Thursday, March 22, 2012

Saxifrage reaches out to community

By Kelsey Hilmes, Guest Writer

Community members and Pacific Lutheran students can support student art by looking no further than a cup of coffee on Garfield Street.

An art show opened at Northern Pacific Coffee Co. March 3, featuring the work of PLU students. The pieces were selected from submissions for Saxifrage 38.

According to the Saxifrage website, Saxifrage is PLU’s premier literary and art magazine, featuring a variety of work by students, staff and alumni.

Saxifrage is released once a year and accepts submissions from fall into early spring. Typically, Saxifrage receives about 300-400 submissions for each issue.

Co-editors of Saxifrage, senior Jen Jepsen and sophomore Sam Hosman, chose the pieces from the year’s early submissions.

Jepsen and Hosman had been planning on doing the art show since fall semester to increase community involvement as part of Saxifrage’s mission statement.

This is the first time Saxifrage has teamed up with NPCC for an art show.

“We’d like the art show to continue in the future,” Hosman said. “I think it’d be a good legacy to lead.”

Jepsen said the owner of NPCC was excited to feature student artwork. Kevin Knodell, recent PLU alumnus, was also instrumental in planning the art show, working as a liaison between Saxifrage and NPCC.

The art show displays three poems, nine photos and one print by PLU students.

The photographs explore subjects varying from Egypt, London and France, to the freeway from the Chihuly glass bridge.

“It is very special to me, knowing that everyone will have an equal chance to enjoy the pieces that we worked so hard to create,” said junior Krista Fredricks, whose image “Light Streaks” was selected for the art show.

Art shows do not typically feature poetry, which provided a unique opportunity to the three poets selected. One poem, “Navy,” by senior Clayton Hasselwood, is printed on blue and beige cardstock to make it an aesthetic piece as well.

For many of the artists, having their piece in a show is a new experience.

“I was honored to have my piece, ‘Vein of Nature,’ which is a close-up photograph of a leaf with all the veins apparent through its structure, presented to the PLU student body,” said first-year Aubrey Frimoth.

Artists who had experience submitting their art to shows before were still excited to see their work in NPCC. Senior Joseph Flood, for example, had a few pieces in the student art exhibition in the fall and was contacted by Saxifrage editors for submissions.

“I've had some friends who don't do stuff like art shows comment that they had seen my piece at NPCC,” Flood said, “So it does help with exposure.”

The show also provides students with an opportunity to grow as artists, receive critique and reach the community.

“The act of having a gallery at NPCC also shows the wonderful generosity that the community gives to PLU students,” Fredricks said.

The pieces are also available for purchase to anyone interested in supporting PLU artists.

“At the least it is exciting for me, and gets people thinking and feeling,” Flood said. “Hopefully it will lead to something more, like a sale or commission.”

Jepsen and Hosman anticipate that the art show will be up for at least a couple of months. The pieces can be viewed during NPCC’s regular hours.

The pieces will also be printed in Saxifrage 38, which will be released at the end of May.