On Saturday Chautauqua Institution welcomed 38 students and emerging artists who will spend the next seven weeks honing their artistic knowledge and abilities at the Chautauqua School of Art. And they are starting with their best foot forward.
“In my opinion (this) is the best student show we’ve ever had,” said Judy Barie, the Susan and John Turben Director of VACI Galleries.
The annual Chautauqua School of Art Students and Emerging Artists Exhibition opened this week on the second floor of the Fowler-Kellogg Art Center, and will run until July 28. The exhibition features one original pre-season work from each student or emerging artist that represents their unique artistic style.
Students and emerging artists come from across the country, ranging from juniors in college to working artists who have yet to receive wide recognition. The core faculty and visiting artists teach a cross-disciplinary curriculum through classes, lectures, exhibitions, workshops and more. This year, Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution has established or renewed partnerships with more than 20 institutions, and every student who applied for funds to study at the School of Art is now attending at no cost to them.
Barie curated the show with VACI curators-in-residence Yasmeen Siddiqui and Alpesh Kantilal Patel. Pieces in the exhibition represent a wide range of disciplines including sculpture, painting, ceramics, glass and video.
“We wanted to have students and emerging artists be able to come in and bring their work with them as a way to introduce them to the community,” said Sharon Louden, the Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel artistic director of the visual arts.
The exhibition represents a departure from tradition; in past years the student exhibition was held on the fifth week of the season and featured multiple works from each artist, made during their time at the Institution.
Louden and Barie changed the timing to give students and emerging artists more artistic freedom. Louden said she hopes to create “opportunity for them to experiment and be free in making their work in the summer, and not necessarily making work for an exhibition.”
Barie said this also allows for further dialogue between visitors and the School of Art.
“It’s an ongoing conversation with the students,” she said. “You see one piece and that makes you curious as to what else they have.”
Viewers of the exhibition who want to learn more about a specific student or emerging artist can visit the School of Art’s open studios from 2 to 5 p.m every Saturday on the Arts Quad.
“Come up and engage with the students and talk with them about their work and watch as (it) progresses over the season,” Barie said.
Zac Thompson attends the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His collage piece, “Möbius Strip Tease,” and a performance video are on display in the exhibition. He said it makes sense to have the exhibition at the beginning of the season.
“All of us are artists already,” he said. “We already have a trajectory, so to have that work on display as an introduction to who we are, especially for Chautauqua … that seems really smart.”