Informatics faculty, staff show off in art show


Capturing the stillness of a busy world has always intrigued me with photography; preserving one moment of time (or 1/1000 of a second) that exists forever. There are so many objects in this world I enjoy pushing everything else back and concentrating on one thing, person, or in this case, animal. What is going on behind those eyes, what does the skin feel like, what is being communicated? Or as one child told me in wonder, “Hey, elephants have eyelashes just like me!” Through the lens of my camera I constantly explore and learn.

Last Friday, faculty and staff from the College of Informatics gathered in the advising center in Griffin Hall for the opening of a gallery featuring the works of seven faculty and staff members.

J. Michael Skaggs, a professor in the college, helped set the gallery up. He already has years of experience in setting up art galleries.

Skaggs has worked with the art show since its inception in the spring of 2012. He said that he had wanted to do this since moving into his office in Griffin.

“I was fantasizing about the empty wall space in the building, and how it could be used,” he said.

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The only issue with that; however, is that the artwork wouldn’t be secure, according to Skaggs. He said that the university would have had to install cameras and other safety measures to ensure the artwork would not be stolen.

Rees Storm, director of the advising center, said that’s the number one advantage of having the art show in the advising center: the center can be locked to block outside access after hours, when no one is in there.

So when Associate Dean Gaut Ragsdale approached Skaggs, it was a dream come true. He was able to use his gallery talents and ensure the artwork’s safety. In addition, the advising center has a new state-of-the-art hanging system, so that nail holes don’t have to be repaired after every art show, which Storm said was just installed two weeks ago, on March 22.

When Skaggs started to set the first art show up, it was only four artists. In the fall, for the second art show, only the same four participated.

This time there are three new artists and Skaggs hopes that more people get involved in the future.
Skaggs said that he’s not sure if there will be a student art show someday.

“We’re open to anything,” he said. “It would be interesting to do something with students.”

Storm does anticipate a fourth show next fall. Last fall, according to Skaggs, the art show’s theme was “Enhancing Diversity.” Both times the show has been put up in spring and had an open theme, he said.

Skaggs isn’t sure if the show in the fall will be open or will have a theme.

“We [the artists] are going to need to sit down and talk about it. We’re so excited about this show, some are already asking, ‘What are we doing next?’ We’ve got a little bit of time, though. We’ve got until October.”

The new show usually goes up toward the end of the semester, Skaggs said, and around the time of registration for the next semester. This way it gets the maximum amount of exposure, with students going into the advising office to figure out what classes they want to take.