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Art and Photography Department open house showcases new displays at art gallery

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A student works on a 3D clay figure in a sculpture classroom on the basement floor of the Art Building. Photo credit: Emma Dimaggio

A student works on a 3D clay figure in a sculpture classroom on the basement floor of the Art Building. Photo credit: Emma Dimaggio

A student works on a 3D clay figure in a sculpture classroom on the basement floor of the Art Building. Photo credit: Emma Dimaggio

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The Art and Photography Department showcased its new art displays at its open house on Friday, May 19 in the art gallery.

The overall quality and quantity of work in this year’s Art and Photography Department Open House stood out from other years, Russel McMillan, professor of art sculpture said.

“This year has really been my best year of students in over five years,” McMillan said. “This year is really a high watermark.”

Mcmillan has been a professor at EC for 15 years, teaching art sculpture to students.

Cameron Lindquist, 22, studio art major, said that this year’s show exhibited twice as much work as the previous year, and at a greater caliber.

“There’s art on display in the display cases and within the classrooms pretty much year round but this is the only time we do it throughout the whole department with all the doors open,” Lindquist said. “We just kind of flood the classrooms with everything available to see.”

Lindquist added that the open house event showcases the art department’s work in a more comprehensive way than typical methods.

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Attendees walk around the El Camino Art Gallery during the open house. This was only a small portion of the work on exhibit, since many of the classrooms in the Art Department served as mock-exhibit spaces during the open house. Photo credit: Emma Dimaggio

One of the primary benefits of hosting an open house is the opportunity to build a greater bond with the community.

“Ultimately it’s like that old cliche, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’” McMillan said in regards to showing EC’s work to the community. “I could explain all day but it wouldn’t create the same impact as coming and seeing.”

The open house is also an opportunity for students to get a taste of what it’s like to sell their work to art collectors.

“It’s important because students have the chance to express and sell things they love dearly and put a lot of work into,” Cheyne Sullivan, 21, communications major, said.

Mcmillian added that the benefit of hosting an open house at EC is that it prepares students to exhibit their own art pieces in the real world.

“It’s really important that students do show their work and see their work showed because there’s a certain level of finish that needs to go into a work to make it presentable,” McMillan said.

Students think that the open house is a great way for people to learn more about the art department, especially since it’s often overlooked.

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A large multimedia sculpture on display in a sculpture classroom on the basement floor of the Art Building. Photo credit: Emma Dimaggio

“They see (the art department) as just kind of a little sideline thing that’s just happening inside of all of the general ed stuff, but in here you have a lot of passionate artists who are constantly in here working, trying to perfect their craft,” Lindquist said.

Though much of the success of the show is attributed to student work, the department itself plays a role in the quality of work.

“I’m a part time teacher and I’ve taught at a lot of different schools. Our art department rocks,” Pamela Huth, adjunct professor, who has worked at El Camino for nine years, said. “It’s really superior. We have a lot of offerings and the quality of the instructors, bar none.”

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Art and Photography Department open house showcases new displays at art gallery