Sophia Coon and Lillian Gardner are part of a team of fine arts students putting together an art show not just for art students, but the whole university.
“Back to Our Roots” aims to be an inclusive and diverse selection of work from across the university. The name, according to Gardner, is about reconciling with one’s past and showing the different walks of life from which that Webster pulls.
“Art spaces that have the Webster University title on it shouldn’t just be for art students,” Gardner said. “Everybody’s in their own field, in their own way of art, in their own language.”
Gardner and Coon said that the artists’ interpretations of the past are open. They said the submissions can reflect either positive or negative views of the past and include either personal challenges or political statements.
Coon, a painting major who is also pursuing a minor in human rights, said all art is political. Gardner said the point of the show is to express someone’s own experiences in society.
“It’s the personal things that connect us,” Gardner said. “We’re all human beings and should be able to talk about those things and convey your unique self to others.”
Coon said reconciliation with a negative past can be hard, but aspects such as art and community help the healing pro
Healing is the first necessary step to resisting oppressive systems and finding peace, and it starts within the individual and community, according to Coon.
The show looks for themes of gratitude– being thankful for the past for getting oneself to where they are today– is an important aspect of the exposition as well, Coon said.
The show aims to create an opportunity for students to experience the process of submitting proposals and exhibiting their work in a professional capacity.
Coon said she wanted an art show that was for all Webster students, noting that there is already a student show for BFA students but only for seniors. She wanted this show to give students experience and pride in their work.
“I noticed a need and a want for a student exhibition,” Coon said. “As an art student, but for students in general, the opportunity to show and exhibit your work is important.”
Coon has never curated a show before but feels excited for the project.
“We’ve had student exhibitions in the past, but there’s not a step-by-step guide on how to do it, which is both very freeing and also kind of intimidating,” Coon said.
The show’s biggest goal, according to Gardner, is networking. She said that one of her favorite parts of shows is making connections and asking artists about their work. “Back to Our Roots” is about facilitating interaction and collaboration between Webster University departments.
“I think that’s already winning, just being able to talk about [art] and what’s important to them, especially this topic, as well,” Gardner said.
According to Coon and Gardner, the artists’ submissions will undergo a blind jury selection process, in which the jurors will not know the identity of the artist. Jurors will primarily look at the images the artists submit, as well as their explanation of the work and how they believe the work relates to the show’s overall theme.
The show will be held at the Arcade Gallery on the Gateway Campus from Feb. 21 to March 6, 2020. Submissions are open to all students, and admission is free for the university and public. Submissions being taken until Nov. 18.