Southern Oregon University’s Center for the Visual Arts Gallery student Gallery Director Hannah Bakken has a massive job. Rotating five or six exhibits in SOU’s gallery spaces every couple weeks, Bakken sorts through hundreds of pieces of art each month. For the Messenger’s Spring Arts Issue, we sat down with Bakken to discuss the SOU art gallery, its exhibits, and the importance of student art.
Rogue Valley Messenger: How do artists apply?
Hannah Bakken: We have an application online for the galleries that students are definitely prompted to use. For students, it is first come first serve. Usually it is for their senior shows but as time has gone on a lot of students seek out the space to do fun things and experiment with their artwork. I am also on the committee for the Ashland Gallery Association so I have been working with them to feature and advertise the student art spaces.
RVM: Can you tell me about the Ashland Gallery Association?
HB: The Ashland Gallery Association puts work in their Gallery map and gathers information to spread around town to help get Gallery traffic. Recently the association has added the SOU gallery onto the gallery map of Southern Oregon, which is really exciting. Now we can do more things with them and bridge the gap between the community and SOU. Which is really kind of my goal for the year, to make sure that people in the community know what we are doing down here and come see our work because student art is important and relevant
RVM: Any particular events patrons can look forward to coming up?
HB: Throughout the rest of (spring) it’s going to be a lot more senior shows. Then in the summer we are creating summer rounds for community members to use the spaces. The Young Artist Institute, which is kind of like a summer camp for kids, is going to have a show in the summer. We will also be continuing the standard rotation of exhibits before the summer. So we have a lot of things to come, but nothing super huge and out of the ordinary or something that we’ve planned a year in advance.
RVM: Why is it important to have a space where students and local artists can feature their art?
HB: It’s incredibly valuable to all the students and the faculty. A painting professor might not necessarily know what their students are doing in printmaking, so it gives them a chance to see (an artist’s) other talents. Recently, I went on a trip to the Pratt Institute and School for Visual Arts in New York. They are, how do I say this in the nicest way possible, their gallery spaces are really subpar. It was really interesting and kind of disappointing. To have these (SOU’S) facilities is just an incredible blessing they are absolutely amazing and immaculate. The amount of space that students can put their art up is invaluable. It gives them professional experience and gives them a resume line and give them a better Insight on how their work in progress.
Published, April 28, 2016. The Rogue Valley Messenger.