by Aaron Rhodes
On Tuesday afternoon Emporia State University art department chair Eric Conrad, this year’s juror for the League for Innovation student art competition he judged for the college, gave a brief tour of student submissions for 2016.
The yearly competition highlights exceptional student artwork from community colleges around the United States and Canada.The tour highlighted multiple honorable mentions and final selections from student artists in various mediums including sculpture, painting and photography. Conrad explained why he enjoyed the pieces he selected while often comparing them to pieces by more well-known artists and asking brief questions of the student artists.
“The work [here this year] is incredible. I’m so impressed, I’m just blown away. From the first piece I saw when I walked in, it was just one after another of these works [that are] like the work you’d expect to see in a gallery,” said Conrad.
Five selections made Conrad’s cut and those will represent the college at the national competition that includes submissions from over a dozen colleges.
During the tour Conrad urged beginner artists to take risks with their work.
“I think embracing risk is really important. I can’t emphasize that enough,” he said. “Allowing what you’re doing to change from your original idea to become something you couldn’t have imagined bringing into the world. That’s where it’s at. If you’re wanting to make work that’s innovative and exciting and current I think you have to embrace that.”
Larry Thomas and Mark Cowardin, fine arts faculty at the college, worked together to set up the college’s competition, find a juror and collect student art submissions.
“We invite a juror in from off campus … so there’s a neutral and unbiased jury. We take that opportunity like today where we have that juror come in and talk about the work, so we feel like it’s a real rich experience,” said Thomas.
The five student entries now have the chance of winning cash prizes ranging from $100 to $800 at the national competition, taking place at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. All national submissions receive a certificate of merit.
Competition art can be viewed throughout the ATB building.
The students who were nominated and the pieces they were nominated for (in italics) include:
The Coat Check at the Nelson-Atkins Museum
Designer Purse Roadkill and Hazardous Waste
Alex Anderson, Laura Averill, Wendie Collins, Katie Dallam, Jesse Day, Noreen Dupriest, Malakki Matters, Megan Strohl and Meagan Ziegler