Art students debut sophomore projects

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The evening of Wednesday, April 11, the 2018 exhibit of Sophomore Art Projects debuted. The Sophomore Project is a semester-long course that requires art majors and minors to develop a piece in their medium of choice based on a given prompt. This year, students were prompted to consider the meaning of “sanctuary.” Facilitated by Professor Meagan Stirling, the sophomore project process includes check-ins, class critiques, the final exhibition, as well as a final critique given by senior project artists.

The final exhibition revealed a diverse collection of interpretations of the meaning of the prompt “sanctuary,” selected by Professor Stirling. “Given the current political landscape,” Dr. Stirling commented regarding the selected prompt, “I thought it was an appropriate and necessary theme for this year's class to think about and make artwork in response to. My hope was that the artists in the class would consider what sanctuary might mean for the immigrant, the homeless, or the outsider.”

Perhaps the power of the meaning of “sanctuary” was especially significant to Westmont students this year throughout the series of natural disasters that seemed to surround Westmont Campus. Art major Alyssa Beccue, who is currently abroad on Westmont’s Cairo Semester, completely reoriented her project in light of the Thomas Fire evacuation. Beccue reflected in a recent email interview, “during all the evacuations, I was struck how much people gathered and stuck together wherever they could find shelter, and specifically my house offered sanctuary for a group of students (I think about 20 came in and out and stayed overnight over the course of the few days). One day I noticed a pile of shoes by the front door, and it caught my eye that it was such a representation of all the different people seeking shelter and sanctuary under our roof.” For her final project, Alyssa painted the shoes of the people who took shelter in her Santa Barbara home and hung them from a singed piece of wood from the material used to build her house.

For other project participants, such as art major Jessica Galvin, the “sanctuary” inspired more of an abstract interpretation. To create her piece, “Seeking Solace,” Jessica used black and white scratchboard to create an image depicting movement towards a light at the end of a forest to convey her own pursuit of faith. Similarly, C.C. VanNortwick’s reflected on her acrylic piece “Closer,” stating that it “is meant to be a comfort and conviction, reminding followers of Christ of what their identity is, and how they are called to welcome others.”

As part of the finalizing process, pieces are required to be framed for the exhibit. For double art and communications major Emma Wade, framing her final product marked a favorite reflective moment in the process, as she stated, “[At the framer’s] I got to stand back and the thing I had put so much time into could be admired by other people outside Westmont for the first time, and I got to invest time and money into finding it a nice home.”

The sophomore project exhibit is displayed in the bottom floor of Adam’s until Friday, April 20.


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