Senior artists display zenith of respective careers at Washburn

Leia Karimul Bashar

For student artists at Washburn, a senior exhibition represents the culmination of talent, inspiration and plain old hard work that goes into creating artwork during their college years.

Heather Petersen and Sarah McKinnie will be the latest Washburn seniors to showcase their artwork. The women are presenting an opening reception for their senior art exhibits 6:30 Friday night in the John R. Adams Gallery of the Washburn Art Building. The women’s exhibitions will be on display to today through May 23. The opening reception and the exhibitions will be open to the public and free of charge.

This isn’t McKinnie’s first art exhibition – her drawings and paintings have graced New City CafĂ©, now-defunct Freda and Maude’s and several coffee shops in the area. She said she is glad to finally have the chance to display her work in a senior exhibit.

“It’s kind of a relief to show what you’ve accomplished over the last five years,” said McKinnie. “Still, it’s nerve-racking to put your own work on display for others to either criticize or compliment.”

Petersen’s primary focus as an art major is photography. Her senior exhibition will feature black-and-white and color photographs as well as several printmaking pieces. Several of her photographs will also be included in the Washburn Art Student Exhibition at the Mulvane. Petersen said setting up for the senior show has been challenging.

“Usually there are more seniors showing their work, but this year it will be just the two of us,” said Petersen. “We still have a lot to hang this weekend. Between the two of us, we have over 20 pieces.”

Overall, though, Petersen said preparing the gallery for her senior exhibit has been well worth the effort.

“It’s kind of a learning experience and a good way to find out how a gallery works,” said Petersen.

Every student who majors in art at Washburn is required to organize a senior exhibition before becoming eligible to receive a bachelor of fine arts degree. A senior art major is responsible for all parts of his or her solo exhibition, including hanging, labeling and framing the art, and the publicity for the exhibition. Each senior exhibition must feature more than one medium, and Washburn faculty members will judge a student’s art exhibition based on the quality of artwork and how effectively it is displayed in the gallery.