COC students showcase art at annual exhibition

Visitors observer student art in the gallery in Mentry Hall at College of the Canyons on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

A diverse range of work is on display at College of the Canyon’s (COC) on-campus art gallery.

The 21st annual Student Art Exhibition includes work from approximately 80 students and includes works in the mediums of sculpture, photography, painting, 3-D media, graphic design, printmaking, drawing and illustration.

“It’s always really touching because I forget how much it means to our students,” said Larry Hurst, COC’s Art Gallery director.  “I forget that it’s significant for them.”

The Student Art Exhibition officially opened to the public Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m. in what Hurst called a “soft open.”

Students, staff, parents and friends were seen walking through the gallery and admiring the various works.

Those interested in presenting their work at the Student Art Exhibition can submit up to three entries to the gallery.  The works are then chosen by a guest juror and curator from the greater Los Angeles arts community.

This year, the gallery received more than 100 entries from students that were reviewed by guest juror Sue Tuemmler, an artist based in downtown Los Angeles and former arts educator whose work has appeared at galleries like the Cincinnati Art Museum and Barnsdall Art Center, among others.

“It is juried by an outside artist who is not biased,” Hurst said.  “One reason we do it this way is that they have no sentimental attachment.”

Students who did not make it into the Student Art Exhibition received a phone call from the COC Art Gallery staff.  However, Hurst noted that most students who submitted three entries had at least one on display.

The process of submitting work to a gallery is also an educational experience for students to encounter what it is like to exhibit in the professional world.

“This is part of the education process for these students to go through the process and be selected on the merit of their work,” Hurst said.

Madison Leatherman, a homeschooled high school senior who is also studying art at COC, had three of her pieces selected for the Student Art Exhibition.

“I’m super excited, I’m still a high school student so it’s really cool,” she said.

Her works included a painted self-portrait, a sketched figure and a dry paint print, which each took her anywhere from 40 minutes to 24 hours to complete.

“I really like self-portraits but I’m also inspired by my family and my life,” Leatherman said.

Once the exhibit concludes on May 25, some works will become part of the permanent visual art collection at the college’s Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and 10m a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday.  Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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