The Anderson Gallery recently celebrated the 45th Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition with a public reception and award ceremony. The annual exhibition showcases the work of students in the Department of Art and Design.
Eleven students were awarded prizes and high honors for their artwork this year, which is currently on display as part of the exhibition through March 25. The Juror’s Choice Awards were determined by the visiting juror, Matthew Harris, who also was charged with selecting the more than 50 works on display chosen from nearly 100 student submissions. Harris is the administrator of the Iowa Arts Council, a branch of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs dedicated to community arts support and outreach.
Harris said he was humbled by the experience as juror and enjoyed his interactions with students and faculty. “I was very impressed by the quality of work I saw,” he said. “Clearly, the faculty are having an impact on the students as the work reflected a level of creativity and depth that should make Drake proud.”
Heather Skeens, director of The Anderson Gallery, said the exhibition provides an opportunity for students to experience a real world jury environment. “In a highly subjective process, the selections for the exhibition are generated by only one person, juror Matt Harris,” she said. “This can be a rewarding experience for those students who have multiple works in the exhibition, but it can also be somewhat disheartening for students whose works might not have been selected.” Skeens said that the process is a good preview for students of the subjectivity and sometimes stressful process of having one’s work exhibited as a professional.
Drake University President Marty Martin and his wife, Laura, presented Juror’s Choice Awards to the following students: Paul Brenin, Brett
Budzinski, Monica Campbell, Hannah Erickson, Olivia Hockey, Rachael Kreski, Amy Mathews, Pamela Mulhern, Linzi Murray, and two awards to Ryan Topete.
Additionally, Interim Provost Joseph Lenz awarded the “Provost Purchase Award” to student Emily Walton. Her digital print on semi-gloss paper, titled “Swoosh, Vroom, Woosh” will be purchased by the University and exhibited on campus. Previous purchases have been on display in the Provost’s office after the exhibition.
“Shoosh, Vroom, Whoosh” was born out of a classroom assignment to create a piece of work that embodied the ideas of a modern art movement, according to Walton. “I picked the Futurist movement knowing I wanted to use their fascination with visual technology to shape my work. I created the three posters hoping they would engage the audience while also communicating the Futurist’s core beliefs.”
Harris said that throughout the process he was seeking emotion. “I was looking for work that provoked reaction, drew me in and left me wanting to know more about the artist’s inspiration, the moment they were trying to capture, or the idea they were trying to communicate.”
The costs to stage the exhibition were funded by Friends of Drake Arts (FDA). FDA has fostered fine arts programming at Drake University for more than 25 years, ensuring the best possible fine arts education for Drake students and exceptional fine arts opportunities for the region. Each Juror’s Choice Award came with a $200 prize, funded by The Thad Archie Memorial Fund.
Submissions this year included several large-scale paintings and installations, carefully detailed etchings and drawings, handmade books, and works in new media.