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Studies in Creativity Art Gallery provides opportunity for aspiring student artists

Ben DeMarais

Studies in Creativity is the latest exhibition on display in the Memorial Union Art Gallery, which aims to spotlight Iowa State student artists across all disciplines and majors. 

There were a total of 88 entries across 36 artists for the exhibition. This number was eventually whittled down to 32 pieces from 24 artists that were ultimately selected for display by juror Sarah Grant, an Ames native and the founder of Sticks Object Art and Furniture.

“I was quite shocked when I got a call saying, you know you need to pick a winner. I said, ‘What?’” Grant said. “I reached a point in my career, somewhere along the way, where I realized, this isn’t about winning. This is about me finding my way and making the best work I can make.”

In addition to selecting the student pieces fit for display, Grant also determined the award recipients for this year’s gallery. Awards included best of show in visual art, apparel design and poetry with prizes of $100. 

Additionally, one piece was also selected by the MU Art Gallery coordinator to be bought and added to the Memorial Union’s permanent art collection.

For the Studies in Creativity exhibition, all students were required to submit their work electronically.

“I’m turning 70 this year, and judging art from online was a completely new experience for me,” Grant said.

While not every artist’s work was able to make it into the gallery, Grant chose the artists who were able to best demonstrate two cardinal concepts.

“First, I looked to see if there was a basic understanding of the fundamentals,” Grant said. “Then I looked to see if there was a sense of voice coming from the artist and tried to find artists that were able to combine both of those aspects.”

The reception for this year’s event kicked off at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Memorial Union Art Gallery. In addition to the award ceremony, artists were able to interact with one another and check out the other pieces on display.

Alexander Lunaburg, a junior in graphic design at Iowa State, decided to enter his work into the gallery as a way of earning points for class.

“I really didn’t even expect to get in,” Lunaburg said. “This is my first time doing an exhibition and having my work in the public eye, so it’s just been a really cool experience.”

The Studies in Creativity exhibition served as a gateway experience for many aspiring artists looking to showcase their art to the public.

“As students, we’re always looking for ways to get involved, and this exhibition gave us the opportunity to show off our work,” Lunaburg said.

Winter Craig, a graduate student in interdisciplinary studies, said he was also able to gain experience with having her work on display through the event.

“It was my first time having my art in a gallery, so it was just really cool to see my work up on the wall with everyone else,” Craig said.

Robert Katseres, a senior in integrated studio arts, said he was able to learn a lot from their experience and even came away with one of the exhibition’s awards.

“The experience was a combination of exhilarating and nerve-racking,” Katseres said. “Coming away with an award gave me a sense of pride knowing I can go further within art.”

While having a piece selected for the exhibition is an award in itself, students were able to learn and gain experience from the opportunity.

“It was really an exposure to a bunch of different perspectives all at once,” Katseres said. “I think it brought a lot of people to confront and reflect on this difference of perspectives within themselves.”

The gallery of student works will remain open to the public through Nov. 10 and is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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