Student show in community creates opportunities

December 20, 2007

by Elizabeth Degrie

November’s holiday art show throughout downtown Ruston had artists displaying their work all over town. Included in this rush of exhibitions was a trio of Tech art students who were able to put on a show in the Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse, located at 201 N. Trenton St.

Stephanie Kearly, executive assistant of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council and a senior studio art major, said she was the one who coordinated the holiday art show and created the opportunity for the show at Frothy Monkey.

“I got Emily [Ezell] and Nick [Norwood] involved because I knew how great of an opportunity it would be,” Kearly said.

Kearly said she picked Frothy specifically because of the attraction it holds for college students as a whole.

“Frothy is one of the hubs of the town, a place where college students go a lot,” Kearly said.

She said it is important for students to have their work critiqued by their peers and this opportunity provided the three students with that chance.

“The main goal is to sell your artwork,” Kearly said. “Also, the experience is good. It’s great to have that on your résumé. Any small exhibition looks good on your résumé.”

Kearly said students who wish to attempt to show their work should first get their pieces together.

“Put together a body of work that’s cohesive,” Kearly said. “Then try and get to know the owners of small businesses. Especially in Ruston, small businesses really care about the arts and are really glad to participate.”

Nick Norwood, a senior studio art and communications design major, said it was great to be able to put his work in a public place.

“It’s neat to have yourself out there publicly, even though I didn’t really sell anything. I didn’t really expect to,” Norwood said.

Norwood said his work does not fit into traditional ideas of what art is supposed to be like, especially in the more conservative sense.

“Most of it is just my psyche, trying to understand things around me,” Norwood said.

Norwood also said he encourages art students to take any opportunity to show their work if they are ready for the job.

“[In] Ruston, [it] is always hard to get a place to show your work, especially this long,” Norwood said. “If you do get the opportunity, do it. It generally made me more comfortable.”

Norwood said his favorite part of the experience was a compliment from a California native who had more experience with work similar to his own.

“It made me feel good that someone appreciated it,” Norwood said.

Gray Pumpelly, a junior communication design major, said he thought the art provided a good variety to the decorations at the shop. He knew all of the artists and was pleased with the work. He said he wished these sort of shows happened more often in Ruston.

“Ruston needs way more of that,” Pumpelly said. “We need a building strictly for that. It brings culture into Ruston.”

Pumpelly said he thought it was a great experience for the artists as well as the community.

“It gives them an opportunity to put their work out there,” Pumpelly said. “And get comments from not necessarily just Tech, but outside the school arena.”