Works by Studio Art major Jennifer Benitez, all images are hand drawn with ink & marker. Photo by Tom Askew.

The 2019 Brenau Collaborative

Jun 13, 2019
Allison Lauricella

Written by Nichole Rawlings & Allison Lauricella

Every spring, Brenau Galleries hosts the Brenau Collaborative, a dual exhibition comprised of the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition and the Senior Projects and Portfolios Exhibition. The two exhibitions offer Brenau students a special opportunity to showcase their talent in a gallery setting.

The Undergraduate Juried Exhibition is open to all Brenau undergraduate students, regardless of major. Students submit work for consideration, and a juror selects the pieces that will be displayed in the exhibit, as well as award recipients. It is a special honor for students to have their work chosen for display, and students are given an opportunity to experience the process of participating in a juried exhibition — a cornerstone in the world of building a portfolio as a professional artist. Erin McIntosh, an Athens-based professional artist and assistant professor of art at the University of North Georgia, served as this year’s juror.

The Senior Projects and Portfolios Exhibit showcases the capstone projects for graduating seniors in the areas of studio art, fashion merchandising and fashion design. Each student must create a body of work around a unifying concept. This experience is beneficial to students because it encourages them to be engaged with a thematic project from concept to completion while gaining a greater understanding for professional practices in the art world. In addition, the Galleries staff provide instruction on how to install artwork in a gallery setting and students are required to manage their own project installations. This provides students the opportunity to grow their skill set in a meaningful way related to their future field. Studio Art seniors included in the Senior Capstone Exhibition were Tori Mays, Shakinah McNeil, Anela Melton, Samantha Corey and Jennifer Benitez. Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising each had one senior exhibiting: Seniors Yanrong Zheng and Jasmine Holt represented the Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising programs, respectively.

It is a long-standing tradition that each year Brenau’s president selects one graduating senior’s work from the Senior Projects and Portfolios Exhibit to acquire for the university through the Presidential Purchase Award. This work becomes a part of the Brenau University Permanent Art Collection and is a valuable credential for the chosen student to add to their resume and portfolio. This year, Ed Schrader, who is retiring this summer after nearly 15 years as Brenau’s president, chose to purchase four works from a 12 part series by Studio Art major Jennifer Benitez. Schrader was drawn to the use of color and technical skill present in Benitez’s hand drawn images — so much so, that he personally purchased a fifth piece for his own home.

The Brenau Collaborative is an exciting time each year. It allows for the talents and dedication of our students to be showcased to the Brenau community and encourages tremendous professional growth beneficial to their future endeavors.