Last month, one ACU student placed in the Intercollegiate Student Art Competition facilitated by the Center for Contemporary Arts.
This is the seventh year the ISAC has taken place. In 2008, Russell Ellison, a long-time signature artist member at the Center for Contemporary Arts, initiated the idea for the competition.
“I had wanted to do this for several years as I felt it was so important to mentor young artists, and young artists traditionally do not have opportunities to exhibit,” he said to the McMurry News. “As a young artist and former art teacher, I remember how important it was to get your work in an exhibit, and the Intercollegiate addresses this. Musicians want to perform, theater people want to act, writers want to publish and artists want to exhibit. Many of these young artists will be members of communities throughout the country, and being a part of what we do at the Center teaches these students to be involved in community. Every serious art student wants to show their work, and having the CCA offering an exhibition provides this opportunity.”
And this is why Fitzgerald entered the contest.
“I feel like the more shows I enter, the more exposure I get,” she said. “If it gets rejected, it gets rejected, but if it gets in, that’s more recognition.”
The Intercollegiate received 86 online entries and 74 actual submissions for this year’s competition. A jury then selected a little more than 50 pieces for the exhibit.
Among those selected were two of Cierra Fitzgerald’s pieces – a self-portrait and a sculpture.
“It makes me feel better, I guess,” said Fitzgerald, a junior graphic design major from Abilene. “It helps my self esteem that my work is good enough to make it into a show that not everybody can get in to.”
Fitzgerald’s sculpture, titled Takeoff, won third place, and her self-portrait, Bubbly Self-Portrait, was an honorable mention.
Getting into the show was only the first step, though.
“I was really ecstatic,” Fitzgerald said. “I called my parents and was like ‘Oh my gosh, guys, my stuff got into the show.”
The sculpture, made of plaster, was a project she completed in her three-dimensional design art course. The process, she explains, presented a few challenges.
“It was a really interesting project,” Fitzgerald said. “You kind of find a piece that looks interesting, and then you go from there and figure out how you want to put the pieces together to make them work. For a long time, I didn’t know what I was doing with my pieces, but I had these two pieces that looked really cool, so I wanted to find a way to make them go together.”
And thus, the birth of Takeoff. The sculpture depicts an object in motion that can be viewed one of two ways.
“It’s a set of three pieces in motion,” Fitzgerald said. “You can view it as falling and rolling, or taking off.”
It was an even bigger surprise when she found out she placed, even though the piece had already won an award in a previous art show.
“I was super excited whenever I found out,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t think anybody told me – I just opened my email and saw a picture of my sculpture in it.”
Takeoff was entered in the ACU student art show last year, and to her surprise, it got in.
“That project was really fun, but I didn’t think that it was ever going to be in a show,” Fitzgerald admitted. “I was really surprised because I was just trying to find pieces to enter. I thought it looked pretty cool, but I didn’t know how other people would feel about it. Then, when I realized that it had potential from getting into the show the first time, I was like ‘OK I’ll enter this in the Intercollegiate show.'”
Unfortunately, Fitzgerald was unable to attend the reception because she had a night class that conflicted. But, that didn’t stop her from celebrating and viewing the exhibit with proud parents.