Editor’s note: New College News is focusing on independent study projects during the January interterm.
By Shane Donglasan
Art exhibits often look effortless, but what does it take to actually put one together? Three students are finding that out through the Exhibition Practice and Preparation Independent Study Project.
Led by studio technician Dan Bethune, the ISP will take them through techniques for displaying artworks for New College’s 2019 Juried Student Art Exhibition.
This is the second consecutive year that ISP students are behind getting the exhibition ready. Prior to the introduction of this ISP, the prep work was mainly done by faculty, but art students expressed interest in becoming more involved.
They are learning how to frame, mat, and build shelves and pedestals to display their own works of art as well as artworks by other students.
“Building my own frames is important to me because I get to personalize how my art is displayed, and in a way, the frame is a continuation of my art work,” said Margaux Albiez.
After building the frames and displays, they’ll move on to creating the layout, design and installation of the exhibit in the Isermann Gallery. The process involves creating a clean slate by cleaning and prepping the walls, and then determining where each piece of artwork will go within the context of how they want the art to be seen and how viewers will move about the exhibit.
“There’s really no room for error,” said Dan Bethune. “They’ll have to get the exact measurements right and learn how to hammer out these finer details.”
Bethune added that the techniques they’ll be employing mirror the practices that professional galleries and museums use. He’s had years of experience in the exhibition world as a sculptor. Prior to coming to New College, he spent more than a decade at the University of Tennessee’s art department helping thesis students prepare to be successful artists.
Margaux Albiez, along with fellow art student Gabriel Soto, are excited to be learning techniques to help them as artists, but the ISP has also attracted other students outside of the art department.
With a passion for building and woodwork, first-year Keilon Sabourin, whose intended AOC is Chinese Language and Culture, wanted to get involved with the ISP as a way to familiarize himself with different power tools and materials like wood, metal and glass. He has goals to eventually build his own tiny house, but has also realized that making frames and other displays for an art show is “a lucrative skill to have and quite fun.”
“It can be really tedious work and requires a lot of patience,” said Sabourin. “I’m really looking forward to getting to step back in the end and see what my hard work has created.”
Bethune hopes his students will gain a better understanding of the nuances of exhibition and that the skills they are learning now will be indispensable for them in the future as they support themselves as artists.
The 2019 Juried Student Art Exhibition will take place Jan. 28 to March 15, 2019 at the Isermann Gallery, Caples Fine Arts Complex. A reception and awards ceremony will be held Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5:30-8 p.m.
– Shane Donglasan is the marketing writer/project coordinator at New College of Florida.