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ASU student art showcased monthly at Graduate Tempe Hotel

The new Undergraduate Biannual Award allows junior and senior art students to gain exhibition experience


ASU alumna and artist, Adriana Zavalza, poses next to her art at the Graduate Hotel in Tempe, Arizona, on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.

With the ASU School of Art and the student housing Arcadia Residential Community just across the street from the Graduate Tempe Hotel, a collaboration seemed inevitable. 

The fall 2018 semester is the debut of the Undergraduate Biannual Award that exhibits the work of one ASU student each month on the Graduate Tempe Hotel showcase wall, according to the call for submissions

Each artist selected will present their work at an opening reception at the beginning of the month in the hotel lobby.

Jessica Palomo, student and community engagement specialist for the ASU School of Art, said the award program is a great way for students to get practice with the application and exhibition process and become more comfortable presenting themselves as artists.

“Even though you might not like it, you have to put yourself out there, you have to go to your openings, you have to be present for your work,” Palomo said. “It’s not just about making art and keeping it for yourself.”

She said it is important for students who have chosen art as a profession to realize their responsibilities to practice managing their time and documenting their work. 

“There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be applying to a lot of different things, because if you don’t then it’s a time-waster,” Palomo said. “Your work is only relevant for so long.”

Adriana Zavalza, who graduated in 2018 with a degree in painting from the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, was selected as the October student artist to have their work exhibited at the hotel. 

Zavalza said the exhibition helped her become familiar with the application process and is a great addition to her resume. 

“It almost feels like this half-step into the art world, so you do feel a little bit more comfortable,” she said. “I definitely felt better after going through the process.”

Zavalza said the award program also pushed her to be more responsible and to gain more confidence networking. 

“I felt nervous about approaching galleries,” she said. “Now, I know what questions to ask where before I didn’t. So I know a little bit more of what to expect and it makes you go for bigger opportunities.”

Zavalza said the studio at ASU where she spent most of her time during her senior year was the inspiration for her painting that is currently being exhibited on the showcase wall.

The painting, titled "Room 351," depicts two of her fellow classmates with whom she shared the studio and ultimately became close friends with.

Kelsey Linn, regional marketing managing for Graduate Hotels, said a lot of the art inside the Graduate Tempe Hotel is created locally, so a collaboration with the ASU School of Art came naturally. 

Linn said that besides providing experience and exposure for the students, additional goals of the program are to help people discover the hotel and its amenities, such as the pool, that are available to the public. 

“Just let them know we’re a fun, casual, laid back environment that they can come bring their friends, hang out and study with,” she said. 

Linn said all of the Graduate Hotels are next to universities, and she hopes the program will expand to the other hotels in conjunction with local university art programs. 

“It’s a super organic way to help the university,” Linn said. “It’s something that I think is almost a good stepping stone for them to be in other galleries because we’re a really comfortable and safe space.”

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