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Studio Lights Shine Limelight on Student Art

A new panel of student artists feature their creations every week.

4th+year+student+Nicole+Gomez+stands+mesmerized+by+the+complexity+of+the+oil+paintings+of+Lainey+Atwood+shown+at+the+Gatov+West+gallery.
4th year student Nicole Gomez stands mesmerized by the complexity of the oil paintings of Lainey Atwood shown at the Gatov West gallery.

4th year student Nicole Gomez stands mesmerized by the complexity of the oil paintings of Lainey Atwood shown at the Gatov West gallery.

Chris Park

Chris Park

4th year student Nicole Gomez stands mesmerized by the complexity of the oil paintings of Lainey Atwood shown at the Gatov West gallery.

Cheantay Jensen, Staff Writer

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Showcasing the works of Cal State Long Beach’s Fall 2017 artists, the student art galleries neighboring the university art store have reopened to the public. This week the first five of the 52 students scheduled to exhibit their work this semester have mounted, hung and meticulously placed each of their works against the stark white walls of four different art spaces on campus.

With a new rotation of students beginning every Friday, each participating artist is handed the keys to their assigned gallery. There, they spend the weekend ironing out the details that bring their show to fruition.  

“[The exhibitions are] a good opportunity to test out a space. It’s nice having the keys and having full control. And you don’t have to pay for it. It’s free, you just have to apply,” said senior fine arts major Natalie Cruz. Her installation crafted of glossy chiffon and painted plastics drapes from the ceiling of the Merlino exhibition room.

For many students, this will be their first time revealing their art in a professional setting. For  fine arts major Taylor Austin, whose exhibition in the Dutzi gallery features a number of macabre, rock ‘n’ roll-esque illustrations, this opportunity meant she could create something that wasn’t a course requirement.

“When you’re doing stuff for other classes you don’t always have a lot of time for your own personal work,” said Austin. “I think it’s fun to be able to showcase what you do outside of class.”

With her art exhibition looming overhead, Austin could take no comfort in the whittled down routine of skimming syllabi and awkward class introductions that students count on as they adjust to onset depression induced from summer’s end.

“Oh yeah,” Austin said, standing outside the tinted double glass doors to her space. “I was terrified [of going first],” she admits.

Snagging a slot into the galleries isn’t difficult as much as it is time consuming. In addition to finding a tenured faculty member in their art department, eager artists must apply a semester in advance, then fill out and turn in their application for the following semester all at once. Then they spend the rest of their summer honing in on their craft.

Soon to graduate with her fine arts bachelor’s degree in ceramics, senior Teresa Womack really digs the student art exhibitions, so much in fact that she’s participated in them for three consecutive years.

“It’s a system that’s set up really nicely to try something new or get an idea out in the world,” Womack said.  “And that is CSULB.”

You can view student galleries throughout the semester in the fine arts department near the University Art Store. The galleries are open Monday through Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., with extended hours Wednesdays until 7 p.m.

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