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SBCC Atkinson Gallery to display student art in annual exhibition

ZURI SMITH, Channels Staff

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The opening reception for the annual student art exhibition, hosted by the Atkinson Gallery, will display student artwork from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 21.

“This is the first step to becoming a professional artist,” said Atkinson Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham. “It’s to exhibit your work and to have an audience. Making work for yourself is super important, but that step where you engage with the audience is the point where the magic happens.”

The exhibition will display artwork from every art course offered within the art department, ranging from beginning drawing classes to sculpting to advanced painting.

“It’s just so fun to see the combination of everyone’s hard work,” Cunningham said. “It’s remarkable and the show always has a great variety.”

One of the unique things about this exhibition is that it’s not open; not everyone who entered their artwork had their art chosen. The artwork was chosen by a San Luis-Obispo based performance artist named Emma Saperstein.

Artwork that was not chosen for this particular exhibition will be displayed in a separate exhibition on the same day in Humanities Building Room 102. The “Salon de Refuses” exhibit will also be displayed from 5 to 7 p.m.

Cunningham is a strong believer that having an elimination system in place for an exhibition like this is important for the artists who did enter their work.

“The process of getting in and not getting in is equally important,” Cunningham said. “We’re trying to provide practice for real life. This is the way professional shows are done and so we’re kind of modelling that, getting people used to that process so that they’re ready to survive out in the world. It’s hard to get rejected but we think that it’s as much a part of the learning experience as getting in.”

One of the artists whose work was chosen for the show, Alberto Lule, is excited for the upcoming show.

“Of course, it feels good, but also for me it’s like a sign of good for my situation,” Lule said. “I’m returning back to school after being in prison for 13 years so to have some type of success like that makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”

Lule also believes that it’s important for artists to have a space to display their work because artists need that push, that recognition.

“You can go around making art everywhere, but if no one takes the time to tell you that it’s good or include you in their show, there’s really no direction at that point,” he said. “In your mind, you’re being an artist, but when you’re included in shows like this, you’re letting the rest of the world know you’re an artist too.”

Lule said that May 27 is his one year anniversary of being out of prison.

“I’m looking forward to people’s reactions,” Lule said. “Hopefully people will see this and think ‘this is something different.’”

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SBCC Atkinson Gallery to display student art in annual exhibition