Artists in training | Arts-entertainment

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Northeastern State University students Sylvia Nitti, Lance Hunter, and Josh Bell have works in an exhibit currently going up at the NSU Gallery.

“These students are fine art majors and art education majors,” said Nitti, who is also the gallery manager. “When they graduate, the art ed majors will most likely have to put together shows for their students, so this gives them a chance to understand what goes into a show, and the same goes for fine art majors. They might work in an art gallery or open their own gallery or enter a show, so it’s important to know what goes into a show and hanging a show.”

Art always was a part of life for Elyssa Wallace, one of 15 seniors who had or will have a show at the NSU Gallery downtown this year as part of graduating from NSU with a degree in art.

“Every kid starts out drawing with markers. I just never stopped and got better at it,” said Wallace, excited about her show which opens next week.

“Having a show dedicated to you and your peers’ work shows us the value the faculty hold towards their students and also helps with future exhibitions we may be a part of,” said Wallace, who chose NSU because of the faculty.

“Lance Hunter and Sylvia Nitti are amazing instructors and they’ve always pushed me to be better.”

The NSU art program has a great group of people as both faculty and students, according to Wallace.

“I’ve made so many good friends and relationships,” she said.

Watercolor and oil painting are her preferred mediums because they make the most sense to her.

From Tahlequah, Wallace plans to apply to the University of Houston for an Master of Fine Art in painting. She wants to work as an artist and eventually in an art museum doing curatorial work.

She believes art matters because it can unify people across generations, continents and languages.

“I remember being in New York City this past December and seeing a Roman statue of a woman that was sculpted 2,600 years ago. They saw the same softness and curves that we see today when we do our life drawings,” said Wallace.

NSU student Miyuki Kobayashi was born in Hidaka City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from an English college in Japan in 2016, she looked at United States colleges that hers had a partnership with and offered a four-year art major degree. The most affordable one was NSU.

“I am still proud of myself, at the age of 18, to have made the decision to study art abroad in the US,” she said. “I am glad that I am about to achieve one of my goals that is to get a bachelor degree of art in the U.S., because what I am doing will be remarkably helpful to get a job in Japan, after I graduate NSU. It will be a great experience after all.”

Kobayashi chose a 2D-studio art degree because she loves making art, and she will be able to continue making art with techniques she’s learned and polished in Tahlequah.

For her, being in the senior art show is a culmination of what she has learned in NSU. Art matters to her because she loves seeing art, making art, and learning about art.

The community is asked to be on the look out for a painting by Kobayashi which was stolen from the NSU Gallery area.

Kerstin Richardson, from Sperry, plans to teach art at a middle school. She originally came to NSU to pursue a different degree, but she started doing more and more art and fell in love with it. She changed her major and pursued a degree in art education.

“I am so glad I chose to be in the art program at NSU. I was able to work alongside great artists that made me strive to create the best work I can,” Richardson said. “The professors were also so amazing through all the classes, and really helped me understand how to be a better artist.”

Being in the senior show feels like a huge accomplishment to Richardson.

“I have waited so long to be able to showcase all of my favorite pieces, and it is very rewarding to see them all together,” she said.

Art matters because it is a way to show expression, according to Richardson.

“It has been my outlet for so many years and I cannot imagine my life without creativity and art,” she said.

From Muskogee, Sarah Rowland chose NSU because it’s a legacy in her family. Her degree is 2D and 3D art, and she plans to open a studio somewhere in Oklahoma.

“It’s the teachers that make this program. They know what they’re doing and how to explain it in several ways because not everyone learns the same way,” said Rowland.

For Rowland, art matters because it is “a happy place.”

“No matter whatever else is going on, when you’re working with art it makes everything else okay,” she said.

Check it out

The senior show runs Feb. 25-March 7 at the NSU Gallery, 323 N. Muskogee Ave. The opening reception is 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.

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