Senior art students prepare for upcoming exhibit


Kaitlyn Keppler

Corey Saltaformaggio uses Southeastern’s dark room lab equipment to process his film for his senior art exhibition.

The Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery will host various galleries and exhibitions this spring semester. One of the most anticipated events is the senior exhibition that will host its opening reception on April 20 at 5 p.m.

The senior exhibition will debut the work of Southeastern’s seniors, who will display their pieces which include a variety of formats, including multimedia, digital, photography and physical forms of artwork.

There is an extensive process that goes into creating art. For Southeastern students, their senior pieces take months to create, and many artists tend to use their personal experiences to create their pieces. 

Senior artist Elana Guillory said, “My piece is inspired by the struggle I went through to get to where I am now with my confidence in my art career. I hesitated a lot to pursue art in college because of what negative stereotypes existed around visual art careers, so I decided to create a publication that would help people who also feel the way I did, help them feel more encouraged to pursue their passion.”

To prepare for her zine, a publication of original or appropriated texts and images, she had to interview many professional artists and conduct research of her own before starting her exhibit project. Guillory went through a process of trial and error regarding her design before arriving at her final piece, which is still in process. She thanks Southeastern’s Rachel Hurt and Karina Eckmeier for aiding her in this process.

Senior photographer Corey Saltaformaggio prepared for his piece by studying his black and white photography medium before beginning the process. He spent many hours learning the proper technical aspects of film and finalizing images in a darkroom.

Saltaformaggio said, “The decision to become an artist can be considered a challenging lifestyle and even more so in some areas of the south that have a much more critical view on the life of an artist. With that being said, there remains a very rich community of artists in the south, and even in Louisiana where there is a notoriously low amount of funding for the arts. My project aims to focus on those artists and why they are important.”

While working on his project, Saltaformaggio reached out to his professor Lily Brooks for assistance and claims support has been crucial in the quality of his final project.

Brooks said, “Working with seniors to help them realize their capstone projects is one of the most gratifying aspects of this job. It is such a privilege to witness their progress toward creating powerful bodies of artwork, expressing their individual ideas and convictions. In addition, our students use this opportunity to address the things they really care about – from personal history to mental health, social justice and environmental issues.”

Brooks believes the Contemporary Art Gallery is a fantastic resource for the senior show. It aids students by providing a hands-on, real-world experience like mounting a public exhibition can be, and the opportunity to show there in this capacity really distinguishes the Southeastern art program from others in the region. 

The senior exhibition will be a final showcase for senior students to display their months-long work and will be on display until graduation on May 13. 

For more information about Southeastern’s upcoming exhibits, follow the Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery’s Instagram account @slu_contemporary.