“Touch please.” This is the unorthodox invitation that Juan Reyes’ art piece, “Color Journey” offers guests at the Third Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, “Say What?” running from April 4-27.
If you’ve ever been to a museum or art gallery, then you probably know the experience of getting the stink-eye from security for so much as breathing too close to a piece of art. That’s why Reyes’ invitation was so refreshing. So I did touch, and I grabbed the book and flipped through its pages to discover an array of colorful and creative works.
I put the book down and continued my tour of the exhibition and its artfully decorated walls. I even had the opportunity to create art of my own by leaving a message for whomever, on the two black walls that are there for guests to leave notes with chalk.
For being a relatively small room, Gallery 217 holds quite a vast number of artwork ranging from photography to graphic design, canvas paintings and sculptures. On the far wall opposite the entrance is a projector displaying works like Reshma Ramrattan’s “Age Transformation” and Grace Cox’s “Pinky in the Sunshine.”
Opening night was electric. There was a packed house, which included the artists, supporters, and the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences’ dean, Don Rosenblum, Ph.D., as well as Michael Caldwell, DMA, director of the Division of Performing and Visual Arts.
Halfway through the program, awards were handed out, which included six honorable mentions, a Dean’s Choice award, two Faculty Choice awards, a Best in Show, and second and third places. The art show also gives guests the opportunities to vote during the first two weeks for their favorite piece. The winner will receive the Patron Award on April 15.
Assistant professor of graphic design and faculty adviser for “Say What?” Tennille Shuster said this year’s exhibition is unique because Art Sharks, a student organization, took ownership of it. The students got hands-on experience — from designing the exhibition, to hanging the works, and even chopping the vegetables for the snack table.
There are 43 pieces on display at “Say What?” All were submitted by students who have taken at least on visual arts class in the past two years.
My favorite pieces were “Walkway” and “Untitled,” two beautiful black-and-white photo-graphs by Reshma Ramrattan. Which will be your favorites? You’ll have to attend to find out. The exhibition runs until April 27 at Gallery 217 of the Performance and Visual Arts Wing of the Don Taft University Center.