All student art exhibit to open for the first time in seven years
Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES
Carefully crafted ceramics and skillfully shaped sculptures occupy the space, while poignantly produced photographs and delicately drafted designs cover the walls. The gallery waits for Tuesday night, when its locks will be unlatched and the eagerly anticipated art exhibit will open to the public. At 7 p.m., for the first time in more than seven years, the art department will host an All Student Art Exhibition, with more than 50 students represented.
All student gallery more accessible than individual galleries
Typically, gallery season consists of senior shows, in which each graduating student presents his or her art for one week. All-student art shows do not happen very often, and this one has been in process for a couple of years now.
The fact that this show displays the artwork of more than just one individual makes the gallery more accessible and approachable, especially to people who aren’t art majors, according to Katie Winters, a senior interdisciplinary art major. “They can come in and find something in here that they can relate to,” she said.
The idea for an all-student art show was catalyzed a couple of years ago when NASAD, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, told Biola they could expect a visit.
Every several years since its initial accreditation in 1997, Biola’s art department undergoes an NASAD evaluation. The university itself is accredited with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, but there are several individual departments that have been accredited by specific associations.
Barry Krammes, a professor in the art department, remembers current Biola department chair Loren Baker encouraging him to ensure the art department’s accreditation with NASAD in the late 1990s. Before Baker arrived at Biola in 2004, he worked at Roberts Wesleyan College in New York. Their art department was one of the first Christian art departments to get accreditation.
Preparing for accreditation
Biola’s art department is one of only a handful of accredited Christian art departments, according to Krammes. Other Christian schools with accredited art departments include Wheaton College and Azusa Pacific University.
This particular accreditation of the art department requires a lot of work for Baker, who has spent hundreds of hours putting together a self-study to be submitted to NASAD. But Baker is not the only one preparing for NASAD’s evaluation.
For nearly two years, full-time faculty have been asked to hold on to the best work from their students.
“I didn’t know that some of my work was going to be in [the gallery],” said junior Tiffany White, an art major with an emphasis in photography. “I just came in and was installing, and was like, ‘Oh there’s my piece! Cool!’”
Additionally, certain students were invited to submit work because the two NASAD evaluators want to see as much student art as possible in the gallery and in the classrooms.
“The [evaluators] will be going from morning until late in the afternoon for two and a half days, talking to students, talking to faculty, talking to the chair and talking to administration trying to figure out if … the art department meets national standards,” Krammes said.
Working around the clock to be ready for opening
“When I was a freshman, [this art show] was supposed to happen and [two] years later it’s finally happening,” said White.
But a show like this takes countless hours, months, even years of preparation.
“[The preparation involved] lots of painting, lots of leveling, trying to get things straight in here, so many nails that have been punched in and pulled back out, and lots of poster putty,” Winters said.
To work on installing this show, different art majors — 27 volunteer students plus paid student workers — signed up for four-hour time slots during the past week. Art students and faculty have been working around the clock to ensure that the gallery will be ready for Tuesday’s opening.
“The doors have been locked, and we just keep hearing people trying to get in,” Krammes said. “I think they see through the door and it looks interesting to them, so they want to come and check it all out … There’s really something for everyone here.”