Monday, April 11, 2016

Calling all Artists!

Paper, cut into intricate patterns in a distinctly Japanese style, acts as a backdrop for Vicki Idema's 6-by-4 foot self-portrait. This self-portrait is painted onto a map of eastern California. Her entire body is stretched out over the John Muir trail, a popular California backpacking trail crossing the distance from Yosemite National Park to Mt. Whitney.

Along with telling her story, the piece also has sentimental meaning.

The top of the exhibit has Idema’s hand reaching to grasp Mt. Whitney and complete the trail. It’s not simply art for the sake of art.

“It's about reaching for the top and reaching for your goals,” says Idema. “My goal was to hike the John Muir.”

It’s Idema’s hope that this art won’t serve as a source of inspiration solely for her, but also for a much larger audience.

She is entering it into the LBCC Student Art Show.

Anyone not involved in the arts at LB can come check out the show when it opens on April 27 in North Santiam Hall. For those looking for the full experience of an art show it’s recommended you come on May 4 between 12 to 1:30 p.m. for the reception and awards. If that’s not enough, there will also be food and drink.

If her piece makes it into the show it will be on display in NSH from April 27 until June 2.

Anyone looking to enter has until the deadline on April 20. It’s one of the best ways for student artists to have their art shown to a much wider audience, as well as a chance for students to check out all the creative talent we have on campus.  

As an incentive for entering, LBCC is offering $2,000 in awards given to the best pieces.

Last year 27 different works of art were awarded with prize money. On top of that, the school buys one piece to add to their permanent collection each year, and the LBCC President's Office has been known to buy an exhibit every once in a while.

For aspiring artists, the show offers more than just a chance to be in the public eye; it's what they call a Juried Show. This means that not all works will be accepted, it goes through a judging process before show time and a juror selects the best pieces each year. Those are what's displayed in the show.

Juried shows are considered much more significant than open shows and look great on a resume.

The show is part of a larger art movement happening on campus. It’s an example of a movement meant to give more exposure to the artists and poets at LBCC. There are plans in the works to up the aesthetic appeal of the courtyard, and starting around the end of the term, progress on a giant mural covering a side of the Athletic Center will begin.

You can already see some of the transformation starting to take place in the poetry birdhouses located around the campus.

This progress is due in no small part to people like M’Liss Runyon, a member of the Art and Aesthetics Resource Team on campus.

According to their website, the AART Team is dedicated to “pursue[ing] the creation of art and the integration of aesthetics on the Albany LBCC campus and satellite campuses.”  

Their actions stem from a belief that art is more than just pretty pictures or pleasant words; Runyon says art has holistic and positive effects on campus.

“Art can start a lot of conversations; it can help us be comfortable with a lot more diverse viewpoints,” says Runyon.  

According to Runyon, art can help “better represent the diverse population we have at LB.”

And beyond helping improve relationships in the community, art can have a very tangible and grounded affect.

“Art around campus leads to student safety. The more art there is and the nicer the environment is the more comfortable students are.” says Runyon.

The art culture at LBCC goes deeper than just a committee committed to making our campuses a more safe and pleasing place to be. Taylor Johnson, an art major, spoke highly of the art classes at LB in comparison to high school.

“They push you a lot more; it’s more of a challenge. You have to learn the ability to get into a creative mindset to meet a deadline, which is very important for the field I want to get into,” says Johnson.

He’s not the only one impressed with our classes.

Idema, who holds an art degree, has worked with fabric and fibers for 45 years, and is now retired from a 12-year career in graphic design. She is also enthusiastic about the quality of the art classes here at LB.

She says, “[LBCC] has great graphic design classes, I think they were better than a lot of the instructors at OSU. “One thing about OSU is they’re pressured to write or do different things and it’s not just about the students, it’s about them also.”

The LBCC Student Art Show is definitely all about the students, and entering the show gives student artists many benefits.

For many students it is their first time presenting their work publicly. This involves a lot of learning on the job, including things like presentation, how to properly photograph their art, and other skills generally not thought about in the traditional creative process.  

Idema's art, being displayed in the North Santiam Hall gallery.

At a glance:
-Vicki Idema is a member of a community of artists in the Soap Creek area.
-Last year, Idema entered a piece titled “Window Pane” and won the Food For Art Award.
-The deadline for submitting art is Wednesday, April 20th.
-Students can submit up to 3 works.

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