Art a thriving community at Parkland

Scott Barnes

Staff Writer

Photo by Scott Wells/Prospectus News Artist Carrie Schumacher’s piece “Genevieve and the Impossibly Beautiful Day” is currently on  display at Parkland’s Giertz Gallery. The exhibit runs through Nov. 8.

Photo by Scott Wells/Prospectus News
Artist Carrie Schumacher’s piece “Genevieve and the Impossibly Beautiful Day” is currently on
display at Parkland’s Giertz Gallery. The exhibit runs through Nov. 8.

To have a lucrative career as an artist is a difficult thing to do, but for the students that are interested in pursuing their passion, Parkland offers many programs and various majors pertaining to the world of art. The college recently built a new facility to house these courses in classrooms that provide the necessary space required for students to get the most out of their educational experience here.

Although the construction of the new Fine and Applied Arts Center was not completed on schedule, and the start of the semester for the students using this new facility was delayed by three weeks, things are up and running now. But students will still have to complete their courses within the standard 16 week timeline this semester, which results in their courses being somewhat accelerated.

“It didn’t get done as quickly as we had hoped,” Art and Design Program Director, Denise Seif, said. “It’s a bit of a disadvantage to the students, but they are getting the same number of contact hours with faculty and with each other.”

Now that the new building is serviceable, things are running smoothly and Seif is happy with the new atmosphere. She explained that having all of these classes within the same building enhances the learning experience for the students.

“I think it’s pretty exciting to have people together,” Seif added. “To have that energy level that happens when you have a community, and people are sharing in the experience of that community. There is a lot more exposure that people are going to get with this new facility. It’s true for the students but it’s also kind of true for the faculty too.”

According to Seif, the programs at Parkland are designed to teach students what is like to be an artist in the real world. Specific courses, such as the Portfolio Seminar, teach students the skills necessary to be a professional artist. Students are also able to submit their artwork to an exhibition that takes place every spring in the Giertz Gallery located here on campus. This presents students with the opportunity to experience what it is like to prepare their artwork for public showings. Students submit their artwork and it is reviewed by a jury. This process helps familiarize students with what will be expected of them if they do plan to pursue a career in art.

Art and Design major, Erin Rogers, has gone through this process and she has had her artwork featured in past exhibitions. She graduated in 2006 but she still enrolls in at least six credit hours per semester because that allows her to work in the gallery. She enjoys still being able to be a part of the art community here at Parkland.

“Some of the best stuff in the student show is from a person of any age that has only taken one art class,” Rogers said. “That’s their piece from their first ever art class and it’s good enough to make it through the jury selection.”

Director of the Giertz Gallery, Lisa Costello, explained that you don’t necessarily have to be enrolled in an art program to be featured in the gallery. In fact, the gallery receives over 300 applications a year from various artists. If you are interested then you must submit a portfolio, a resume, and an artist statement. A jury then goes through it and decides whether or not to feature you in an exhibition.

“Since we are a teaching gallery, we’re looking for work that would inspire all of the people here on campus,” Costello said. “What are these artists trying to say? How are they trying to say it? Why are they saying it? How does it relate to our students who are making artwork?”

The current exhibition, titled “Salvage: A Group Exhibition of Contemporary Artists,” features art from seven different artists. The exhibition runs from now until Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and is free but donations are always appreciated.

If you are a student interested in art visit the Counseling and Advising Center to enroll in courses. For more information about the Giertz Gallery visit www.parkland.edu/gallery.