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Phaze 2 Gallery exhibits help art students prepare for future careers

By Staff | Nov 16, 2018

Shepherd University Professor Sonya Evanisko, far right, talks to two of her art students during the opening reception for Jay Gould's exhibit, "Uncertain Passages." Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Throughout the year, Shepherd University’s Phaze 2 Gallery keeps up with the contemporary art scene, by regularly featuring the artwork of renowned artists.

The artists’ installations, featuring everything from fabric art to photography, give the university’s art students the opportunity to learn how to create a well-developed exhibit for a small space — an ability all of the students will have to replicate themselves, when they complete their capstone projects in their senior year. Each April, the senior capstone projects can be seen around town, displayed in Shepherdstown’s art galleries, business and restaurants.

“Beyond the craft of items, these shows are expertly put together,” said Shepherd University Adjunct Instructor and Phaze 2 Gallery Director Evan Boggess.

According to Boggess, the installations — including the gallery’s current one, “Uncertain Passages” by Jay Gould — showcase a variety of mediums being used to express “fascinating concepts.”

For Shepherd University Professor Sonya Evanisko, who coordinates painting and drawing in the Art and Theater Department, all of the university’s approximately 200 fine art majors are encouraged to view each new exhibit.

“All of the bachelor of fine arts students, whether they are in graphics or drawing, all of them do a capstone project. I really do think these gallery exhibits that bring in these professional artists really frame how students should put together their own exhibits in a gallery,” Evanisko said, as she wandered through Phaze 2 Gallery’s new exhibit on Nov. 5.

“We tend to bring in more artists that deal with interests and issues, that are not very literal,” Evanisko said about the gallery. “Oftentimes, our students are coming here to learn and question how an artist communicates a message or concept. This helps them understand how to communicate through contemporary artwork, which is important, because our whole department is contemporary the focus is on ideas, concepts, new ways of thinking, as opposed to classical or traditional art.”

Senior photography major Tatum King walked through the gallery, carefully analyzing each work of art, as she thought about her capstone project next semester.

“This is really awesome,” King said about the exhibit. “It’s nice to see and take ideas from this exhibit. At this point, I’m trying to see what I like about it and what works in a space like this.”

For junior photography major Noah Stottlemyer, visiting the gallery has helped him develop ideas for his capstone project — even though, for him, it is almost a-year-and-a-half away.

“What I want to do for my capstone, is to go to abandoned locations and document them,” Stottlemyer said, mentioning he has scouted out at least one location near Baltimore, Maryland for his project. “I come here to be inspired by other projects, to see how creative they are, what inspirations they used.”

Phaze 2 Gallery, located at 62 West Campus Drive, is free and open to the public, weekdays from noon to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, contact Tori Wilds at 304-876-5159 or Evan Boggess at eboggess@shepherd.edu.