Victor Valley College’s biannual Student Art Show made its online debut on June 15, with more than 400 works of art digitally displayed at www.vvc-art.com through July 31st.
Featuring some of the best student work in computer graphics, drawing, painting, photography and sculpting, the event is traditionally held at the end of Fall and Spring semesters.
“Our art shows are open to the public and provide a bridge between the community and VVC,” said VVC art instructor Dmitry Astakhov, who set up the website for the Spring 2020 show. “Current students take pride in their hard work by showing it, while prospective students get a chance to see what they’ll learn by taking classes at VVC … I personally believe that art is very important in allowing students to express themselves, have a sense of camaraderie and build confidence, among other things.”
After the college moved all classes and services online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned on-campus event was cancelled. Nonetheless, recognizing the importance of providing a platform for students to showcase their artwork, the Art Department decided that the show must go on — online, that is.
“Art is unstoppable. Our students have made their art and we are sharing it with the world,” said VVC Art Department Chair Frank Foster. “We invite everyone to see the excellent work of our students. We are proud of their strength to create in these difficult times.”
The art faculty, including Astakhov, Foster, Anna-Marie Veloz, Chris Rowland and Chris Shelby, came together to work out the logistics of the show, communicating with their students and ensuring high-quality images of their art were provided for the website.
“A lot of the work that came out of this semester is really great, especially considering the circumstances,” said art instructor Chris Rowland. “Like I told my students, they should all give themselves a pat on the back because they made the transition (to online classes).”
One of Rowland’s Life Drawing (Art 122) class students, Natalea Schager, noted that this was her first art class at VVC and said she enjoyed getting to see other students’ work.
Schager has six works displayed in the show, including a portrait made of coffee grounds.
“I learn a lot from seeing what my fellow students make and how everyone approaches their art,” Schager said. “The showcase not only shows what my friends from class did, but also the other art classes around campus.”
Mary Vasquez, a Spring 2020 graduate, created the poster for this semester’s Student Art Show, which features a linocut print of a Joshua tree. Vasquez has taken multiple art classes at VVC, including 2D and 3D design, sculpture and acrylic painting.
“After such a hard semester, I was so happy to hear that there was going to be an art show online,” Vasquez said. “It was a tricky subject to teach and I believe the Art Department did a fantastic job this semester with such short notice. I know they worked just as hard as the students to make sure we finished this semester strong.”
Vasquez graduated VVC with an associate degree in Art and Humanities and is transferring in Fall to Cal State Fullerton to earn a bachelor’s degree in Arts Education and a credential to teach high school.
“This community in the High Desert deserves some more attention to the arts,” Vasquez said. “And I believe that the Victor Valley College Art Department and the online art show are doing their part.”