Burning B Cafe art gallery showcases Barrett student art

The wall exhibits photographs, paintings, sheet music and more from students in Barrett, the Honors College

Barrett isn't all business. The Burning B Cafe, located in Honors Hall, boasts a constantly-changing gallery of students' art. 

Students can find their peers’ work hanging over a small orange couch. The works include bright watercolors, acrylics and photography, all created by Barrett students.

Students can apply to have their work shown by filling out an online form. Typically, the work rotates approximately every two weeks, but it varies depending on the time of year and amount of submissions. Along with the wall in the Burning B Cafe, artwork is also shown in the Barrett Student Center at Vista.

Ellyse Crow, a program coordinator in Barrett, the Honors College, said she is always impressed by what students bring to the wall.

“Someone put up the sheet music they created once,” Crow said. “It's been really interesting to see the different mediums students use. We even had one student submit origami, but since origami can’t be hung, we put up photos of it.”

Crow said she thinks the wall is special because it brings all sides of Barrett students to light — not just their academic ability.

“We sometimes get the rep of having a lot of focus in the classroom,” Crow said. “But what's so cool about Barrett is a lot of our students have talents elsewhere, and that includes artwork. So there might be an engineering major who does research, but who also takes pictures on the weekends.”

Crow said the Burning B Cafe creates a space where Barrett students and their friends can feel like they are part of a community. In addition to the wall, the cafe achieves this by hosting open-mic nights and other events for students.

Kevin Ho, a senior studying marketing, was the most recent student programmer who was tasked with deciding which art should be displayed.

Ho said he chose pieces based on how well the medium suited the wall and on whether it subjectively met quality standards. A panoramic piece done by a student photographer stood out to him in particular.

“We cut the photo he took into three main pieces, so it hung as three different pictures,” Ho said. “They stood side-by-side to create a panoramic effect. That was really awesome, and that stood out a lot.”

Lerman Montoya, a senior studying journalism, had his photography presented in the Burning B Cafe after receiving the Zelma Basha Salmeri Honors Art Scholarship

“The Burning B Cafe makes people’s art accessible,” Montoya said. “I think exhibits like it should be more common at ASU. It would make a much more colorful campus.”

He said the wall brings attention to important issues documented in his photos. His own pieces explore topics like immigration and trans-border issues.

“One of my main motivators in photojournalism is human rights,” Montoya said. “I hope that people can look at my photography and be inspired to read the stories that go along with it.”

Elana Gonzales, a sophomore studying business management, was also a recipient of the Zelma Basha Salmeri Honors Art Scholarship. Her paintings, which focus on issues including gender discrimination and environmental exploitation, were recently chosen for display.

“It's like a nice little acknowledgement,” Gonzales said. “I spent a lot of time on that work, so it's nice to walk by and see it hanging.”

Gonzales encourages other Barrett students to submit their work too.

“Why not submit?” she said. “You could get something out of it. It's a good experience.”


Reach the reporter at jkbeneve@asu.edu and follow @JacobBenevento on Twitter.

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