Released: August 17, 2012
Lincoln, Neb. - The Department of Art and Art History is celebrating two important events in early September. On Sept. 7 it will open the first annual Nebraska National Collegiate Juried Art Exhibition in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery. On that same night, it will also celebrate the opening of the new MEDICI Gallery. Both events will be on the first floor of Richards Hall, located just south of Memorial Stadium on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln city campus.
The Nebraska National will be open from Sept. 7-28 and will showcase the best undergraduate artwork from students around the U.S. and Canada. 186 students from 37 states and 2 provinces submitted 495 pieces this first year. Jurors selected 132 pieces from 97 artists for the exhibition, including 26 pieces in ceramics, 51 pieces in photography and 55 pieces in printmaking.
“We got an excellent response for the first year of the competition. There is a wide variety of interesting work,” said Department of Art and Art History Interim Chair Pete Pinnell.
The department intends to make this show an annual event. Each year’s exhibition will feature three different categories on a two-year rotating basis. This year’s categories are ceramics, printmaking and photography. Next year, the categories will be painting/drawing, sculpture and new genres.
Long-time department supporters Dan and Barbara Howard, of Lincoln, Neb., created the Howard Awards for Excellence for the first year of the competition. The awards are intended to both reward excellence and to attract students to enter the competition.
“The Howards very generously gave four awards; a $1,000 First Prize in each of the three categories and a $1,500 prize for Best of Show,” Pinnell said. “Dan and Barbara’s support has been instrumental to the success of this show and of the entire department."
Pinnell said the exhibition meets two important goals for the department.
“It will expose our students to the best student art work from across the country, and I hope it will also entice the general public to attend our openings and see what we’re doing here in the department," he said.
In addition to the gallery show, an online catalog for the exhibition will be available on the department’s website (http://www.unl.edu/art). Anyone will be able to download the catalog for free or send the file to a self-publishing site to get a paper copy printed.
“We’ve started work on the catalog and will have it on our website by mid-September," Pinnell said.
The Nebraska National will have a special First Friday opening on Sept. 7 from 6-8 p.m. The Howard Awards for Excellence will be announced at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Hours for the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery are Monday-Thursday, noon to 4 p.m.
Jurors for this year's exhibition were Sam Chung in ceramics, who is an Assistant Professor in the Herberger College of the Arts-School of Art at Arizona State University; Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek in photography, who own Alchemy Studio, which produces fine arts photography and workshops in the arts; and David Morrison in printmaking, who is Professor of Printmaking at Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. All four jurors will be in classes the first week of September.
MEDICI GalleryThe First Friday event will also celebrate the opening of the new MEDICI Gallery, also on the first floor of Richards Hall. A ribbon cutting and dedication will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 7, during the opening of the Nebraska National show. This event will also be free and open to the public.
“This is an ideal space for a student gallery. It’s close to the front door, right down the hall from the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery, and it’s a perfect size,” Pinnell said.
The $10,000 cost of the renovation was paid for by MEDICI, a friends group that supports the Department of Art and Art History.
“The new gallery is being named to honor MEDICI and the wonderful people who have served with this group over the last 20 years,” said Pinnell. “These volunteers have given their time, money and expertise to support our programs, and we’d like to recognize their contribution."
MEDICI will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in the spring of 2013. During its existence MEDICI has raised nearly $200,000 for the department.
Pinnell uses a sports analogy to describe the programming differences between the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery and the new MEDICI Gallery.
“When we’re kids and we’re learning about sports, we tend to do it two ways,” he said. “One way is in formal leagues where the games are structured and organized, with coaches, rules and guidance. That’s what the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery is like. It’s an organized, structured, planned exhibition space and it’s an essential tool for teaching art.”
The new MEDICI Gallery, he said, will be more like the pick-up games you played in the street or at the school playground.
“Those pick-up games are innovative, impromptu and unstructured. That’s how we envision this new gallery. The shows will be up for a short time and can be much more experimental and improvisational. Both kinds of experiences are important for learning how to be an artist and both can be entertaining for the viewing public," Pinnell said.
The first exhibition in the MEDICI Gallery will be an invitational show of UNL students organized by faculty members in painting, photography and printmaking. The show is tentatively titled “2D: Student Work from UNL” and will stay up until Sept. 28.
“Once the MEDICI gallery is up and running we’ll post a schedule of events on our department website," Pinnell said.
“We’re definitely starting the school year off with a bang” Pinnell said. “Art is an exciting field, and I think a reminder of the potential and promise of the field is a good way to start the year."
For more information, call (402) 472-5522 or visit www.unl.edu/art.