Art students present 'Let There Be Light' at the Lux Center in January

A still life charcoal drawing of the objects she would bring if her house were on fire by Anna Binder that will be among the art exhibited by students in Prof. Sandra Williams studio foundation and drawing classes in an exhibition at the Lux Center.
A still life charcoal drawing of the objects she would bring if her house were on fire by Anna Binder that will be among the art exhibited by students in Prof. Sandra Williams studio foundation and drawing classes in an exhibition at the Lux Center.

Art students present 'Let There Be Light' at the Lux Center in January

calendar icon02 Jan 2017    user iconBy Kathe Andersen

A self portrait by Emma Orwen.
A self portrait by Emma Orwen.

Lincoln, Neb.— Eighteen students from University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History & Design Associate Professor of Art Sandra Williams’ studio art foundation and drawing courses will be presenting their work in an exhibition titled “Let There Be Light” at the Lux Center for the Arts in January.


“The exhibition is about spreading our inner light, knowledge and positivity as artists to the world,” said Jamaica Wilson, a junior art major from Las Vegas, Nevada. “We just hope to spread happiness to everyone through our passions to create.”


The exhibit will be on display Jan. 6-21 with a First Friday opening on Jan. 6 between 5-8 p.m. at the Lux Center for the Arts’ Community Arts Room, which is located at 2601 N 48th St. in Lincoln.


As part of the class, students had to create a website that has at least two images from their work, along with a bio and curriculum vitae (CV). Participating in this exhibition was optional.


“I’ve always valued real-world experience paired with academic objectives,” Williams said. “Participating in the exhibition of their work is an important part of their academic and professional development as artists. The assignment is geared toward goal setting—knowing at the beginning of your academic career that you have 4-5 years to build. If in November, one didn't have much artwork to document for one's website, then it is an indicator to kick production into high gear. If one doesn't have many exhibitions, then it's time to shed one's inhibitions and take that first leap when it's offered to you. The Lux exhibition provides an opportunity to put all of those objectives into practice. It is also easier for them to do it together."


Students also had the option to participate in photographing their work in the lighting studio in Woods Hall in December.


“This gets them in the habit of documenting all of their work at the end of the semester in preparation for entering other student exhibitions or promotional materials for this exhibition,” Williams said.


Mikayla Zulkoski, a freshman art major from Burwell, Nebraska, is looking forward to participating in the exhibition.


“I wanted to participate in the Lux show to show how much my art and craftsmanship has improved with just one semester at UNL,” she said. “The work I’m showing is a 3-D needle-felted sculpture of a mythical-looking ‘beast.’ I have worked with needle-felting before, however this sculpture was the first time I used melamine foam to sculpt the base, and I feel I learned a lot from working with this new material.”


Haley Jessen, a freshman art major from Omaha, Nebraska, will be showing a pastel self-portrait in color that was an assignment for her drawing class.


“I decided to participate in the exhibition because I knew it was an amazing opportunity,” she said. “As a freshman in college and a freshman art student, I do not have very much exhibition history, and that basically makes or breaks you when looking for work in the art community. I also have been amazed by how much I’ve grown as an artist these past few months. I want to be able to show that off to my family and friends. When going into the art field, many people scoffed at me or rolled their eyes, and I really want them to see that this isn’t a joke for me, and I’m not giving up on myself or my dreams.”


For Wilson this is her first exhibition, and she will be showing a master copy painting of a portrait of Georgia O’Keefe taken by Yousuf Karsh.


“I am going to be showing one piece that I am very proud of,” she said. “I am really excited about getting to display all of the hard work I have been putting in this semester. My family and friends will get to see why I have been spending so many hours in the studio.”


Anna Binder, a freshman art major from Muron, Mongolia, was encouraged by Williams to participate in the exhibition.


“This is my first exhibition as a student at UNL,” she said. “I hope to gain experience and inspiration from this experience. I want people to know that the artists exhibiting their work have put a lot of time and effort into it, and it’s worth their time to come and see it.”


The opportunity to exhibit is important for art students.


“I feel that the Lux show will be a more formal and professional experience of what an art exhibition can be like,” Zulkoski said. “This show will be very important to me and my peers because it gives us the opportunity to show what we are made of, or rather, what we have made.  My peers and I have taken an idea or ambition of ours and put it out in the open for others to see and judge.  The Lux show will help us to expand our audience, and it will open up more opportunities to us.  From this experience, I hope to learn more about showing my work and how to talk about my work with more conviction in a professional environment.”


Wilson said showing work is a great learning experience for students.


“As an aspiring artist, it is important to exhibit my work in order for people to experience the art in person and form a dialogue with people about the work. It will be a great learning experience and even better if my work finds the perfect home.”


Jessen has participated in exhibitions in high school and was in the Young Artist Exhibition at the Omaha Summer Arts Festivals in 2014 and 2015 and the Scholastic Art Exhibitions also in 2014 and 2015. But she says this exhibition is different.


“In high school, my teachers just delivered everything where it needed to go,” she said. “Prof. Williams is currently teaching us about how to hang work, how to curate a show and come up with a title. I think it's amazing that she is kind of giving us baby steps into the real art world.”


Zulkoski said the students are eager to show off their work.


“The exhibition is an important experience for my class, and we are excited to show our hard work,” she said.


Jessen said the students have worked hard this semester.


“We are really proud of how far we have come and want to share our art with you, and that’s a big deal,” she said. “When we all become super famous, you will also be able to say you saw us first, and that’s pretty cool.”