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Art Market showcases Shepherd University talent

By Staff | Dec 12, 2018

From left, Shepherd University Art Education Senior Alexa Sharrah shows her art to Shepherd University Graphic Design Senior Michael Montana and Keely Salgado, during the Art Market. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN – On Friday, Shepherd University’s Art Market once again gave the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater an opportunity to showcase the work of its students, alumni and faculty members.

The event, which was founded by a former graphic design professor at the university for her graphic design students, has since become an opportunity for the community to view and purchase a variety of artwork, as potential holiday gifts.

“A graphic design professor, Melissa Scott, started it with just her class. Two years after she left Shepherd, we resurrected it, so students could earn money for the holiday season,” said former Department of Contemporary Art and Theater Chair Rhonda Smith, who organized the market before she passed it on this year to Shepherd University Art Professor Sonya Evanisko, following her retirement.

“Sonya and I have both been sort of doing it together for a number of years,” Smith said. “It’s a good learning opportunity for students to learn how to talk to the public, how to present and market their works. It’s an added value to their education, to allow them to learn through this experience.”

According to Art Education Senior Alexa Sharrah, this was the second year she has participated in the event.

Shepherd University Photography Junior Noah Stottlemyer, right, talks about his photography at the Art Market with Shepherd University Communications Senior Kenneth May. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

“I really like it, it’s fun, and a nice way to make extra money. And it’s nice to be involved in the community, too. Last year, I sold ceramics, but this year, I’m more into print-making and collage. I experiment with a lot of different mediums, actually,” Sharrah said, mentioning that although her mediums in art vary, her inspiration tends toward a similar theme. “I really like exploring the human impact on nature, so a lot of my art dabbles with that.”

Sharrah is one of several students taking a class taught by Evanisko, requiring all students to participate in the Art Market at the end of the semester. According to Sharrah’s classmate, Photography Junior Noah Stottlemyer, the class has taught him a lot about the art business, including how to decide on what product to create for holiday buyers.

“One thing I was looking forward to, was to interact with people and show my work to the public. It was very interesting, coming up with an idea for a product,” Stottlemyer said, while sitting surrounded by art and postcards from Antietam Battlefield and Shepherdstown. “I had limited resources to work with in the beginning – I was so close to Shepherdstown, I thought, ‘Why not do Shepherdstown itself?’

“The class really focuses on how to properly produce good work, how to market and do inventory. It’s the same as a business class, but art-focused,” Stottlemyer said.

For Shepherd University Bookstore manager and alumna Tina Miller, participating in the Art Market is an opportunity to experiment with new ideas and sell her work. Although this was not her first year participating in the Art Market, Miller said she decided that, along with selling her crow and raven portraiture art, she would also sell some less-expensive, Christmas-themed gifts.

“These cork ornaments are something I make for myself for my Christmas tree, and I thought other people might like them as well. I just collect wine corks and do other artwork with wine corks, so it just made sense for me to do it,” Miller said, laughing, “If I don’t sell them, I’ll probably put them on my own Christmas tree.”