Student Features

Student Art Displayed at Inaugural Bowman Show

Art instructor Laura Christensen and Patrick Engle ’16 hold up a landscape painting by Elaine Myers ’16 in Bowman Hall exhibition space on Wednesday, shortly before the art was installed. Below, portraits by Sarah Tefft ’16 and a computer image of Engle’s satirical political poster.

Among the disciplines now housed in our newly renovated Bowman Hall is our visual arts program. Throughout the semester, students involved in the visual arts have been busy working in art labs designated for design and print making, painting, drawing, as well as mixed media and sculpture.

In addition to the labs where students express their creativity, the renovations for Bowman were intended to include spaces to display their works of art. This week, for the first time, that is happening, as students in Laura Christensen’s “Intermediate Art Lab” have their work on display for a brief exhibition.

This inaugural student art show, on exhibition now in Bowman Hall will conclude on Thursday, Dec. 17.  Christensen and her students have titled this display “Studio Art 315.” It is installed in the hall immediately outside the studio art lab classrooms on the third floor.

“It’s a little bit of everything because these are juniors and seniors. The topic is to develop their unique, individual artworks,” Christensen explained.

Each of the six students in her class – which is the predecessor to courses they may take next spring, “Senior Art Project” and “Advanced Art Lab” – created a body of work over the course of the semester, which generally consists of three to five pieces.

“They’ve been working really hard to make their own, individual artworks, building a body of work that can be exhibited in their senior show,” Christensen said. “It gives them an opportunity, in a relatively unstructured environment, to explore what they want to do, as far as making the art goes.”

Their art work includes a comic book, two artists’ books, a variety of portrait and landscape paintings, and satirical political posters.

Some of the students aim for professional art careers. At least one is applying to attend a Master’s of Fine Art (MFA) program. Another student is an adult learner, recently retired from another career. She’d like to find a way to bring art into retirement homes, “almost as art therapy,” Christensen said.

Whether they aim to become professional artists or not, Christensen said this exercise enhances her students’ educational experience by providing them with a prototype of life outside of MCLA.

“We’ve been working on things like an artist statement, presentations about their work and how each of their works fits into the bigger art world arena – what is their art family, both past and present,” Christensen said.

“They’ve all composed a ‘newsletter’ that announces the exhibit. They had to gather 50 names of people to send this announcement to, which is something that professional artists have to do, to find ways to get the word out and reach an audience,” she added.

The show will conclude with a reception on Thursday, Dec. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m., in celebration of the students’ art as they wind up the fall semester.

The reception is free and open to the public. All are invited to attend.

Other new art spaces in Bowman’s renovation include an art gallery located off of the main entrance in the campus quadrangle, and the PRESS Gallery, previously on Main Street.

To see more of Tefft’s portraits, go to

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