Students show work during Fort Worth Spring Gallery Night

Janae Corrado was walking around the Fort Worth Community Arts Center when she saw the painting. It was one of many. But she kept going back.

She didn’t recognize the name. But she didn’t care. She bought it.

“I just thought, if I don’t collect it now, I won’t be able to afford it,” said Corrado, an art professor at Tarrant County College’s Trinity River campus.

Turns out the artist is fittingly a student. Eli Ruhala is now in his second year studying for his master’s of fine arts in sculpture at TCU.

Students make up the many artists who can be seen on the biannual Gallery Night, which takes place March 23 and is organized by the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association. While most of the city’s galleries are involved, the venues are limited.

Up and comers and established artists alike frequently must share walls. That’s especially the case for students and emerging artists who are pivoting in their lives and making art for the first time.

It’s not a bias; the art market is saturated with artists, and few galleries and curators have the capital to take on artists fresh out of school.

Campus art galleries have numerous values.

“The gallery isn’t picking art because it’s supposed to sell. Being outside of that commercial space is super important,” said Max Marshall, who is graduating with a master’s of fine arts in sculpture from TCU.

Marshall’s thesis is a colorful and sordid commentary on sports culture requiring one to decipher a language and dig deep into details. She’s showing in the tiny TCU Moudy Art Gallery, an awkward and challenging space.

“It’s more than a cube gallery,” she said. “You get an opportunity to grow in the space. It’s also really cool to watch how other students use it and push and manipulate it.”

Campus galleries are places to showcase, experiment, screw up and have fun. They also give students the chance to show off with international and local artists. Tarrant County’s numbers are few but each are excellent examples of the limits each can push.

Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, part of the Art Galleries at TCU, is “Children Need Love Like Flowers Need Rain,” with work by Houston-based interdisciplinary artist JooYoung Choi.

TCC’s always impressive Carillon Gallery, at the South Campus, exhibits ‘Tangles, Knots, and Binds’ by Humna Raza. The multidisciplinary young Fort Worth artist shows a series about a young woman facing the trials and tribulations of the ever-growing world around her and reflecting on trauma, stress and identity.

The Gallery at UTA hosts two shows, “Benito Huerta: Profane Truths and Sacred Lies” and “Chaffee + Huerta Collaborative: Post Modern Fulcrum,” featuring retiring professor and former gallery director Huerta as well as an exhibit of his collaboration with long time artist, art teacher and wife Janet Chaffee.

Shea Patterson Young is the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association executive director and runs the Atrium Gallery at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

“They’re a great way to engage the community and are great for artists: the commission fee is far lower than at a commercial gallery,” she said. A gallery typically can charge 50% to 60% of a sale.

At Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s on Camp Bowie, part of the upscale auction house known for selling some of the art world’s biggest names, artists who sell work won’t have to pay a commission fee at all.

Coordinator Caroline Parrish and her team pair younger and newer artists alongside each other to promote dialogue and get them exposure. In this case, the 21 professional artists include TCU professor Adam Fung, early career painter Engeline Logtenberg and photographer Felix Schilling as well as students from high schools and TCU.

For Corrado, who organizes an annual student only exhibit and competition, campus galleries introduce the public to “fresh new faces no one has heard of yet and are getting professional experience.”

Among those fresh faces are Tarrant County College students Gabriel Reyes and Tien Pham.

Reyes is blunt. He’s making art because he wants to have fun.

The child of immigrants, the first generation student is “trying to escape poverty [and] slowly dragging along my family while I’m having fun in college.

“Part of that fun is being able to fully express myself through art and finding new ways to amuse myself, something I’ve been doing for 17 years that I can do freely without restraint with similar peers in my class,” he said.

He has four pieces on display, including the graphite “The Exaggerated Me” (2023).

Pham has wanted to be an artist since she lived in Vietnam. She’s influenced by pop culture, history and her native country. She has three works on display, including “Look, It’s Mona Lisa,” which is on the brochure.

“This is a great opportunity for me to prove to myself that I did it. For my entire life I only believed that art was just a hobby,” she said.

Now she knows it is not.

Spring Gallery Night 2024

The Art Galleries at TCU

“Victory sits in Titan’s Hands, a Bolt From the Blue, an Era Ends, in the Triumph of Luck,” MFA thesis exhibition by Max Marshall, 12-8 p.m. through March 26, in the Moudy Gallery inside the Moudy Building, 2805 S. University Drive.

“Children Need Love Like Flowers Need Rain,” by JooYoung Choi, 12-8 p.m. through May 4, at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, 2900 W. Berry St.

Tarrant County College Galleries

“Tangles, Knots, and Binds,” by Humna Raza, 4-6 p.m. through March 28, at the South Campus Carillon Gallery in the Joe B. Rushing Center for the Performing Arts Room 1103A, 5301 Campus Drive.

2024 Student Art Exhibition, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. through May 2, Trinity River Campus East Fork Gallery, 300 Trinity Campus Circle

Gallery at UTA

“Profane Truths and Sacred Lies” and “Chaffee + Huerta Collaborative: Post Modern Fulcrum,” by Benito Huerta, noon-6 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building, 502 S. Cooper Street, Arlington

UNT Health Science Center Atrium Gallery

Caro Thompson Jackson, 2-7 p.m. in the Carl E. Everett EAD Building, 1st Floor, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.

source: star-telegram

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