Professional artist along with student artist showcase their work

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Assistant preparator Daniel Vargas carries a paint tray to add finishing touches to the new art installations of the Visual Art Center on Thursday afternoon. The VAC, located in the Art Building on San Jacinto Street, will open its four new exhibitions to the public today and will remain open until March 10.

Photo Credit: Fanny Trang | Daily Texan Staff

To commemorate the semester with new and riveting art, the Department of Art and Art History will launch the Visual Arts Center’s spring semester by previewing their first four exhibitions of the season at their opening reception tonight at 6 p.m.

Featuring a variety of work in each of their galleries, the highlight of the evening is an exhibition presented by the department’s artist-in-residence, sculptor Diana Al-Hadid. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Al-Hadid presents a site-specific sculpture that seems to be a combination of structure and allusion, using a variety of common sculpture material. The piece appears to be in a state between construction and deconstruction and was created through Al-Hadid’s four-week stay at the University. Art and art history students were also given the opportunity to work with Al-Hadid individually on the piece, to learn from her as a contemporary working artist. An estimated twelve undergraduate members of the Center Space Project, a student-run and student-curated organization within the department, were involved in the creation of Al-Hadid’s piece to be featured in the opening, according to director of the Visual Arts Center, Jade Walker.

Students involved in the Center Space Project often get the chance to work with guest artists to gain greater knowledge of the professionalism in the field. Senior art history major Claire Dempster feels that the Visual Arts Center provides great opportunities for students.

“The point of the VAC is for the department of art and art history to give their students an opportunity to work in an art gallery and to see what it’s like to be a working, professional and successful artist,” Dempster said.

The opening reception, slated to run from 6-9 p.m., will feature five exhibitions in which the general public can attend at no cost.

Other exhibitions feature an assortment of shared cultural identity pieces by 25 Chinese artists, a site-specific installation created by San Antonio-based artist Justin Boyd, an assortment of prints and the student-curated exhibition that addresses themes of chance and inevitability in a variety of art mediums.

Shannon Stagner, Coordinator for External and Alumni Relations for the Department of Art and Art History, is excited for the way the department continues to build the relationship between students and guest artists through exhibitions featured in the opening reception.

“Last year those openings averaged about 1000 people, so it’s a really big event,” said Stagner. “It’s a great way to see people and be seen.”

Conveniently located within the Department of Art and Art History, the Visual Arts Center was established fall 2010. Due to the long unmet need for an exhibition space, the center was created with the fundamental values to provide a vibrant, collaborative and innovative space for students, guest artists and faculty to explore and develop contemporary art.

Although the opening reception is a one-night-only event, the art installations will remain in their respective galleries through March 10. Following these exhibitions will be the work of graduating students within the department who will be able to showcase their work for two to three weeks.

Whether they’re interested in making art or observing it, the Visual Arts Center provides an opportunity for a growing student interest in the contemporary arts scene readily available on campus. 

Printed on Friday, January 27, 2012 as: First exhibits of season shown at Visual Arts Center