Gallery exhibits art majors


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Students examine pieces featured in the 2018 Student Exhibition. This year, the traditional student exhibition will return after a one-year absence.

After its absence last spring, the department of Visual Art and Design will once again host the Student Exhibition.

The 2020 Visual Art and Design Student Exhibition will take place in the Contemporary Art Gallery from March 12 to April 9.

The exhibition will be a juried showcase of the department’s student work. Three professional artists will serve as the jurors and will judge student entries.

Dale Newkirk, head of the department of visual art and design and gallery director, explained why the department did not host a traditional exhibition last year.

“We did not have one last year because we had an accreditation review going on,” said Newkirk. “We still had a student show, but it was different. The work was chosen by the facility and mounted in the gallery, and we have over 500 pieces in the gallery showing all the classes and different assignments. The students were not as involved, and the showcase was mainly for the accreditors.”

Since the department has already gone through the accreditation process, it is now going back to the traditional jury and student show from years prior. 

Newkirk detailed the department’s goal for this year’s exhibition.

“We try to provide a survey of all of the studio areas in the department for the exhibition,” explained Newkirk. “We have 11 different concentrations, so we want to make sure that we are representing all of them, as well as freshmen through seniors so we can have a broad range. The judges are not only looking for the quality of the work, but they also want to make sure that there is a broad spectrum of work that is being shown.”

Students who are in an art class or who are art majors can submit work for the exhibition. They can submit up to four items.

Newkirk shared that the process of submitting work and deciding which pieces have the best chance of getting in is an educational experience for students. 

“Regardless of if they get into the show or not, it’s helpful for the students to get used to going through the process,” said Newkirk. “Even as professional artists, we do that and sometimes you don’t get in. You have to look at the exhibition, who is judging it and what the nature of the show is and try to pick the best of your work. Then they have to prepare it for the show, which is also a learning process.”

Work shown during the exhibition must be work that students have done in relation to a class. Any work that is done outside of class is not shown.

Newkirk explained that the reasoning for this decision is so the show can spotlight not only the student’s work, but show what sort of work is done in the department for visitors and art instructors. 

“It is an assessment tool,” shared Newkirk. “It is a way for us to evaluate how the students are doing as well as showing off their work. It has more than one purpose.”

Newkirk believes that it is important for students who are going through the art program to participate in these shows so they can develop experience of exhibiting their work.

“If they want to go onto graduate school or start showing their work, they have to show a track record of being in prior exhibitions,” shared Newkirk. “So, being selected for a show like this gives them something to build their resume. Also, they are part of a community in the department. We are trying to teach the students that part of it too.”

Students who are not part of the art program are encouraged to come to the exhibition to get a sense of what art students are doing in their classes. Newkirk believes that non-art students will be surprised by the variety of activities going on, and that their view of what art is will expand.

The exhibition will begin with an opening reception in the Contemporary Art Gallery on March 12 from 5-7:30 p.m.