USC Upstate Kicks Off First Juried Art Show

February 2, 2023 at 6:34 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate’s Department of Fine Arts and Communication Studies kicked off its inaugural 2023 Juried Art Show on Thursday, Feb. 2. An opening ceremony was held in the Curtis Harley Art Gallery located in the lobby of the Humanities and Performing Arts Center (HPAC).

Lex Lancaster, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history and gallery director, said more than 40 students submitted their works. A panel of USC Upstate art faculty members, who were appointed to serve as judges, picked 21 pieces that will be on display in the gallery through Friday, March 10.

During the opening ceremony, awards were presented to the top three entries.

  • First Place: Tanya Johnson, “Lemon Drop” (pigment print)
  • Second Place: Will Mathis, “Faithful Deliverance” (acrylic)
  • Honorable Mention: Heather Biretta, “Textured Sushi” (mixed media)

“This is so exciting,” Lancaster said. “Our students are obviously very talented. I would consider this to be a great success. It’s amazing to see what our students are capable of and this helps them understand how you submit work and prepare for a juried exhibition, which is something that could benefit them in the future.”

Lancaster said a “juried” art show is essentially a competition where artists submit their work to be judged. They said USC Upstate’s show grew out of interest in a more centralized competition that could highlight the creative talent of students from a variety of disciplines, as opposed to contests open to only one department.

“The students already know that every spring we do a graphic design show for all students, not just seniors,” said Bridget Kirkland, associate professor of graphic design at USC Upstate. “We’ve always had students saying, ‘can I enter my drawing?’ Or ‘I did this really cool painting or collage.’ And we couldn’t allow that because it wasn’t graphic design. We told Dr. Lancaster and they said, ‘Let’s open it up.’ And students were really encouraged by that… I think a lot of the professors in the foundation classes were advertising in class so the students knew they could use that work to enter this show.”

Lancaster said plans are in the works to host the show again next year. They said anyone at USC Upstate can submit an entry.

“My work has never been shown in any type of show or gallery,” said Shamekia Mccloud, a freshman graphic design major from Sumter. “I feel like I’ve always been kind of scared to enter it because I’m like ‘There are so many better artists than me.’ But I realized that if I want to be who I aspire to become, I need to take the leap, put my heart and best effort in, and everything will grow from there.”

Johnson said she was grateful for the opportunity to show off her work and pleased to see a great turnout for the opening ceremony.

“This helped me learn to take the initiative,” Mathis said. “We didn’t have to submit anything. I appreciate the encouragement from my professors. I learned that if you put yourself out there, you never know what’s going to happen. I think this experience will benefit me as I move forward.”

The gallery in HPAC is open to the public during regular business hours.

Below is a full list of entries that are on display for the Juried Art Show:

  • Chloe Fect, “Butterfly” (paper sculpture)
  • Katie Lawson, “Haunted Sole” (clay sculpture)
  • Aaron Walker, “Pho” (soft sculpture)
  • Jillian Canady, “The Picnic” (photograph)
  • Justin Marchbanks, “Geometric Bear” (digital illustration)
  • Catherine Krieger, “Who Are You” (pencil)
  • Courtlyn Foster, “Look Within” (pencil)
  • Haley Lassiter, “Static” (colored pencil)
  • Aaron Walker, “Woman of Color” (acrylic)
  • Tanya Johnson, “Contained” (pigment print)
  • Tanya Johnson, “Lemon Drop” (pigment print)
  • Petra Banzhof, “Broken Home” (drypoint print)
  • Petra Banzhof, “Creature” (drypoint print)
  • Will Mathis, “Faithful Deliverance” (acrylic)
  • Will Mathis, “If You Feel Like the Headline Don’t” (acrylic)
  • Heather Biretta, “Textured Sushi” (mixed media)
  • Tam Pate, “Post Disassociation” (acrylic and mixed media)
  • Jada Simmons, “Glasses” (pencil)
  • Shameika Mccloud, “Caelum” (alcohol marker)
  • Al Miller, “Last Sunday was Weird” (intaglio drypoint print)
  • Spark Howard, “Rion” (acrylic/oil on canvas)