By Erin Petty, Contributor
Hard work has paid off for the St. Charles Community College’s advanced digital photography students whom have had the unique opportunity to put together a collection of images in an exclusive photo exhibition that runs from February 24 to March 22 at the St. Charles County Arts Council’s Lillian Yahn Gallery in WingHaven.
The exhibition, which contains more than forty photographs, was organized, curated, and installed entirely by the small class of eleven students. Every decision and detail pertaining to the show was made by this group of aspiring photographers. By forming task teams and working together, they were able to learn the critical processes of how to manage a gallery, and ultimately, the students were able to put together a seemingly flawless, professional photo exhibition at an established local gallery.
“This is an incredible opportunity for students to have,” states Kathleen Sanker, Professor of Art at SCC. “Organizing your own exhibition is a dream circumstance for many artists, let alone students.”
There is nothing more important for an artist than having the opportunity to show his or her work to the public. It is no surprise that the more an artist or a body of work is exposed to the community, the more recognizable and successful he, she, or it may become. In this particular case, the SCC students are getting the chance to get hands-on in the process of showing their work at a functioning art gallery off of campus. The students not only gain exposure, but they are also gaining a multitude of experience in the fine art field. Additionally, Sanker indicates, “Having new adventures and experiences, and learning new skills in the process are critical to optimal teaching and learning.”
“I view this as a real life art school experience,” says Kathleen Sanker. “[In art and photography] we don’t have ‘tests.’ We have critiques and exhibitions where we get to enter into a dialogue and become engaged with the creative process. [Our work] becomes a conversation.”
The particular work found in the exhibition samples a wide variety of the students’ artistic styles and interests. Featured images highlight subjects such as nature, landscape, cars, architecture, and portraiture. Many of the pieces are also available for purchase. Prices range, depending on size, from $30 to $100.
In the gallery, visitors will find the work of SCC students Warren Rich, Russell Ward, Susan Wolf, Given Uebinger, Kayla Czajkowski, April Stout, Connor Lockett, Adam Hinton, Henry Salazar, Lauren Ochs, and Erin Petty. An open reception was held Saturday, March 1 from 6 pm to 9 pm honoring these featured artists. Despite unsatisfactory weather conditions, it is estimated more than seventy guests were in attendance.
The exhibition runs through March 22. It is free and open to the public. The gallery is located at 7443 Village Center Drive in O’Fallon, Missouri. Normal operating hours are Tuesday through Friday 11 am to 4 pm and Saturday 11 am to 2 pm.