Missouri Western turns 100 this year and students and faculty have been putting a lot of effort into celebrating Western’s birthday.
So has the art department; photography professor Rebecca Foley got 35 art alumni on board to organize an art exhibit – the department’s way of taking part in the centennial festivities.
“Everyone makes an effort to celebrate the centennial. There are paintings, photographs, drawings and more in the exhibit. I think it represents the department very well,” Foley said.
The participants include a wide variety of artists, from casual to professional – and even three of the department’s professors.
Ceramics professor David Harris was at the exhbit’s opening last Friday and is participating with two pieces.
“I did this [ceramic work] for a living for 15 years and have been a teacher for 17 years now. When I took ceramis classes here, it was in a basement and we didn’t have a lot of equipment, but that only inhanced our creativity. We had a great teacher and I try to carry on his tradition,” Harris said.
Fellow alumnus Tabitha Berry came to Western as a non-traditional student and has fond memories of her college carreer.
“Western is a great fit for non-trads and trads alike. It became a sanctuary for me as a parent where my creative side could thrive,” Berry said.
Before she came to college her main interest lay in sculptures and paintings, but Western broadened her artistic horizon.
“I enjoy painting and photography as well. I like mixing things up and experimenting,” Berry said.
Her art pieces are so-called chemigram prints; a chemical is poured on a silver gelatin fiber to create stunning effects.
“I don’t have much control over how it turns out, but that is what I enjoy; I have to assign a meaning after the product is finished,” she said.
Bradley Harrah couldn’t agree more. Although he graduated in Spring of 1999, he still feels “very loyal to Western.”
The part-time artist was very involved during his time at Western.
“I was somewhat of a mascot – I was in SGA, worked as an RA and in admissions and founded the Fine Arts Society. Although I don’t work as a full-time artist, I wouldn’t have the job I have right now if it wasn’t for Western and the skills I learned here,” Harrah said.
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Jeanne Daffron attended the opening ceremony.
“It’s very interesting. There are a lot of different things to see, things I like and appreciate. It’s a good variety,” Daffron said.
The art exhibit takes place in Potter Hall’s art gallery and is open from Sept. 14 to Oct. 30.