College of the Canyons students showcase work at the Getty museum

College of the Canyons Student Photographer Anna Betry discusses the student pieces that were on display with a group of spectators during The J. Paul Getty Museum's College Night on Monday.

Four photography students at College of the Canyons recently participated in College Night at The J. Paul Getty Museum, where students were given the opportunity to showcase their work and meet with artists and museum curators.

The COC artists were joined by those from three other colleges from the surrounding Los Angeles area, and the groups enjoyed a number of activities, including live music, art demonstrations, curated tours and much more, COC Professor Wendy Brill-Wynkoop said.

She said the partnership between the Getty and COC started nearly a dozen years ago. “The Getty hosts the event to try and reach out to the younger population, so they can get them interested in attending the museum.”

College of the Canyon student artists Sammi Sakabu,
Luis Peaks, Guadalupe “Tony” Ramirez and Anna Betry pose alongside their artwork on display during The J. Paul Getty Museum’s College Night on Monday.

There were three exhibitions open on College Night, including the photography exhibit, “Encore,” which students used for inspiration to craft a piece of their own, Brill-Wynkoop said, adding, “The students met with two pretty well-known artists (Eileen Cowin and Christina Fernandez) and got to discuss the artists’ work as well as their own.”

“It was incredible,” student photographer Anna Betry said with a laugh. “Especially for a community college student, it’s amazing to be recognized by such a prestigious place that has helped expose me to art since I was 10. It was a lot of fun and a lot of pressure — because, hello, it’s the Getty — but professionally, you can’t get better experience and exposure.”

Attending the event was worthwhile because the student artists were able to learn what goes into creating an exhibition, “and all the pressures and all the work that goes into the different pieces,” said Betry, who was one of the attending students selected to give a tour to spectators who happened to be in attendance at the museum Monday night.

This had the young photographer nervous, but in the end, Betry said she’d definitely consider leading tours in the future if given the chance.

“It was a really great opportunity to turn around and chat with people who aren’t necessarily artists,” she said. “It was honestly a lot of fun for me to be passionate about the art and offer people some tools that they can use when they’re walking around digesting the art because it can be kind of intimidating if you don’t regularly go to galleries. I just want people to enjoy the art and impart that to other people.”

Prior the end of the event, the four community colleges participated in a tour of their own, as the exhibit’s curators discussed the work that was presented, why they chose the pieces they did and the minute details that curators must consider when lighting and labeling their exhibits.

“The event opened up doors that we wouldn’t have thought about previously,” Betry said. “Obviously it’s a huge booster to my portfolio and resume, but, honestly, more important than that is it really helped me find out some of the responsibilities that go into making a commissioned piece, so it really helped me figure out what I’d want to explore in the future.”

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