Retired Michigan Tech Administrators' Art Exhibit Opens: "Beyond the Fifth Floor"

Seel-Walck Art Exhibit
Seel-Walck Art Exhibit
Max Seel and Christa Walck prepare for art exhibit opening.

An art exhibit by retired Provost Max Seel and retired Associate Provost Christa Walck opens this week at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock.

Retirement for most means slowing down and taking it easy. Two of Michigan Technological University retiring professors, Christa Walck and Max Seel look to retirement as an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents. The Kerredge Gallery, located in the Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) in Hancock, will be holding the exhibit an exhibit of their work titled “Beyond the Fifth Floor” from May 11 through June 11, with a public opening reception at 6 p.m. May 12.

“Beyond the Fifth Floor” has special meaning to both Seel and Walck, signifying their 30 years of service to Michigan Tech as professors, deans, provost and associate provost. When Seel served as provost and Walck as associate provost, their offices were on the fifth floor of the Administration building. It is there that they built a friendship and discovered their mutual love of art.

“When we retire, we should do an exhibit,” Walck suggested when the two would show each other their latest creations. After 30 years of working together, that wish is now a reality.

Administrators as Artists

Seel uses mixed media in his abstract art. His piece titled “Integrated Systems” utilizes actual computer components that have been manipulated and brought to life using color and texture. He says he tries different things “to see what fits; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Max Seel with some of his art work.
Max Seel with some of his art work.

Seel explains that some pieces require detailed planning and others “just come along.” He has been developing his artistic skills since he was young. “Art is like making music or thinking about a physics problem, it takes your mind off everything else,” he says.

Walck artistically expresses herself through a variety of applications, using computer generated “paint” programs, her current favorite, as well as larger board and paper paintings. “I always loved art on paper” she says as she shows me some of her beautiful creations. “Art is how we express the world we see and feel, form and color and line say something about the world and the artist.” 

Walck’s view of the world consists of pieces that are largely unframed and are very simply displayed. It is in this simplicity that one truly appreciates the piece for what it is, art, she believes.

Christa Walck with some of her art.
Christa Walck with some of her art.

Next: Travel and Art

I asked Seel and Walck what plans they had for retirement, Seel plans to travel more and dedicate more time to his art, while Walck is relocating to Philadelphia after she returns from Italy. Then she too plans to dedicate more time to her art.

Both Seel and Walck have left their mark on Michigan Tech. Their academic accomplishments and their work on the fifth floor was impressive, but it is beyond the fifth floor that you actually see their hearts and their passion—through their art.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.