From thought to frame, from classroom to gallery

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By: Melissa Seyboldt
Staff Writer

From the moment an artist creates their first piece, they begin to build a collection of works that reflect their artistic personality.

Near the end of each semester, graduating fine arts students of IU South Bend get a chance to show family, friends and the general public their best works.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts Student Exhibition for the spring  semester takes place Monday, March 31 through Sunday, April 13. It will be held in the Art Gallery located in the Education and Arts Building and include works by fine arts, new media and graphic design students.

Katherine Corpe is a drawing and painting major bracing for her BFA exhibit, and to her, it’s everything.

“It will have taken five years to get my bachelor’s — and just looking back at where I started with some of those first drawings…they look kind of funny and you’re just learning and you’re growing, and to have a BFA show and be able to look back on all of that, it’s just a great reminder of how much I’ve grown.”

The last three semesters of a BFA degree involve thesis classes that allow students to explore their area of expertise individually rather than in a classroom. These classes also require them to form a collection of works for their exhibit, which typically carries a common From thought to frame, from classroom to gallery theme the student chooses to focus on.

Professors in each area keep students in check with their artistic progress throughout these final semesters, and help them decide what to include in their exhibit.

“I work with the students to determine what would make the strongest show,” said Ron Monsma, associate professor of drawing and painting. “Not everything out of the BFA classes necessarily goes into the exhibit, but certainly much of it does. For the most part, it’s a combination of their work from BFA classes, from some upper level classes and from upper level classes in other areas of fine arts.”

In past years, fine arts and new media students would display their capstone work in different venues around campus, like Northside Hall’s north lounge or the Administration Building. This year is handsomely different, as the new Education and Arts Building brings with it a quality art gallery.

“Now the students have a really fabulous top drawer, world-class gallery space I would say, to exhibit their work in — brand new space, and with plenty of space on the walls, although we do manage to fill it all up,” Monsma said. “Josh [Miller] has been doing a terrific job with helping students prepare and put up their exhibitions.”

Along with the exceptional art gallery, the building provides BFA students with private studio space each semester to prepare for their exhibition. In Corpe’s studio, paint is splattered on a desk strewn with brushes and jars, which contrasts with the clean lines of her drawings and paintings that blanket the room.

She pointed out a few paintings that may end up in her exhibit, including one she calls “Clean up” that shows a Syrian refugee mother and her child cleaning up dishes after dinner. She added that they’re “trying to find stability in an unstable environment.”

Monsma is visibly proud of his students and said the BFA exhibit is “a great opportunity for [them]…the culmination of all that they’ve achieved, gaining their degree, and it’s a proud moment for them to be able to exhibit that work.”

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