Student art show welcomes variety of works

Rowan exhibit opens April 28 at the Mount Holly campus.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: The student art exhibit at Rowan College at Burlington County’s Mount Holly campus begins April 28 and continues June 26.

Rowan College at Burlington County’s Mount Holly campus will host its 23rd student art exhibit beginning in late April, a showing exclusive to students at the college.

“We have an opening reception, which holds our rewards and our portfolio presentation, that’ll be on April 28,” curator Jessica Kane said of the exhibit’s opening date. 

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“The portfolio presentation is where students are taking portfolio classes, which means they’re kind of at the end of their degree … and they’re creating their portfolio of all the work that they’ve done,” Kane explained.

“… And then they have their own table and they put out all their materials … and then our patrons come and walk around and kind of get to talk to the students,” she added. “And it’s a chance for them to have to learn to kind of network and socialize with outside people, not just their classmates.”

Last year’s exhibit was virtual due to COVID but its artworks remain on the college website.

“It was a little bit different, and it was a different one for the students, but we had just as much participation,” Kane noted.

The annual exhibit started at Rowan’s Pemberton campus and has evolved over time.

“The students – they submit their work,” Kane said. “There’s criteria, but there’s no theme or requirements specifically, other than being a student there (Rowan) and it needs to be presented in a professional way.”

Awards are given out at the opening reception and are divided into different categories that include drawing, jewelry and graphic design. Students can also sell their artwork.

“We do usually sell work, and sometimes it’s family, but a lot of times it’s not,” Kane said. “It’s just people who like the work and think it’s good and want to have it, and it’s a great way for students to kind of learn that process as well.”

“Everything we do with the gallery, when students are involved, is to teach them different aspects of the art world,” she added, “and to try to help them navigate it better, rather than going into a gallery for the first time and having no idea what to do.”

Kane cited lessons that students learn from participating in the exhibit.

“Sometimes, the most surprising thing for students is, it’s not just about your work, it’s also about how you present your work,” she revealed. “I’ve had first-time students come and they just have their piece of paper with their drawing on it, and it needed to be matted and framed.”

“We also have instructional assistants who help them (students) learn to mat and frame their work to look professional.”

The curator is excited to attend the exhibit’s opening reception and looks forward to reactions from the parents of art students.

“I really like when families come – family and friends of the artists,” she said. “Because a lot of times, students, they’re in college, so they’re not showing their parents all the work that they do.”

“Sometimes family is so surprised at the skill and talent that these students have, so that’s usually my favorite part about these shows.”

The exhibit continues through June 26. To receive updates, visit the ArtsAlive Facebook page.

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