by Kaileigh Willis
The Department of Art, Design, and Theater’s Juried Art and Design Exhibition is sure to captivate Cedarville students when it opens on April 8 in the Steven Student’s Center.
The annual Juried Art and Design Exhibition displays around 100 pieces of recent work created and submitted by students who are currently enrolled in art or design classes at Cedarville University. These pieces are evaluated and judged by the department’s faculty and selected to be displayed in the largest exhibition the department coordinates throughout the year.
This exhibition gives art and design students the opportunity to offer up work that they are proud of. Some of the pieces submitted were created for in-class projects while others are independent works that students have been inspired to produce all by themselves. Any student who is taking an art or design course — regardless of their major — can submit their work for this exhibition.
“It highlights the strengths of the students in our program and our department as a whole,” Aaron Gosser, associate professor of studio art and coordinator of the exhibition, said. “We’re all spread out over campus. We don’t have a real building to call our own. In a way, we are sort of invisible. This exhibition is one of our few opportunities to showcase students and their work.”
Students are also free to submit any medium of art or design. In the past, students have offered paintings, drawings, prints, photography, ceramics, sculptures, 3D designs and many more for evaluation.
“This exhibition is a celebration and recognition of students’ hard work. It also exposes the Cedarville community to some of the scholarship coming from our department, while providing a venue for students to experience some of the professional expectations for exhibiting work,” said Aaron Huffman, associate professor of graphic design.
Students submit work by dropping off physical copies of their pieces at submission areas located in Carnegie Center for the Visual Arts, Alford Auditorium, and Tyler Digital Communication Center.
Faculty then judge the submissions based on the quality of the piece considering the student’s skill level along with the piece’s effectiveness, visual engagement, and the final execution. Art faculty — Gosser, Professor Zac Benson, and Professor Annie Lee-Zimerle — review all studio art pieces while design faculty — Professor Aaron Huffman and Professor Cam Davis — review all visual communication design pieces.
The professors not only decide on what pieces to exhibit, they also highlight specific pieces that they believe deserve awards and special recognition. They present a best of show award to the piece of art that they believe is the most successful piece overall as well.
Students enrolled in art exhibition, a senior capstone course for studio art majors, prepare the pieces for the display. These students set up the exhibition space and hang the pieces before the exhibition opens.
Every year the department hosts an opening night with food and live music to celebrate both the exhibition and the students whose work is being displayed at the exhibition. The opening event is also where awards are given out to students for their hard work and creativity.
Sophomore graphic design major, Alexis Long, finds that the exhibition allows her to look at other students’ work outside of the classroom.
“I see the exhibition as an artistic refresher,” she said. “It is easy to be in a mindset of working from project to project, which isn’t necessarily bad — it can just being tiring. The exhibition allows me to take a step back and enjoy pieces I otherwise wouldn’t see.”
Individuals both within the department of art, design, and theater and outside of it can enjoy this exhibition and the creativity it fosters.
“The arts are an expression of being made in the image of a creator God, and that’s exactly His fingerprint in us,” said Gosser. “I wish it was more prominent. I wish it were something that we were able to showcase as a university more than just on temporary boards that we eventually take down.”
The Department of Art, Design, and Theater hope to have an exhibition space of their own in the Steven’s Student Center in coming years, but for now students will find The Juried Art and Design Exhibition in the upper SSC on display from April 1st through the 18th.
Kaileigh Willis is a sophomore professional writing and information design major and writer for Cedars. When she’s not studying, Kaileigh likes to drink tea, read, and listen to music.