Ouachita Baptist University’s Hammons Gallery in Mabee Fine Arts Center is featuring the OBU Art Club’s annual Student Juried Art Exhibit through Feb. 26. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
“The annual Student Juried Art Exhibit is a favorite of mine, not just because it features the work of Ouachita’s students but because it often features some of the best and most engaging work,” said Donnie Copeland, chair of Ouachita’s Rosemary Gossett Adams Department of Visual Arts.
The exhibit includes 22 works chosen by juror Jason McCann; they represent a variety of media such as graphite, digital illustration, embroidery and photography. Students from every classification and a variety of majors were contributing artists to the show.
“This year’s award winners are exemplary,” Copeland noted. “I highly recommend a visit to the show. I hope visitors will take the time to tell the students how much they enjoy the work. Each of these artworks is a little masterpiece and deserves our attention.”
Myca Nutt, a senior graphic design major from Arkadelphia, Ark., earned first place in the show for her digital illustration, “Tuxedos.” Nutt previously earned honorable mention awards in the 2014 juried show and the Art Club Choice Award in the 2013 juried show.
“Winning the show my senior year of college is one of the most gratifying experiences I have had,” Nutt said. “Being a part of the Art Club all four years and being behind the scenes and hanging my piece to finally winning – it was something I never saw coming.
“For my piece, I was hoping to achieve a graphic quality and mix that with my illustrative abilities and handwritten typography,” Nutt added.
Courtney Gibson, a sophomore graphic design major from Dermott, Ark., earned second place for her photograph, “The Formal Dining Room.” Craig Martin, a senior graphic design major from Harare, Zimbabwe, earned third place for his acrylic and graphite mixed media work, “Victoria Falls.”
The OBU Art Club members voted to award the Art Club Choice Award to Ashley Keathley, a junior graphic design and Christian studies/Christian ministry double major from Carlisle, Ark., for her oil painting, “Waters.” The Art Club Choice Award highlights an exceptional piece that did not receive an honor from the juror.
“The juried show is an opportunity for all students, not just art majors or minors, to experience all that goes into a show. It becomes a community experience, and that is something I find really valuable – especially when that community experience is art-related,” said OBU Art Club President Katelyn Smith.
Smith, a senior art and education double major from Roe, Ark., earned the exhibit’s Faculty Choice Award for her embroidery piece, “Sugar Dolly.” The award is given by Adams Department faculty to an outstanding piece that was not completed as a class project.
Jason McCann teaches art at Little Rock Central High School and Arkansas Governor’s School and is a recognized artist around the state and region. He said his judging process involved evaluating his immediate reaction to the work, if the work challenged or surprised him and if it drew him in to investigate it further. Ouachita featured McCann as a guest artist earlier this academic year.
Nutt noted her appreciation for viewing McCann’s work in Hammons Gallery last fall and seeing him return to give firsthand feedback as a juror.
“I was very inspired by his vision and passion for his work, and it is such an honor that he thought mine was special,” she said. “This was also the first year we have had the juror come to the reception of the show to say a few words about his decisions. It was so enlightening and wonderful to hear what other people outside of the art department think about where each one of us is headed. That was an experience I will not forget.”
Regular gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, contact the School of Fine Arts at (870) 245-5129.
By Brooke Zimny