The Annual Art Exhibition
It isn’t often that artists who are in college get the chance to have their work displayed in an exhibition, and it’s even more rare for their work to be professionally judged in a professional setting. However, students at the University of Wyoming recently had just that opportunity.
On Feb. 22, the University of Wyoming Art Museum hosted its 44th annual Juried Student Exhibition to display selections of art by UW students. The event also included an awards ceremony that honored several students’ submissions.
There were works of art of many different kinds on display, from paintings to sculptures, to videos, and beyond. University of Wyoming students from with a myriad of majors had pieces throughout the exhibition, and museum-goers seemed to happily appreciate the various works of art produced by those students.
At the event, all kinds of people walked from one piece to another excitedly, discussing the art on display and appreciating the work of the many student artists. There was a buffet, the staff at the museum were very kind, and there was a general feeling of openness and hospitality. However, there was also a pronounced element of competition at play between the artists.
The Best of the Best
Many students submit pieces to be displayed each year for UW’s Juried Exhibition, but only a few are ultimately chosen. As such, there is something special about having your piece displayed at this event, and it takes a great deal of hard work to reach that point.
“This is my first time making it into the exhibition, so I’ve tried in past years and have not made it, so the experience has been kind of one of those thrilling trial and failure sort of things,” said Emily Schaneman. “The idea that not everyone makes it in makes it more thrilling and competitive and genuine and then the pieces also get purchased so you feel like you’re taking your first step into your career as an artist.”
Many students who submitted to this year’s exhibition were not chosen to have their art displayed, but others who submitted pieces for years had their work selected for the first time. Although some won awards and others did not, many students were happy just to have their art displayed.
The exhibition can teach students a lot about the value of persistence. Still, sometimes, the exhibition ends up honoring submissions by first-time participants in the event. The judging process is such that the artist’s identities are unknown to the judges.
“This is my first year that I’ve applied,” said Stanley Czarniak, who won two awards for his cast bronze, wood and fabric piece entitled De-Rooted. “You can’t go wrong dressing up and seeing a bunch of artwork that’s beautiful.”
For the students who participate in the exhibition, the event provides an occasion each year to gain experience in the professional art world. Since it’s held at the University of Wyoming Art Museum, it is a fairly formal event. It also gives students the experience of having their art evaluated and compared to that of others in a non-classroom setting.
In addition to newcomers to the event, some of the students who had experience displaying their work at past exhibitions expressed their appreciation for the event. These students are preparing to enter the professional art world, and feel that the exhibition helped to equip them for that journey.
“It’s an amazing experience promoted by all of the faculty in the arts department and it’s awesome because it’s free, which I know out of college would never be the case,” said Jamie Lindsay, who has participated in previous annual Juried Student Exhibitions. “It brings the whole university together with the focal point of art.”
At the event, it was evident that the university community was engaged and interested in appreciating student art, and students were very grateful for the community support.
“I’ve been very privileged to be able to exhibit work every year that I’ve been a student,” said Billy Harris. “It’s awesome to have an experience here where students get to know what it’s like to exhibit in a space, to get awards, and to talk to people about their work.”
Ultimately, the University of Wyoming Annual Juried Art Exhibition is a great way for artistic students to have their work displayed, honored, and evaluated. It also creates a great opportunity for future professional artists to familiarize themselves with the job. For more information on events and other things going on at the University of Wyoming Art Museum, visit http://www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum/.