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Art students push for more opportunities to display work

Summer Huddleston, a senior majoring in a bachelor of fine arts tours the student art exhibit during the opening reception Feb. 24 in the Tanner Atrium. The juried exhibit serves as one of the only opportunities to display art, according to Huddleston. (Cat Taylor)

For Westminster College students studying art, the annual student art exhibit serves as one of the only sources on campus to share their work with the public. Some students say it isn’t enough, and believe the school should provide more opportunities. 

The University of Utah, on the other hand, hosts juried shows, faculty shows and student art shows throughout the academic year. Westminster should have galleries and increased opportunities like that, according to Naomi Marine, who teaches drawing, sculpture and design at both Westminster College and the University of Utah. 

“There should be more opportunities,” Marine said. “It’d be really cool if we actually had a dedicated gallery space that could have cycled out shows for students.”

The Westminster  student art exhibit opened Feb. 24 in the Tanner Atrium where students had the opportunity to have their work displayed. Pieces were selected by Juror Nancy Rivera, the visual arts coordinator at the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. 

On-campus opportunities for students include the juried art show, the Senior Art Exhibition and class-specific opportunities like the tarot card installation in the basement of Converse Hall. Off-campus opportunities are mostly provided in the senior seminar class, according to Marine. 

“It just makes it feel like there is an art community and its visible, instead of being tucked up on the third floor [of Converse] or in a corner of Bassis that no one knows about.” Marine said. 

Students who have their art displayed in these exhibits say there should be more visibility for their work. 

“I think that there should be more opportunities on campus to display art,” said Hannah Wright, a senior majoring in a Bachelor of Fine Arts. “There should be more places, there should be an established gallery that’s the art school’s and not shared. Just something of our own rather than just Jewett.” 

Two spaces students can currently display their art are in the Tanner Atrium gallery and the “Total Exposure” display in the Bassis Student Center.

But art students say there should be a permanent gallery, like a dedicated art building — rather than spreading them out across three or four buildings like they are now. 

“There is a lot of underexposed talent right here on campus,” said Summer Huddleston, a senior majoring in a bachelor of fine arts. “There is only one student art show per year and it is critically juried differently every year, so the environment is not student artwork friendly.”

For off-campus opportunities, it’s hard to know what students are missing out on because they’ve never been given the resources, according to Huddleston.

Some students say they have not been provided with resources to display art off-campus because no one talks about where to show pieces on-campus, according to Taylor Smith, a sophomore majoring in art.

“I believe that we should have more opportunities to display our art on campus,” said Smith. “It will give each of us a chance to show people what we produce and give us bigger opportunities to have someone notice our art and present us with bigger opportunities, like internships or scholarships.”

In response, students created a Westminster Art Crowd club to create more opportunities to display artwork on campus. The club is unaffiliated with ASW and serves to build community and make a creative space, according to Harris Wright, the founder. 

“Basically, my whole idea is to get to know people in the art program better,” Wright said. “I’m a senior and I feel like I only know less than 10 people well enough [to recognize their art.]” 

Westminster Art Crowd’s goals include solidifying a student gallery, making a creative space and showing off member’s work on campus, according to Wright. One of the club’s first events is a sticker sale, which will be on the same day as the ceramics sale on April 2 in the Shaw Student Center.

As students create opportunities for themselves, it is difficult to make them as a professor, according to Naomi Marine.

“It’s exhausting as a faculty member trying to make those things happen when it’s not happening on the larger administrative, institutional-level necessarily,” Marine said.  

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Cat Taylor
Cat Taylor is a junior communication major with a minor in art. For a year and a half, she worked as a communication coordinator for the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion where she co-created the social media campaign, “We Are Westminster” that discussed unconscious bias. In her free time, she can be seen drawing, playing video games and drinking a significant amount of coffee.

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