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Spring Edition
Volume 99, Number 4

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Climenhaga Fine Arts Center brims over with senior art exhibit

Change of venue culminates in a major exhibition of 21 artists’ creations

Katie Ness in front of her senior art exhibit project
Katie Ness ’08 (right) created nature-inspired patterns and applied them to lamps for a luminous senior show project.

Drawings, paintings, photographs, video, and sculptures spilled out from the historic boundaries of the Aughinbaugh Art Gallery as senior studio art majors celebrated the opening of their senior exhibit — created, designed, and installed by the students themselves as the capstone effort of their four years at Messiah College. Tasked by their professors to create artwork showcasing their unique and developing creative voices, studio art majors generated pieces that displayed their passion and technical skills honed over four years of intense study.

In years past, seniors’ work was shown in several short exhibitions in the gallery, but this year, 21 seniors installed their artwork in the upper and lower lobbies of Climenhaga Fine Arts Center and in Poorman Recital Hall, as well as in the Aughinbaugh Gallery. “One of the biggest motivators of that change is that previous shows were up for just a very short amount of time,” says Christine Forsythe, chair of the art department. This year, students displayed their work for over a month and “it was tremendous,” says Forsythe. 

The 2008 senior show opened on Saturday, March 29, with a reception attended by more than 400 guests — friends and family of the artists as well as members of the College and local community. The first show experience for many of the students, it is an essential introduction to professional life, affording them an opportunity to not only make artwork, but also to install the artwork in a gallery setting and speak publicly about the work in their artists’ talks. “As I was formulating ideas for my project, a professor suggested that I create a design problem in the vein that I would eventually hope to work,” says Brian Behm, who has a concentration in graphic design. “For me, that meant I would be focusing on designing packaging and promotional material for the music industry.” Ted Prescott, distinguished professor of art, explains that the faculty urge students to “take control . . . this is their work, and it should represent their best efforts to stand as artists.  There is an important potential transition marked by this show, from art student to artist.”

—Mackenzie Martin ’08

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