Art, Design Show is Online; Winners Announced

Art, Design Show is Online; Winners Announced

May 8, 2020 | ,

The East Central College Art Gallery may be closed, but that didn’t prevent the art department from showcasing students’ work. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of the ECC campus, the exhibition was moved online.

Jennifer Higerd, ECC art instructor and gallery coordinator, said the Annual ECC Art & Design Student Exhibition is a celebration of the culmination of the year’s hard work, growth, and learning by the students.

Typically, a reception follows the exhibition, which is an opportunity for parents, friends, and family to join the faculty to acknowledge and honor the hard work of the students, she added.

“It is such a rite of passage for our graduating students to be able to show in a formal, gallery setting the amazing work they’ve been making,” Higerd said. “And while, admittedly, it’s not the same as being physically together in the gallery space, the online exhibition does that in a way — friends and family can take part from a distance.”

“The faculty wanted to celebrate and honor our students, their hard work and dedication, and their works.”

The online exhibition is located at

Show Winners

The students submit their work into several categories, including drawing, painting, photography, digital, figure and sculpture. Then a winner is selected for each category, along with a “Best of Show” for the entire exhibit.

The 2020 Best of Show winner was Anna Wright, Gerald, for her watercolor “Fowl.” According to Wright. Her winning piece was part of a series of farm animal paintings.

“I have been experimenting with my application of watercolors and inks,” she said. “I like how I was able to contrast the colors and textures of the guinea fowl.”

Wright’s painting was completed during Watkins’ art class.

“It really is a stunningly simple piece that combines wonderful gestural marks and fluid use of color,” Watkins said. “The form is suggested rather than being imposed. Anna has been working through a process to combine line and color in a way to accentuate the form, push the value and increase the volume while maintaining a painterly quality — This piece really shows that process come into being.”

The winners in other categories are: Olivia Tucker and Alexis Kinnison, drawing; Tucker, painting; Kinnison, photography; Olga Tomescu, digital; Wright, figure; and Tucker, sculpture.

For Tucker’s award-winning painting work, “Reveal,” she used acrylic paint on paper.

​”We believe that we have to cover up our weakness because we don’t want to appear sensitive, but the more you learn to execute yourself and become okay with revaluing your true self,” she said about the piece.

Kinnison winning photography submission is called “Songbird.”

“I heard the bird before I saw it resting in the bush. The bush is very tall with many branches for the bird to hide in,” she said. “In order to take this picture, I had to find the perfect angle where the bird could be seen fully through the twigs. The angle I captured encased the bird in an elegant knot of nature.”

Olga Tomescu, winner in the digital category, made a piece titled “Iceland Poster.”

“Iceland is a small, beautiful country. I am amazed by its nature. Walking on glaciers and huge icebergs that float on the water; touching the black sand and watching the Northern Lights in a beautiful cold night winter made me create this travel poster for Iceland,” she commented.

“This digital art was created with straight and curvy lines. The most unique element in this artwork is that I used the same brushwork to define the ice, waves of the water, the lights, and highlights on the mountain and the sky,” Tomescu added. “The Northern Lights element was created by layers over layers of color with a radial blur, while for Iceland title I used its original font.”

Moving Online

Higerd explained that adjunct instructor Clayton Petras, the department’s “tech whiz,” built the exhibition website. Higerd, Petras and Adam Watkins, assistant professor and Fine and Performing Arts Department chair, developed a plan to take the show online.

According to Higerd, students submitted images of the work and information to Petras, who organized it into google files, shared them with art faculty, and set up a voting ballot.

“This is the first time we’ve done an online exhibition,” she added. “The physical exhibition in the gallery space is really the ideal and best way to see and experience the art, but we may continue with the online exhibition — in addition to the physical exhibition— in the future as a way to more broadly share and commemorate the annual show.”

About the Show

The Annual ECC Art & Design Student Exhibition showcases the work ECC students accomplished over the course of the academic year.

“The work selected to be displayed is strong in terms of technical skill, composition, craftsmanship, and meaning,” Higerd said.

Students may submit up to five works to be considered for the exhibition. The Art & Design faculty select which works are in the exhibition, and this year, the faculty also voted on the award-winning works.

Students in the exhibition are enrolled in a wide range of courses and are predominantly art majors. They are not required to submit work, but they do for the opportunity to be recognized.

“In a way, it’s like a little reunion for us — I see the works, and I remember when the students was creating the work in the studio,” Higerd said. “Each of the works are so integrally linked to the student who made it, it calls to mind that student.

“And also, it’s just a delight to see these amazing, beautiful, compelling artworks and to reflect on how much each of our students have grown over the course of the year.”