UNL Art and Art History Senior has work accepted into national exhibition

Adrian Armstrong and his piece "Mickey", one of his three pieces accepted into the Soo Visual Arts Center's exhibition.
Adrian Armstrong and his piece "Mickey", one of his three pieces accepted into the Soo Visual Arts Center's exhibition.

UNL Art and Art History Senior has work accepted into national exhibition

12 Nov 2013    

Adrian Armstrong, a senior studio art major from Omaha, Neb., had three pieces accepted into the Soo Visual Arts Center’s juried exhibition “Untitled 10.”

The exhibition opens Dec. 6, 2013, and continues through Jan. 11, 2014, at the gallery, located in Minneapolis, Minn. Jurors Heid E. Erdrich and Jennifer Phelps selected 25 artists out of more than 200 applicants for the exhibition this year.

“I was ecstatic,” Armstrong said. “I wasn’t expecting to get in, so when they told me I was in, I was just jumping for joy. It was crazy.”

He was encouraged to submit his work to the exhibition by Associate Professor of Art Sandra Williams, who teaches him in her community arts class.

“Jennifer Phelps is a good juror. She manages the collection for not only the Burnet Gallery, but also the Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis hotel art collection. They have works by Damien Hirst, Yinka Shonibare and Ashley Bickerton in that collection. It’s a significant collection in a non-traditional space,” Williams said. “I think it is significant that this young artist caught her eye.”

She says Armstrong is a good artist.

“Adrian is ALWAYS making art, ALWAYS working on something, all year long—work outside of his studio classes. He signs out the Rotunda Gallery [at the Nebraska Union] and has one- or two-person exhibitions there,” she said. “I think he is going to be great, and I have been rooting for this kid since day one.”

Armstrong said he developed an interest in art early on.

“I’ve always drawn,” he said. “I’ve always been somewhat creative, I guess you could say.”

But it was around his sophomore year in high school that he started to get serious about it.

“They were always telling us we should figure out what we want to do, and nothing really interested me in that way that art did. I was a good student. I could do everything, really. But art is what kept my interest, so I decided I wanted to pursue that.”

Armstrong said he wanted to go to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln since he was little.

“I watched the football games and such and figured I would go there,” he said. “I was originally going to go to Savannah Art College in Georgia, but UNL just had my heart.”

He likes the support he receives from the faculty in the Department of Art and Art History.

“The professors work with you for your vision. They don’t necessarily put what they want to do in your work,” he said. “They help you reach your goals and better yourself. If they know of an art show going on, they’ll tell you about it. They just help you develop as an artist and help you succeed.”

After he graduates, Armstrong hopes to go to graduate school.

“I really want to develop my skills some more,” he said. “I’m still not quite sure what I want to do, but I think graduate school will help me perfect these techniques and help me figure out what I want to do. There are a lot of paths to take, and I think graduate school will help me figure it out. And hopefully there will be more art shows to come.”