Provoking Thought: 34th Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition at the Hand Art Center

This year’s eclectic and thought-provoking Juried Student Art Exhibition will continue until Dec. 2

Since 1989, Stetson has celebrated student creativity and self-expression through a juried art show. This year, the 34th Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition opened the weekend of Homecoming, Oct. 20-22, attracting more than 100 students and alumni to the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center on campus. The eclectic, thought-provoking collection of Hatter artwork — themed under friendship, gender and racial identity, and self-discovery — will continue on display until Dec. 2.

The exhibition is under the guidance of guest juror Grace Gdaniec and sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment of the Arts. 

Exhibition participants include both graduate and undergraduate students, and as part of Stetson’s Beyond Digital and Studio Art, they represent majors in Business, Psychology, Health Sciences, English and Creative Writing. 

Jodi-Ann Taylor’s 2022 “Let Joy Resound” oil on canvas, is a featured attraction. Taylor graduates in May.

During the opening reception, three participants were recognized with awards of distinction. 

Jodi-Ann Taylor, who graduates next spring in Digital Arts and Music and Entrepreneurship, received the 2023 Ann West Hall Award. Her creative work centers on moments she has shared with loved ones, sometimes incorporating her Christian faith. As part of the award, her work, “Let Joy Resound,” will be accessioned into Stetson’s Permanent Collection. “Let Joy Resound” celebrates her friendship with Yaffa St. Fleurose, a fellow senior and music major. 

Jodi-Ann’s second submission to the exhibition is “Pure Joy,” a portrait honoring her mother. (Taylor’s artwork is available for sale at her Etsy shop.)

Madison Higgs’ 2023 “Counting Crows, sculptural oil painting. Higgs graduates in May.

Madison Higgs, a Studio Art major graduating in next spring, won the 2023 Student Choice Award for “Counting Crows.” The art piece juxtaposes sculpture with painting in the form of a broken window against a blue-sky background. Beyond the window, two crows occupy the sky. One crow faces the viewer as the other flies away. 

The Hand Art Center encourages viewers to interpret the piece. In real life, crows are intelligent birds whose social behavior often resembles a human’s. For example: How might their ecology have influenced the artist’s work? Can you, the viewer, find an original meaning for the birds? Would your interpretation change if the window were intact?

Screenshot of Bre’Anna Bivens’ 2023 “Ode to a Black Woman in Space,” black and white photo captured from motion sensor camera.

Bre’Anna Bivens, a graduate student in the MFA of the Americas – Creative Writing program, received the Friend of the Hand Art Center Award. Her riveting work makes use of light, space, video and text to address heavy themes, such as sexual assault, race, gender and femininity. Bivens’ piece centers on how survivors of harassment and assault, especially women of color, endure further trauma in the form of insensitive, after-the-fact questioning. 

The work presents as a video and written diary, reminiscent of one recorded after a traumatic or life-changing event. To digest Bivens’ comments on identity and sexual harassment, some viewers must take on a perspective unfamiliar to them. The artist intends for the content to impart authenticity and relevance, not to discomfort or overwhelm. Her insightful approach distinguishes her both as an artist and a reflective observer of contemporary issues.

-Colin Cadle ’24, Gallery Assistant, Hand Art Center

Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center

Gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturdays, noon-4 p.m. Closed during university and federal holidays.