Juried art exhibition showcases student talent

Matt Peters

Students gather for the awards ceremony. Photo by Matt Peters.

Each year, student artists and designers are given the opportunity to showcase their work in the art department’s annual Student Exhibition. This free two-hour event takes place in the Herman Fine Arts Center’s third floor Gallery, and unfailingly draws a diverse crowd of dedicated art enthusiasts.

McCoy Professor of Art and Gallery 310 Director, Jolene Powell, says the exhibition is designed to simulate a real-world professional gallery experience.

“This is set up very much the same way that I would enter a show or anyone else,” Powell said. “Because there’s this juried side of it, [students] can put it on their resume and people can see that there was a selection process.”

While students are allowed to submit up to six pieces, Powell says that only half of the submissions make the cut. In keeping with the tone of real world exhibitions, Powell also brings in a guest artist to help curate the event. Awards are given in various categories.

Junior studio art and graphic design major, Hailey Bennett, won the Joan Hilton Cates award for her piece “The Librarians.” Hailey explained that the assignment involved choosing an unconventional object, and painting something relating to that object’s surface.

“I chose books because I work at a library, and I thought books were kind of like people in that, when you open them up, you see more about them than you see on the cover,” Bennett explained. “What I painted was an abstract representation of different people that I work with at the library.”

Senior studio art major, Laken Lyon, won ‘Best in Show’ for her piece “Feathered.” While Lyon won two additional awards, she says the 1920s oil portrait was her favorite project.

“I’m really drawn to the 20s and 30s era, especially the fashion and makeup part of it. So it was really cool to do a portrait of a woman [representing] the part of the 20s that I am inspired by,” Lyon said.

Like many students, Lyon said she enjoys sharing the experience with her fellow artists.

“It was really great to see the other artists that won because they’re all my friends,” Lyon said, “It’s just cool to see everyone’s work come together, from all different mediums and skills.”

The art is currently on display on Herman’s third floor gallery, where it will remain for several weeks. Students are encouraged to stop in and view the artwork.





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