Students show off creativity in competitive exhibition

David Gerhold

The first professional experience is a very important part in an art student’s life, said Letitia Kenemer, Fine Arts Coordinator for the Memorial Union.

Thirty-one students had that chance at this year’s competitive exhibition “Studies in Creativity.” On Tuesday, Oct. 29, the winners were announced at the Gallery Room.

“The goal is to let students have their art pieces being looked at by someone other than just their professor,” Kenemer said. 

She received around 94 submissions by 51 students. Each student had the chance to submit up to three art pieces.

”The competition isn’t limited to arts students,” Kenemer said. “Everyone can participate.” 

Professional juror Asa Wentzel-Fisher picked 39 submissions, which will be shown in the Memorial Union gallery until Dec. 10. Wentzel-Fisher, who runs the professional lithography process shop “Whole Hog Editions,” explained his decision process.

“At first I looked at all the art pieces presented to me and let myself be absorbed by them,” Wentzel-Fisher said.

In the end, he said he found himself returning to certain pieces over and over again, so he decided those would make the cut.

“I also looked for variety for the exhibition, so I was careful to choose different types of media in the art pieces,” Wentzel-Fisher said.

Among the submissions, visitors could not only find paintings but also photos, sculptures and installations. For example, Amanda Hoefling, junior in architecture, submitted the five minute video “Light and the Unknown,” an abstract art piece playing with different shades and silhouettes.

“I’m deeply fascinated by the creativity and the effort that went into all these impressive works of art,” Asa Wentzel-Fisher said. “Choosing your favorites and eliminating other works in the process was really the hardest part for me.”

Tuesday evening, Sara Madison, junior in integrated studio arts, was picked for the “Best of the show” award and won the prize money of $100.

“I am just speechless,” Madison said. She said that she put 30 to 40 hours into her winning submission called “Male & Female Recreation,” a collage made out of pieces of magazine paper.

“It started out as a simple assignment, but a lot of people really liked it, so I decided to give it a shot,” Madison said.

It was Madison’s first art submission but she said the award encouraged her to put out more of her future work.

Heather Whittlesey, graduate assistant in art and design, Sodam Lee, graduate in integrated studio arts and Omar Ibrahim, senior in integrated studio arts, received the three Merit awards along with the prize money of $75 each. Honorable Mentions went to Liz Fisher, senior in integrated studio arts, and Kristen Greteman, graduate in architecture. Clark Colby, graduate in architecture, received a special Purchase Award by the Memorial Union Fine Arts Coordinator. His photograph “Little World ISU” will be purchased for inclusion in the Memorial Union permanent collection.

Kenemer encouraged the young artists to keep on submitting their art pieces in the future.

“I know it is difficult to put yourself out there,” Kenemer said.

Exhibitions, Kenemer said, can be an important preparation for an artist’s professional life.

“Working as an artist is very difficult. On one day, it can be gratifying, but the next day might make you want to give up,” Kenemer said. “The most important lesson is, keep following your passion.”