Art seniors display work in exhibit for graduating students

Reagan Ritterbush

Jorge Vara intended to get a degree in business, but his art took him down a different path.

“I had no intention of doing anything in a creative field of work,” studio art senior Vara said. “But five years ago, my mother and sister convinced me to take some art and music classes just for fun. Those classes are why I am at UT and graduating with a degree in the fine arts.”

Vara, alongside 50 other studio art seniors, celebrated his impending graduation with an exhibit featuring all of their artwork. Opened by the UT Department of Art and Art History at the Visual Arts Center in early March, the exhibit closed Friday and featured a range of works. Vara said he enjoys making abstract art and drawing as a medium.

“I submitted a wall drawing of a puppy,” Vara said. “It was a really simple kid drawing, but I enjoy doing those types of drawings. I like making something out of my scribbles.”

Clare Donnelly, Visual Arts Center gallery assistant manager, said the exhibit allowed graduating students to showcase their work in a professional gallery environment.

“Most students don’t have an opportunity before now to actually show their work in a gallery,” Donnelly said. “This exhibit is their chance to learn the ropes before graduating and trying to show their work on their own.”

Studio art senior Connor Frew said seniors were able to submit three to five pieces of work and, with the help of faculty members, choose one to display at the exhibit. Frew created a collection of booklets with poems and photography over four to five months.

“I wanted to make a work that had narrative complexity but wasn’t too crippling in terms of time commitment,” Frew said. “I’m very proud of it.”

The exhibit also gave students the chance to work on stricter deadlines and create work that was not for class, Frew said.

“(The deadlines are) kind of daunting, but a huge motivator,” Frew said. “Now I have this complete body of work that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Now I know I can really crack down on the things I want to do.”

Vara said the exhibit, for him, was just for seniors to come together and celebrate their time at UT.

“This could help me in the future, but that’s not really why I did it,” Vara said. “I just wanted to do something with my friends.”