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Gallery opportunities and guidance produce growth in Art Area

December 4, 2013 | Bryce Wilks

Weaving through the second floor of the Barnett Fine Arts Center leaves an impression.

The space that houses Evangel’s Art Area is filled with three dimensional sculptures in display cases, paintings, drawings and a host of other pieces from printmaking to pottery. This place is home for students majoring in Art, Studio Art, Graphic Design or Art Education.

From the natural light that pours into any of four studio classrooms, to the dimness of a traditional darkroom for developing film photography, everything is geared towards allowing students to express their creative talent.

The core of the area, Photography instructor Lane Simmons says, is a common value shared by the area’s students and faculty.

“We all have the basic realization that God formed us in his ultimate creativity. He created the Earth and its beauty — as artists we naturally admire that.”

Showcasing student work

Crafting work and building a professional portfolio is one piece of the art programs at Evangel. Finding ways to share that work takes the area to another level. Through a gallery located on campus,  art students can experience what it’s like to hang their work in a gallery while still in school.

Barnett Art Gallery

The gallery allows seniors to have their best work displayed when parents and friends attend graduation. Senior exhibits are coordinated by Graphic Design instructor Stan Maples, who selects pieces with a jury system that includes input from other faculty and student leaders.

Senior Jonathan Wommack has appeared in the gallery, and serves on the jury that selects other work for display.

“It’s always a fun experience to see your work framed and hanging in the gallery,” Wommack says. “Talking to people during shows about the inspiration behind a painting teaches us something that the classroom can’t.”

Located on the first floor of the Fine Arts Center, the gallery hosts various student, faculty and alumni exhibits. A traditional fall exhibit runs through Homecoming Week and displays work from alumni artists that are in graduate school or working professionally.

Barnett Art Classroom

Viewing art through a unique lens

Aside from preparing work for the gallery, there is a daily commitment to mastering concepts and techniques within the area.

Associate Professor of Art Michael Buesking has been a part of that process since he joined the Art Area faculty in 1991.

“Everything in our area,” Buesking says, “from the study of art history to the development of our students’ individual talents is done within the context of devotion to Christ and a commitment to God’s call on our lives.”

Students build their foundation in the arts by taking the same core of 12 Art History credits taught primarily by Buesking.

From there, they branch off to a variety of pathways that include studio art electives, study trips and seminar courses that mold their chosen discipline.

When Buesking began, art classes were spread across multiple buildings, none of which were equipped with the ideal technology, setting or convenience.

Moving to the Fine Arts Center in 2002 eliminated some of those challenges, and fortified the mission of the area by equipping faculty and students with better tools. Now, instructors are able to focus more directly on students rather than facilities.

“Our instructors gain insight into the students’ needs as we work with them over the years,” Buesking says. “We are serious about art creation and helping students find their ways in this field of creativity.”

Wommack is one student that has found his way to develop a personal portfolio and website. As president of the Art Group, he’s taken a special interest in the progress of the area.

“It’s our responsibility as students to be prepared to express whatever God calls us to,” Wommack says. “Coming to study art at Evangel has given me a solid foundation in my faith, which has prepared me to pursue my calling.”

For more about Evangel’s Art Area, check out the Humanities Department. A previous version of this article included information about the Bellwether Art Gallery. The gallery is no longer operated by Evangel University and the associated information was removed.

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