St. Francis student exhibit

More than 70 pieces of art by students at St. Francis University are on display through Oct. 5 in the Margery Wolf-Kuhn Balcony Gallery at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto. Some of the works include (clockwise, from right) “Waterfall in Fall” by Brad Cain; “A Hazy Summer’s Day” by Jennifer Sinko; “True Colors” by Lauren Hutt; “Oscar” by Taya Whitfield; and “Kate’s Giraffe” by Grace McKernan.

The artistic talents of students at St. Francis University in Loretto are being showcased in an exhibition on the university’s campus.

The works are on display through Oct. 5 in the Margery Wolf-Kuhn Balcony Gallery at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto. 

This past spring, Jess Campbell, SAMA’s education coordinator, taught introductory courses in drawing and painting at St. Francis as a way for the museum to build a better relationship with the students.

“We’ve never done this before to my knowledge, and I think it’s important to let students know that we are an accredited American art museum with five locations,” she said.

“I also think it’s important to foster one’s creativity, and that includes an outlet to showcase their work.”

About 40 students participated in the introduction to drawing and painting classes.

“Approximately 72 pieces of artworks are on display,” Campbell said.

“The mediums vary because of experimentation in the drawing class, but you’ll see graphite, markers, colored pencil, watercolor and oil pastels and acrylic on canvas.”

As part of the students’ final, they were each required to submit two works of art to be featured in the exhibition. 

“There also is one student who is working on a fine arts minor, and three of her drawings are exhibited, along with QR-coded videos of her processes and why she’s minoring in art,” Campbell said.

Throughout the courses, the students learned various drawing and painting techniques.

“Each class was asked to submit eight to 10 completed works of art and various class exercises,” Campbell said.

She said that, along with being a fun way to kick off a new semester, her hope was that students would find the courses to be creative and engaging.

“When they see their artwork in the gallery, they have that ‘ah-ha’ moment, and it all comes together,” Campbell said.

“A few students have popped in during the summer and seem really excited to see their art on our walls.”

She added that its location on the St. Francis campus made it easy for SAMA to collaborate with the university.

“There are more projects in the works,” Campbell said.

Dan Atwood, director of the Center for Fine Arts at St. Francis, said students pass SAMA’s doors every day, but because they don’t have classes in the building, they might not often go in and enjoy the artwork.

“This is another way to expose our students to art, so by offering our own artwork in there, this will hopefully entice more students to go in and take a look,” he said.

Atwood said the classes gave students a chance to have their works displayed in an accredited museum.

“We hope they will look at this with a lot of fondness, and in future years, when they look back at their time at SFU, this will be one of things that stands out to them,” he said. “We have very talented artists here on campus.”

Campbell is hopeful those who see the exhibit will appreciate the array of talents the students in the show possess.

“In this case, our local talent is just beyond our doors, extending into the campus community,” she said.

For the fall semester, Campbell is teaching introductory to photography and oil painting classes at the university.

“This has been my first time teaching at the college level, but I’ve taught for the Upward Bound Program at St. Francis off and on for the past 11 years,” she said.

Campbell has a degree in sculpture from Seton Hill University, and she is currently working on a master’s degree in education from St. Francis University.

The museum is open to the public free of charge.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, call 814-472-3920 or visit www.sama-art.org.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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