ASU students to host on-campus art show supporting student artists

With no application fee, the student-run Arcadia Showcase aims to increase accessibility for up-and-coming ASU artists

While finding the confidence to share one's artwork can present many artists a big obstacle by itself, expensive art show application fees and the nuances of navigating the business side of art can make it even harder for artists to showcase their work. 

But, a group of ASU students are looking to help alleviate this problem through an upcoming showcase that invites all student artists to submit work – at no added application fee.

Ajai Johnson, a sophomore studying dance education in the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre, said he came up with the idea for the Arcadia Showcase after having conversations with other young art students who wanted to share their art with the community but didn’t know how. 

Johnson said he wants students to learn that making their art is only one part of living as an artist. The event, he hopes, will combine the passion and practicality of art.

"We’re finally taking those first steps to introduce our students to the art world, as well as showing that art isn’t just about creating good art, but also shows the business side of art," Johnson said. "Yes, you have your passion, but you have to understand the business side of things. I think we’re finally bridging that gap."

Artists trying to work professionally have to deal with figuring out a fair price for their work and have to know how to network within the art community to get their pieces showcased.

Josephine Ortiz Merida, a sophomore studying intermedia art and another student working on the Arcadia Showcase, said it is beneficial for students to start working to understand the business side of the art world early on.

"Most first- and second-year students are just focused on doing their general studies and not necessarily on going into the art world and creating those connections and relationships with companies or other artists," Ortiz Merida said. 

The exhibit, which is being held at ASU's Arcadia Residential Community on Feb. 28, has no application fees and is designed to be inclusive and accessible to all ASU artists.

"We’re particularly going for first and second-year students, but it's open to all students," Johnson said. "It’s to allow them to show off their art that they made last semester to the community." 

Ortiz Merida said they are accepting submissions from many other types of art besides just drawing and painting to make sure all ASU artists can be involved. 

"The cool thing about the Arcadia Showcase is we’re open for all mediums, so every school is invited," she said. "For example, we will be providing a stage for performers and projecting video for film students ... We’re trying to make it as open as possible."

Brett Stachler, a student engagement coordinator at the dean's office of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the faculty advisor for the Arcadia Showcase, wanted to highlight that this event is almost entirely student-run and his assistance has been minimal.

"I think that they’ve done an extraordinary job at taking the skill sets they all have, with Ajai first conceptualizing this idea and then everyone else adding their own unique pieces into it and making it to where it is now," Stachler said. "I would say my role has more or less been facilitator, (and) they’ve really been doing all the work."

Johnson said that their vision of exhibiting the talent of ASU students doesn’t end with the Arcadia Showcase and the group plans to continue hosting events at the Arcadia Residential Community.  

"We want it to be an open event for everybody," Johnson said. "We’re hoping to do something around once a month to keep fostering a vibrant community and bringing exposure to our students."

The Arcadia Showcase will held at the Arcadia Residential Community on Thursday, Feb. 28 starting at 6 p.m. 


Reach the reporter at wpmcclel@asu.edu and follow @wpmcclelland on Twitter. 

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