Sculpture Exhibition Showcases Student Artwork

Hannah Rudman

This year marks the 11th outdoor student sculpture show, best known as Sculpture Exhibition at Railside Farm.

Heather Reilly and partner Teri Bailey spent over 25 hours on their piece which incorporates glass, metal and the surrounding nature. It was displayed on Sunday at an outdoor showing.

“I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I’m happy with it,” Reilly said.

Hosts Bill Schierl and Sarena Melotte have welcomed the public to their home year after year for an afternoon of art appreciation.

“It started as a class project, and after all the work was installed and I saw how fantastic it all was, I said, ‘we have to have an opening,’” Schierl said.

The exhibition primarily features work from Sculpture Professor Kristen Theilking’s classes. Art 251: Introduction to Sculpture: Fabrication and Installation and Art 355: Intermediate Sculpture: Kiln- Working Glass produced the majority of the pieces shown.

“I’ve also had some work that individual students contributed to be incorporated into the site,” Theilking said.

The event, which typically draws an audience of about 150-250 people, was the inspiration for Arts Bash, the annual fundraiser for the Departments of Art & Design and Theatre & Dance.

“So we, my mom and I, had a concept that the students have such great work, that we wanted to turn the event into a fundraiser to support student work,” Schierl said. “Then that was turned over to the university.”

Many of the pieces on display were designed specifically to interact with the surrounding site. Senior art major Chelsea Trinkner thought about a clearing along the path to the house while designing a metalwork pieces.

“The telescope I wanted in the field,” Trinkner said. “I liked the stargazing idea.”

Some students, such as Trinkner, created artwork while envisioning how their piece would interact with the site. Others incorporated the space more directly in their work.

“Tara Ott’s piece with the tree and chain took a long time to put together, and that time was spent out here,” Trinkner said.

Thielking structures here curriculum around not only the creation but also the installation of artwork and how it fits into a given context.

“I love that students have a way to work in a different way than they normally would because of the site,” Thielking said. “Also, the exhibition

component of the project leads students to be more invested in the work because they know the public will see it.”

The exhibition builds a sense of community for all involved.

“The neat thing is we invite friends and family and it really brings together students and the community. It’s fun for us,” Melotte said.

Just as the event unites students and community, the artwork unites manmade and natural materials. All of the work presented incorporates nature in some way.

“I like to play with nature and natural things,” Reilly said. “I try to incorporate nature into all of my work, even the graphic design.” 

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