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This Year’s Student Juried Art Exhibit: A “Socially Conscious” Showcase of Progress

By Peter Ntourntourekas; For the Clock
On March 11, 2018

Every year, the Student Juried Art Exhibition is presented for all to see. The art featured showcases all levels of student ability, and is a celebration of the hard work put in by students all year. After moving to the Museum of the White Mountains, the exhibit has gone through some slight changes, but remains as a symbol of progress and craftsmanship that only Plymouth State’s art department can offer.

In this exhibit, which has been up since February 27, outside jurors come to the museum and judge the art at each level, with awards being given out at the end. With the aim being to showcase all levels of art, there is not usually one unifying theme to all of the work. The different mediums, like painting, photography and literature, can make it difficult to select the works for display and organize them in a meaningful manner.

Cynthia Robinson, the director of the museum, takes great pride and joy in assembling exhibits like this one. “It’s really important. You can see how you can progress here,” Robinson said, “And each year it’s different. It’s my favorite show of the year.”

Robinson said about the vibe of this year’s exhibit content, “It feels very socially conscious this year. You can tell that the students are really engaged in their work at all levels.”

Constructing something like the Student Juried Art Exhibition takes lots of work, though, and the time crunch gets much tighter as the opening comes closer. The turnaround time between the jurors judging the work and putting the pieces all together into the exhibit space can be crammed into as little as a week.

The Museum of the White Mountains differs from the stereotypical museum experience, with its coziness and accessibility. In a place where student art is often showcased, Robinson takes great care in making the museum feel open to all. “Our primary audience is students. We want you to feel welcomed into the space. One way to do that is to think about how you move through the space. We want you to feel pulled close to art, moving around and using different ways to interact,” Robinson said.

In this new exhibit, there are two interactive spaces. In the Mountain Studio, you can make a quote block and add it to the wall in response to PSU student Ian McCowan’s work. And in the open space, there are pieces that are meant to be picked up. “We want students to know that this space is for you,” Robinson said.

Another way that the museum tries to move away from the ‘white cube’ stereotype of museums is by removing the perceived barriers to entry. “Sometimes it can feel like you need to know something to be in a museum, like there’s some sort of knowledge that you have to have, or that you need permission to enter,” Robinson said. “Our ethos here is absolutely the opposite. You don’t need to know anything to come in, you just need to feel good when you leave. We want you to feel welcomed in, feel like it’s easy to walk around, and hopefully you feel a good response.”

The Museum of the White Mountains/Karl Drerup Art Gallery is located at 34 Highland Street, just past Lamson Library. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The exhibit will be up through March 28. Head over and check out the work of talented PSU artists!

Learn more about the museum at their website, https://www.plymouth.edu/museum-of-the-white-mountains/, or their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MWMPSU/.

 

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