Art show exposes student work to future employers

Kyle Nelson

The student annual art exhibition at Kent State’s School of Art Building gives art students a chance to display their work in a gallery setting, an opportunity many schools do not give its students.

The event is a prejudged art show, meaning that one person judges the submitted entries and decides on whether or not they are shown in the gallery. Anderson Turner, director of galleries at Kent State’s School of Art, said that there were more than 100 individual entries for the show, with only around 50 chosen. This year’s juror was Liz Maugans, managing director of Zygote Press in Cleveland.

“It depends on the juror,” Turner said. “Liz is a printmaker, so she’s probably harder on the printmakers than anyone else. Every year it’s different. It may be that the juror didn’t like the work or didn’t think it was good enough to be included.”

Maugan’s juror statement stated, “experimentation, tinkering and prodding an idea physically were activities that were necessary ingredients that influenced my inclusions.”

The show gives students an opportunity to show off their work to potential employers.

“I do see galleries and people scouting for talent,” Turner said. “We don’t have a formal situation like other departments, but there are people coming in looking for fresh ideas. It’s a great resume line for students.”

Along with the notoriety of having their work shown, students also have an opportunity to win prizes, including gift certificates from All Media Art Supply Company.

“We give out a best in show award for both graduate and undergraduate students,” Turner said. “We also give out a couple extra ones, including a Director’s Award, which is funded by the director, a Lucas Award from a professor named Craig Lucas and an at-large award which is funded by All Media.”

Kris Willis, senior fine arts major and Director’s Award winner, submitted his works with hesitation, but it proved to be beneficial.

“I didn’t really expect to get anything in,” Willis said. “Professors always push for students to get things in the show. I put stuff in just to see what happened. This was the first show that I’ve put work in so it’s kind of exciting to get both of them accepted.”

Alex Gabor, junior art education major, has not been in the exhibit yet but can see the benefits.

“I think it draws attention to you,” Gabor said. “It can’t hurt, but I’m not going to say it will help you get a job any easier than someone who is just better. You still have to be better than all the rest.”

And it is in this program where students are encouraged to be the best.

“One of the greatest things about studio art, especially at Kent State, is that you’re taught to think conceptually,” Turner said. “One of the most challenging, intimidating things about being an artist is that you bare your soul when making the work and then sit and criticize it with 15 to 20 of your closest friends. I’m very proud of kids who participate, whether they get in our not.”

The art show runs through March 24 and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the School of Art Gallery in the Art Building.

Contact College of the Arts reporter Kyle Nelson at [email protected].