The 51-year tradition continued, this year with new awards to highlight student art.
In an annual juried exhibition of undergraduate and graduate student art, the Gussman has succeeded in encouraging young artists for over five decades. This exhibition, housed in the Alexander Hogue Gallery, opened on March 28 and will be on display until April 18. This year, Jessica Borusky, artistic director of Living Arts of Tulsa and visiting professor at TU, juried the exhibition.
The Gussman Exhibition originated 51 years ago when Herbert Gussman and former chair of the School of Art, Design and Art History Brad Place came together to plan the show. With this, students were able to gain experience by being juried by prominent figures in the art world. Further, this annual exhibition provides an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of TU student artists.
Borusky attended the awards ceremony to discuss the achievements of the students involved and her inspiration in selecting pieces. In her Juror’s Statement, Borusky highlighted the significance of personal and individual expression that underscored her appreciation of the works selected. Students, she describes, are “vying to generate a distinct voice within new material methods.”
Beyond selecting works that presented this distinct voice, Borusky described looking to presentation of the aesthetics as a distinguishing quality. Certain student artists “highlighted the work and helped to defend the artistic and conceptual integrity of the work.” In this way, Borusky brought her curatorial experience to her decisions regarding which students most effectively presented their ideas in ways that could engage viewers and create an experience within the gallery.
At the opening on Thursday, March 28, numerous awards were presented to students working in various mediums. These awards were given to graduate and undergraduate students. The first award was presented by First Lady of TU Paula Clancy. She personally selected works from 10 students to be displayed at Skelly Mansion for nine months. These students will attend a tea party where they will introduce and discuss their works.
This year, a new award was added by Adjunct Professor of Digital Illustration Josh Butts. Butts, a TU alumnus, created an award for the best digital illustration that grants the recipient a $1,000 scholarship.
Butts conceived of this award in honor of the legacy of Professor Glenn Godsy. He recalled taking classes from Godsy and reflected on his “method of instruction and personal investment.” The award for best digital illustration was given to Chay Schmidt for his illustration “Anna.”
Additional awards were presented by donors, such as the James Jones family and Nen and Nancy Clark in memory of their daughter who loved art and art history. Borusky selected four undergraduate and four graduate students, as well as a “Best in Show” piece. Katie Norton, a student photographer, received the first place undergraduate award in addition to the award for Outstanding Senior. Professor Valero, the director of the School of Art, Design and Art History, awards this to a student that “embodies everything that we are.”
First place for graduate students was awarded to Sam Kennedy, whose mixed media sculptures were featured in the exhibition. While the Best in Show award is generally awarded to a graduate student, Borusky chose undergraduate TJ Treece’s digital media submissions for this year’s recipient.
The Gussman Juried Student Exhibition provides a platform for student artists to showcase their talents and gain valuable experience. Out of about 300 submissions, 100 were chosen to be displayed. Borusky’s choices and input, combined with the efforts of these talented art students, has created a diverse and engaging exhibition with varied subjects, mediums and messages.