Senior Art Exhibition showcases fall graduates’ capstone art


Austin O'Brien

Sierra Arbaugh poses in front of their artwork, “Subconscious Line.”

The Contemporary Art Gallery is currently displaying the Fall 2021 Senior Art Exhibition to all visitors who wish to see the students’ capstone art.

The exhibition is home to over 22 individual pieces of art. The amount of time and hard work that it took to complete these pieces was especially challenging this semester.  Some art pieces, such as senior Melissa Winston’s “Becoming Melissa Winston” and senior Sierra Arbaugh’s “Subconscious Line” have particular meanings to the individuals who made them.

In some circumstances, the artists behind the pieces use these artworks as a way to express themselves better. 

“When I was making this piece, it was an example of trying to figure myself out and learning to love and accept myself. It’s easy to frame a lot of this as self-worship,” Winston said.

In other circumstances, the art at the gallery is a way to help others understand what people could be going through. 

“My artwork is a way for me to show my dissociation. Sometimes I get hallucinations and have other issues. This is my way of expressing it, how I look at my own subconscious,” Arbaugh said.

There are many different types of art displayed throughout the gallery. From sculptures to paintings, cinematography to photography, something there can catch any viewer’s eye. 

The opening ceremony of the gallery was an emotional night for everyone involved, from the artists to their professors and more. 

“Dale Newkirk cried in his opening statements. He helped us a lot along the way,” Arbaugh said.

Many other individuals are proud of the seniors and the work that they have accomplished this semester. 

“Aside from the challenges of COVID-19, graduating seniors this semester faced additional stressors from the impacts of Hurricane Ida, leaving many of them displaced and disoriented. Despite this, their hard work and tenacity paid off. The exhibition features some of the most ambitious and thoughtful work that I have witnessed in my years at Southeastern. My colleagues and I are very proud of them,” said Cristina Molina, gallery director and curator.

Despite everything that these students have accomplished, their futures are only ahead of them, and they have many more plans for what’s to come. 

“I want to put my artwork out there, I want to be serious in what I do and how I do it. It all starts by getting it out and not being afraid of rejection,” Winston said.

The gallery, available for public display, is open until this Saturday, Dec. 18. Admission is free.