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April 3, 2014

CSU Galleries host 43rd Student Show, Merit Scholar Exhibition

By Hannah Corcoran

Family, friends and faculty filled The Galleries at Cleveland State University to observe and appreciate the newest works created by student artists.

A spectacle of paintings and photographs lined the walls. Tables were decorated with art work arrangements, made of all different materials.

The artists interacted with attendees and answered questions about their pieces at the 43rd Student Show and Merit Scholar Exhibition at the opening reception on Thursday March 27 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Nearly 300 people attended the event, organized by the Student Organization of Fine Art (SOFA), according to Robert Thurmer, director of The Galleries.

The Student Show is featured in the Center and South Galleries. Pieces from the Merit Scholar recipients are featured in the North Gallery.

Dunya Abrahim, Yiyun Chen, Benji Diaz, Matt Kapela, Jeremy Kurth, Ben Rodriguez, Omid Tavakoli and Candice Vleck are the art students who received merit scholarships.

Only art majors or intended art majors are eligible to apply for merit scholarships. The scholarship is “highly competitive,” Thurmer said.

Students submit 15 images with the scholarship application. The entire art faculty then evaluates the work.

Scholarship amounts are awarded based on rankings given by the faculty, Thurmer said. The scholarships are given based completely on merit.

“They are [scholarships] strictly based on artistic aesthetic merit,” Thurmer said. “It’s a nice way to give to each student based on talent and work that is produced.”

Creating works for the merit exhibition is part of the scholarship agreement. Merit scholars must also be involved in SOFA, where they plan events such as trips to the zoo to draw live animals.

Omid Tavakoli, a senior art history major received the merit scholarship this year.

His photographs portrayed women in solid colored dresses with parts of the dresses going in different directions to create orbital patterns on a black backdrop.

“I wanted to find a way to really grab peosple’s attention in my work,” he said.

According to Tavakoli, he used “a lot of Photoshop and a lot of manipulating the dresses.”

Tavakoli started playing around with photography a few years ago. The funding helped him further develop his ideas and “take it to the next level.”

“This funding helped a lot,” he said.

Students who submit pieces for the Student Show do not have to be art majors to have their work featured in The Galleries.

The Student Show and Merit Scholar Exhibitions will be on display until Saturday, May 3. The closing reception will take place on Friday, April 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.