Photo: Madeline Wilbanks, The West Georgian

UWG 2021 Juried Art Exhibition is Now Open

            The 2021 Juried Art Exhibition is now open in the Humanities Building with three galleries. The exhibition is filled with paintings, sculptures and even video footage and is like walking straight through an art museum.

The annual student art gallery opened last week for students and faculty to enjoy and features artwork made by students involved in the art program. The exhibition was created to allow students to have their first experience of their art being displayed in a gallery, and to learn many other things such as how to price their artwork, submit it to jurors and have it looked at by professional art critics.

“The purpose of all our juried student exhibitions is for students to be exposed to the professional standards of a juried exhibition,” said Art Professor and member of the Gallery Committee, Debrah Sanitni. “It is also about curating their work, presenting it professionally, both in the required specifications of the digital format and professional presentation of their art work for a gallery setting.”

For students to have their art displayed in the gallery many things have to be accomplished beforehand. First they have to create the artwork, which can take a long period of time, especially for the sculpting committee. Then they have to submit that piece of art, along with any others to be approved and then wait for the decision. By the end of the year, students have just a few short weeks to prepare the piece of art if it is chosen for gallery exhibition.

“Students may submit up to five pieces of original art according to the required digital guidelines,” said Santini. “Once all the entries are logged into the computer, they are sent to the juror or jurors. The juror may select as many or as few as they deem exhibition worthy.

“A different juror is selected each year, usually from those active in the greater Atlanta art scene. Every juror uses personal criteria to judge the work,” continued Santini. “Once the exhibition is hung, the jurors review the work in person to make the award selections.”

“Students enter during the end of fall semester,” said Santini. “Over winter break students are notified of the jurors’ decisions; giving the students ample time to professionally mat, frame and mount their work to have it ready for drop off during the first or second week of the spring semester.”

Participation in the Juried Art Exhibition is optional, however, many students participate. There are currently 67 art pieces on display in the gallery, many more were likely submitted although not all artwork is selected.

“Approximately 75% of the art students participate, but the rate of entry varies,” said Santini. “Students anticipate the call for entries at the end of fall semester. It is a confidence building process, whether they are accepted or rejected, they are supported by their peers.”

This year was the Art department’s first year in producing a virtual gallery exhibition. While having COVID-19 guidelines in place there is signage in each of the galleries advising those viewing the artwork to wear a mask and to stay six-feet from others. The Art department also offered a virtual viewing option for the first time this year, available to access on the UWG gallery programs website. They also hosted the award reception as a virtual event on Thursday.

“This is our first virtual gallery reception,” said Santinit. “Traditionally, our student receptions are very well attended therefore, out of an abundance of caution, due to the pandemic, the university & state’s safe distancing guidelines, limited occupancy rate for gatherings, etc. we felt this would be the best way to reach the most people, safely.

“The number one challenge of course is getting as many people as possible to view the exhibition in person during a pandemic,” continued Santini. “This is an opportunity to honor our students and reward them for their dedication and hard work, so although we won’t have the party atmosphere of past exhibitions, the sentiment and enthusiasm is still very much present.”

The 2021 Juried Art Exhibition is open for viewing Jan. 28 – March 4, Monday through Friday 9-4 p.m. All students as well as faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and view the students’ work.



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