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WCAC unveils first William and Mary student exhibition

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

For the first time, the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center is showcasing the works of College of William and Mary art students on its walls in an exhibition that runs through March 16. The center opened the offering with a member’s preview event Monday evening.

Sarah Farver, a student majoring in history and minoring in art history at the college, envisioned the idea for the show.

“I’ve wanted to work with them,” said Farver, now a WCAC board member and its William and Mary student liaison. “It’s really nice because it’s something we’ve been building toward for about a year and a half now.”

The cross-discipline nature of the effort extends to the exhibition’s 10 artists, each a student of the college’s spring semester studio art senior capstone course. The class deliberately combines students specializing across different media, including architecture, painting and photography.

“It builds a sense of community for the students. That’s one of the things that becomes so crucial when you graduate,” said Brian Kreydatus, a printmaking and life drawing professor heading the capstone course. He also previously worked with the WCAC as a juror for several of its high school and member shows.

The William and Mary show comes in two parts: The gallery’s main room features three pieces from each student, and the adjacent area offers a sampling from the students’ intensive summer assignment. Each day between their junior and senior years, the students were required to create two drawings, resulting in about 180 works in total for each student and a major lesson in discipline.

“Drawing is really the foundation of our program,” Kreydatus said, emphasizing the way in which it builds strong roots for conceptualizing ideas.

Even setting up for the WCAC show offered new experiences for the students. They were responsible for crafting the frames for their art from scratch, and they took to the gallery Saturday to hang their works with the guidance of their professor. Artist statements on the walls help relay the students’ ideas and inspirations. The next challenge comes in the form of stepping back and letting the public have its say.

“It’s a totally different space to get to show your work,” Farver said. “It’s a different set of eyes.”

WCAC program co-chairwoman Karen Schwartz was excited to expand the center’s relationship with the college. That effort began in 2008 with the Buddy Art program, which pairs student volunteers from William and Mary with special needs children to promote art activities.

“It’s a win-win for all of us,” she said. “It’s an interesting group and an interesting collection of artwork.”

Want to go?

The College of William and Mary Studio Art Majors Exhibition runs through March 16 at Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center, 110 Westover Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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