For the autumn season the Weber Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) hosted the Northwest Missouri State Faculty Invitational that featured pieces created by practicing faculty artists as one of six exhibitions shown throughout the school year.
The exhibition included faculty artists such as Michael Faris, Christopher Graves, Gavin Halm, Thomas LaPann, Armin Mühsam, Marissa Shell, Sarah Sipling, Bobby Tso and Veronica Watkins.
“The artists come from diverse backgrounds,” said Jeremy Menard, curator and visual resource manager for the Weber Art Gallery. “Some of them are in their first year of teaching or in the early stages of their careers, while others have taught for over thirty years.”
When determining what exhibitions to show within the gallery, various requirements are factored in such as the overall quality of both the artists and the artwork, the subject and selected media of the artwork, connection to the campus and financial logistics. Northwest Missouri State’s (NWMSU) faculty artists fulfilled the criteria and brought forth works on a wide range of social, political and emotional topics through their use of a chosen medium.
“Sculpture, ceramics, painting, printmaking, photography, drawing and digital media have been utilized to explore themes ranging from nostalgia and systems of communication to man’s relationship to nature, youth gun violence, and racial injustice,” Menard said.
Michael Farris, one of the artists within the exhibition, initiated the idea of seeking out a space for their exhibit and decided to reach out to UNO.
“I’m new to the area, and I wanted our faculty to have a place to have a group exhibit,” Farris sadi. “I looked at the UNO website, found the gallery and contacted the curator at that time, Denise Brady, we all chose artwork that was representative of our normal work.”
The collaborations between campuses such as the one between UNO and NWMSU has been deemed as an outlet for both faculty and student artists to share passions for art and new perspectives among different campus environments.
“[The galleries] provide a sense of community and serve as a hub of cultural activity. They do this through not only visual arts, but with lectures, readings, and many other events as well. The galleries offer a multitude of learning opportunities,” Menard said. “They facilitate important discussions and offer opportunities for introspection, and reflection. The galleries can transform and inspire.”
Not only did the exhibition provide an opportunity for the artists to display their art, but also allowed the faculty artists to grow closer to one another and connect on a level beyond academic work.
“This is one of the best group shows I have ever been involved with, in a really great gallery space,” Farris said. “I’m very happy to be associated with my talented colleagues and feel very fortunate to a part of this show.”
The next exhibition will display art from BFA Thesis Students and BASA Seniors from Nov. 18 to Dec. 15.