The guest juror for the 2020 student exhibition is Arielle Myers, a curator and writer based in Denver, Colorado. Arielle is an advocate and supporter of emerging artists, and brings this passion to her role as Chief Curator at Union Hall, a new non-profit contemporary arts exhibition space in downtown Denver. As Chief Curator, Arielle directs the creative vision of Union Hall, developing all exhibitions, programming, events, and partnerships.
Arielle earned her MA in Art History from CU Boulder, and has previously held positions at NINE dot ARTS, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City. In addition to her work at Union Hall, she continues to develop her curatorial practice through exhibitions produced independently and collaboratively.
The University of Northern Colorado’s Annual Student Exhibition presents fifty-three works from forty-six artists representing a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines within Art Education, Graphic Design and Studio Arts. This celebratory exhibition marks the culmination of a year of artmaking within the School of Art + Design and presents an engaging collection of works that take the temperature of our current moment; work about the West (imagined and real), work about political issues facing our country in 2020, work about our bodies, about our families and the way we see ourselves in relation to all of the above. This selection of works represents the diversity of art students at the University of Northern Colorado and their hard work and dedication to developing their visual storytelling. The artists represented also display a mastery of technical skills in each of their respective areas and a sense of self, vision and imagination.
This year, the Annual Student Exhibition is presented digitally amid public health and economic concerns of a scale unprecedented in our time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the current quarantine measures, I was unable to see these works in person, and judged them solely on the documentation provided through the application process. Selections were made with an eye for technical quality, sensitive and critical approaches to concept, avoidance of clichés and especially for signs of the formation of a distinct perspective that eventually manifests as artistic maturity. The digital platform for this exhibition was organized by Pamela Meadows, Director of UNC Galleries, whose tireless efforts to creatively problem-solve and tackle unprecedented challenges to mount this show must be acknowledged. We hope that this digital platform allows students and their communities to engage with the work despite our current physical distance, and allows for a thoughtful presentation of the artworks selected.
As a curator who works primarily with emerging artists, some just a few years older than those in this cohort, I’m consistently amazed by the ability of this young generation of artists to see the issues facing our world so clearly and present alternative visions of the future. The artists represented in this exhibition are no exception, and I look forward to seeing the artwork they will make during the rest of their time at UNC and beyond. I would urge them, along with all members of our creative community, to continue to make artwork during this challenging time, and to remember the power of their voices and hands to create culture. As we reflect on this exhibition and its place in our current moment, it would serve us to remember just how many stories we have to tell. As I read last week in a letter from the editors of art-agenda: “Works of art do not need consciously to address ‘these times’ in order to shed light upon them.”
Thank you to all the students who submitted works for consideration. I hope you will all continue to find ways to shed light on the ideas, places and stories you find crucial.