Shawnee State University (SSU) has established a new way of showcasing the talent of faculty and students, which is being accomplished through an art gallery within the Clark Memorial Library.
The showcase is being held in a previously empty space near the entrance of the building. Librarian Janet Stewart wanted to fill the space, while making it something special for the campus. After deciding to fill the vacant space with original artwork, she sought out the assistance of SSU professor and local artist Charlie Haskins.
Haskins said that he was immediately on board with the idea and jumped into planning what it would become. Haskins explained that he wanted it to grow into a canvas for influential artists who have played a role on campus.
“There are few venues in town for these people to get feedback on what they are creating, artistically,” Haskins said. “This is what interested me in helping. I know, when I was a student there, they had these different groups and places to display and observe art. We’ve lost a few of those places and we want to bring something back.”
The first artist to be showcased is Hannah Adkins, who is a recent graduate of Shawnee State. The artist graduated this year as a photography student and was treasurer of the Shawnee State University Art Club.
Her gallery showcases a unique culture, chronicling a trip she made to Costa Rica.
“I went to Costa Rica and I wanted to document the people and their lives. I pretty much focused on the city of San Jose. Most people think of the environment and wildlife of Costa Rica, but I wanted to show the culture and city life.”
Adkins selected 12 photos that she felt fit her theme and used them in the gallery.
“People who have seen the gallery say they like it. I tried to plan a good show and I even opted out of traditional matting for the frames and went with some graphic art of jungle leaves, because I wanted to show that nature truly frames their culture, politics, and everything like that.
Haskins said that he believes Adkins is a good fit for the space, and he enjoyed going through her images.
“Hannah’s gallery is a great first exhibit. It shows that Shawnee offers good education, by highlighting people who have graduated and showcasing what they’ve done with their degrees,” Haskins said. “Hannah took her camera and skills abroad and was able to tell the story of another people through it.”
Adkins’ gallery is currently on display and a reception will be held December 3 at 6 p.m.
The gallery will rotate artists each semester. Next semester will feature the photography of Kenneth Wayne Carlson, which will open in February.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.