Thursday night we had two events stacked one on top of the other. First up was the reception and awards presentation for the Student Juried Exhibit. This is one of the big events of the year for us and each year we try to make it better than the year before. Our students do great work and we try to have awards in place to reward them for their labor. This year we held a sneak preview of the exhibit for Friends of the Gallery on Tuesday. These Friends showed their support for the students and sponsored purchase and merit awards that almost doubled our usual awards budget. This was a real success for us.
So on Thursday evening I walked down the hall while brushing sawdust off my pants and buttoned my collared shirt and within minutes I realized that I would make a terrible photographer.
I raised my phone to take the first photo and focused on a group of my students. They were laughing and eating until one of them spotted me. Instantly two of them ducked behind other students, one turned his head and poor Anne turned to see what was going on. Andrew was nice enough to not move. Thanks Andrew.
I figured it was a fluke and moved on to the next group. I got closer, raised my phone and got this reaction.
By the time I got to EllenBess and she made this face at me, I started to think I might be the problem.
Then Singletary looked at me like this...but then she always looks at me like this. But look closer. Notice Colleen's response?
So I gave up on the candid shots because apparently that's impossible for me. I scoped the room and when the presentations began, I found the best possible spot. I was right behind the real photographer, Jon Holloway. In this great spot, I managed to snag this one of Stacie accepting the Excellence in Foundations Award.
I wasn't prepared for students coming from the other side...like the Tavmanian Devil accepting The Sculpture Award from inside the tiny glass case.
And Cessquatch accepting The Mac Welding Award inside the same glass case. She looks like she's squaring off with the ceramic sock monkey. The Mac Welding Award is given in memory of my dad who was called "Mac" by his students and many of his friends and who is responsible for all my students learning to weld.
So I moved. Foolproof plan, right? Not so much. Here's a very blurry Sean getting his 2nd Place Sculpture Award. Or at least I think that's Sean. And I didn't even get to see Mia, the new queen of sculpture get her 3rd Place Sculpture Award. She's short and she was on the other side.
And there's Anne accepting her 2nd award for the night. She received a purchase award and The 1st Place Sculpture Award. She's now made more money on art this year than I have. I think I'm kidding, but sadly I'm not so sure.
As bad as I am at taking photos, Sir Tom Pitts is even greater at addressing a room full of people. That's him up there holding court while presenting the awards. We could Photoshop him out of this environment and put him in the White House and he could be president. Pope would be a nice touch for him too. He could pull off both.
It was great to see the expressions on the faces of so many students who were apparently shocked to win awards. It was also nice to see alumni there like Melissa and Ali. And speaking of people coming back, there's Jon's back again.
Our winners gathered for a photo opp. No one was ready when I took this photo but I love it because it looks like the Lander art department. People are goofing around, almost everyone is laughing and the art is really good. That's pretty much what it's like every day.
As soon as we were done we had to motivate into the auditorium for the Student Academic Showcase awards ceremony. For this year's event we created a new student juried exhibit in the fall semester designed to give the students experience in entering a digitally juried exhibition. Our juror was Brandon Oxendine, an excellent designer at Google and also one of my former students from Winthrop. Our five SAS student participants were chosen by Brandon and he selected one of those as the Best in Show award and SAS overall winner. The tiny figures in the photo are Anne Beaudette, Jessica Bass, Brunhilda Floyd, Whitney Price and Mariano Robla. Whitney Price was our winner
In summary, our students are great, our supporters are great and my photos are terrible. Stay tuned - there's about a month of school left and way too many things left to do in that time.