Friday, July 25, 2014

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U.Va. Art Students Society Showcases First Juried Art Show at Ruffin

The Art Students Society has curated its first exhibition of University of Virginia student artwork selected by a jury of faculty members. The winning submissions are on display through Friday in Ruffin Hall on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds.

A panel of faculty members selected 36 works from a record 178 submissions for the show. The faculty jurors were Howard Singerman, professor and chair of the McIntire Department of Art in the College of Arts & Sciences; George Sampson, research associate professor of arts administration and design thinking in the School of Architecture; and Jody Kielbasa, vice provost for the arts and director of the Virginia Film Festival.

“The art submitted for this show recalls something studio art associate professor Akemi Ohira said to me during the second year that Ruffin Hall was open – that students being able to see other students’ work all in one space meant that the quality of all student arts at the University was rising significantly,” Sampson said.

“This latest exhibition of student art gives further evidence of that trend – with better and better art being created each year.”

The co-chairs of the Art Students Society – second-year Brenna Darroch and third-years Adriana La Lime and Roxana Trujillo, all undergraduates in the College – were responsible for the show.

“My fellow co-chairs and I wanted to make this show professional, and wanted to focus on quality over quantity,” Darroch said. “With the help of our awesome jurors, I think we accomplished this goal.”

An art show created, organized and curated by students is a unique event at the University. For their previous show, the Art Students Society exhibited all the work that was submitted without any jury process.

After the student group received feedback from art faculty members, it opted to create a show that would be a more competitive endeavor as a way of encouraging more students to submit. No prizes were awarded for being selected, but students were encouraged to include the honor in the “award” section of their resume. The incentive or “prize” was the act of being selected.

“Submit your work even if you’re not sure it’s good enough,” said Darroch in her shout-out for submissions. “Oftentimes we’re very critical of our own work. But don’t be afraid to put it out there and see what happens!”

With the promise of an expert jury and a real showcase in a real gallery, a record amount of art was submitted,

The range of submitted artwork was overwhelmed by photography submissions. About 119 of the 178 works were photos, mostly digital in contrast to analog film. The rest of the submissions were a mix of charcoal drawings, acrylic and oil paintings, short films, one print, sculptures, a performance piece and some mixed media pieces.

Of the winners, most of the artworks are photographs, primarily in color, and are exhibited on one whole floor. The rest of the exhibited work includes a few drawings, paintings and three videos.

To be considered, an artist’s submitted work had to be “ready to hang,” leading amateur artists across Grounds and within the art department to gain experience in prepping their work.

“Many artists forget that, even in the digital world, a hard copy presentation is most important,” Trujillo said. “What I really think made this show better was pushing the artists in this way.”

The mission of the Art Students Society is to enrich the local and University art community while providing art students with both a greater resource base and a larger role in departmental relations.

The society brings art enthusiasts together from all over the University. No artistic experience is necessary to join; any student who loves art is welcome to attend regular meetings.

“A future goal for the next Art Students Society exhibit is to have more students within the art department showcase their work,” Trujillo said. “This helps to unify the department as a whole because, as artists, when it comes to our work, it’s easy for us to keep to ourselves.”

The next Art Students Society exhibit has not been scheduled, but the goal is to have one each year.

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