Students and alumni offer works of art

Wiegand Gym was bustling with activity on Saturday as students and alumni came together for Untitled (2004), the first student and alumni art sale at Carnegie Mellon. The 50 participants ranged widely in experience and discipline, from an electrical engineering alum at his first art sale to confident senior art students enjoying the opportunity to network.

?I want to sell, of course, but I feel so attached to the work,? said Joana Ricou, a BSA biology and art major. She explained that the organizers had provided artists with tips on creating business cards, posting a mailing list, and guidance on tax laws. Later in the evening, after selling her first painting, Ricou was more confident. ?It?s very rewarding to have people appreciate your work,? she said.

One visitor to the show, junior art major Travis Reik, was very positive about the event.

?It is so cool to come to a show and see my friends sitting at the tables,? he said. ?I think this is one of the more successful Carnival events and professional networking events.?

Niloo Sobhani, the housefellow for Mudge and a coordinator for student development, was one of the main organizers of the event.

?Some of my students had the idea to do it in Mudge,? Sobhani said.

The art sale was considered for Mudge courtyard, but it evolved into a project for Carnival. With the assistance of the school of art and the school of design they offered an independent study to guarantee a core group of committed students. The Mudge Resident Assistants also helped to make the art show a reality.

?When we decided to go campus-wide, RISD [Rhode Island School of Design] has done this every year for years and they gave us lots of advice,? explained Sobhani. She expressed her hope that the show would continue as an annual event.

?This is mostly stuff I do already in my spare time, so I just mass produced a few more for the art sale,? said Judy Ko, a senior in communication design.

Ko shared a table with May Sin, a senior architecture major who was selling small pieces of pottery. Their items were small and affordable for many of the students who were stopping at the show.

The event was far from limited to CFA majors, instead having a variety of majors participating. Adam Edison, a first-year chemical engineering major, was selling two self-produced CDs. The music included synthesizer, piano, and jazz music. Edison had already sold a number of CDs. Surrounded by a dizzyingly bright array of his figure drawings, Noel Hefele, an art alum from 2002, was hoping to sell some of his most recent work. Explaining the incredible colors of the drawings, Hefele said, ?I have this pastel set that is just primo.? Although it was his first time at an art sale, Noel was not inexperienced. ?Believe it or not, I?ve been selling on eBay for about a year,? he said.

Becky Clutter and Deana Jirak were two design students, senior and junior respectively, on the committee organizing and promoting the event. Together, they designed all of the posters, mailings, and flyers that brought people to the show. ?We are hoping to have this every year,? said Jirak.

Beyond selling artwork, they hoped to encourage art students professionally and strengthen connections between students and alumni. ?When we did the layout we tried to mix the alumni in with the students,? said Clutter.

Not everyone was as professionally-minded as some of the art students. ?This has been the greatest artistic experience of my life,? said Sam Hyde, a first-year in design. Listening to hip-hop on a small set of speakers, Hyde was dressed in a puffy yellow tracksuit reminiscent of MC Hammer with a nametag altered to read ?Flash.?

Sitting at the next table was Joan Kopchick, an art alumna from 1967. She stayed very involved with the alumni organization volunteering to promote Carnegie Mellon at schools around Philadelphia. She received a mailing about the art show and was going to be in town visiting relatives for Easter, so she made plans to stay and see the exhibit.

Commenting on the younger art students, she said, ?The kids are very enthusiastic,? and mentioned that she felt the work was much ?edgier? than when she was a student here. Kopchick said the show even gave her a chance to reconnect with other alumni, including an acquaintance she had met before at this year?s Homecoming events.

With work from photographs to wheel-thrown pottery, and participants whose ages ranged over more than 30 years, Untitled (2004) showcased the diverse interests and talent of Carnegie Mellon.