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In the Gallery and Behind the Scenes: Honors Art Majors at Ovation

Taking art from the studio to the gallery is every art student’s goal. For Georgia Southern’s scholarship recipients in the Department of Art, the annual Ovation Showcase at the Blick Gallery in Savannah is a highlight of every fall.  This year, two Honors Program students were among the participants in the event. Marian Trainor (3d studio art ’18) presented projects from her honors thesis and personal work, while Megan Tanner (art history and French ’21) had the opportunity to work behind-the-scenes with the curation process.

Trainor has participated in previous exhibitions, and at every event gains feedback from an audience of other artists and the interested public. She has been working on her thesis for the past year, creating sculptural and mixed media objects. Trainor credits her sculpture professor Dr. Marc Moulton with guidance and motivation in developing her work.

“If left to my own devices, I would probably never have shown any of my work at all over the years. Luckily, my professors keep me from being too much of a hermit,” she said. “Showcasing my work is a very valuable reminder that the work you make deserves to exist, especially with an audience that is not concerned with preserving your feelings.”

The fear of presenting can hold artists back, because one becomes emotionally connected to their work. Yet, differing appreciation and suggestions towards a person’s work can help an artist grow and evolve. Trainor said, “The experience of letting someone into your work is nerve-wracking, but overall it’s a positive experience.”

While Trainor submitted pieces to be showcased, Tanner gained experience working with Dr. Elsie Hill, designing the exhibit space. From planning to execution, Tanner developed professional relationships with the artists, her peers in the department, while trying to accurately represent their work in the space provided.

“The overall process was very fun. We had to transport all the works to the Blick Gallery in Savannah, unpackage them, and set up the exhibition. We had to decide which works and objects looked best next to others and on which wall,” she said. “Each object had to be hung, which meant deciding how high and low and object must be. We also found locations in the gallery space for the two 3D pieces. The pedestals for the 3D pieces needed to be in the best position in relation to the other objects on display.”

Tanner’s work with Dr. Hill gave her the opportunity to see the potential of museum curation. Museum work allows the curator to engage with and to educate the public through different art forms. Tanner was able to implement ideas and knowledge from her art history courses, into a professional setting. “This particular experience has really benefited me because it was able to expose me to the possibility and experience of curation,” she said.

This opportunity gave each student more insight to the art world beyond the classroom, and Tanner advises other students to take advantage of these opportunities. “For art students, any exhibition is a great way to allow yourself to be recognized by others within the community, whether it be your peers, your professors, or a committee,” she said.


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