At the end of each semester, Angelina College art students display their works inside the Angelina Center for the Arts gallery on the AC campus. The gallery typically hosts four student shows per year, offering those students an opportunity to learn how to prepare their work for exhibition in a professional setting.
Because of the recent pandemic, resulting in overall campus closures, this semester’s artists were forced to complete their studio classes on-line, and their chance to showcase their work in an open gallery was canceled.
Gallery curator Le’Anne Alexander wasn’t satisfied with seeing students miss out on the chance to show off their skills. With the help of fellow instructor Jan Anderson-Paxson and those students, Alexander was able to create a “virtual gallery” – an online format designed to share the students’ works with the community. Modeling the AC exhibition after other galleries found world-wide, Alexander was able to ensure the public would be able to enjoy the students’ creations.
“It was a goal I’ve had for the AC Gallery for the past year or two to be able to extend our gallery shows past the date of exhibition closure,” Alexander said. “Other galleries around the world create virtual tours and publish books about their exhibitions as a way of reaching those who can’t make it in person, and as a record of the event. I felt that if we were to be a modern gallery, that we should get on par with this trend.
“The pandemic took away the option to have an in-person exhibition but also gave me the time to sort out how to approach an online show. I did some research as to how others were approaching the same issue and chose the best option available to me at the time.”
The online exhibition is done in two parts; one is a virtual gallery space (found at https://bit.ly/acstudentartexhibition) and the other formatted as a magazine-style publication (found at https://bit.ly/3c9bdbr).
Alexander added that even though the virtual tour will become a permanent part of every semester, “it is important to also contnue to have the in-person exhibition, as students learn the invaluable skill of how to exhibit their work and prepare a gallery show.”
Participating students included the following:
From Alexander’s Basic Drawing class: Cynthia Morales, Hunter Cruz, Ashley Matthews, Audrey Romo, Kenneth Hescott and Amber Weaver. From Alexander’s Basic Design class: Tyderius McCoy, Rut Delagarza and Ashton Wells. From Alexander’s Painting I class: William Tomkins, Ashton Wells, Caitlyn Meyers, Ashley Matthews and Kayla Bergeron.
From Paxson’s Digital Publishing I class: Josh Giles, Guillermo Gutierrez, Nylan Holifield, Francisco Lopez, Shelby Pickard, Esmeralda Ramos and Ty Thomason. From Paxson’s Photography class: Patrick Harvey, Anna Mahan, Austin Peña, Aura Stein, Ashton Wells and Juan Zamora. From Paxson’s Communications Photography class: Kendall Cole and Demee Martinez.
“While we are sad that we couldn’t have our exhibitions in person this year, we are proud of our students for their work and perseverance in this crazy time,” Alexander said. “The students are very excited about the new online format, and we hope to continue promoting them in this way alongside our in-person shows in the future.”