Last Friday night, I felt like a mother to a new art generation. When my students succeed, a part of me can’t help but feel proud. It’s a difficult world for creatives and opportunities are a challenge to capture in such a competitive climate. However, when a special exhibit includes my Academy of Art University graduate students- I feel the need to brag.
Three of my students were accepted into the de Young Museum 18th Annual New Generations: Student Showcase titled EXPAND. Artwork is to be featured for the weekend of April 11-13th only. According to the description: “The de Young New Generations Student and Faculty Advisory Committee invites you–college and university students–to submit proposals of all forms of art inspired by artworks at the de Young. Explore beyond the boundaries of the creative arts. What have you learned from artists of the past and present? What can you add to the expanding landscapes of creativity today and tomorrow?”
This is a wonderful opportunity to experience an exhibit at a world-class venue and told the students to enjoy every moment of it. Applying for the showcase was part of a Group Directed Study class assignment. My goal was to get them used to communicating clearly, following the rules, and experiencing an artist’s life. Not everyone that entered received an acceptance, in fact it was their first rejection, and was difficult to process. As a result, I brought four large binders full of rejections to class, a resume, and stated: “As of today’s date, I’ve sent out almost 1300 proposals. It took all this to build my resume…If you’re not receiving rejections, you’re not working.”
Speaking of working, the exhibit was a big feat to coordinate. With over 220 submissions, 82 pieces were selected. There were over 40 jurors from diverse backgrounds. The curators did a masterfully job displaying the various works in the Piazzoni Murals Room. Here’s a look:
It was wonderful to be part of an exhibit that supports students. Most importantly, I enjoyed seeing hope in their expressions for the future. From this experience, they learned a valuable lesson. Rejection and acceptance are positive aspects of being an artist. Rejection makes us want to be better, and is the next step closer to an opportunity. Acceptance adds fuel to the fire to continue moving forward. Without the two, critical thinking in art would be missing. Questions expand, improve, and enrich our lives. John F. Kennedy: “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”