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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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SDSU's University Gallery (Credit: SDSU School of Art and Design) SDSU's University Gallery (Credit: SDSU School of Art and Design)

Support and Opportunity for Emerging Artists

The Student Award Exhibition underscores SDSU's commitment to student art and design.
By Mara Parker

San Diego State University’s School of Art and Design will host its 20th annual Student Award Exhibition from March 5-17, 2018 at the University Gallery. The Student Award Exhibition is a program that gives student artists and designers the opportunity to showcase their work in SDSU public spaces and offices as well as receive cash prizes.

The exhibition features the juried work of undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of ceramics, furniture design and woodworking, jewelry and metalsmithing, graphic design, multimedia, painting and printmaking, sculpture, book arts, illustration, and photography. An awards ceremony and reception honoring the winners will take place from 4-6 p.m. on March 12 in Art North, room 412.

The Office of the University President, Office of the University Provost, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, Aztec Shops, and SDSU Art Council Ambassadors, among others, will distribute cash awards to student artists totaling $7,500. Art Produce, a prestigious, local gallery and longtime supporter of the School of Art and Design, will also award an exclusive exhibition opportunity to a chosen artist.

Originating in 1999, the Student Award Exhibition supports the university’s Arts Alive SDSU initiative to increase the visibility of the arts across campus.

From the beginning

Dean Joyce Gattas of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts has been involved in the Student Award Exhibition since its inception. As a founding participant of the awards program, Gattas recalls when just she and the SDSU president selected art and awarded cash prizes.

“It’s amazing how it’s evolved over the years,” said Gattas. “Today there is so much interest and participation from across the university and from our donor group, the Art Council Ambassadors. As a result, our student artwork is exhibited in offices around the campus.”

Over the years, Gattas and others have turned the review and selection of artwork into an opportunity for staff team building.

“Beyond adding another beautiful piece of student art to our office, what is particularly rewarding to me is how our office staff get involved in the selection of the art, and we discuss how the art speaks to each of us," she said. “The art becomes a window to express how we feel about things.”

Originality, inventiveness, and craftsmanship

Prior to the exhibition each March, student award submissions are narrowed down to a select few by a jury comprised of School of Art and Design faculty members representing all disciplines within the school.

Richard Keely, associate professor of sculpture, has been on the Student Award Exhibition jury since its inception and said a lot of thought goes into the selection of artwork.

“We look for originality, inventiveness, and craftsmanship as it relates to making an interesting, convincing, communicative object or image,” said Keely. “We often think about how being in the exhibition will inspire an individual to push themselves to become a better artist.”

Gallery hours during the 2018 Student Award Exhibition are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The University Gallery will also remain open during Explore SDSU from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, 2018.