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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Art Happens

Viscaral Cinema

Viscaral Cinema

UMass Boston’s Harbor Art Gallery opened its annual Fall Student Art Show with a strong mix of collage, three-dimensional art, printmaking, photography, and painting.

All pieces entered were submitted to be anonymously juried by a panel of University faculty. Anonymity allows the work to be considered on its own merits, independent of any interpersonal relationships. The aim of this safeguard is to guarantee that the best selection of work is displayed.

For the last few weeks, the Harbor Art Gallery solicited submissions from students of every major-all across the campus-not just art department students. The new Gallery Director, Andrea Souza, sent broadcast emails to the entire student body and flyered the campus for submissions. According to Souza, the jury received “dozens of wonderful pieces. Unfortunately, we are confined by space.” Souza herself did not sit on the jury to preserve the integrity of the process.

“The jury panel did feel it was important to select pieces from various media” to demonstrate the breadth of the talent here on the UMB campus. It’s important to note that the Fall Student Show is open to all students, while the Spring Capstone Show is limited to graduating Art Department Seniors.

Next fall, Souza hopes to get even more submissions, get them from more people, and get them earlier. She speculates on a factor that she suspects may lead students be hesitant about submitting their work. “Many people are hesitant to submit because they think it’s all art students in here.”

“That’s not true,” she adds emphatically. “The work of at least two students who are not Art majors is on display in this show. In fact, anyone can propose a show for the gallery at any time; all proposed work goes through a jury process similar to the one that governs the Student Art Show.”

Souza further notes that some students hesitate “because they’ve never been shown in a gallery before. But they shouldn’t be [hesitant]. We have several people in this show who’ve never shown anywhere before.”

She notes closer collaboration this semester with the University’s arts and literature journal, The Watermark, as a success of this semester. The Watermark publishes student art using a similar anonymous jury process, although the jury in that case is made up of students. “I definitely bugged a lot of people to submit to The Watermark this semester,” Souza laughs. “I think it helped them out a lot. I also participated in that jury, and I discovered a few artists that I asked to submit for the Student Art Show.”

Even artists like Kate Mills, whose work will appear this semester in both the Student Art Show and The Watermark, made it through by being selected anonymously, not on Souza’s encouragement. Souza hopes that next year more students submit and submit earlier in the semester.

The Harbor Art Gallery is a professional gallery, so the issue of not showing enough student work comes up every year. “We’re a non-profit gallery at a public university, the professional shows help to offset the costs of running the gallery,” notes Souza. The gallery is solely student run. The staff solicits, organizes, and sets up the professional artist exhibits.

That being said, Souza is actively looking to increase spaces/opportunities for students to hang/incorporate their artwork throughout the campus. Typically, the schedule is set the year before, but she remains committed to working with the Office of Student Life to maximize the financial benefit of the professional shows to the University while increasing student opportunities to display there work. “We definitely want to work more closely with other parts of the campus… there are other spaces besides our gallery where students can and should hang work.” Speaking again of her partnership with The Watermark, Souza adds “if we work together, we’ll get a stronger result with that relationship, I think many people this semester-who weren’t going to submit to anything-were pleasantly surprised their work has been so warmly received. I want to increase that feeling. I think a lot of people will be surprised at how much, and how diverse the talents of people on this campus are.”

The Student Art Show is open right now Monday through Friday 11 A.M – 6 P.M. in the Harbor Art Gallery’s space on the first floor of the McCormack Building. The opening reception for the show will be Tuesday, November 114, from 6-8 P.M. The show will be on display through November 28th, 2006.