“To provide exhibition space in order to broaden the availability and appreciation of the excellence, diversity and vitality of the arts,” the University Program Board held a free Art Gala in the Brown Ballroom Tuesday, Nov. 19.
“There are people who are not art majors, who have artistic abilities, and who want to be able to show what they do, but they don’t’ have anywhere to do it,” said Ashley Yantis, UPB Arts and Entertainment Chairperson and mastermind behind the Art Gala.
“Basically what we wanted to do was to allow students and faculty to showcase talents that maybe other people didn’t know they had,” Yantis said. “Also, we wanted to be able to give art students the chance to be able to get into a gala for free.”
The Art Gala was an exceedingly classy event. After strolling down a red carpet and being greeted by tuxedoed gentleman, Art Gala attendees had the opportunity to gaze upon some magnificent pieces and help themselves to tasty or’derves and beverages; all while being serenaded in the sweet melodies of a string quartet.
One of the more stunning highlights of the evening was the paintings of Richard Lewis, an Associate Dean of Students.
Lewis, who studied art for much of his life, is just returning to the art world after an extended hiatus.
“It’s been almost 20 years since I’ve done any type of public show,” said Lewis.
Two of Lewis’s pieces on display at the Art Gala were part of a series directly inspired by his experience at ISU.
“The first thing I wanted to do was paint a series on black men,” said Lewis. “With my job, I direct a lot of energy toward helping our black male students be successful here.”
Lewis’s series on black men is a response to what he sees as a void in the art world.
“As an artist and someone who frequents art museums, I noticed a lack of depictions of black males in art,” said Lewis. “You have to wonder what would happen if you take and individual or group of people who are not typically depicted in art and elevate them to the status of art worthiness.”
The subject of one of Lewis’s painting, junior anthropology major William Shaw, was among the Art Gala attendees.
“The first time I met William, I was very impressed by his presence,” said Lewis.
Shaw, who has never posed for a painting before, found the process fascinating.
“It was a very enlightening experience,” Shaw said. “It really opened my eyes.”
Though the Art Gala ended up a smashing success, it did not occur without encountering some bumps along the road.
“The day before the event we still only had one submission,” said Yantis. “But on the day of our deadline, all the submissions started piling in.”
Overall, Yantis was quite pleased with the way the evening unfolded.
“I’m super impressed with the turnout,” said Yantis.