CHADRON – A 1,200 mile trip to scenic mountain ranges, national parks, museums and art galleries in the western U.S. inspired the art works by five Chadron State College students on display in Gallery 239 on the second floor of Memorial Hall.
“Artist Point: Art from the May 2018 CSC Art Guild Trip is free and open to the public and will be displayed through Oct. 5. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Artist Point” includes photos, drawings and water colors by Matt Ellis, Kayla Reinke, Sarah Stangle, Tristan Stephenson, and Christopher Wright, as well as works by CSC art professor Mary Donahue, faculty adviser for the Art Guild.
The Art Guild spring trip is an annual event, but this is the first year students decided to stage a show based on their travels, said Donahue. Guild activities primarily focus on art-related events on campus, including creating T-shirt and poster designs and organizing student art shows. The group also undertakes service projects and fundraising activities to raise money for the trip, including an annual Christmas sale of arts and crafts by students and local artists.
The annual trip is intended to expose students to museums, art galleries and professionals working in art, museums, design and related fields, Donahue said. The trip typically includes visits to national parks and other scenic areas. Destinations in the past have included Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Denver.
“The Art Guild trips are fabulous opportunities for high-impact learning,” said Donahue. “We are outside the classroom and they are visiting new places, having new experiences…and that fires their brains in new and different ways, it powers creativity,” she said.
The students themselves chose which works to include in the exhibit, “the pieces they felt the most proud of,” Donahue said.
For the show, Stephenson, an art education major from Alliance, Nebraska, selected sketches he made of Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park and of the Grand Teton mountains, as well as three of the hundreds of photos he took on the trip.
“During the trip we made points to specifically stop and create art with whatever medium of our choice,” he said. “We wanted to…do some studies like many artists do while traveling,” Stephenson said.
Several photos by Stangle, a junior graphic design major from Gordon, Nebraska, with a particular interest in photography, are in the show. Stangle said she used her camera extensively on the trip and was inspired by traveling with and viewing works by other artists.
Reinke, a junior from Pierce, Nebraska, majoring in graphic design, particularly enjoyed hiking in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, area, and the opportunity to try plein air painting, which is done on site outdoors. Besides her photos, the show includes a video Reinke created of the trip.
Viewing art in the galleries at Jackson Hole was a highlight of the trip for Wright, a junior from Alliance, Nebraska. He also enjoyed a stop in Driggs, Idaho, at the home studio of CSC alumnus Scott Christensen.
“(The trip) truly broadened how I look at the art world and artist’s process to becoming well known,” Wright said.
The trip also included visits to the extensive Western art collection at the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming, and to The West Lives On Gallery in Jackson Hole, which carries the work of former CSC students Brandon Bailey and Priscilla Sandoz, said Donahue. Visiting with professional artists, gallery owners and museum directors “gives students a vision of the possibilities in the arts profession and helps them imagine a future for themselves,” she said.
Reinke, who plans to pursue a career in graphic design, said art will always play a role in her life, no matter what kind of work she does.
“I could end up using my photography skills in my future job,” she said, “but for the most part, I will be using my creative abilities wherever my future takes me.”