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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo
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Senior Showcase Taylor Experience Through Art

Painting a Path Towards “Kinship”

Every year, the seniors in the art department display creative celebrations of their time at Taylor. The students are split up into two separate art shows, with the first show featuring Art Education and Pre-Art Therapy. The second show takes place the following month, featuringPhotography, Illustration and Graphic Design.

While these shows may differ vastly in composition, display and style, they each serve the purpose of celebrating the experience that students have gained over the past four years. This is demonstrated through a collision of projects from previous years, as well as pieces designed specifically for this event.

The artists bore the task of coming up with a theme and title as a group and then used past and present pieces to facilitate this artistic message. The theme “Kinship” ran deeper than the subject of their work — defining the senior showcase process itself. From collaborating on a theme to the guidance of their educators, the seniors not only illustrated this theme but embodied it. 

Senior Pre Art Therapy major Katie Ito reflected on the difficult balance between highlighting her work as both an individual and a contributor.

“It’s hard when you're making art to be cognizant of how everyone has their own individual style and be able to do this together without feeling like anyone's artistic voice is being stifled or not shown well. So I think that's been an interesting process of figuring out how we can facilitate individuality, but also community at the same time. Because I think those are both really important things,” Ito said.

Creating a statement that embodies everything that the artist has learned over their career involves many layers. The students were required to take a senior exhibition course in the fall where they worked alongside a professor to develop their concept. However, before this, they had a sophomore review where they met with all of the professors and delved into their work to decipher their strengths. 

Although the artists were prepared for this exhibition through various general and specialized classes, the production of this show extended beyond the resulting paintings on the wall. Instead, it was more focused on using these modes to articulate a message.

Head of the Pre-Art Therapy and Art Education Show, Professor Hannah Richardson, reflected on guiding the purpose of communication through this art. 

“I don't do a lot of feedback on the formal things. I go from the lens of helping them determine whether or not they are communicating what they intend to. Because they have so much freedom in this, I view my role as helping to provide that. We don't give a lot of direction of what needs to go on the wall. Instead, we offer direction in figuring out how it's actually demonstrated,” Richardson said.

In practice of correctly communicating the intended message, Ito expanded on the intention of embodying “Kinship” outside of the artistic display. 

“Art takes a really long time to make,” Ito said. “It’s easy as an artist to have to barricade yourself in your work. Taylor obviously is very good about intentional community and providing opportunities for that. And so if I'm here to make art, I'm also here to be intentional about including the community in my work. I think that when people come to see the work they'll be struck with this overwhelming sense of how artists don’t just hide away and not let their work be influenced by anybody. But rather gain the impression that they are deeply embedded. That's my greatest hope for people to see in our work, not just because the theme is ‘Kinship.’”

The Pre-Art Therapy and Art Education Show, “Kinship,” opened on Friday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in the Metcalf Gallery and can be viewed for two weeks following its opening.