Juried Exhibition lets BFA students showcase art

Jamie Lyons

For undergraduate art students across campus, an entire semester will come down to one exhibit.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts Juried Exhibition opened Monday, but the reception for the show is tonight from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event is located at Harrison Galleries in downtown Tuscaloosa and is free and open to all students and community members.

The BFA Juried Exhibition is a collection of art submitted by students in the program and selected by a jury of four professors from the department.

Students pursuing a BFA in studio art are accepted to the program usually at the beginning of their junior year. The students select one of the following concentrations: ceramics, painting, printmaking, photography, digital media, sculpture or drawing.

Rachel Dobson, visual resources curator for the department, is involved in publicizing many events related to the arts. Dobson said this is a very busy time for events and for students as they finish their final projects for the semester.

She added that this event is the “culmination for some of the seniors and even juniors of a year or more of work.”

“It gives the students pursuing a BFA, which is a professional art degree, good experience,” Dobson said.

This is the second year for this event. Jeremy Davis, a BFA senior with a concentration in ceramics, has two pieces on display at this exhibition this year. He also had pieces displayed last year.

“It gives you a sense of accomplishment, especially being an off-campus gallery,” Davis said.

In addition to ceramics, Davis does printmaking. His two pieces in the exhibition this year are different from each other in that one is 3-D and the other is 2-D.

As he was working on a new project on his ceramics wheel, Davis added, “I’m an artist. This is what we do.”

Davis also expressed appreciation on behalf of all of the featured artists to Jim Harrison of Harrison Galleries for hosting the exhibition and giving the students this opportunity.

Craig Wedderstone, associate professor of sculpture, explained that the event is important for the students who are featured.

“It’s professional experience,” Wedderstone said. “There’s an element of prestige because it’s an off-campus, private gallery.”

He added that the jury process is very selective, which adds to the prestige.

“It’s just a matter of which are stronger works,” Wedderstone explained. “To qualify for a BFA, a student’s skills and conceptual ability have risen to at least an acceptable level, as well as craftsmanship.

The reception is a celebration of the accomplishment of these students. At the event, hors d’oeurves will be catered by Chef David Dickensauge of the University Club. The Matt Wiley Group will provide music. Wedderstone said he encouraged students who are not involved in the department to come out to see the exhibit.

“It’s good food for free,” Wedderstone said.

Rachel Dobson said that students of all disciplines would benefit from visiting the gallery.

“Students get to see what their peers are doing in other areas of study,” Dobson said. “Even if you don’t know them personally, you get to know the problems and struggles they face in their field.”