FMU seniors display artistic talents

Tim Streit, Staff Writer

For graduating Francis Marion fine arts majors, the Senior Art Show on Tuesday, Nov. 16 provided an important opportunity to show the campus and area community their artistic abilities.

This year five seniors presented their work in an exhibition titled “NOuN: people, places and things” which took place in the Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery. For the students, it was an excellent opportunity to show the progress they have made in their studies at Francis Marion.

Vati Johnson, one of the exhibiting students, said that she was glad to finally get a chance to show off her work to a larger audience after four years of study and preparation. That sentiment was echoed by senior Kendal Floyd, who was excited that the Senior Art Show meant a chance for him to exhibit his work. Other soon-to-be graduates saw an important community aspect to the event, as well.

“It can show future seniors what they could do,” Bethany Luhman said, while making note that she thought FMU prepared her well for work in the art field.

The students were not the only people excited about the show. Lawrence Anderson, the chairman of the Department of Fine Arts, praised the seniors whose work was on display.

“It’s a nice diverse group,” Anderson said, since the areas of study of the students involved range from photography to painting to graphic design. This diversity was certainly apparent when the seniors spoke about their influences and goals.

Johnson described her presentation as conveying innocence, dreams and playing with the senses. She stated that she would like to pursue a possible career as a graphic designer with Disney where she could continue in this line of work.

For Luhman, the next stop on the road to success is graduate school, for which she thinks the Francis Marion art program prepared her well. As for her work, she wanted to express a simple idea.

“You don’t have to go far to take great pictures,” Luhman said, explaining that though some of her photos looked as if they could have been taken in the great cities of Europe, they actually were all shots of places in the Carolinas.

Of course, the event was filled with family and friends of the graduating seniors, but the promise of an interesting art show combined with free refreshments also drew out some students from the campus community.

“I like that it shows the creative forces of FMU students,” junior Melissa Cantrell said of the exhibition.

These forces were definitely on full display as attendees roamed the gallery viewing the compositions and conversing with the artists.

When asked of the role that the Senior Art Show plays in the education of a student in the field, Anderson explained that it is an important part of the senior seminar course. The course not only includes the show, but also the creation of resumes and locating possible artist residencies for the students. The seminar serves as a kind of cap to the students’ undergraduate careers.

Though the seniors are now ready to move on to the next stage of their lives in the art world, some still find it difficult to let go of the institution that trained them.

“I love this place and I don’t want to leave,” Johnson said, but also stated that she knows she must move on to pursue a career.

When asked what kind of advice he would give the students about those careers, Anderson gave one simple suggestion.

“Work, work, work,” Anderson said, smiling, suggesting that word is often one of the secrets to success.

There is no doubt that the graduating seniors have a long road of work ahead of them, though if the exhibition at the Senior Art Show is any indication, they seem to be well prepared, trained and on the right track.

The artwork of Vati Johnson, Bethany Luhman, Jessica Baxley, Leah Anderson, and Kendal Floyd will remain on display in the Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery from Nov. 16 through Dec. 18 for viewing.