OSU Institute of Technology’s Visual Communications Division made history earlier this month with the debut of ART Plus, an exhibition and silent auction composed of artwork created by alumni.
The silent auction, which raised more than $10,000, was held Thursday April 10 in the DIY Gallery of AHHA, the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa’s Hardesty Arts Center, at 101 E. Archer St., in Tulsa.
“A good number of current students, alumni and friends showed up. People came ready to buy and had a good evening and a fun outing,” said Visual Communications Division Chair James McCullough.
The auction served as a way to raise money for a new scholarship aimed at helping second-year VisCom students continue their education.
“It’s a continuing problem. Students come in and have funding for the first year. For a lot of them, there’s no funding beyond that first year,” McCullough said. “We’ve seen some of our best students, our most promising students, have to step out. They leave, and it’s extremely hard for them to come back.”
ART Plus is the start of finding funding streams for this important scholarship fund, McCullough said, and the hope is to start granting awards and assistance as soon as this summer.
“This event and its mission seemed to hit a very specific nerve for many of the contributing artists and alumni that either helped with the event, attended or want to be involved in the future,” he said.
In addition to raising scholarship funds, the exhibit and auction also aimed at raising awareness of the artistic skills and talents of Visual Communication alums.
This first year’s exhibit featured paintings by graduates such as John Hammer, Chris Westfall and Gil Adams, alumni who all found success both in their commercial art careers as well as fine artists.
“We had a good variety of donated pieces and gave everyone an opportunity to buy something that suited their fancy,” McCullough said. “The variety of styles and techniques gave people a chance to see the talent that these individuals possess and I was pleased with the items donated.”
In its debut year, VisCom administrators and staff said ART Plus was a success and a great starting point for funding the new scholarship and garnering awareness of the program.
“Good art, good food, impressive venue, good conversation, good results, a fun night was had by all,” he said. “Most anyone that wanted to buy something that evening was able to walk away with a piece of art in their hands.”