A pair pauses to examine a display of paintings, contributed by undergraduate art students. 

The Department of Visual Art will open its annual Visual Art Scholarship Show this Sunday, May 1 with an open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m at Chalmers Hall. The show will be a display of the works of over 60 undergraduate students of all media and experience levels, Gina Westergard, an associate professor and associate chair of the department, said. She said that the show poses an opportunity for students to explain their processes to an audience who would otherwise know nothing but the end product. 

“The show allows a unique dialogue between the artists and students,” Westergard said. “Normally in a gallery the audience will walk in and just see the art without context or explanation."

The show also gives the student artists an opportunity to compete for scholarships based off of their works and those involved must meet a requirement of a 3.0 GPA, as well as being a visual art major, Westergard said.

“They won’t be told until after the show, but there will be scholarships awarded to different mediums based on their uniqueness, consistency, and willingness to take risks,” Westergard said.

Mary Anne Jordan, a professor and chair of the department, said that while the scholarships are financially important for any student, they help validate the work that the artists are doing in the school.

Jordan also said the show is a great way for the department to emphasize the work done by students to their peers who may be interested in a minor or secondary major.

“Aside from an exhibition of the students competing for scholarship awards, all studio areas will be open for visiting,” Jordan said. “This is a great time to see the private graduate and undergraduate studios as well as all of the studio classrooms.”

Jordan said that the student work studios open to viewers will be representing ceramics, expanded media, metalsmithing, jewelry, painting, printmaking, textiles and sculpturing.

“A lot of students walk by Chalmers every day and never know what we do here,” Westergard said. “This show helps validate the artists and everything they’ve been working on for the past year and for seniors, for the past four years of their careers, here at KU.”

Produced entirely by students in the Visual Arts department, Jordan said that the work is “compelling, thought provoking, beautiful, skilled, and interesting.”

“I am proud of the work that the students produce,” Jordan said. “It is always satisfying to see so much of the work exhibited at once. The work gives faculty a good view of the development of the students over the course of their study.  In addition, I look especially forward to meeting the families of the students involved in the exhibition, and other visitors.”

The show will open this Sunday in Chalmers Hall. The show will be on display throughout the week and close on May 6. A map of the open studios can be found on the third floor of Chalmers hall.

— Edited by Deanna Ambrose