School of Art students David Dupak and Sarah Jarrett chat in front of Gallery 11 where some of their paintings are displayed Monday, July 11, 2016, at the School of Art.

Walking through the School of Art, Chautauquans can find studios and classrooms where students are tirelessly working on paintings, ceramics and sculptures. But as of this week, people from the community can also step into a gallery that invites them into those students’ world.

Gallery 11, housed in the School of Art itself, features work created by 11 art students for their observational painting class, said Danqi Cai, a printmaker who has three paintings in the informal gallery. She said the gallery will continue until the end of the season, with a different theme and new types of work up every week. The students wanted to kick off the first week with portraits of a model they worked with in class.

“They’re all Rachel [the model]. We were working with her in painting class for the last two weeks,” said David Dupak, a painter at the school. “And so we worked so intimately with her, we thought we’d have a show of just her stuff.”

School of Art student David Dupak chats with other art students in front of Gallery 11 where some of his paintings are displayed Monday, July 11, 2016, at the School of Art.
School of Art student David Dupak chats with other art students in front of Gallery 11 where some of his paintings are displayed Monday, July 11, 2016, at the School of Art.

Dupak said the 23 paintings in the gallery are based off Rembrandt’s work, such as the way the model is posed, but each student put their own unique spin on their portraits. He said some of the artwork may even be featured in the upcoming Annual Student Exhibition on July 24.

Cai said she hopes to have a print show in the future and to incorporate ceramics and sculpture in the gallery as well so all the students can be included in this collaborative effort. She said Tom Raneses, the printmaking instructor, also wants to take part in the series.

The students’ biggest goal, however, is not just to have the paintings up for themselves. Hannah Schelb, a ceramist at the School of Art, said the students want the gallery to be an interactive experience and everyone in the community can stop by and see their work.

Schelb said sometimes the public doesn’t always know how to approach artists and this gallery will be a way to invite people to actively partake in the experience instead of looking at students creating work through the windows of a studio.

Similarly, Dupak said he hopes the gallery will extend the same welcome to Chautauquans that the students received from the community.

“We’re in the town and they invited us here,” Dupak said. “So we invite them into our space.”

(Photos by Mike Clark.)