WATERLOO — Bragging rights.
Student artists can point to their participation in the Cedar Valley Biennial Exhibition as a symbol of achievement and acknowledgement about the seriousness of their creativity.
“It’s an opportunity for college art students to take part in a top-notch competitive exhibition. It gives these emerging artists some bragging rights,” says Chawne Paige, curator at the Waterloo Center for the Art.
“At the same time, any artist in a college arts program needs to get their work out there to be seen and actively participate in juried exhibitions and not wait until graduation,” he points out.
The show opened Dec. 5 in the WCA’s Law-Reddington Galleries. An opening reception took place at 6 p.m., with remarks and an award presentation at 7 p.m.
More than 250 submissions have been received for the show. The joint exhibition features artwork from the departments of art at University of Northern Iowa, Hawkeye Community College, Wartburg College in Waverly, and new to the mix, Upper Iowa University in Fayette.
Artworks include ceramics, drawings, paintings, photography sculpture, mixed media, installations and performance art.
“I’m impressed with how these artists are pushing the mediums they’re working in, some by juxtaposing different techniques and materials, which I think is quite interesting,” he explains.
Students from all the institutions are represented and were selected by the juror, Jane Gilmor, an Iowa artist and professor emeritus from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids.
Merit awards will be presented and a best-of-show winner named. Hawkeye, UNI, Upper Iowa and Wartburg will each recognize an artist from their respective entrants, and Friends of the Art Center also will present two awards.
The WCA took over host duties for the exhibition in 2015. That year, one student artwork was chosen for the center’s permanent collection. Paige is open to possibilities with this show.
“As I’ve unpacked pieces to put the show together, some have just blown me away. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a piece that screams excellence of execution and mastery of medium,” he adds.
Sponsors for the event are the Waterloo Center for the Arts, Friends of the Art Center, University Book and Supply and the participating institutions.
Eventually the goal is to make the show a regional competition.