Michael Smith, The Miami Student

The staff of Miami’s Art Museum recently finalized their selection of art pieces to be featured in the fifth annual Student Response Exhibition, set to open at the start of spring semester.

“We always feature two student-focused exhibits in the spring semester, one for the Student Response Exhibition and one for the Art History capstone,” said Jason Shaiman, curator of exhibitions. “Our third exhibit will be ‘40@40: Collections Highlights,’ alluding to our 40th anniversary of being open at Miami University.”

The anniversary exhibit will include painting, marble sculptures, textiles, photography and ceramics.

“Sometimes we starting planning our exhibits three or four years in advance,” Shaiman said. “We determine rough parameters on the themes and start to delve into researching and actually curating the exhibit about a year before opening.”

The Student Response Exhibition, “Outside the Box,” will feature 30 pieces of artwork from 34 students across campus, including group works. A wide array of materials will be featured in the works since students were able to create in whatever art form they desired.

“The exhibit will feature a bit of everything, from painting to mixed media, digital images, videos, graphics; there was even a poem that was submitted and accepted,” Shaiman said.

The call for entries was put out in the spring, about nine months before the selection process. The theme for the exhibit is thinking outside of the box. Along with the artwork, applicants submitted a personal bio and an artist statement detailing their inspirations to create their works, references, how the work relates to the theme and how they see the world around them.

Students were able to submit up to three works relating to the theme, whether it was literal or metaphorical. A jury panel made up of art museum staff then voted on the pieces to be featured in the exhibit based on the execution of the theme and creativity in the students’ works.

Out of 92 submissions, only 30 were selected to be a part of the exhibit.

“There were about 55 on my final list, and some great pieces that I advocated for that ultimately didn’t make it into the exhibit,” said Sherri Krazl, director of marketing and communications at the museum. “There were some great works that tied in the theme but also pulled in other topics like wildlife endangerment and homelessness.”

The call was open to students all across campus, regardless of their major or involvement in Miami’s art programs.

“Out of the 34 artists featured in the exhibition, there are 18 who are not art majors, but a few of those 18 have minors in the arts,” Shaiman said. “I love when students outside of the art department feel as though they have some sort of creativity that they want to share.”

Throughout the semester, museum goers will have the option to vote on their favorite works featured in the exhibit using kiosks in the gallery. Cash awards will be presented to the three works that receive that most votes.

“With a student-focused exhibit, it will be nice for students to come support their friends’ accomplishments,” Krazl said. “So many people love to make and create artwork who aren’t majoring in it. It’s an outlet for them to communicate something that they’re passionate about.”

Along with the Student Response Exhibition, the Art History Capstone Exhibition, “Indigenous Peoples,” is a student curated exhibit being featured in 2019. The exhibit highlights the arts and material culture of indigenous peoples within the Art Museum’s collections.

Student Response Exhibition (SRE): “Outside the Box” will be open from Jan. 29 through May 18.