Student guide to Webster’s galleries

Tameka Bracy (left), sophomore sociology major, stops on the second level of the Emerson Library to ask senior photography major, Daniel Movitz about his prints. She was interested in buying his photographs he took while interning at People Magazine in New York City. PHOTO BY BRITTANY RUESS

Art is nothing new to the Webster campus. Pay attention, and it’s everywhere — from the sculptures dotting the lawns, to the paintings lining the hallways. For students that want to have their work shown less permanently at Webster, there’s three galleries located on campus: the May Gallery in Sverdrup, the Hunt Gallery in the Visual Arts Building, and the Student Art Wall in the Emerson Library. Here’s a guide to these galleries, and how and when someone can get their work featured.

The May Gallery

The May Gallery, located on the west wing of the second floor of Sverdrup, is a photography gallery. The gallery, which runs about eight shows a year, primarily features visiting artists and sometimes alumni. There are a few chances for current students to be featured. For nonphotography majors, once a year every spring the Annual Juried Exhibit is featured.

According to Bill Barrett, director of the May Gallery, the Juried exhibit is open to any student in the university, graduate or undergraduate.

“You don’t have to have ever taken a photo course,” Barrett said.

The Juried exhibit gathers entries from many different applicants and a small number of jurors award titles to the four best photographs.

Barrett said that he even receives entries from the Leiden, Vienna, and Geneva campuses.

The next Juried exhibit opens April 6, and runs until May 4, 2012. Barrett will not begin accepting submissions until the spring,.

The Small Wall Gallery, featured adjacent to the May Gallery, often displays student work. This small gallery space typically shows student work from photography classes, special portfolios, works in progress, and other smaller bodies of photographic work.

Currently featured in the Small Wall Gallery are samples of student work from a toy camera class.

The senior show is the last display of the season and features graduating photo majors. The show opens the night before graduation and is kept all up all summer. Theo Welling, a 2011 Webster graduate with a degree in photography, had some of his work featured in the May Gallery for this past spring’s senior show.

“It feels like it’s a rite of passage,” Welling said, “It’s a good idea to show yourself like that.”

The next May Gallery opening is Daniel Overturf’s and Gary Marx’s “The Dead Don’t Vote in Alexander County: Portraits and Places in Southernmost Illinois, 2010-2011” on Sep. 30.

The Hunt Gallery

The Cecile R. Hunt Gallery, located in the Visual Arts Studios, is an art gallery. It was established in 1983 as a noncommercial venue. This gallery features primarily visiting artists, but twice a year hosts student shows.

Jeff Hughes, director of the Hunt Gallery, describes it as a professional gallery.

“It’s not just for students,” Hughes said, “We have a lot for students that come and we anticipate that our students would of course see this as part of their education, definitely, but this is a public gallery.”

The gallery hosts eight shows a year — six created by professional artists and two for graduating art students.

For art students getting their B.A. degree, showing in the Hunt Gallery is a requirement for graduation. Every spring the gallery holds a “Bachelor of Arts Senior Exhibition,” where graduating B.A. students show their work together, with the help of art faculty. The Hunt Gallery also hosts a “Master of Arts Exhibition,” for art students graduating with their M.A.

As to what Hughes looks for when selecting professional artists to feature in the Hunt, he said he tries “to work towards that which would make sense with our broader academic mission as an international institution.”

“I have a firm belief, personally,” Hughes continued, “That contemporary art is about global art. We always have an international bent to the kind of shows that we do.”

Hughes said he is bringing a Croatian artist to the gallery this semester, and expects a show on Bulgarian contemporary art this spring.

Jillian Conrad, the artist featured in the gallery’s latest opening this Friday, said that working in the Hunt Gallery was a great opportunity to do new work and to do work that fit this gallery.

“I couldn’t not do it,” Conrad said.

Conrad’s gallery, “On Tenterhooks,” will be on display in the Hunt Gallery until Oct.15.

The Library Student Art Wall

The Student Art Wall, located inside the 2nd floor entrance of the library, is whatever students want it to be. While the gallery has typically only featured photography, studio art or any other medium students wish to display is welcome as well. The wall was created in 2003, with the construction of the Emerson library.

“We have had classes that have been featured,” said Emily Scharf, the instructional liaison librarian who works with the art department and director of the Student Art Wall, “So all the students in one class will have their work featured on there, and then we’ve had individual student artists who have just asked to be featured. It depends on what’s going on.”

Students interested in having their work displayed at the Student Art Wall can either speak with someone at the library’s reference desk, or find contact information for Scharf on the Emerson Library’s Reserve a Room link.

Daniel Movitz, a senior photography major, approached Scharf at the beginning of the semester, requesting to be featured on the wall.

He said he has gotten only positive feedback for his work on the Student Art Wall.

“I am always looking for new people,” Scharf said, “If people want to contact me, I would be all about it.”

“All it takes,” Movitz said, “Is going to the reference desk and saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got some photos. Do you have some space available?’ Hopefully I hear that my pictures have inspired people.”

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