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Juried art show highlights the best of student artistry


A variety of student art graces the Groot Gallery walls in the Student Juried Art Show exhibit.

Art majors are required to have their work shown in two juried shows in order to complete their degree requirements. Any student in an art class can submit their work to the show.

This year’s show was curated by Carleton Assistant Professor of Art Xavier Tavera Castro. Since students were free to submit any piece of work, the show features a variety of artistic mediums and ideas.

“There is a certain complexity to a group show that has no theme, [or] a unique style nor specific media,” Tavera Castro wrote in an email to The Olaf Messenger. “Therefore I curated the show to encompass four main sections: Portraits, animals, plants and foliage, and graphic political work. Each section marked a general path to certain sub-groups such as identity, surreal, decorative.”

Artistic mediums featured in the show includes metal work, film photography, collage, painting, ceramic, and video formats. There even is a crocheted piece titled “Bubble bath beret” by Esmé Brown ’23.

Portraits adorn one side of the gallery. Emily Domres ’24, Alani Villoria ’25, and Sophia Davies ’23 are featured in self-portrait paintings of various styles. 

In the digital photography collection “Cultura Growing Up Hispanic” by Jasmine Guzman ’25, the film photography series “Home” and “Family” by Sam Mendez ’23 capture personal moments of the artist.

Other pieces like Manaw Kyar Phyu’s ’25 “#JusticeforMyanmar” and “People’s Police” comment on the political atmosphere of where the artist calls home. 

Featured student artist Kira Vega ’25 shared how she noticed an underlying theme of identity and self expression throughout the exhibit. “You get this very clear grasp of identity, specifically in this exhibit,” Vega said. “I think that makes it very cohesive. I know a lot of my work related to that, whether it was intentional or not, and I know from talking to friends of mine and other people who have work in the gallery that it had a lot to do with identity and expression.”

Vega’s “Acquiesce,” “Everything I Touch (Stigmata),” and “The Inheritance” pieces are displayed together as a collection and include inspiration from throughout her life. The multimedia collages include rhinestones glued on with eyelash glue, clippings of old Quarry magazines, and childhood photos. 

The rhinestone placement on “The Inheritance” was inspired by the cover of Santigold’s debut album. “That [album] was something so critical and such an important element of my childhood growing up,” Vega said. “My mom bought that album [and] we would listen to it all the time in the car on the CD.”

The Student Juried Show has reignited a spark of inspiration in Vega. “It’s the first art I’ve made in a long time where I feel so genuinely happy with the results,” Vega said. “All the art in [the exhibit] is incredible, all of it is so beautiful. Everyone here is incredibly technically skilled in what they do […] I feel like mine belongs with it.”

“The student’s efforts are noticeable in their craft and urgency to tell their stories,” Tavera Castro wrote. “No matter which topic the students selected, the presence and guidance of St [sic] Olaf professors is evident. It has been an enormous pleasure and I feel privileged to be in close contact with St [sic] Olaf’s students’ work.”

The Student Juried Show is in Groot Gallery now until April 7.

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