SBCC hosts annual student art exhibition in Atkinson Gallery

KENSEY THIERRY, Channels Staff

City College’s Annual Student Exhibition opened its doors to the public and awarded their 2016 Art Department Scholarships on Friday, April 15, in the Atkinson Gallery.

Every year, the exhibition showing requires a new juror to judge and awards the art department students. This event is one of the bigger exhibitions for the students because it displays artwork that they have been working on throughout the year while simultaneously submitting that work for scholarships and awards.

“I’m really nervous but I’m really happy that all of my hard work paid off and that people enjoyed it,” said art student Elizabeth Arras who won the Adrian Osborne Memorial Art Scholarship. “It’s really just putting yourself out there.”

The exhibition displayed all compositions of art including screen-printing, oil painting, ceramics, sculpture, abstract pieces and even a time based art video. These pieces all contributed to the exhibition.

“I feel fantastic about this. It’s really the culmination of the academic year and we hired an outside juror so that the students are given an outside opinion than what they get in class,” said Christopher Bates, chair of the art department. “Overall the quality of the work is really excellent in the show. Many people have been working hard to get everything up. It’s a great time.”

In order to be accepted into this exhibit, an art student had to submit their work, have it judged and then be accepted by this year’s chosen juror, Maiza Hixson. She also selected specific pieces of art from this exhibition to give recognition of talent which is known as the Juror Awards.

“I came last weekend and there were so many works to go through. It was very difficult to make the decisions, but the caliber of work really expressed so many divergent paths and artistic expressions today,” said Hixson. “It was really great to see so many great talents here at this college.”

Hixson is an artist who graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has a master’s degree in critical and curatorial studies. Hixson is the Chief Curator of the Santa Barbara Arts Commission.

“It is really important for the leaders of the art scene in Santa Barbara to always pay attention to the voices coming out of these programs,” said Hixson. “That is the future and we need to pay attention and we need to nurture it and we need to see what people are reacting too. I think Santa Barbara City College should really be proud of its art program.”

The Presidential Purchase Award was announced at the exhibition and is given based off of the art work that Superintendent-President Lori Gaskin decided to purchase. This esteemed honor was awarded to Karl Bucar for his artwork that is displayed in the gallery.

Screen-printing student, Katy Payne, received a Juror Award for Advanced Printmaking for her art piece displaying her progression of dealing with Crohn’s Disease. Payne also received the Santa Barbara Printmakers Association Scholarship Award.

“It’s cathartic and helps me explain [Crohn’s Disease] to other people to help them fully understand; my artwork is to explain what’s going on with me,” said Payne. “I’m learning what I want to be more here than I have anywhere else.”

Melissa Mathieson received the Juror Collage Award for her painted piece that is on display in the gallery.

“That’s my first gallery ever. It pushes me to do more galleries,” said Mathieson. “I never really thought that my work was good enough so it was reassuring that I’m going in the right direction.”

“It’s always so exciting. It’s a tight timeline because we decide who gets into the show on Saturday and then we open on Friday, so it’s always kind of a stressful week in a very fun way,” said Atkinson Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham. “You really get the impact of how extraordinary and how beautifully done it is by the art department students. When you see it all together it really is impressive.”