Intercollegiate art shows expand student experience

By Adriana Aumen, College of Arts & Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – Master of fine arts students at Washington State University are participating in creative cross-pollination through two art exchange exhibitions with peers at nearby universities this month.

Students are showing work in printmaking, photography, painting, sculpture, installation, video and ceramics at the University of Idaho (UI) in Moscow through Feb. 20. They are sharing exhibit space at WSU Vancouver ( with students from Portland (Ore.) State University (PSU) Feb. 15-April 15.

“Scraps of Dottie” by Noelle Pflanz, WSU master of fine arts student.

The collaborative shows are designed to introduce students from all three universities to other artists and their creative work while providing real-world experience in the many facets of exhibition planning and execution.

JJ Harty is among WSU students showing work in both exhibits.

“I’m participating because I love to share my work and ideas,” he said. “I also want to make connections with others artists and expand my curriculum vitae and professional portfolio while fostering communications and community between universities.”

He took part in the first collaboration with PSU students on their campus in the fall.

“Even though there were many obstacles to manage in setting it up, it was a great success,” he said. “Our grads showed some fantastic work, as did the PSU grads, and I learned a great deal from the preparation and setup.”

Scheduling, cancellations, communication, publicity, accommodations and travel were among issues the students were responsible for managing.

“In the end it gave me useful, hands-on experience that’s making the show with UI go much more smoothly,” Harty said. “We also made some great friends and hopefully some professional connections that will continue to benefit us as we move on past graduate school.”

The exhibit at UI, “Something Along Those Lines,” features Harty’s art, which focuses on found objects.

“My work deals with the joy of discovery, the beauty of the mundane and the temporal nature of the world around me,” he said. “Texture, line and shape come together in these spaces and objects like visual poetry.”

Other WSU MFA students participating in the show include Anna Davis, Zachary Kolden, James Kuhn, Jeffrey Kuure, Hi Jung Lee, Kevin Leiter, Jade Lowder, Phillip Mudd, Dawn Norman, Noelle Pflanz, Kathleen Ryan, Sam Ryan, Mazdak Shadkam and Daniel Tate.

The free, public exhibit in the UI Reflections Gallery, University Commons, is open Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-midnight; Friday 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday: 10 a.m.-midnight.

Titled “Relatively Flat,” the show at WSU Vancouver with PSU students “brings together diverse works that create a visual and sensual resonance, employing paper, fabric and other flat surfaces in both expected and surprising ways,” said Avantika Bawa, WSU assistant professor of fine arts and co-coordinator of the exhibit with Harrison Higgs, WSU associate professor, and Pat Boas, PSU assistant professor.

“Collectively, the show reexamines ‘flatness’ as a concept and as a two-dimensional surface by embracing and sometimes challenging it,” Bawa said.

Participating artists include Davis, Kolden, Kuhn, Harty, Lee, Leiter, Lowder, Pflanz, Ryan, Shadkam and Tate from WSU and seven students from PSU. The free, public exhibit in Dengerink Administration Building gallery is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Learn more about fine arts at WSU at



JJ Harty, WSU Department of Fine Arts,, 509-335-8686

Adriana Aumen, WSU College of Arts and Sciences,, 509-335-5671