The Metcalf Open — an art show where the only uniting theme is the fact that each piece is the work of a Taylor student.
During the second week of February, the art faculty allowed students to submit pieces of art to their annual show. Students would submit each piece, along with $2, to a collection to be reviewed by art faculty. Assistant professor of art Jamie Miles, who serves as Taylor University’s Art Department’s co-chair, participated in reviewing the pieces.
Art faculty take the time to examine each piece and determine which ones get in by popular vote.
“We often can’t include everything, even if we tried,” Miles said.
Once the initial pieces are picked out for the show, the faculty invite an external juror to help judge the pieces for awards. Pieces are organized into six categories: video imagery, 2-D, 3-D, illustration, design and photography. There are cash awards for the winners of each category.
Some pieces even get the award of the Mitchell Purchase Prize; the school buys the piece from a student to add to Taylor’s personal collection.
This event, which has just recently been rebranded as the Metcalf Open, has been taking place for years and is the major way Taylor University collects art from its students. Miles said that the Zondervan library has acquired many of its pieces from the student show.
The Metcalf Open served as an opportunity for students to showcase the hard work they put in over the semester and gain real-life experience in submitting pieces to an art show. Miles stressed the importance of learning how to submit work and get rejected from a show.
“That’s the thing — how do you deal with that emotionally?” Miles said.
This is also the reason why bringing an external juror in to judge the pieces is important. The external juror might be a visiting artist or another art professor from a nearby university.
When one’s work does go in the show, students are able to start building their curriculum vitae (CV) that they can show future employers. Although submissions are usually from art students, they don’t have to be.
“Any Taylor student can submit,” Miles said.
Senior design major Abby Jones believes submitting pieces to the Metcalf Open served as a fun and exciting way to display the pieces she has created. She described the art show that serves as the start of the Metcalf Open, where all the participating artists are gathered for the presentation of awards, as a celebration of varied talents.
The show opened on February 24 and runs up until March 30.
Each piece not only gave a glimpse into the style of each particular artist but also allowed visitors to appreciate the passion their classmates are pouring into their work.
One of Jones’ pieces, “Artichokes,” was a collection of 40 unique illustrations of artichokes Jones had to draw as a class assignment. The original assignment required 100 unique illustrations of the same object.
“That project ended up taking me 17 hours,” Jones said.
Behind each student piece is a unique story that one cannot collect by simply looking at a piece. However, by taking the time to appreciate the work of fellow classmates, one is able to gain a greater appreciation of the way their peers express themselves.
The show contained every piece imaginable: thought-provoking, serious, contemplative, whimsical and, yes, even a large piece of paper with 40 impressively drawn artichokes.