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‘All I Want for Christmas’: Sixth Annual Art Market features works of Shepherd students, faculty, alumni

By Staff | Dec 13, 2019

Photographer Rebekka Hudson, a Regents Bachelor of Arts student at Shepherd University, talks with Biology assistant professor Jonathan Gilkerson, at the Annual Art Market on Friday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Art collectors and Christmas shoppers alike could be seen roaming the aisles of Shepherd University’s 6th Annual Art Market, featuring the work of Shepherd University art faculty members, students and alumni.

Sponsored by the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater, the market was held in the Center for Contemporary Arts 2 building on Friday. According to organizer and art professor Sonya Evanisko, the event drew the projected number of visitors.

“I think the students did a really good job on using social media to get the word out,” Evanisko said, mentioning the students learned how to advertise the art sale through taking one of her classes. “Many of the students were in the art market class, which was their first opportunity to test out what it’s like to sell at an art market. We also discussed how do you package and market the work you plan to sell. They all designed a logo and branding, and made the signage to go with their work.”

The market was originally founded to give students the opportunity to sell their art in an educational environment. This year’s market featured the work of 60 students, according to Evanisko.

“When I advertise this event, I say ‘Come purchase art that sparks a conversation. All of this work has a whole conversation behind it,'” Evanisko said, mentioning she encourages buyers to talk with the artists at the event, to learn the story behind each piece.

Bill and Donna Hiatt, of Shepherdstown, shop for art at Shepherd's Annual Art Market on Friday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

Biology assistant professor Jonathan Gilkerson did just that with Regents Bachelor of Arts student Rebecca Hudson, and was surprised to learn how Hudson’s art interacted with his own field of research.

“I think it’s nice to interact with other people in our community, and see what our art students are producing. And I get to see when the arts and sciences connect — this artist has so much biology in her art,” Gilkerson said about the sun printing technique. “When you connect with people, you see you have more in common with your process than other people think.”

For Bill and Donna Hiatt, of Shepherdstown, their first visit to the market will not be their last.

“It’s just wonderful watching new artists evolve, so we will be coming back again,” Bill said. “You never know when you are going to find this gem that appeals to you.”

Donna said she was glad to see the number of young art students participating in the event.

Graduate art education student and Leaping Hare Prints printmaker Alexandra Garcia, right, shows some of her work to potential buyers at the Annual Art Market on Friday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“It is a great emotional outlet for kids today — this is a tough world to live in. It’s just a very harsh world, and the arts provide a good outlet for that,” Donna said. “I think art is extremely important, just to broaden your horizons and enrich your life.”