Arts & Entertainment Opinion

Senior showcase: A reflection on supporting the arts

By Janelle Wilcox

The yearly senior exhibit artist’s reception is a culmination of the work that each artist in the department of Art + Design has invested for the past four years. This year’s graduating class of 2018 will have a large group to showcase in the gallery’s final show of the year. Claire Bowles, Christian Garver, Troy Hester, Abby Kaufman, Mark Lewandowski, Joshua Matos, Jeanie Miller, Cassie Tester and Janelle Wilcox will be collecting culmination of their work from the past two semesters and display it for the rest of the school to see.

The event is at the Robert E. Wilson gallery of the Merillat Centre for the Arts, and the reception will be happening on Saturday, May 5 at 6 p.m. As someone who will be presenting in the show as a graduating senior, I am extremely excited about the quality of work that will be shown. This is truly an event that people will not want to miss out on.

I can tell you that there will be a variety of different artwork and designs that are being shown. There will be award-winning personal branding, illustrative work, fashion promotion, 3D glasses and more.

I think that as a student body and as individuals, it is extremely important to support artists and their pursuit of creation. In my past interviews for the “artist spotlight” articles, I have been asking, “Why is it important to support the arts?” Now I feel that I have an opportunity to answer that very same question from the perspective of someone who will be graduating shortly and who has been immersed in the Art + Design program.

Throughout this year, I have gotten the chance to ask some of our graduating seniors why they went into the arts. One story I heard was from a young woman who was discouraged from studying the arts because it “didn’t pay enough” and it “wasn’t a credible career.”

Regardless of the discouragement, she is going on to receive her degree in the spring. Listening to the comments she received was upsetting for me to hear. How could anyone undervalue something that I, and so many others, have devoted our time and passion towards? I realized that this simply came from a lack of understanding.

I have regularly heard people comment on contemporary art in saying, “anyone could do that, I could draw/create that easily.” My response is do not discredit the things that you have not attempted to understand.  When you look around at the culture that we live in, you see advertisements, branding, interior design, building layouts and architecture. Without design, I wouldn’t even be typing this article with this carefully constructed font. I urge those who may not see the value of the arts to simply start observing and participating. Not only will you gain a new understanding of the culture that you live in, but you may come to appreciate people who value different things than you – this will lead to mutual understanding and an opportunity to have new conversations.

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