Students from a wide range of disciplines submitted paintings, sculptures and films to compete for cash prizes in this year’s ArtFest.
The annual student art competition and exhibition is held in the James R. Reynolds Student Art Gallery and sponsored by the MSC Visual Arts Committee. Submissions will be on display until April 20 and visitors will be able to vote for the best submissions until April 1. The winners will be announced during an opening reception on April 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the gallery.
Students collectively submitted 92 pieces, 88 of which are 2D or 3D art and four that are film submissions. The best film submission will win $100, and the top three 2D or 3D submissions will receive $100, $75 and $50, respectively.
ArtFest program advisor Mary Compton said the community should attend the opening reception to meet and support the artists.
“I think [art] is a really great expressive activity,” Compton said. “This is something we open up to the entire campus, not just the visualization students, and we encourage people who are not visualization students. It’s nice to see that everyone has that creativity in them.”
According to Compton, faculty judges and gallery directors were the only judges of ArtFest, but after ArtFest received about 130 submissions in 2018, the winners are decided by a popular vote during reception night.
Gallery director and electrical engineering senior Daniel Molina said judges are looking for the piece that demonstrates the best technique and emotionally moves their audience. According to Molina, the goal of ArtFest is to use art to challenge the community’s way of thinking.
“ArtFest brings culture, ideas and innovation to the A&M community through the visual arts,” Molina said. “It also showcases the massive amount of artistic talent from A&M students. There are not many places on campus that display student art, and ArtFest is an outlet that can do such a thing.”
Visualization sophomore Julie Choi won first place at ArtFest last year with her piece “Phoenix of Immortality.” This year, she submitted her oil painting “A Hunt in Twilight,” which depicts a hunter observing a deer grazing in the woods. Choi said the piece was originally the final project for her painting class and her first large-scale oil painting.
“I’ve never really worked with wet mediums like oils and acrylics before, and I liked how it turned out a lot,” Choi said. “It shows how my techniques have changed from last year, and I take pride in self-growth. I wanted to tell a story through a moment in time, and I want viewers to interpret my piece and create their own backstories and resulting consequences of the scene.”
At ArtFest, Choi said she enjoys seeing other works on display and hearing what people outside of her field have to say about her work.
“There’s something exciting about seeing people who did ArtFest last year submit again and seeing how everyone has evolved in their work and techniques,” Choi said. “It allows prospective artists to showcase their work to the public and show what they’ve been pouring their energy and passions into. As an artist, its uplifting to see people react to their piece and enjoy themselves in a setting filled with creativity and art.”