For almost a decade, Founders Week has given the Department of Fine Arts the chance to develop a student art exhibition to showcase and celebrate the talents of members of the University community.
According to Professor Joseph L. Adolphe, associate professor of Fine Arts, the exhibit correlates with the changing themes of Founders Week. This year the theme is “Be Vincentian.”
Space limitations made some students and faculty feel as though the department is not being given enough attention.
“There is a shortage on exhibit space and students need to have a space to place their exhibitions,” said Adolphe.
Students who saw the exhibit had good reviews but similar criticisms of the display. Sophomore Terri-Ann Nelson said the St. John’s Hall basement exhibit was not in a good location.
“They put a lot of talent and work into it but no one’s ever down here,” she said.
Senior Benjamin Leung also said that the fourth floor St. Augustine exhibit needed a new place for its display.
“They should put it somewhere else, probably the cafeteria,” he said.
Tracy Hua, a senior graphic design major also voiced concerns over the art department’s status in the community.
“The art department at St. John’s isn’t really recognized and not many people know that we even have an art department,” she said.
It’s a problem that inhibits the art department from having student exhibitions all year and Professor Adolphe hopes that when people see this exhibit they open their eyes.
“I would hope they could see the wealth of talent that we have right under our noses and help expand the presence of the visual arts on the St. John’s campus,” he said.
Last semester Professor Adolphe instructed his fine arts students to do two assignments for the exhibit.
“The students are very lucky to be at a school that places as great an emphasis on how you live your life as on what you do in your life. It produces a complete student and artist,” said Adolphe.
One assignment was called “The Metaphor Project” centered on personal images and while the other required students to interpret different words based on what feelings were evoked when they read them.
“The Metaphor Project” asked that students draw a self-portrait, and include an object which best “describes, epitomizes and encapsulates” them, according to Adolphe.
The words for the second project included “conflict, spiritual, magic, sacred, and silence.”
Adolphe said he wanted his students to think with a “critical eye” and express their true feelings into their work. “The Metaphor project” exhibit is lined on the hallway in the basement level of St. John’s Hall, while the depicted word project is arranged on the 4th floor of St. Augustine Hall.
Dana Jefferson, a graphic design major, created her self portrait depicting herself dressed as a boxer.
Adolphe said that she chose boxing because to showcase her “fighting spirit” after surviving leukemia.
Walter Martinez, a fine arts major, depicted the word “magic” by drawing legendary basketball player Magic Johnson pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Surrounding the depicted word project is Hua’s work. She also contributed to the exhibit, from a different class, in which she depicted global poverty.
Hua collected information from various foundations and organizations, researching poverty statistics around the globe.
She took it a step further and traveled to Bogota, Columbia where she was able to “witness poverty first hand.”
“It is a different experience reading and hearing about poverty rather than getting the experience from in that environment,” said Hua.
Hua put photos from her trip in a book in the exhibit entitled “A Visual Diary in Ciudad, Bolivia.”
She created another book entitled “A Visual Diary from Woodside,” showing her own home, which became a comparison for the first book.
Then Hua made a book called “People Making a Change” which “features all of the people and organizations that are making changes and a difference in people’s lives.”
Lastly, she used information from Habitat for Humanity’s website and placed the problems and solutions of people’s situations in the world through icons.
“I hope that it brings awareness to the fact that there are so many social issues out there and that many people all over the world need our help,” Hua said.