If Fort Lewis College’s 50th Juried Student Exhibition is any indication, the future of art is bright.
“You have some very talented students at the college,” said Cyndi Conn, an independent curator from New Mexico.
Conn is the juror for the exhibition, which opens today in the FLC Art Building’s main gallery.
Conn’s task was daunting: She had to reject more than twice as many submissions as she accepted, paring the field from more than 160 submissions to about 45 pieces that are in the show. The Juried Exhibition is open to all FLC students regardless of major, and Conn said she used a combination of technical criteria and personal taste to arrive at the finished product.
“I think with student art what you want to look for is technical quality and concept – even if it was based on an assignment, are they executing it in a creative way?” she said.
“But as with anything in life, I have a few favorites. We’re human, and we tend to like things. My next challenge is to give prizes.”
Although the Juried Exhibition opens today, the prizes – for Technical Achievement, Innovative Use of Media, Concept, Juror’s Choice and Best in Show – will be announced and presented at Monday’s opening reception.
For FLC junior James Bisogno, this year’s show is another feather in his expanding cap. A Durango native, it is the second consecutive FLC Juried Exhibition for Bisogno, and he has also exhibited locally at Studio & and the Durango Arts Center. Conn accepted all three of his submissions this year, which the graphic design major hopes will be another step to landing a job with a major design firm in New York or California after he graduates next year.
“Getting into shows is definitely a good line on the résumé,” Bisogno said.
Third-year graphic design student Del Greer is happy just to be included in the show for the second year. A graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, last year’s Juried Exhibition was her first show outside of her hometown and her inclusion this year is just her second.
“I haven’t tried that much, though,” she admitted, but added that having her work accepted will inspire her academic efforts over the next two years.
Conn said for every student buoyed by his or her acceptance in the show, she knows that there are two left on the outside looking in. It’s certainly the worst part of a job that is in every other way an honor, but as a veteran of the world of commercial art, she said she understands the responsibility she has been given.
“At some point, I had to make decisions based on if it looks like they’re going to continue their career in art. I’m a real-life curator, and it’s about picking the pieces that make sense at that moment,” Conn said. “But that’s also the hardest part, knowing all of these students put their hearts and minds into it.”
The 50th annual Juried Student Exhibition runs through April 12.
SHAUN STANLEY/Herald Fort Lewis College junior Cas
SHAUN STANLEY/Herald Juror Cyndi Conn picked Fort