Faculty Art Exhibit brings professors, students together

Donned in dresses, blazers, suits and ties, students, professors and admirers of art came out to the Santa Monica College Pete & Susan Barrett Gallery to see the Faculty Art Exhibit on Friday night. Although the open reception started at 6 p.m., many people came sooner and made their way to the gallery, a bright and bustling landscape.

Cameras snapped, flashes flickered, people hugged and cheered. Even the spread on the snack table seemed artistic, appealing to the crowd with glossy, glazed cookies and sparkling sodas. The gallery itself was cozy but spacious. Pieces lined the walls; some took up room on the floor, and others packed neatly onto stands and displays. The event peaked shortly after it started. Eyes lit up as people recognized friends, professors and fellow students. The room echoed snippets of deep discussion, laughter and also the sweet silence of people examining the artwork. As many as 34 pieces of art were displayed, each one capturing their own audience that was eager to discuss, to take mental pictures, and to point out that one unbelievable aspect.

Some people stared in awe, while others meticulously eyed the work to find all the distinct details.

Ozzy Juarez, an SMC student majoring in fine arts, admired the elaborated work of SMC's art professors. Juarez explained that he attended the exhibit to support the faculty, both as a student and as an artist.

“It feels great to get some fresh air among great people,” he said. “The professors we have here are just way too valuable.”

Rory Toole, another SMC fine arts major, said that coming to see the works of his professors gave him more insight into their teaching style and their general perspective on art.

Linda Lopez, professor and creator of the sculpture "Transcendence," enthusiastically explained her artwork, which was built inside the gallery for about six weeks.

The piece was an eye catcher, with hidden color-changing lights beneath fluffy white feathers, all enclosed in eggshells of different sizes, some as big as a human head, others as small as a golf ball.

These realistic looking eggshells were actually thin pieces of plaster and extremely fragile, Lopez said. Although Lopez created a complex artwork with precisely placed tumbleweed, glimmering chips of plaster eggshells, and glows of soft colorful light, the exhibition had a bigger purpose overall.

She said she hoped that not only the Santa Monica community, but also SMC students would view this gallery in order to see what an artist can achieve with dedication and "months, years of hard work to perfect those details."

According to her student Melika Abikenaari, Lopez attained her goal.

Abikenaari said she enjoyed both talking to her professors and seeing how much hard work they put into their artwork.

“It was so cool to look at a piece of art and say, 'I know that artist; that’s my professor,'” she said.

Although professors and students may have had different motivations for creating and attending the exhibition, they and the rest of the night’s audience all had one thing in common, the thrill for captivating art.

This year's Faculty Art Exhibit started Sept. 3 and will be open through Oct. 5.

Dion ToComment