Increasing Exposure: Undergraduate Juried Exhibition paints picture of professional art world process for students

Sam Ergina, Arcade Editor [email protected]

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Hidden away in the Woldenberg Art Center, a pristine white-walled gallery displays all kinds of art. It presents a sharp contrast from the neon glare of the hallways directly outside of its three rooms and a peaceful atmosphere in which to appreciate student art.

Despite differences in appearance between Woldenberg Art Center and the Carroll Gallery, it is more of an extension of the building it resides in than its Newcomb counterpart a floor below. Overseen by Tulane University’s Art Department, it mainly uses the gallery for students and faculty alike to present projects and works in a professional setting.

“It’s kind of a lab of sorts, like a learning laboratory for people to try out new works.” Carroll Gallery curator Laura Richens said.

Since Nov. 8, the Carroll Gallery has hosted the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition. An annual event, this exhibition allows any Tulane student to submit work done within the past year. There’s a wide range of different forms viable for review, as the current show includes styles like ceramics, acrylic paintings, digital prints and sculptures.

A faculty committee chooses an artist or curator from outside the school’s community as juror to evaluate the submissions with a blind eye. The artist behind each work isn’t revealed until the juror decides on the pieces that will comprise the show. This aspect of the exhibition allows students to experience professional-level critique and evaluation.

“I think it’s really exciting for the students to have someone come in and respond to their work, not as an art assignment for a class, but to take it seriously and respond to it honestly,” Richens said.

Since art and objectivity never truly jibe, with a different juror comes a very different show. This year’s juror and curator of the show was Emily Wilkerson. Wilkerson is the curatorial associate of Prospect New Orleans, a citywide art triennial and an active member of the city’s contemporary art scene.

These professional experiences shape the vision Wilkerson has for the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition and during a walkthrough last Friday, she was able to engage in an educational conversation with the artists behind the work, articulating why their pieces appealed to her.

Wilkerson combed through nearly 200 submissions and chose between 30 and 50 pieces to be put up and presented at the exhibition, with five of those pieces receiving a juror’s award.

For any students interested in pursuing art to a professional level, this exhibition offers a glimpse into the process of choosing a piece, titling it, pricing it and all the other elements that an artist has to go through to have their work recognized and shown to the public.

The Undergraduate Juried Exhibition also exemplifies a gallery’s nature of blending different artists and styles to present one larger message or theme.

“It’s really fun to see so many minds come together to create something so cohesive,” senior Eliza Carey said. Carey is one of five students to receive a Juror’s Award for her piece in the show.

The Carroll Gallery offers its beautiful space to the Tulane community to express their work, with the gallery’s current exhibition providing students with a place to experience art as both a viewer and producer.

The Undergraduate Juried Exhibition will be open until Thanksgiving break. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment.