Northwestern student artists Ya-Wen Liu and Joy McCaffrey are taking their art to the next level. Any artist within a 350-mile radius of Orange City was allowed to submit their art to the annual Orange City Arts’ Regional Exhibition, and of those artists, Liu and McCaffrey were two selected for their art.
“Part of our mission is to encourage and celebrate local art,” NW alumni and Orange City Arts executive director Lindsay Bauer said. “An exhibition like this gives a lot of exposure to some fabulously talented artists. There is often this misconception that you have to live in or visit a big city in order to enjoy high quality artistic engagement, but that simply isn’t true. This exhibit really makes that clear.”
Both Liu and McCaffrey are excited to have their art be part of the show.
“I really like to see the different kinds of art showing in one show,” Liu said. “Even though they have different topics, you can learn something. I will learn a lot from the show.”
McCaffrey said the event and its art is very fun.
“They [the art pieces] are all very alive and vibrant and so they really catch your attention, but none really steals all the attention,” McCaffrey said.
Both students were encouraged by their professors in the art department to submit the art they made for class.
This is Liu’s third time participating in this show, and this year her art was chosen to be the picture for the poster advertising the event. She also worked with Bauer as well as art professor Emily Stokes to set up for the show.
“I think that it is encouraging to see interest in this exhibition grow each year,” Stokes said. “The result is a collection of impressive artworks.”
Bauer agrees with Stokes.
“It [the exhibit] is truly stunning,” Bauer said. “We had so many entries this year that even though we increased the number we accepted, there were over 100 pieces – many of them impressively lovely – that we didn’t invite to the exhibit. I think there is definitely enough professional level art being created in our state to warrant more events like this throughout the year.”
This was McCaffrey’s first year doing anything like this, and she is very glad her art was chosen.
“It’s such an honor to get nominated, but that’s only half the fun,” McCaffrey said. “The other half is looking at what everyone else did.”
To put on such a show, a lot of people have to be involved, helping everything run smoothly. Bauer was in charge of it all, but she got a lot of help from her predecessor, Janine Calsbeek. In addition, NW theatre department secretary and administrative assistant for the Orange City Arts Jennifer Sabo kept it all organized and did a lot of the communication with the artists. Also, the jurors this year who decided which art pieces were selected for the exhibit were local artists Anne Plageman and Doug Burg, who is also an art professor at Dordt College.
Bauer says that she definitely plans on continuing to do events like this in the future. The show is on display in the Dewitt Theatre Arts Center’s lobby until April 8.