Student art exhibit gleams with talent and powerful themes



Photo courtesy of the Chaparral. Artist James Burns in front of his drawing which was the Dean’s Purchase Award.

There was a strong sense of camaraderie and accomplishment between the art students and teachers at the Marks Art Center who were observing the art on display at this year’s annual COD Student Art Scholarship Exhibition. Individually, each of the 12 scholarship recipients assembled different styled artwork including penciled drawings, watercolors, replica models and abstract art. Each piece with meanings and inspiration unique to the artist, but easily seen as something beautiful, interesting or captivating by the curious eye.

Students majoring in art, architecture, digital design and production were eligible for scholarships made possible by the Dumont Foundation, Nancy H. Bacon, Ruth Stark and Joyce Norton.

“We have the 12 scholarship student recipients who were selected to showcase their work here, and for the first time the Department of Arts and Sciences Dean, Dr. Kelly Hall, came out and personally gave special recognition to two pieces of work.” Interim Faculty Director of Marks Art Center and Art Instructor Anna-Marie Veloz said. Having an opportunity to converse with the artists, the passion and drive for creating meaningful art was appreciable.

One of the artists who was recognized by Dr. Hall had penciled drawings of nude women in a softly realistic style. When asked how long he’d been an artist, James Burns responded just “Two or three years.” When inquired about who his favorite artists have he spouted a multitude of names including Peter Paul Ruebens, Diego Velazáquez and “For renaissance era Michelangelo, but I enjoy classical era the most.” Burns also spoke about what his recognized art meant to him. 

“It’s really just an expression of the beauty of the female form,” he said. “I think there isn’t a lot of female representation in the art that isn’t objectified or treating women as like a background object. I wanted to explore the natural beauty of the female form.”

Several modernism-era inspired architectural pieces were spread throughout the gallery, ranging from miniature replica models of works from modernism pioneers like Paul Rudolph to simple lamps shining with creativity.

Travis O. McCarty’s dangling lightbulb was surrounded by flat, square panels reminiscent of modernism architecture around Palm Springs. “Originally this was going to stand up like a regular lamp,” McCarty said. “But midway through creating it I decided to invert and (suspend) it like you see.”

Many of the sculptures and art pieces were made with recyclable material.

If you want to catch a glimpse for yourself, the Student Art Scholarship Exhibition is being held through May 23 at the Marks Arts Center located on the Palm Desert campus.

The Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts is a nonprofit facility that supports arts education and enriches the cultural life of students, faculty and the Coachella valley community. The center is located at 43500 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert. The gallery is open between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and by appointment. For more information, please contact the Marks Art Center at 760.776.7278 or visit the center on Facebook @marksartcenterCOD or Instagram @marksartcenter.

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