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Creative outlet: Pop-up gallery in Silver City showcases WNMU art students’ work

Artwork by advanced painting and drawing students at Western New Mexico University is showcased in a pop-up gallery at Bullard Street and Broadway in downtown Silver City. (Courtesy of Western New Mexico University)

Art is everywhere.

With the pandemic still raging, it’s important to get art seen by the public.

Enter Western New Mexico University.

The university started a project to showcase advanced painting and drawing students’ work in a pop-up gallery in downtown Silver City.

The rotating installment of WNMU expressive arts student work is themed “We All Build Narratives” and is viewable from the outside of the building, because the art hangs in the windows and is displayed on easels just inside the building at 116 N. Bullard Street.

“Having WNMU students involved in downtown through their art is something I have been wanting to do since I started teaching at WNMU last year,” assistant professor Jennifer Douglass said in a statement.

The work featured in “We All Build Narratives” was inspired by the realities of living through a pandemic and was the culmination of an exploratory process Douglass and her students underwent.

“Our current conditions have pushed us to rethink how we do things, especially how we relate to each other,” Douglass said. “Problem solving and our ability to take advantage of opportunities are consistently changing as we move through this new environment created by social distancing. Consequently, the sharing and transferring of new ideas is one of the most important gifts that can happen during this time of uncertainty. The creative process, which is the foundation of the arts, can build resilience and invent new narratives that define and rethink the possibilities.”

Online learning gave WNMU art students the space to investigate how contemporary artists use themes and big ideas to develop their own narratives, driven by essential questions that frame their explorations. The virtual part of the hybrid curriculum enabled the students to gain familiarity with multiple ways of representing a concept in preparation for time in the physical studio, where they connected ideas with form and technique.

Scott and Denise Kennedy donated use of their building, while Charmaine Wait of Silver City Mainstreet and Diana Ingalls Leyba collaborated to locate a space for this pop-up gallery.

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