How the Juried Student Exhibit Comes to Life

How the Juried Student Exhibit Comes to Life

Each year, the Schick Gallery asks students to enter their work to be featured in the gallery for a month. Two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and even digital pieces are accepted for entry, making this opportunity one artists should not miss. Curatorial Assistant of the Schick Rebecca Shepard explained how they set up the beloved Juried Student Exhibit.

According to Shepard, students can enter their work in the weeks leading up to winter break as well as the week after, with the final deadline being Jan. 25. While students are encouraged to submit any medium, some may be more likely to appear in submissions than others.

For the final exhibit Shepard would like there to be works from every category, but knows this is unrealistic due to the fact that amount of each form entered may vary. Drawings and paintings usually take up a large amount of submissions, and digital works seem to be decreasing as the years go on.

To judge these works, staff at the gallery select a juror who will judge the works and award approximately $1000 to those found to be outstanding. This year’s judge is Miguel Aragon, Assistant Professor of Printmaking at CUNY Staten Island.

When deciding who to elect to this role, many factors are taken into account. Shepard explained that “our responsibility is to find someone who is a professional,” such as someone who is a gallery director or curator. They “try to mix it up with male, female, sculptor, printmaker, jeweler so that over the course of four years students will have the chance to have their work seen — if they entered every year — by four different people.”

She explained how Aragon was ultimately chosen to be this year’s juror because she got to know him over the course of the year, since his work had been featured in the printmaking exhibit last fall. The exhibit team found him a very thoughtful person who has a good vision of what current issues are, which can help when students choose to incorporate emotions associated with current issues into their work. They also took into account his teaching background, which comes in handy when dealing with student-created art. 

Once all the pieces are submitted, judging day can finally take place. According to Shepard, “it’s usually a long day, maybe five or six hours, sometimes eight, where we work with the juror in the gallery.”

Shepard and Director of the Schick Paul Sattler have no input on decisions, but work with the juror in getting out the submitted pieces and organizing them. A lot of time, energy, and analyzing goes into it, so the jurors often start with big work to free up space in the gallery. They choose which ones they want in the final exhibit, which ones they’re unsure of, and which ones they think would not work in the final display.

While the exhibit does not have a common theme for the pieces, the juror may sometimes shape their decisions on common threads they see. As seen in past juried exhibitions, students may create work during a time of turmoil — like the presidential election — which influences what they make. This ultimately allows the juror to see common emotions expressed in different works and tie them together.

All the work selected to be in the final exhibit can be sold to interested viewers, if the artist so chooses. The gallery takes no commission on the pieces, so Shepard tends “to encourage people to sell because people are young; there’s a lot more time to make work.”

Throughout the years, the Juried Student Exhibits tended to have similarities with each other in how they were presented. Shepard explained how every year, “there is a similar feeling in the gallery because it is usually very full.” She also explained how there is “usually a feeling of excitement and energy; it always feels so fresh.”

The gallery will open Feb. 5, showcasing the amazing talent of Skidmore students and their work of all different mediums. New and offering the public a unique look into their lives, the exhibit is one you don’t want to miss.

Photo from the 2018 Juried Student Exhibit

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