Eleven senior art majors are creating various types of work for their upcoming March 28th and April 11th Senior Art Shows.The one-credit graduation requirement asks students to pick a theme and then explore the topic through the artist’s choice of medium. Students for these shows are working with charcoal, acrylic paint, ceramics, printmaking, graphic design and encaustic (wax). All of the artwork needs to be produced during the final semester of college, so previously created work cannot be used.
Senior art major, Annali Smucker states: “To have a theme and to produce a show around it is challenging on top of a full semester, but it’s energizing.”
Smucker mentions that finding time is the most challenging aspect of her show. Smucker’s theme is the human collarbone, a topic that she had been pondering for a while and which continues to evolve and change. Charcoal and acrylic paint on masonite board is the medium she chose for her show.
The art room is a welcoming and pleasantly crowded space with divided areas for the artists to create their work. Each cubicle has a distinct look that reflects the artist and his or her choice of medium. In the center of the room, surrounded by sofas, sits a stuffed heron. Noah Yoder’s grandpa shot the bird during his days as a student, and it has been in the art building since that time. The stuffed bird has become a welcoming and semi-permanent fixture that the artists enjoy having in their creative space.
The camaraderie between the students is evident. The artists laugh and joke with one another, vetoing certain pop artists as an unacceptable music option. The students also rely on one another for advice about their artwork, such as which color to paint the background of a picture.
Artist Beth Glick comments, “The hardest part is knowing that we can’t play all semester and that there’s a show at the end. There’s a deadline and we must progress.”
The seniors meet bimonthly with the art professors to check on progress. The professors view the artwork and provide critiques. Otherwise, the students are free to work with no set schedule. At this point, Smucker devotes about 7 hours per week to her show, but admits that once her show draws nearer, the time spent on her show will considerably increase.
Currently, Smucker is simultaneously working on several art pieces, so she has not yet completed a work. Photos of her friend’s collarbones cover her cubicle for inspiration. She wants to add a drawing inspired by a live model’s collarbone as well.
The months of work culminate in an on-campus art show for family, friends, students, and faculty. Glick mentions, “At the end of the show, students often trade artwork to get new art without paying.”
While Smucker draws and paints the vivid details of her evolving artwork, she shares some advice for upcoming art seniors. “Start thinking about your theme now, but the idea has to come as you work on your senior show or it will become stagnate.”
The art room is already filling with various types of artwork, proof of the approaching shows. Art professor Merril Krabill, explains the purpose of the Shows: “Their work is supposed to be a culmination of their time at GC. It is exciting to see how much they grow and change in the last year and last semester. Senior shows are good chances to see the best work coming out of the Art department.”
As a final hurdle in their Goshen College Art degree and a preview of future artistic creations, the shows are also a time for real celebration with family and friends. All are welcome for the opening receptions of the exhibitions held in Hershberger Gallery at the Music Center on March 28th and April 11th.