes that the team of artists is making a significant contribution. “I’m amazed with the structures—they point us to a Creator,” says Gina. “Even the small cell is more magnificent than anyone could think up.” She realizes she’s painting only an image of what God has created and says, “The real thing is more amazing."

Justin Hamer, '08, graphic design—print

Justin Hamer is now a faux rock guru. His technique for painting and carving foam to simulate rock texture enhances the geologic column section of the exhibit.

“This project has forced me to expand my spatial reasoning,” says Justin. “I have been rewarded with a much stronger appreciation of three-dimensional forms and their visual relation to surrounding objects and empty space.”

Justin says he hopes the exhibit will enrich the understanding of the natural world for visitors.

Gabriel Murray, ’09, character animation

Gabriel Murray thought he was hired as a painting artist, but his 3-D skills have proven useful for fabrication projects as well. “I’ve learned a lot about techniques from Ron and Justin that I wouldn’t have thought of,” says Gabriel.

“I never wake up and say, ‘I don’t want to go to work today,’” he says. “It’s a lot of fun.”

His work has a deeper meaning, as well: “The exhibit provides an explanation, an alternative, for what happened and how things were,” says Gabriel.

Phuong Nguyen, art and business major

With a portfolio containing design and drawing samples, Phuong Nguyen met with Ron Hight and was hired for painting. “I hadn’t painted before and Ron took a risk,” says Phuong. “I had to learn."

She has observed her fellow artists and learned from them. “This is a precious lesson for me and a real-life experience. "Using paint and carving tools to imitate real texture, the artists implement big ideas. “Ron tells us what he has in mind and we can adjust it to what we think works.”

Phuong feels the Origins Exhibit is a meaningful project. “It is a lesson—a message—for a lot of people, even to the next generation.”