Juried Student Exhibition: The hands in the gallery
February 12, 2023
NKU’s annual Juried Student Exhibition is on display from Jan. 26 to Feb. 16. The show prioritizes this event and even gives out prize money to selected winners. The exhibition is curated by Ian Hersko, founder and director of the Rainbow Gallery in Cincinnati.
The application process is fairly easy, according to senior studio arts and theatre minor Isobel Edgerly. Students can submit up to three pieces. They send in photos of the art and then Hersko picks what fits his image. Edgerly had a screen print accepted, and she was thrilled to see her work displayed.
“The posters on the wall by the elevator are from my class, I saw mine and was like ‘aww cute,’ then I went into the gallery and saw it and was like ‘that’s even better.’”
The Juried Student Exhibition is a great opportunity for students to practice applying and prepping their work for galleries. Director of Galleries and Outreach Sso-Rah Kang specified the importance of the opportunity,
“It’s important in several ways, going through the application process of turning in work. It gives real world experience, students can make mistakes in safety because it is in this gallery,” Kang said.
Out of the 72 student submissions this year, Hersko chose 28 that fit his evaluations. Hersko does not look at the pieces just based on skill: he looks for pieces that fit a certain energy in the show.
With these submissions, the gallery is ready to be installed. This is left up to Kang and a select few students.
Kang instructs five students a semester for a gallery installation internship. These students learn exhibition planning such as making sure pieces are properly framed, adding necessary pieces such as d-rings for hanging, analyzing the size of the room, walls and pieces to change the atmosphere to look the best.
Two of these students are seniors Skyler Smith and Chris Whelan—both drawing BFA’s.
Smith described how this internship “helps personally to think about how your piece is going to be installed.” She also touches on the importance of developing mechanical skills of using your hands to hang and display art.
Whelan goes on to explain how this opportunity, which they accidentally stumbled onto during scheduling, has opened up more career paths in the art community.
“It’s practical for artists to know. When working upstairs in drawing and painting, no one brings up this side of the atmosphere of galleries. We are taught to apply to galleries, but no one talks about who is prepping the gallery. No one really told us,” Whelan said.
Art careers are competitive: there is a lot of stress about finding jobs. Internships open up more opportunities for artists to have a career in the arts that is stable and still uses their skills.
“There is this whole other side of it, working in galleries. I feel like it is not discussed very much. I didn’t think about it before because no one brought it up … It makes me feel less afraid to graduate,” Whelan said.