Limited studio space challenges art students

Cardinal & Cream/ANNE RICHOUX Sierra Owen-Hughes, sophomore intercultural studies major, carves Styrofoam during class Feb. 4 as part of an art project.
Cardinal & Cream/ANNE RICHOUX
Sierra Owen-Hughes, sophomore intercultural studies major, carves Styrofoam during class Feb. 4 as part of an art project.

By Jake Fain
Staff Writer

Art is becoming a popular major on Union’s campus, judging from the growing number of students in the program.

However, lack of studio and gallery space available for displays has become a prevalent issue, especially for spring graduates who have limited space for their senior projects.

Most are taking Art 499, or the Portfolio and Graduating Exhibit, where seniors must show professors their best work.

Each student must present a pitch to the professors to be taken into consideration for a final presentation in a small gallery space.

Presentations include everything from a formal resume to an extensive portfolio of the student’s best works.

There are six graduates this spring. Out of these six students, art professors must decide who gets to display his work in the one room, H 56, that is available.

Usually the students are able to put their work toward classes such as 3D Art in multiple displays around campus, but senior presentations are only given the one gallery.

Those who are not chosen to debut in the gallery space will still need to produce a body of work but in a more private setting, such as studio spaces.

Professor Steve Halla, assistant professor of art, is one who must critique the students’ work.

“For an art major, this is the pinnacle of their program here,” Halla said. “It’s giving them a chance to display, in a professional way, the top work that they have achieved over their time here.”

Space limitations mean students may have to share walls, which can greatly affect the design aspects of some students’ work.

Megan Johnston, senior art major, is attempting to earn her space in the gallery presentation.

“I was kind of bummed about having only one wall,” Johnston said. “My original design involved designing a storefront that would showcase my freelance business.”

Her disappointment with the limited space is partly a consequence of her past art experience at Lambuth University.

“The Lambuth gallery space was so large that everyone was able to put their work in one big space,” Johnston said, “I just wish there was a way we could continue that kind of show here without having to choose.”

Kate Weekes, senior art major, also is putting forth her best effort to earn a spot in the limited space.

“We’re not going up against each other,” she said. “It’s more of an opportunity. If you work hard and show that you really care about what you do, then you’ll get a space.”

Weekes hopes to use Chinese paper-cutting techniques, light and shadows to portray a unique fairytale storyboard. She refuses to let the limited space deter her ambition.

“The professors really are giving us a chance to prove ourselves,” she said.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream