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Stories: 2007-08

Three Premier Art Department Events
April 23, 2008

Ruth RibeiroAs spring semester draws to a close, art students of various stripes are gearing up to present their work at a series of premier events: The bachelor of fine arts exhibition, the art history symposium and the bachelor of arts exhibition.

First up is “Sticks and Stones,” the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) exhibition, held Friday, April 25 through Saturday, May 3 at the college’s Center Art Gallery. A reception for the event happens from 7–9 p.m. opening night at the same venue.

The exhibition is the annual showcase of artworks from Calvin’s bachelor of fine arts (BFA) graduates.

“It’s a pre-professional program, and it prepares students to go to graduate school in fine arts or to enter into the practice of being a studio artist,” said Calvin art history professor Henry Luttikhuizen about the BFA concentration.

The BFA is an intensive program, and prospective bachelors and bachelorettes of fine arts must submit a portfolio of their work to qualify. Those accepted spend lots of hours in the art department’s various studios because the BFA degree requires that students achieve advanced level in at least three media: drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, photography and communication design.

“Sticks and Stones” features the work of four BFA graduates: Photographers and mixed media artists Tracy Rose Guajardo and Ruth Ribeiro, painter and printmaker Sara Bakker and painter and ceramist Eric Heerspink.

“The BFA exhibition is a more hands-on show for the exhibiting students because they select the work and install it themselves,” said Calvin director of exhibitions Joel Zwart, adding, “These students produce a lot of work.”

So much work, in fact, that the department holds a auxiliary BFA show, which already ran April 4–25 at  Calvin’s downtown gallery at 106 S. Division. “It’s good for the students to exhibit at 106,” said Zwart, who is helping the students to install both shows, “because it teaches them to navigate in a different exhibition space.”

The second event on the art and art history department horizon is the annual art history symposium, held May 2 in 125 Spoelhof Center. The symposium features Calvin’s art history majors presenting papers. “The symposium serves as the final presentation of the art historian’s scholarship,” Luttikhuizen said.

And the final event of the art and art historical season is the annual bachelor of arts (BA) exhibition, held May 9–17 at the Center Art Gallery. The reception for the BA show will be held 6–8 p.m. on Friday, May 16. This second student showcase features the art in various media of Calvin’s graduates in the bachelor of arts, a liberal-arts focused art degree. The BA show features a wide range of art representing a wide range of media.

All three events are capstone achievements for the many and various types of art graduates produced by the department, said Luttikhuizen: “The public nature of it all is very important because it allows the students to recognize their scholarship as a service. It’s also important to the department because it shows the fruits of our labor, and,” he added, “and it gives family, friends, colleagues and the community the opportunity to celebrate our students’ work.”

Heerspink, who is excited about putting his functional work—teapots and such—as well as his more conceptual work—ceramic human arms and such—on display, is anticipating  both the social and public aspects of the BFA show. “I have quite a few relatives who are coming,” he said, “and I’m always excited to do shows because it’s kind of depressing when an artist’s work sits on a shelf in a classroom.”

Heerpsink has already landed a post-graduate gig teaching art at the middle and high school level in Miami. “It’s exactly what I want to do,” he said. “I also want to continue producing ceramics and find some galleries to show my work in the Miami area.”

Zwart, who will also install the BA exhibition, enjoys the end of spring semester, despite the bustle: “It’s a stressful time because it’s the end of the school year and of  these students’ college careers. They have exams, classes, artwork and projects to be completed, and they’re pulling together what amounts to their life’s work at Calvin,” he said. “As members of the department, these are the events we most enjoy because it’s a time for us to gather together and share the accomplishments of the last four years.”

~Written by Communications and Markeing senior writer Myrna Anderson


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