Students Use Criticism to Improve Their Art

MyKayla Hilgart

From Dec.15 to Jan. 26, the Edna Carlsten Art Gallery in the NFAC displayed the Juried Student Exhibition, an opportunity for art students to receive special recognition and awards for their work.

“It is a joyous event for the university community and the extended community to see our student accomplishments,” said Caren Heft, director of the Edna Carlsten Gallery.

Photos by Emily Hoffmann. Student works in a variety of different media were on display in the Carlsten Gallery last month.

Photos by Emily Hoffmann.
Student works in a variety of different media were on display in the Carlsten Gallery last month.

“This exhibition showcases the best of student work—usually for the past semester. As most of us do not visit every studio regularly, it is with pleasure that we see the results of hard work in one place,” Heft said.

Many university students gathered during the past month to appreciate the paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and other mediums, and to support their peers.

“I think that art is something that is meant to be shared,” said Emily Palmer, a sophomore drama student.

“People that do this put their heart and soul into it and it deserves to be seen and appreciated,” Palmer said.

As any university art student knows, the selection process for the show is very competitive so it is an honor to be featured. According to Heft, only about one-third of the submitted pieces end up in the show.

“There are so many varieties of art and so much talent in this building; this is a great opportunity to show it off to the public,” said Allie Williams, a sophomore graphic design student who worked desk at the gallery.

“I submitted work this year, but did not get in. Those who do should really be proud,” Williams said.

The Juried Student Exhibition is prime opportunity for art students to prepare themselves for employment and have a professional experience.

“They have to fill out forms, enter the exhibition, and get their work to the gallery in a timely fashion for the jurying. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to do this stuff so it’s a training exercise for students in professional activity,” Heft said.

Learning to properly handle and accept rejection is an important aspect of being an artist, especially when starting in the field.

“They experience the opening reception as a contributing artist or as a rejected one. Both are valuable experiences. Unfortunately professional artists experience rejection so it is always useful to know how to lose gracefully and to show support for your fellow students,” Heft said.

It is vital for art students to be creative in the job search. Gaining experience in galleries and exhibitions can benefit students in many ways.

Some art students may end up in arts management positions someday.

Knowledge of the procedure from this type of experience will be applicable in gallery and museum jobs.

“Some students will become professional artists, and while gallery representation and juried exhibitions will not provide jobs, they are part of being a professional artist so the insight gained in this experience will serve them well,” Heft said.


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