Art majors show their stuff

Alexandra Nicolas

Some of Missouri Southern’s own will be displaying the product of four or more years of schooling at the end of November in the Spiva Art Gallery.

Senior art majors enrolled in Senior Exhibit spend a semester preparing for a practical career in the art world. Students form groups of three or four and organize a showcase of their original work. In addition to the pieces of artwork on display, students must create invitations, write a press release, create a poster, write a résumé and plan the opening reception.

“If you pay attention, you’re better prepared for other shows,” said Elisabeth Humphreys, senior art major. Though most students exhibit their artwork in the spring just before their graduation, seniors graduating at semester, like Humphreys, will have their shows in December. Spring graduates spend the fall preparing artwork and the spring planning the show. December graduates must do both in one semester. Though students can obtain an art degree in the standard four years, students like Humphreys choose to spread out their schedules to include additional semesters.

“With studio, the more experience you have the better,” she said. “You could cram it all in and get out, but the quality of work you have wouldn’t be the best.”

Most students enrolled in Senior Exhibit plan to go on to graduate school, but some go straight to the work force. Studio art majors often begin in careers that relate to their chosen fields until they can afford to open their own studio. Students with an emphasis in sculpture may be hired to do decorative work for an amusement park, while those with an emphasis in printmaking might work silk-screening T-shirts and doing artwork on the side.

“It’s hard unless you get lucky and somebody picks you up,” said Jennifer Ragan, senior art major.

Though art students do not have a state-regulated exit exam, Senior Exhibit gives them a small taste of what the working world will be like.

“Senior Exhibit is sort of your test to graduate,” Humphreys said.

Though the art program strives to prepare students for pursuing graduate degrees or making it in the workforce, students like Humphreys and Ragan know the artists’ world will be much different outside Southern’s walls.

“The real world is different than academia,” Humphreys said.

Senior exhibitions begin after the Thanksgiving holiday. Please visit the Spiva Art Gallery for more information.