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Department of Art open house opens doors for students

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“Natural Affliction” is the combination of a 4'x4' topographic map, hand-constructed of birch plywood and displayed flat on the ground, with an animated map of urban growth projected on top of the modeled landscape. Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Hockman

“Natural Affliction” is the combination of a 4’x4′ topographic map, hand-constructed of birch plywood and displayed flat on the ground, with an animated map of urban growth projected on top of the modeled landscape. Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Hockman

Undergraduate students have spent the semester developing their portfolio of art. Now, it’s time to take the next step and put them on display.

The Department of Art Open House will bring more than 300 students’ artworks to the public. The exhibition will showcase student work across seven emphasis areas that include art and technology, ceramics, glass, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking and sculpture, according to Professor Rebecca Harvey, chair of the department.

“The purpose is to celebrate and showcase the amazing work that has been made over the course of the semester by the students in the art department,” Harvey said in an email. “It is a big party for family, friends and anyone that is interested in coming over and taking a look and seeing what it is we do over here.”

The open house will feature live demonstrations as well, Harvey said.

“The intermediate ceramics students will be showing off their skills in the basement of Hopkins Hall; we’ll be running the 3-D printers in the Fabrication Lab, and there will be glassblowing going on at Sherman Center,” she said.

The open house is not only about exhibiting student work, but it also sparks conversation between art students.

Yon’s current project “Mushroom Tent,” which contains straw and oyster mushrooms surrounded by diaphanous, soft plastic. Credit: Courtesy of Alana Yon

Yon’s current project “Mushroom Tent,” which contains straw and oyster mushrooms surrounded by diaphanous, soft plastic. Credit: Courtesy of Alana Yon

“The open house has been a way for all areas in the Department of Art to mingle and see the work that everyone is making,” said Alana Yon, a graduate student in the department who teaches an introductory course in drawing. “It’s been great to work with my (undergraduate) class on the open-house preparation because they have to consider their work and decide on a drawing for the open house. By having other people view their work, there is a different level of accountability for my students.”

Yon also said having the experience at the open house helps students to consider the presentation and installation of their work.

Maria DiFranco, a graduate student in painting and drawing, said showing artwork can be a big step for students who had never been a part of an exhibition. By inviting the campus community to view each student’s work, the open house can boost confidence.

DiFranco said students might face certain challenges by showing their works at an open house.

“Sharing artwork makes a very private experience public. Creating work that strikes up a very sensitive conversation can be challenging,” she said. “I believe many students feel vulnerable when sharing their artwork for this reason.”

Attending the open house provides mutual benefits between participants and audiences, Harvey said.

“The faculty loves it too. We are here to foster that engagement and help the students succeed,” Harvey said. “As far as the audience, it is a great chance to come on over and see what we are up to. And it is a nice way to explore a bit of the campus and make some new connections.”

The exhibition will be held Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hopkins Hall, Sherman Studios and Hayes Hall. Food and karaoke will be provided as well.

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