Student exhibits contribute to a growing presence of art at LFA

Tyler Watts, Staff Writer

Art has the profound ability to bring communities together through the shared consumption of
evocative, moving work. It surrounds us everyday and engages the senses to inspire us and
foster connections. While LFA’s curriculum requires three semesters of fine arts to graduate,
select students with deeper passions and interests in these fields have taken studio work to the
next level with complex and vibrant exhibitions that have recently been featured in the Student
Union.
“When the Student Union was first built, I was wondering if it would be a good place to
display student work,” said Lauren Fowler, a studio arts teacher. “I consider it to be the living
room of LFA where everyone comes together, so I thought it would be a great place to display
art work. I talked with Mr. De Jesus and we found a way to get some gallery walls up.”
An official gallery opening was held on the evening of January 22, 2020 for Advanced Studio
Art students Ani Plambeck ‘21 and Sky Wang ‘20. Although formally showcased in the lower
Student Union, their work was moved up to the gallery walls the next day for all to see. The
event was very well received, as Plambeck recounts:
“More people came than I expected! They engaged a lot more than I thought they would and
asked me questions about my work.”
The success of this first visual arts-based event and the positive feedback students received
are promising outcomes that encourage growth of the visual arts program and continued usage
of the gallery walls in the Student Union. Since the first opening, the 2-D Studio class
showcased colorful self portraits and an interactive “create your own ” station beside it. Carolyn
Lu ‘20 also had an opening and exhibition with impressive photography work. Although her work
was not produced for an LFA class, she was able to use the gallery space due to her
communication and collaboration with Fowler.
“I like it because a lot of people come to the Student Union everyday, so i think it’s a great
space for public attention,” Lu said. “On the other hand, because it’s in the student union it
doesn’t feel as official– it’s not really an ‘art place’.” While the Student Union serves as LFA’s
dining hall and thus may be perceived as somewhat of a casual setting for displaying artwork,
the beautiful glass windows allow for plenty of natural light to shine through and complement the
art during the day.
Looking ahead to the future, Fowler intends to mobilize the gallery walls and exhibit art all
around campus. In comparison to performing arts which can more easily showcase student
efforts and talents, visual arts are a more nuanced field, with less opportunity for social
gatherings (compared to plays, musicals, and concerts). However, initiatives such as Ani and
Sky’s gallery opening show that this narrative is changing.

“I think that performing arts are so dynamic… but Cressey isn’t the only great place on LFA’s
campus to display student work,” said Fowler. “I wanted to make sure (visual art) is more a part
of our daily routine and a way to add a pop of surprise to everyone’s day.”