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WASH Mentors To Produce 'Independent' Exhibit

Aug. 20, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Advanced art students who served as mentors for freshmen WASH Program students in the spring will show off their own works on Aug. 30 as part of the WASH Mentor Gallery Show. —Photo from the WASH Facebook page


A group of Sam Houston State University artists, who themselves were once a part of the art department’s Workshop in Art Studio+History foundations program, came full circle last spring when they became leaders for new WASH students as part of a mentorship program.

The result of a semester’s guidance will be on display for one day, Thursday (Aug. 30), during the “Independents” exhibit. The works of 11 mentors will be on display from 5-7 p.m. that day, at the WASH building, located at 2220 Ave. M.

“Independents” will include a wide variety of media, from photography, painting, sculpture and woodwork to projection art, fabric and transfer work, and even a form of taxidermy, according to Colton Clifford, who will present his work along side artists Farrah Al-Sulaiman, Hannah Campbell, Nic Campbell, Misty-Dawn Haney, Kelly Hathaway, Emily Howard, Nathan Howard, Kevin Mulcahy, Jesse Ovard and Jack Weidman.

“It is such an awesome thing to see come all together because we are all such different artist,” Clifford said. “I think coming to see this show will also show people different viewpoints of art because all of these mentors handled their art in different manners, such as, 2-D, 3-D, media, concepts, and especially individuality.”

The WASH Mentor Program was developed to connect advanced art students with freshman WASH students. WASH comprises a series of courses that introduce young artists to both art and the visual arts at the university.

Clifford's "Smoke and Mirrors"
(Above) Clifford's photograph, entitled "Smoke and Mirrors." (Below) A piece by Nic Campbell, courtesy of Facebook.
piece by Nic Campbell

Mentors were selected by Valerie Powell, visiting assistant professor of art, who not only worked with the freshmen but were required to take an independent study course with Powell that focused on critique strategies and leadership, as well as develop an independent body of artwork of their choosing.

“The exhibition idea evolved at the end of last semester, during our final critique over their artwork,” she said. “I was honestly impressed with the work and felt strongly that other people needed to see what these students have accomplished. I felt that this mentor group as a whole was really strong and am thrilled that the upcoming fall mentors and current WASH students will be able to see the work; it will set the bar high for our program and hopefully get people excited about making art.”

The work process for the WASH mentors was very different from that of a normal class structure in that it required a lot of time, for both their own work and developing their critiquing methods, two things that also led to plenty of introspection as well, according to Clifford.

“Being offered a WASH mentorship has opened a lot of doors for me; I don’t necessarily even mean offers from people that want to work with me, but inner doors. As a mentor I have gained so much personal knowledge about myself and the way I evolve my work as an artist,” he said. “It is a great learning experience but also a great self-learning experience too.

“I feel that we as mentors get to see what its like to teach another artist and to guide them. It is also beneficial to the WASH students to get to hear about the past work and to get insight on what works and doesn’t,” he said. “I think that having the mentors and bringing in a new group each semester helps to grow not only the program but also helps to grow some of the most fine artists that we have on our Sam Houston campus.”

During the “Independents” exhibit, all 11 mentors and Powell will be on hand to answer questions about the experience and their works. Art students also can get Art Card credit.

For more information on the WASH Mentor Exhibit, contact Powell at 936.294.4451 or vjp001@shsu.edu, and to stay up-to-date on WASH and other art events, follow the program on Twitter at @shsuWASH.



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