Monday, December 1, 2008

GV Lanthorn | ‘Shoots and Ladders’ prepares students for art world

‘Shoots and Ladders’ prepares students for art world

Grand Valley State University photography students will climb the rungs to success today during the opening reception for their "Shoots and Ladders" exhibit.

The event, featured from 5 to 7 p.m., will be held in the Fine Art Gallery Room 1121 in the Performing Arts Center.

photos by Matt La Vere for the Grand Valley Lanthorn

During the three-week exhibit, which began Monday and will run through Dec. 6, graduating photography students at GVSU will showcase their thesis works in the gallery.

Together, about 20 students have each chosen an individual theme for their selected works to showcase.

The event is part of a final project for a Senior Thesis/Project class, Photography 498, taught by Victoria Veenstra, assistant professor of the School of Communications.

In the class, students learn how to prepare for the real world after graduation and for photography outside of the classroom, said senior Chelsea Hoover. Her project, "Colors," is featured in the exhibit.

"We have learned a lot of things this semester like how to do resumes and frames, but mostly we have leaned a lot about real life experiences," Hoover said.

Like her fellow students, Hoover said the event is not only the final hurrah before graduation but is also a gateway into learning how to showcase their work in the future.

"This event is a way to prepare students for future exhibits and also for anything their future holds for them," Hoover added.

And this is an experience most college students do not get, said Danielle Elliot, whose project "Painting in Movement," is also featured in the show.

Elliot said she was informed that most colleges in the surrounding area do not have programs like the Senior Thesis Project class GVSU offers.

"This class has really prepared us," she said. "It has taught us how to approach galleries, how to get our work into galleries and how to be a photographer outside in the real world."

Although the class has received much praise by the students as a whole, the excitement, said Cacia Thompson -- whose work features high dynamic range processes -- comes from the opportunity for students to display their individuality through the exhibit.

"It is exciting just to see the different messages people have and the different dynamics of the works," Thompson said.

And in showcasing these different dynamics, the GVSU community can learn a lot, said Katie Hamilton, whose project "Sensations of Color" is featured in the show,

"We really need more events like these to help bring awareness about the art demographic and to be able to show off our skills," Hamilton said.

And in doing so, GVSU can celebrate the diversity of art, said Malin Towne, another senior featured in the show.

"We all have different messages and we are just trying to show that through our different perspectives," Towne said.

The Fine Arts Gallery and the "Shoots and Ladders" exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. For more information visit

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