Artists speak to students at ArTalks

Students walking through the foyer of the Fine Arts Building on certain evenings may notice a spread of food. These students might consider taking a plate, and might wonder why the food was there.

The food is actually the treat that follows each presentation of the ArTalks series.

For many years, the School of Art has invited respected, notable artists and scholars to give presentations on their work, said Katarina Ray, the director of the School of Art.

She said she refers to all of these presentations as one series known as the ArTalks.

Each year, the faculty and students choose artists and scholars who are known nationally and internationally in various artistic disciplines.

This year, upcoming guest speakers include a variety of museum curators, art historians and artists.

At each ArTalk seminar, the guest speaker presents an hour and a half talk on his or her art work or another topic of choice. These talks are frequently followed by a reception or an art showing.

For art students, the seminars have a clear benefit.

Ray said the seminars are organized so that art students can “learn about their discipline and come in contact with leaders in their field.”

Students are not the only ones to benefit from the presentations.

Guest speaker Robert Ebendorf, a jeweler and metalsmith, said he enjoys speaking at these kind of events because he gets to tell his story.

Having been a struggling college student himself, he said he knows how important it is for students to be encouraged by hearing stories of successful people who were at one time also working through college.

“Oftentimes, after speaking, a young man or lady comes up to me and says, ‘I understand what you shared,’” he said.

Students who are not art majors may also attend the events.

“Take the opportunity to sit and listen to a person who is passionate about what they do, whether they are an artist, a musician, whoever,” Ebendorf said. “Take an hour to walk into a world you’re not a part of. It’s busy, but the opportunity is 24 karat gold.”

The talks can also be influential for students.

“[The talks] are inspiring because students can see incredible artists and scholars, and see firsthand how they create,” Ray said. “Creativity is relevant for everyone; it doesn’t matter if you’re in science or pre-law: everyone needs to be creative.”

Freshman Taylor Lawwell said she agrees with Ray.

She said while she would gladly attend one of the seminars because she is interested in art, any student could enjoy listening to an ArTalk.

“It’s a way for people to open their mind to something new,” she said.

The ArTalks are free to all students who wish to attend. The seminars occur at various dates throughout the entire school year; interested students can find the schedule online at the University site.