The Greater Flint Arts Council (GFAC) Gallery is currently filled with a wide variety of work created by UM-Flint art students. The exhibit opened in May with an awards ceremony and reception honoring the student artists. It will remain open until June 6.
This annual exhibition gives UM-Flint students a chance to not only display and sell artwork, but, as a juried show, it allows them to receive critiques and praise from an expert in the field.
Chris Waters, Professor of Art and the Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at UM-Flint, was instrumental in starting the first Student Art Exhibition years ago. When asked about the importance of such an event, she said, "The ability for students to show their work is vital to their Visual Arts education. It is also vital they understand art as a communication and learn if their work is effective in this regard. Having work selected for the exhibition, and then having an independent juror select awards, helps students develop critical thinking skills about their own work and that of others—while also preparing for what they will be asked to do in their professional careers in art."
In addition to the juried awards that recognize individual pieces, the students are eligible for "choice" awards if their pieces are selected by state government officials or university administrators, and department awards that take into consideration the students' larger body of work and academic performance.
Senior Janice McCoy, pictured above, is pursuing degrees in Visual Arts Education (B.S.) and General Studio Art (B.F.A.) and a minor in Art History. She is also a member of the University of Michigan-Flint Honors program. McCoy won two awards this year: "I was not only recognized for Exceptional Merit for 'Carousel in Motion' by guest juror Donovan Entrain, but I was also awarded the Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts by the faculty of the visual arts [program]. Both of these awards were extremely exciting and humbling to receive. All of our students are talented and hardworking, so to be recognized as exceptional among this talented group is something really special. I am overjoyed that my hard work this year has led to this recognition from my instructors and the local art community. Being acknowledged in this way only motivates me to further develop my skills and strive to create more exceptional pieces of art."
About her piece recognized for Exceptional Merit, McCoy said: "I was inspired to create 'Carousel in Motion' by a photograph I took during a study abroad program with Dr. Sarah Lippert last year to Paris, France, and surrounding areas. The photograph was of a display mimicking a carousel in the Château de Chantilly's Museum of the Horse, located in their Great Stables. I loved the drama and movement created by the dynamic poses of the carousel horses, bathed in flickering lights. Additionally, I have some fond memories of riding the carousel repeatedly as a child. These experiences inspired me to research and create an original composition driven by an exciting combination of movement, light and color, divided between two canvases. I love this piece because of my nostalgia attached to the carousel and the trip to France, and the movement that draws the viewer's eyes across the canvases."
2016 Juried Award Winners:
- Best in Show: SARAH COULTER
"Map" – Cast Glass
- Exceptional Merit: JANICE McCOY
"Carousel in Motion" – Diptych, Oil on Canvas
- Artist's Voice: EMILY LEGLEITNER
- Patty Morello Memorial Award: NICOLE FENECH
"Octavia" – Mixed Media Sculpture
- Best Art-Historical Recreation Award: KERRY ANN MOREY
"Cleopatra Recreated" – Oil on Canvas
2016 Choice Award Winners:
- The Arts in the Legislature Award: BREANNA KERRISON
"Bits and Pieces" – Digital Print
- Chancellor's Choice Award: RACHEL PAPPAS
"Magical Forest" – Stained Glass and Wood
- Provost's Choice Award: WENDY BROWN
"Imagine, Believe, Achieve" – Digital Print Collage
- Dean's Choice Award: LINSEY CUMMINGS
"Lego Logan" – Digital Print
- Library Collection Choice Award: SARAH COULTER
"Map" – Cast Glass
2016 Academic Award Winners:
- Achievement in Research (Symposium Presenters): ANGELA WHITLOCK, LEON COLLINS, MARY KELLY, MARTA WATTERS
- Excellence in Art Education: CHEYENNE SERRATO
- Excellence in Civic Engagement: MARY KELLY and LENA GAYAR (tie)
- Outstanding Overall Achievement: JANICE MCCOY
- Excellence in Art History Award: TAYLOR FRITZ
- Excellence in Ceramics: SYMANTHA FOREMAN
- Excellence in Drawing: KERRY ANN MOREY
- Excellence in Graphic Design: HEIDI HALS
- Excellence in Media Design: ALEXANDER THEODOROFF
- Excellence in Painting: ASHLEY THORNTON
- Excellence in Photography: ALICIA MUSIC SHAVER
- Excellence in Sculpture: RACHEL PAPPAS
- Martin Anderson Excellence in Printmaking: EMILY LEGLEITNER
Graduate student Mary Kelly received awards for Excellence in Civic Engagement and a Certificate of Award for Research for her work "Overlooked Ornamentation: Italian Devotional Art as Images of Power" that was presented at the Art & Art History Student Symposium at the Flint Institute of Arts in April 2016. Kelly also works with the Visual Arts faculty to promote department and student work through social media and the Art Scene blog she created.
Kelly said, "I came to UM-Flint intending to complete a degree that had been delayed through interruption in my education. Once here, I accomplished not only that goal with my BFA in Painting & Drawing, but I added a second degree with my BA in Art History. The offerings at UM-Flint inspired me to approach art from both of these perspectives and to continue my education with the Arts Administration [graduate] program with the goal of using my knowledge to aid other artists to navigate the many options available to them as professional artists as a bridge between these artists and institutions organizations and venues."
When asked about her experience as a UM-Flint Visual Arts student, Kerrison replied, "My experience as a UM-Flint art student has been challenging, engaging, and an incredible journey. There will never be anything else like it and for that I am grateful. The art professors at U of M not only teach you, but inspire you to become something the world will never forget."
For more information on UM-Flint programs in Art and Art History, visit the visual arts website or call (810) 766-6679.
The Annual Student Exhibition will be on display at the GFAC Gallery through June 6. The gallery, located at 816 Saginaw St, Flint, MI 48502, is open to the public free of charge. Visit their website or call (810) 238-2787 for hours or more information.