Students learn the ropes of gallery setup

Gretchen Burns | reporter

At the beginning of the fall semester, Catherine Jepson, Liz Pace and Jenna Spencer entered Porter Hall enrolled in separate independent study courses, with their topics varying from sculpture to printmaking to paper art.
The three women were students of Portico Bowman, university gallery director, who suggested they all meet to critique each others’ work, converse, problem solve, observe and encourage each other in their projects.
“It was Portico’s idea to have us all meet periodically through the semester,” said Spencer, junior in art. “It was her idea to have us put these works in our own show the semester after.”
Spencer created a life size sculpture series of dancers made of fallen branches, vines and buried roots. Pace, alumna, used chicken wire to form series of sculptures based upon ideas related to the human form and sensory perception. Jepson, junior in art, explored and experimented her way to relating her printmaking and book concepts to personal and abstract depths.
In applying for their independent studies courses, each woman met with Bowman to discuss goals and what they wished to accomplish over the course of the semester. Goals were then translated into projects. This is the basic format for independent study courses, where students essentially create their own curriculum.
“Throughout the semester, it became apparent as to what projects would work and which ones would be successes,” Jepson said. “Latching on to the successes, they became finished pieces that are being featured in the show.”
Pace says she wanted to learn to branch out in her field and learn new techniques.
“The only 3-D art that I have ever done and was comfortable with was ceramics,” Pace said. “I really wanted to get out of my little 2-D box and push myself to expand my horizons, and create something that I have never thought about before.”
Jepson added the main goal of the exhibit throughout the semester was having the opportunity to learn the processes it takes to happen.
“We now have the experience and are that much more prepared to do the same on our own after graduation,” she said. “We will be interacting professionally with an audience at our reception which extends the professional development.”
Spencer says she hopes this exhibit will help spark something for the viewers who see it, but she feels the independent study resulted in a lot of learning experience for herself.
“We all will come out of this with the knowledge of how to submit our art to a board for consideration of a show, how to set up a gallery, and all the details that go along with it,” Spencer said.
While other student shows have been exhibited before, the women felt this particular exhibit was a great opportunity to show other fellow art students they can take control and have a show that features them before they graduate.
“I would say that if there is a student or a group of students that have the initiative to learn the steps it takes to do so, it would be possible,” Jepson said. “It has truly been an educational experience and I encourage others to consider it.”

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