Isabella “Isa” Di Bono ’21

For Isabella “Isa” Di Bono ’21, the “new normal” of COVID-19 has meant moving home to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and finding ways to make art without a studio.

The ability to explore freely is essential to Di Bono, whose path to an art major wasn’t a straight one, just an obvious one. She enrolled at Notre Dame intending to major in economics but figured out after just a couple of classes that the major just didn’t interest her.

She intended to minor in studio art from the beginning but as she got deeper into her art coursework, it became clear that she needed to switch majors. Until she got to Notre Dame, Di Bono considered art a hobby, a passion she could pursue on the side. She took foundational art courses in her first few semesters. Later on, electives introduced her to different mediums, like photography, ceramics, printmaking, and bookmaking.

Now a senior, Di Bono has a BFA thesis to plan. She is working on a concept around the work she gravitates toward naturally—large-scale abstract paintings. She starts with oils or acrylics and sometimes weaves in spray paint or drawing. Di Bono’s abstracts usually measure five-by-five feet, nearly as tall as she is.

For her thesis, Di Bono will work closely with her mentor, painting professor Maria Tomasula, Michael P. Grace Professor of Art and director of graduate studies. Each BFA student forms a relationship with a professor who mentors them through the thesis process. Tomasula will guide Di Bono through her work, the refinement of her artist statement, and preparation to exhibit on campus next year. On campus, BFA students also make use of studio space for their thesis and receive a stipend for materials when their project is approved.

Maria Tomasula

Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Maria Tomasula is an active part of the Chicago art scene. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then continued her education at Northwestern University, where she earned a Masters degree in Fine Arts. She is currently Professor of Art at the University of Notre Dame.

Her recent solo exhibitions include shows at Forum Gallery in New York and in Los Angeles, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis and at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago. Her work was also included in Larger than Life: Women Artists Making it Big at Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg PA (2003); Nuestras Historias, Stories of Mexican Identity at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago (2014); The Female Gaze at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia;Obsessive Drawing at Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts (2001); Timely and Timeless at the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut (1994) and Transitional Objects: Contemporary Still Life at the Neuburger Museum of Art, Purchase College, New York (2006–07).

With striking color and theatrical compositions, Tomasula’s artwork is influenced by an aesthetic of the Mexican diaspora, especially of altar painting, as well as by ‘new materialist’ writers. As an artist she seeks to create images that give visual form to the elusive sensation of being, of embodiment, and of relation with the world. She brings simple objects such as fruit and flowers together to create metaphorical, poetic works. The seemingly inanimate objects take on the vibrancy of evocative, sensual characteristics.

Kathryn Mapes Turner ’95

Turner began studying art in her teens from noted local painters. She then left Wyoming to attend the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Studio Arts. She spent an influential semester in Rome, Italy and then studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. Turner now has a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Having been passionate about painting since childhood, Turner is now nationally recognized with top honors from the American Impressionist Society and the National Academy of Equine Art and the Southeast Wildlife Exposition as the 2017 Featured Artist. Her work has been showcased in the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Charlie Russell Museum, the Buffalo Bill Cody Center of the West, The Phippen Museum, the Brinton Museum and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Turner has been recognized as Wyoming Best Watercolor Artist in 2001 by the Wyoming Watercolor Society and was included in SouthwestArt Magazine’s “Annual Profile of Young Artists with Promising Careers.”

Turner believes that growing up in Grand Teton National Park, a place with such dramatic light and natural composition, gave her an intimate appreciation for art. “I believe the valley of Jackson Hole evokes expression,” says Turner. She now travels all over the world to paint. With watercolors and oil paints, Turner responds with visual contemplations of beauty in hopes of sharing this love of the sublime with others through her work.

Turner also owns and features her work at Turner Fine Art Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – a simple and uplifting space where she shares her own work as well as hosting that of other top artists from around the world.

Notre Dame Women & Endow

Before Claire Fyrqvist (’05), Teresa Hodgins (MTS ’12), Laura Zambrana (MDiv ’13), and Katie Smith (MDiv ’14) worked together to form a community for Endow; they worked together developing community at Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s focus on educating both the head and the heart is engrained in this group of women, and they bring that experience to the mission of Endow. Endow unites the intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church with an intentional community through the creation of study guides and assisting women in finding small groups.

Claire Fyrqvist is a mother of five who got her start with lifelong learning and writing in Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies. She is returning to South Bend from a year in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where her husband grew up, and she is looking forward to plugging back into the university’s Catholic intellectual life. She has loved working with Endow and its mission by women for women in the Church.  Someday she hopes her daughters will be in their study groups!

Teresa Hodgins is a writer and grant manager for Endow. After graduating from the Master of Theological Studies program in 2012, she moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, which is still home base for many adventures with her husband and three small children. While at Notre Dame, Teresa loved all of the opportunities, both in academics and in the community, to engage Theology with other subjects and the secular culture. In many ways, Endow was her chance to continue this engagement–she discovered and joined Endow when looking for ways to deepen both her spiritual life and her connection to her community and loves working to help others do the same. She loves that Endow allows women to take on the rich intellectual tradition of the Church while also helping them to form authentic friendships as they wrestle with these truths. 

Laura Zambrana currently works as the Director of Content at Endow. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Divinity program. She was delighted to study at Notre Dame, combining both the head and the heart, following in Bl. Basil Moreau’s educational philosophy. Laura is also an avid Notre Dame football fan. During her time at ND she joined the co-ed football team and had the privilege of playing in the intramural championships in the Notre Dame Stadium and winning! Laura has been a member of the Endow family since 2010. When the opportunity to join the Endow team arose in 2018, she was delighted to join a mission so closely tied to her own – formed the hearts and minds of women to be beacons of light in the world. Laura and her husband James have three future Domers – Peter, Helen, and Jane – and live in San Gabriel, CA. 

Katie Smith is the Executive Director of Endow. Before attending Notre Dame, Katie worked as an Operations and Program Manager in technology. After graduating from Notre Dame with a Masters of Divinity, she set out to combine her operations experience with her theological education to serve the Catholic Church. Education of the head and the heart is one of the things that attracted Katie to Notre Dame, and she loves carrying on the tradition through her work at Endow. She and her husband live in South Bend with their little one on the way and their dog, Henri.

To find out more about Endow, and the amazing work these four ND graduates are doing, visit