Surveying the area’s spring college art shows

By Morgan Laurens

Photo: Wright State’s Robert and Elaine Stein Gallery; photo: Tess Cortes


Every spring you’ll find an above average number of college students hunkered down in the library, surrounded by a small army of paper coffee cups. It’s finals time, and most students are busy cramming their brains out, hoping—or praying—for a passing grade.

End of semester stressors are a bit different for art students. Sure, they still run from class to class, fueled by four hours of sleep and enough caffeine to kill a small horse, but these students aren’t busy lugging bags of books across campus. Instead, they’re bogged down by sheets of archival paper rolled in tight tubes, massive canvases, and delicate sculptures covered in sheets of thick plastic.

Art students are busy getting ready for the end of the year art shows, whether it’s an entry into a best-of first year through senior roundup, or it’s their personal senior thesis showcase.

For the graduating students, their senior year might be the last time they are ever so deeply immersed in a like-minded community again. The end of the year show is one last chance for them to engage with their fellow students and teachers, and make sure their art is seen and talked about.

This spring, Dayton City Paper takes a trip around the Miami Valley, surveying the area’s student exhibits. The exhibits all vary in scope and requirements, but one thing remains common among them: our inside sources tell us that the spring student shows at each of the following schools are among the most popular and well attended art events of the year.


University of Dayton: The Horvath Annual Juried Exhibition, through April 27

A juried exhibition is typically judged by a blind panel of art or design professionals, either already on staff, or invited in by the staff to serve as the jury. In UD’s case, this year’s Horvath Annual Juried Exhibition will be juried by nationally recognized artist Nick Stamas, founder of the Dayton-based design group Graphica Design. Stamas will look for excellence across a wide range of media (all students are eligible to submit works), including photography, painting, and design. Awards will be given out for Best in Design and the Horvath Award for Realism. The show is named for a Hungarian artist who fled Europe during WWII and found refuge in Dayton and is funded by the Bela Horvath Award Fund, established by the artist’s wife. Judith Huacuja, chair of UD’s Department of Art and Design, says that visitors should expect to see everything from abstract paintings to three-dimensional projects.

The Horvath Annual Juried Exhibition runs through April 27 at UD’s Gallery 249 in Fitz Hall, 1529 Brown St. in Dayton. The opening reception takes place Wednesday, April 5 from 5–7 p.m. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Wednesday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday, and 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Friday. For more information, please visit Go.UDayton.Edu/Gallery249 or call 937.229.3237.


Sinclair Community College: Annual Juried Fine Art Student Exhibit, through April 11

All students, regardless of major, could submit work to Sinclair’s Annual Juried Fine Art Student Exhibition. This year’s chosen works were selected by outside juror Edward Charney, gallery director at Wittenberg University. Of the 213 pieces submitted, 87 were selected for the exhibit, making the competition pretty stiff at downtown Dayton’s community college. While the categories included in the exhibition represent a wide range of mediums—painting, photography, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and collage—they also reflect the studio practices of students at Sinclair.

Sinclair’s Annual Juried Fine Arts Student Exhibit runs through April 11 at the galleries on the third and fourth floors of Building 13 at the corner of Fifth Street and Perry Street in downtown Dayton. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, please visit or call 937.512.2253.


Wittenberg University: Senior Thesis Exhibition, April 14–May 12

At Wittenberg’s Senior Thesis Exhibition, students are assigned individual spaces within the gallery. The show, according to Gallery Director Edward Charney, is the culmination of a year-long student-designed project completed over the course of the student’s senior year. Students are responsible for installing their own work in coordination with Charney, who makes sure the work is complemented by the gallery space for the best possible visual outcome. Visitors can expect to see sterling jewelry, photography, ceramics, graphic design, drawing, and painting. Subject matter generally covers landscape, portraiture, still life, and the human figure.

Wittenberg’s Senior Thesis Exhibition is on display Saturday, April 8–May 13 at the Thomson and Ann Miller Galleries in Koch Hall, at Wittenberg University, 200 W. Ward St. in Springfield. Galleries hours during the exhibition are weekdays 9 a.m.–5 p.m. or weekends by appointment. For more information, please visit or call 937.327.6326.


Wright State University: Senior Thesis Exhibition, April 12–28

Wright State’s Senior Thesis Exhibition operates under a slightly different model than your typical thesis exhibition. Though the end of year exhibit is mandatory for all graduating art students, instead of requiring the students to curate their own work, the Department of Art and Art History chooses the 10 best pieces submitted by each participating student. The students are still required to frame and hang their work as if they were in a professional gallery setting. The entire gallery space, with the exception of the Robert and Elaine Stein Gallery Collection is cleared for the exhibition and filled with student artwork. “Every year there is a different mix of media, sometimes including site-specific installation and video,” says Gallery Coordinator Tess Cortes.

Wright State’s Senior Thesis Exhibition is on display April 12–28 at the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway in Fairborn. The closing reception will be held Friday, April 28 from 5–7 p.m. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday; and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends. For more information, please visit or call 937.775.2978.


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Reach DCP freelance writer Morgan Laurens at

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