Open Studio Night

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Photo by Peter Burleigh

On Oct. 4, the Haggerty Art Village opened its doors to the public, including the student body and returning alumni participating in Alumni Weekend. 

This event, known simply as Open Studio Night, is a major opportunity for the art students. 

For a few hours, art students from printmaking to ceramics to sculpture had a chance to present their work to visitors. 

One major enticement for visitors was the art raffle. Five winners received gift bags filled with mystery art supplies. In order to have won, a visitor must grab a sheet and stop at each of the five places indicated, stamping his paper next to the location. Near the end of the night, names were drawn and the gift bags are awarded. 

This year, Open Studio Night was a major success, as opposed to last year, when rain prevented a large turnout. 

Along with the major exhibitions such as the upper gallery and traveling shows, visitors also had an opportunity to talk with the graduate students and see their current and finished pieces. 

Unlike the undergraduate students with their more common main studios, each graduate student has his own studio where they privately work and are able to use every bit of space available. It’s like having a private corner, shut away from the world. 

While the idea of seclusion may seem like a rather depressing thought, the concept is necessary. Most artists spend every day in the studio, working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or longer. 

“I was in my studio every day last week, just finishing one piece and starting another,” said Michelle Gonzales, a graduate student working towards her M.F.A. in painting. Her process involves stretching fabric over wooden frames, spreading resin on it, and then painting the surface with a mix of oil and acrylic paint. 

Not only does Open Studio Night offer a glimpse into the daily life of an artist, it also reveals the community of the art departments at the University of Dallas. 

“It showcases the way our community works. We are able to show you guys exactly how we work. It showcases the family we have in the art village,” said Lucy Stariha, a senior printmaking major who has also taken courses in 3-D design and ceramics. 

Amidst the crazy nights of 1 a.m. coffee runs and quickly approaching deadlines, art students find solidarity in the art village family, not to mention the many opportunities for working with state-of-the-art technology, such as the ceramics studio’s 3-D printer or an actual print shop.

“I’m really glad that we have so much at our fingertips to make art,” said Michelle Reyes, a first year graduate student in woodcut, an area of printmaking. In talking about her newest pieces, she explained that her most recent collection presented her worst fears, helping her conquer them. Her printing process involves paper along with ink to transfer her designs. The results are much more vibrant than ink and offer a sensory appeal along with the visual. 

While the artworks of graduate and undergraduate students differ greatly, each piece serves as evidence of the artist’s passion and commitment to his or her field. 

Open Studio Night, an event filled with art, fun, and community, will continue to serve as the pinnacle of art appreciation at UD for many years ahead. 

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