Delicate flowers made of yellow paper were suspended from the ceiling at the Arts Center of Greenwood to represent the fragility of memories. Close by, Charlotte, a looming 12-foot creature from the imaginary land of Volucris, stood guard.
Only a few blocks away, photographs showcased the everyday, yet magical, world around us.
The second annual Lander Art Walk in Uptown Greenwood showcased student art at five city locations and bore testament to the fact that the University’s department of Art + Design is attracting top students and talent.
“These students are incredible. I am just blown over with awe,” said Sandy Singletary, department chair, as she viewed the student exhibition at the Arts Center. “There is such a ‘wow factor’ here. This is graduate quality work.”
She praised the department’s faculty and B.F.A. programs for enabling undergraduate students to pursue their artistic dreams. “These programs give students more time with the materials they love, and they thrive. You can see it on display right here.”
Tien Hai Mai, of Greenville, was surrounded by friends and family, as they stood under the yellow flowers she made by hand and walked on yellow flower petals splashed across the floor.
“Here, you are walking into my memories,” she said.
The senior, whose arms were filled appropriately with flowers to celebrate her art debut, said she plans to pursue a master’s degree in sculpting.
Victor Santos created a body of work to “emulate the academic atmosphere of a natural science museum exhibiting specimens while still functioning as an art exhibit showcasing sculptures.”
Santos designed “creature sculptures” living on his imaginary exoplanet, Volucris, to showcase his art and design skills. He incorporated steel, insulation foam, cardboard, iridescent cellophane, paint and faux fur to produce his creatures, including the amazing Charlotte, which towered over guests visiting the gallery.
A senior art major from Cheraw, Santos also created a “vultwil, scientifically named Volucris nox,” for his exhibit. The creature, bearing two pair of eyes and iridescent wings, is most active before sunrise and just after sunset, Santos said.
To give heightened authenticity to his work, Santos built a skull of the vultwil to demonstrate the creature’s structure. He researched Earth zoology and used his artistic re-imagination of life to build the sculptures. He hopes to take the painstaking skills he utilized for his senior display to a future career as prop or exhibit designer for a science museum.
Santos was drawn to Lander because of the reputation of the art department. “I saw an opportunity for me to greatly benefit from the art program,” he said.
Lander art professor Jon Holloway, whose own Sundance Gallery was filled with student photography, led the effort last year to create the art walk. “It is a great collaboration between Lander, the community and the city,” said Holloway. “The quality of the show at the Arts Center is comparable to that of gallery shows in any major city across the United States.
More than 40 photographs were on display at Sundance Gallery. “Students who were in introductory photography classes displayed their photographs with advanced students who had self-directed projects,” Holloway said.
Art patrons also had the opportunity to stop at food trucks along Main Street and view art displays at Main & Maxwell, Flynn’s on Maxwell and Good Times Brewing.
“I think that the Art Walk can grow every year,” Holloway said, “We’re already looking at a date for our 2023 event.”