For most majors at California Lutheran University, four years of work culminates in a research project or final exam.
For art and multimedia majors, however, students have the opportunity to display their work in on-campus exhibits.
“Natural Conditions,” an exhibit put together by senior art majors, opened in William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art on April 26, along with “Colors” in William Rolland Art Center, produced by multimedia majors.
“[Natural Conditions] is really unusual. Most universities, they don’t give students at the undergraduate level an exhibition space for their work, even when they’re graduating…This is really as much about experiential learning as it is about them being able to have a really nice space to work with,” said Rachel Schmid, curator of collections and exhibitions for William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art.
Six art majors are graduating this year: Quinn Rosenblatt, Donaldo Lopez, Breann Carlucci, Johannah Peterson, Hallie Maxwell and Michelle Handal. All six of these seniors worked collaboratively to create the exhibit.
The exhibit’s theme allowed these seniors to “investigate the perceived world— whether emotional, physical, psychological or imaginative,” according to the description on The William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art website.
The theme was discussed and debated in the fall during the capstone class the six seniors took. In the spring, they dedicated their time to creating the pieces featured in the show.
“Everything you see there…is all developed from our conversation,” Lopez said. “All that stuff, that comes from planning as a group, talking about it as a group, debating, arguing, making decisions and working as a cohesive team to come up with those ideas.”
On May 3, seniors hosted a walk-through of the exhibit, where members of the public could ask the artists about their work.
Though all the seniors came together to create a cohesive idea for the show, they have had different experiences on campus and different paths for the future.
Lopez came to Cal Lutheran undeclared. He decided to take art in his second semester of his first year. He said his very first art professor, Larkin Higgins, has impacted him the most at Cal Lutheran.
“It is very hard to describe in words how much of an impact she had in my choice to be an art major. She was here, for example, one of my very first professors I was very comfortable talking [to],” Lopez said.
Lopez said it was Higgins who ultimately encouraged him to pursue art as a major and also declare a minor in creative writing.
Lopez is thinking of many careers in the art field which include advertising, teaching and illustrating books. He also is interested in writing poems or short stories that he can illustrate.
Maxwell has a different career path in mind. She has been working for the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art and hopes to continue working in a gallery in the upcoming year. She then plans to apply to Alfred University in New York for graduate school.
“Our program here is really great. The professors know what they’re talking about,” Johannah Peterson said. “These professors, you can tell, invested the time into their works and they’re very passionate about what they do. And for me, that’s huge, because I’ve definitely worked with artists and…other teachers that you can tell just don’t think of it as passionately as this.”
The annual multimedia show CLUFest had the theme “Colors” this year, meant to challenge “creatives to explore the applications & limitations of one of the most basic elements of design,” according to an email from senior Kathryn Cohen, one of the show’s 18 participants. Cohen and senior Nikki Notthoff were the show’s producers.
The show features works in graphic design, photography, video, visual effects, animation, web and app design and music, Cohen said.
The show includes four exhibits that guests can interact with: the Purple Room, Rainbow Room, Community Mural and Gallery Color Changers.
“Colors” can be seen in William Rolland Art Center until May 17, and “Natural Conditions” is on display in the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art until May 18. Admission is free for both exhibits.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on May 10, 2019 to correct a quote misattributed to Hallie Maxwell. The quote was said by Johannah Peterson. Additionally, quotes from Donaldo Lopez were updated to reflect the exact transcription from the interview.