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Remodeled Diggs reopens in time for senior art exhibit

By Maurika Smutherman
On April 23, 2014

  • “Echo” was created by Deric Cooper. Maurika Smutherman
  • “Cultural Labor” was created by Buck Warren. Maurika Smutherman

This year's senior art exhibi­tion returned to Diggs Gallery April 11.

Last year, senior art majors were forced to showcase their projects in the Fine Arts Building due to ongoing renovations of Diggs Gallery. Several art majors were upset about the change, as previous exhibits have always been at Diggs. The renovations were completed in March, just in time for the showcase.

The exhibit opened April 9 during Winston-Salem State Scholarship Day, but the offi­cial opening took place April 11.

"Belinda Tate, the Gallery direc­tor, Dr. Walker, our dean and the University facilities folks did a tre­mendous job of updating the space [Diggs Gallery] and making the open­ing reception a festive and memorable event. The students are truly the bene­factors in this project and it is some­thing they take great pride in," said Tammy Evans, assistant professor of graphic design in the department of art and visual studies.

"The floors, lighting and condition of the walls have had the most impact on the exhibit space. However, there are the underlying factors that have also been improved, bringing the building up to code and more secure," she said.

Evans joined the department of art and visual studies in 2008.

She coordinated the art exhibit by developing a press release and promo­tional material with the help of Diggs Gallery staff. Evans and the rest of the art department faculty critiqued seniors' work throughout the semester.

She said the faculty wanted to ensure "students are putting forth their strongest pieces for exhibition."

This year, 16 senior art majors pre­sented their work, including Bree Baldwin, Shakillia Bobo, Diandrea Brown, Maleek Brown, Aundrea Bruton, Akinyele Cameron-Kamau, Irwin Clawson, Deric Cooper, Kelvin Douglas, Frederick Graham, Christine Holland, Justin Jackson, Aquila Jones, Victor Toodle, Darius Turner and Brian "Buck" Warren.

The exhibit featured digital design, sculpture, painting, photography and more.

"This process has helped me start networking; hopefully I can get some of my artwork sold now," said Warren, a senior fine arts major from Greenville, N.C.

Warren presented a series of paint­ings based on major milestones in his life and the lives of friends.

One painting paid homage to a class­mate who died in 2011, Deena Wilson.

While Warren's presentation show­cased his painting skills, he said he is well versed in other artistic avenues.

"I'm kind of well rounded," he said.

"I can do digital and sculpture but my specialty is definitely studio art and painting," he said.

Jones, a senior art major from Pennsauken, N.J., presented a series of photographs and paintings.

"My inspiration was what I had in front of me. All of my paintings are based on the photos I've taken," Jones said.

Her exhibit featured paintings and photos from prominent landmarks around WSSU.

"I've always enjoyed drawing...I decided to come to school for art because it's what I enjoy," she said.

Evans said the art department fac­ulty and staff are supportive of what­ever their students choose to do after graduation.

"Some students have intentions to continue on to graduate school, oth­ers are seeking employment in art and design related fields, while a few still have one more semester to complete requirements for graduation. Whatever their plans - the faculty will be here to support their career goals," she said.

Warren said he might pursue his Masters of Fine Arts, but isn't sure whether he wants to become a profes­sor.

"I'm contemplating my MFA, but I sort of don't want to teach at this point. I'm thinking about freelancing -- I just want to sell my work."

Jones said she plans to return to New Jersey after graduation, take a year off from school and then look into pursuing a graduate degree.

Evans said coordinating the exhibit has been a great experience.

"Seeing the sense of accomplishment in the eyes of the students and having such a wonderful venue to share the experience with their family, friends and supporters [was rewarding]," she said.

The art exhibit is on display through May 2 at Diggs Gallery.

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