Guests admire artwork by John Harman in Lindenwood's Fine and Performing Arts building (FPA).

For art students at Lindenwood University, one of the necessities to receive a BFA or MFA is to hold an art exhibition to showcase their work.

“Basically, an artist does not have a complete experience of creation until the artwork is received by someone else,” said John Troy, department chair of studio art. “Art does not exist in a vacuum. It has to be seen.”


A small crowd enjoys artwork and food at the Hendren Gallery.

Troy explained that among the many reasons for including a show as part of the curriculum is the students’ need to learn how to present their work and provide a reception for guests.

Five undergraduate students opened their shows on April 26. Catriona Lake and Tom Thornberry, both studio art majors, presented their work in the Hendren Gallery at Studio West. The second floor of the Scheidegger Center housed the work of graphic design majors Gina Jackson, Kris Coulson and John Harman.

Preparing for an art show requires hours of work, as the students must create new pieces to show along with previous work. When showing dozens of pieces, the time adds up.

“Some pieces can take a couple hours and others can take days,” Coulson said. “If it’s a logo, the whole thought process is pretty lengthy.”

guests and artwork

Friends of Catriona Lake talk in front of Lake's paintings.

Lake, a painter who explores color in simplistic compositions, said she can she can sometimes spend weeks on a piece trying to get it just right.

“When I look at it again, I see a new thing that needs to be added or changed. It’s a process,” she said.

In addition to creating the pieces, students are required to frame and hang their work as well as adjust the lighting to properly illuminate their pieces. For many students, setting up is harder than creating the work.

“The hardest part of it was lighting it because I didn’t know anything about lighting until my instructor helped me,” Lake said.

Thornberry and Coulson agreed that framing and hanging their pieces was a difficult process.

A semester’s worth of preparation came to an end for the five artists at their opening receptions Thursday evening as friends, family, professors and fellow art students came to admire artwork and show support.


A guest walks along a wall in the FPA that bears graphic design pieces by Gina Jackson.

Lindenwood art student Vincent Perez said though he doesn’t know Lake personally, he is familiar with her work.

“I’ve never talked to her before, but I’ve seen some of her work in the classrooms and it’s really great,” he said.

His favorite piece in the show was “Glow,” close-up image of a light-colored pumpkin.

“I like her combination of colors,” Perez said.

Harmon’s mother, Pat, was one of the many family members in attendance.

“A lot of [his work] I haven’t seen. I didn’t know what he’s been doing lately and I’ve enjoyed seeing all of it,” she said.

The BFA Exhibition comes as a relief to art students who put so much effort into their work.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking at first,” Harman said, “but now that


Charcoal drawings by Tom Thornberry hang in the Hendren Gallery.

people are looking at it and commenting on it, I’m pretty happy.”

Student exhibitions remain on display for ten days before they are taken down for the next group of student artists to display their creative talent.

“It’s a really good culmination experience,” Thornberry said. “All your hard work gets put into place.”