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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Exhibition shows off the best of student artwork

Legs, bending seemingly in all directions, lay in a colorless environment. They are thin, and it is difficult to tell if they are wearing black-and-white striped socks or if their skin itself displays the stark design.

It is this scene — a drawing titled “Stripes” — that won Ron Tillman the “Best of Show” award in the 54th Annual Undergraduate Art and Design Exhibition.

Tillman’s art is displayed with 233 other pieces in the Fine Arts Center’s Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries.

The entries this year impressed Jackie Nason, coordinator of the event. “There’s some extremely talented artists,” she said.

“This is a major event for the School of Art,” Nason said. “Because it’s competitive, that makes it all the more exciting.”

The sense of competition is increased by the amount of money that can be won. More than $10,000 in awards and scholarships are up for grabs in the exhibition that is held only once a year, during spring semester.

The money is donated by the Alumni Foundation Parents’ Club and the Medici Circle, a group of art enthusiasts within the Bowling Green community.

“We’re extremely lucky to have a lot of donors who support us with scholarships and awards,” Nason said.

Dennis Wojtkiewicz, a professor of painting at the School of Art, noticed a trend in this year’s entries.

“It was interesting in the sense that it was figuratively-based this year,” Wojtkiewicz said. Figuratively-based artwork literally uses the human figure as a way to communicate an artist’s ideas.

“It runs in cycles,” Wojtkiewicz said. “There may be years where it’s non-objective, or abstract.”

Nathalie Ayres, who both entered pieces into the show and managed public relations, praised the works on display.

“It’s really a great opportunity for students to see the best of the best,” Ayres said. “These pieces are pieces that are top-notch.”

This year is John Hierholzer’s first time entering art into the show.

Hierholzer, a sophomore, won a $1,000 scholarship for his three pieces on display.

His most striking piece is a print that stands about 10 feet tall and six feet wide. It depicts a factory in black and white.

“It’s a factory in my hometown,” Hierholzer explained, “so I kinda focused on how the economy’s changing and how it affects small towns.”

“It’s my strongest piece,” Hierholzer said.

Its strength may lie in how well it portrays Hierholzer’s ideas.

“You have to look at their intention,” Wojtkiewicz said. “They’re not only talking the talk but they’re walking the walk.”

“Everybody has these ideas, but it’s the people that are motivated enough to see them through that we start to see things as art,” he said.

The exhibition runs now until March 2. The galleries are open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission is free.

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