It’s a busy time for the creative community on campus. The staff at UNCW’s campus arts department are up to its ears, currently swimming through a huge selection of student art. So far, over 75 pieces have been submitted for the all-student art show this week, where each work will get the chance to be juried and selected as “Best in Show”—an honor that will assure the winning artist’s piece a sizeable check and a spot in the university’s permanent art collection, which hangs in the University Union building.
Even with the large amount of art already lining the halls of the office, faculty member and assistant director of Campus Life Arts and Programs Shane Fernando is expecting a few more pieces to come in before the week’s end. In it’s 10th year, the annual student exhibit usually pulls in over 100 entries. “We do not have the final number until after our juror makes the selection,” Fernando says.
This year’s juror is Anne Brennan, assistant director at the Cameron Art Museum. With the recent resignation of the museum’s director, Deborah Velders, Brennan will be taking over as the head of operations when Velders leaves in mid-February. For now, she has another daunting task on her hands: choosing the top of what Fernando says is already UNCW’s cream of the creative crop.
“This is an annual exhibition, now in its tenth year, and it is featuring the best of the best of our student work,” Fernando says. “Students across campus, art and non-art students alike submit their work for this juried competition.”
The ages and skill sets are also in vast range, as freshman-through-graduate-level classes bring their pride and joy to the walls of the Boseman Gallery. Getting into an even larger variety is the types of art submitted. Fernando lists the selection, which mimics the roster of classes offered in the Department of Cultural Arts. Every medium is represented.
“I can speak to this year’s submissions which include oils, acrylics, charcoal, pen and ink, photography, jewelry, ceramics, paper-making, metal sculpture and outdoor sculpture,” he says.
As a graduate of UNCW with years of experience working with the university’s art galleries and activities, Fernando says that the talent attracted to the campus keeps his job interesting year after year. “We have an artistically engaged student community here,” he says. “I am extremely impressed with students who are not art students but still explore their creative sides and share their talents with our community. There is a great synergy on our campus and in our community between our visual artists; they support each other.”
As for the gallery itself, Fernando believes the chance to exhibit work in a respected gallery and step into the art industry while still in school is a huge draw for students year-round. “I believe the Boseman Gallery provides a plethora of creative outlets for our students, including exhibition opportunities, exhibition selection committees, the planning of art workshops, gallery management experience and art marketing.”
The winner of the 10th annual all-student show will be announced at the reception on Thursday, February 17th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fernando invites the public out to see what the students have been working on this year and to give much-needed encouragement to the up-and-coming creative generation. “It’s important that people come out and support our student artists,” he says. “Much of the work will be for sale and at price points accessible to all people.”