Wyoming Arts Council

UWyo Magazine: "Student artwork now hangs in almost every building on campus"

Justin Taylor Cloud, in the Visual Arts, graduate studio.

Justin Taylor Cloud says the exhibition helped him gain valuable real-world experience.


The January 2015 issue of University of Wyoming’s UWyo magazine features this article about student artists:

The Annual Juried Student Exhibition gives students real-world experience

By Sharon Almirall

Each year for the past 40 years, University of Wyoming students have submitted their finest sculptures, paintings and creations in various media in hopes of showing in the Annual Juried Student Exhibition hosted by the UW Art Museum. The exhibition, on display from Feb. 13 through March 21, 2015, attracts interest from throughout the university, including deans and trustees, who often make departmental purchase awards. The quality of art and the rewards for exhibitors are impressive.

Students gain valuable experience producing and selling artwork for a wide variety of audiences. Rachel Clifton, assistant curator at the UW Art Museum and organizer of the annual juried exhibition, explains that the exhibition gives students the real-world experience of applying to be in and preparing for an exhibition, then selling a piece, including issuing an invoice. “It is a professional opportunity for them, as they are held to the same standards as professional artists,” she says.

Student artwork now hangs in almost every building on campus. Clifton says that the level of talent is high in technical and conceptual ways, a comment echoed by former juror Nina Johnson-Milewski, owner of the Gallery Diet in Miami, Fla. “As an art dealer, I feel strongly that having experience exhibiting work before leaving school is key to ensuring continued success as an artist,” she says. “Juried exhibitions allow students to show in a professional museum setting, an enormous advantage once they start proposing exhibitions to other venues. In terms of quality, the work that I saw (in the Annual Juried Student Exhibition) represented a broad range of media and specialties, all indicative of artists showing great potential. To see that type of breath and simultaneous depth is quite rare.”

“I think the departments love it,” Clifton adds. “The selection process to purchase is first come, first served. I send an email to tell the departments the art is available and, within minutes, I start hearing from them. Once the art is hung, I personally walk those interested departments through what is available.”

The exhibition is expanding this year to include UW Outreach School students from around Wyoming, as well as students at the UW-Casper branch campus.

Justin Taylor Cloud, who graduated with his Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in May 2014 and stayed on for a post-grad study, says, “Entering in the Juried Student Exhibitions has been a valuable experience for me personally. I feel it has helped me gain confidence and exhibition experience as an artist. For many of us, if we get into that show, it is the first exhibition that we have ever shown in, and that is a big deal. With that come the challenges and problems of working through the logistics of transporting and sometimes constructing or installing our work in an exhibition space. This prepares us for the bigger, scarier art world outside of Wyoming.”

Chancelor Havlik received his bachelor’s degree in French and a B.F.A. in painting in December 2014 and begins a post-baccalaureate position this spring. “I have been lucky enough to participate in the Annual Juried Student Exhibition every year that I’ve been at the university from 2010 through 2014,” he says. “I think this is very important for us as undergraduate students because it gives us an opportunity to exhibit work publicly in a professional gallery setting.”

In addition to the juried exhibition, UW offers other exhibit opportunities, including the This and That Galleries in the Visual Arts Building, the building’s lobby, an annual B.F.A. show for graduating students, the Salon des Refuses sponsored by the Student Art League, and Gallery 234 in the Wyoming Union.

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