The Art Department’s BFA students continued to showcase their artistic talent during the week of May 2. These shows are a requirement for the students by the Art Department to graduate with a BFA degree.
The intention of creating and setting up the show is to “showcase the culmination of student work and their applied artistic research from their time at UW-Platteville,” said Letha Kelsey, the instructor of the BFA class. Kelsey is also new to the university as of last semester but said she has been having fun meeting all the students and getting to know their work.
When asked about the process the BFA students must go through to graduate, Kelsey explained it in-depth. Two years before the students get to work on their BFA, they compile a portfolio for their Sophomore Review. This portfolio is part of a presentation by the student to the faculty of the Art Building. From there, the faculty decides if the student can pass the Sophomore Review, be accepted into the BFA program and begin to refine their areas of specialization or degree emphasis.
Before working on the BFA itself, students present an exhibition proposal to the art faculty, and it either gets rejected or accepted after review. The students then have a semester-long course while they begin the process of making and collecting their pieces for their show. Typically, students have been thinking about what concepts they would like to explore before this point. They can begin to work hard upon receiving approval.
Kelsey shared her experience reviewing BFA applications and instructing the class. She found a lot of variety in the proposals since each BFA student had a different curiosity they wanted to explore through their work.
She described that each student’s work was personal to the artist and that this personalism and sincerity of work requires a lot of bravery. Once the class officially started for the semester, Kelsey said that her role in the classroom was to “help shape and organize processes and details of completing the BFA exhibit.”
She included, “securing spaces for shows, writing artist statements and creating promotional materials” as a part of this semester-long process. Kelsey went on to note that her students proved to be
“hard-working, creative and adaptive.” She thanked them for their hard work and the opportunity she had to work with them.
Since the majority of the BFA shows have already occurred, Kelsey shared that she found them lively and interesting; the large number of art students graduating this year brought forth many different mediums and art types, extending from 2-D work like printmaking and graphic design to 3-D work like ceramics and other mixed media pieces.
She found some of the shows to be immersive for viewers and said that watching the artworks change and progress over the semester kept the class “playful and fun.” Kelsey compared the changing artwork to the composition of music.
Kelsey encouraged others to go to the BFA exhibits when possible. The shows are scattered across campus and even downtown. Kelsey said she personally enjoyed seeing the “utilization of space by each student with their work and design.”
She also gave credit to her PVA colleagues for their contributions to the BFA students throughout the semester. She shared that they all worked collaboratively to help guide student work, create work spaces and promote and install shows. Kelsey said that working in this way with the art faculty was exciting and rewarding.