The annual Saints, Sinners, and Safari exhibit kicked off Sept. 18 in the University Art Gallery and is set to run until Oct. 6. The intention, aside from being a museum fundraiser, is to draw attention to the museum and the educational programs that it provides. The theme is a way for the artists to focus their energies toward the program being presented.
The exhibit is inspired by Marshall Fredericks’ “Saints and Sinners” sculpture, which displays the seven saints and the seven sinners.
All the gallery exhibits, which feature donated artwork by regional artists, are open to the public and free of charge.
The exhibit supports the museum’s annual fundraising gala. The museum provides the majority of its funding, so Director Marilyn Wheaton has to do major fundraising campaigns to keep it going.
The bidding for the silent auction has also already begun, but it is usually only open for the gala.
Sara Clark, the studio art technician, is the point person on the host committee for the auction and an artist who donated to the exhibit.
“(The Museum) advantages the students here because it is open to them for free,” Clark said. “It is a great resource for students to have a quiet place to surround themselves with something beautiful and have a place for contemplation. There is always something new and different going on. It’s a really dynamic space, and in order to maintain that dynamism, they have to keep raising funds.”
Clark contributes a piece every year. The particular piece that she contributed this year is called “Champagne Sparkle.”
“The piece that I donated this year is a functional piece, and my function work is intended to inspire community and celebration,” Clark said. “In this particular case, I am considering it an ice bucket for champagne, which is why it is called ‘Champagne Sparkle.’ The whole idea is celebrating something significant or maybe nothing significant at all. Every day should be a celebration.”
University Art Gallery Coordinator Tisch Mikhail Lewis is another artist who donated to the exhibit. The piece she donated is called “Growth and the Joy Of.”
“I was synthesizing the theme along with my personal goals as an artist,” Lewis said. “I try to use my artwork as a conduit for mutual understanding, but with this one, it was more of a personal reflection. If anything, it is more of a piece that I feel shows growth in my technique and my ability to conceptualize, but also using new materials. It is more of a snapshot of how I am as an artist at this point in time.”
Lewis and the other artists donate pieces in order to give back to the museum.
“A lot of the staff at Marshall Fredericks have done a lot for me and my position here, so it was mutually beneficial for me to donate work because it is another line on my resume that I participated, but also because they benefit from the funds raised,” Lewis said.