“Verge: Art & Design Student Exhibition” opens to the public

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For two semesters, the art and design students work on a variety of projects for a variety of reasons, but at the end of each year, they get the chance to share their work in a gallery setting with all of their friends, famies and visitors. “Verge: Art & Design Student Exhibition” opened on April 3 and will remain open through May 6. The exhibition features 110 pieces, all of which were created within the year by current students.

In total, there were 299 submissions made. According to Assistant Professor of Art and Design Katherine Fries, there were two jurors this year. One is a professional graphic designer and a 2007 alum of the University of Indianapolis, and this juror judged the design and digital work. All of the studio work was judged by a fulltime studio artist. The jurors picked the best of each respective category and together picked best of show.

Junior visual communication design major Juliana Rohrsmoser was the lead designer for the branding and promotional work of “Verge,” all of which was done by the Registered Student Organization ONE14. ONE14 does branding and promotional design work for non-profit companies, and they even picked the name “Verge.”

“They were thinking that this is all students on the verge of their professional careers,” Fries said. “They’re emerging, so it was along those thought lines. There was energy and newness to all these subjects and work.”

Visitors got a chance to see all of the artists’ work, and on the reception when the exhibition was revealed, the students also got to see what their friends in the department had been doing all year as well.

"I Dare You to Assume My Gender (They, Them, Theirs)" is an oil painting Photo by Madison Hays

“I Dare You to Assume My Gender (They, Them, Theirs)” is an oil painting Photo by Madison Hays

“It’s a really fun process too because even though we’re all together, we still don’t see a lot of what we’re doing,” said junior pre-art therapy major Abby Kepley. “And then when it’s on the wall and framed and professional, it’s really cool for us to see our own work again and just in a different setting.”

Fries said that for the past three years, the department has worked hard to promote the exhibition as an event that is open to everybody. According to Chair of Art and Design Jim Viewegh, 200-300 guests attended the reception, which shows how much support the department has. Category awards from the jurors and departmental awards from the art and design faculty were given out at the reception as well. Sophomore art therapy major Kyle Agnew said that the reception is a big deal to everybody in the department, and junior pre-art therapy major Paige Stratton called it the “Oscars for the art department.”

“It’s the one day of the year where you don’t see us in sweatpants and sweatshirts,” Agnew said.

Agnew received the

Award from the department and Best in Digital Photography for his piece “21st Century: Purity 2.” He felt proud to win because there was a lot of good work submitted this year and therefore a lot of good competition.

“It’s really rewarding,” he said. “After months of putting in all this hard work, seeing it pay off is really nice.”

Kepley and Stratton both won the Indiana Artist Craftsman Awards. Kepley said it was an honor to be recognized by her professors because they know her more personally rather than a an anonymous juror. Stratton also said that the award encourages her to keep going in her field.

“I feel like the art department is definitely my niche and where I belong,” she said. “But it was really nice to learn from the faculty that they think I belong too.”

The art and design department feels like the exhibition is a special time for everyone involved and encourages others to come by and check out the work as well.

“They never know what they’re going to find,” Kepley said. “Something relates to everybody. Like we have someone who’s a printmaker who’s working on medical things and very anatomy based, and … I’m working with animals, and then we have people working with LGBT…. There’s just a lot of different things that can get anyone’s attention.”

According to Viewegh, the art exhibition holds art that is on par with other schools, if not better, therefore people should go out and support not only the work but the students as well.

Viewegh said, “The gallery is as much quality as you will find anywhere in the country or the world as far as artwork goes.”

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