By Brooke Curley
THATCHER – Emotion in art through constant growth was on display Friday night as students showcased the best of their work at Eastern Arizona College (EAC).
The show was semi-formal and open to the public in EAC’s Activities Center. This was the first year that the art students and graphic design students combined their work for one show. While many of the featured student artists will be graduating this semester, several who have double majors intend to stay at EAC for several more years.
Kenny Rhodes, EAC Art Department Chair, told Gila Valley Central that the portfolio show was a good way to showcase the students and their work.
“It’s their final show, their final portfolio and their opportunity to have their guests and friends and family from out of town to come see their work,” Rhodes said. “It’s exciting. This has been a really great group. This is my last year here before I retire, and it’s a great group to go out with. They’ve been just amazing. (They have) a lot of talent, and (have been) a real pleasure to work with this year.”
The shows featured works by art and graphic design students Jordyn Applegate, Taylor Benavides, Tyler Christensen, Devin Houck, McKay Keith, Alexis Lutz, Samuel Martin, Jonathan Nidiffer, Benjamin Reyes, Travis Rickman, Monique Saldana, Rebecca Taylor and Monique Ungerman.
Monique “Mo” Ungerman said she loved her experience at EAC and plans to remain at the college to earn her Graphic Design degree. Ungerman also said she loved how the social aspect of her classes impacted her art in various ways.
“The art program here was amazing,” she said. “Mr. Rhodes was fantastic. I just love how personable it was here and how they wanted each individual person to achieve their absolute best. And (they) worked with them in positive ways in improving their skills. It was like ‘Yes, I can do things now.’ My favorite aspect is working with the people in the classrooms. The different classes that I had produced different kinds of art because of the different people that were in there.”
McKay Keith, who is double majoring in art and theater, intends to go into costume design. Keith said he appreciated the instructors at EAC and valued their ability to teach the students without restraining their maturing styles.
“They gave us a lot of room to develop our own artistic voice but also learn techniques and skills,” Keith said. “I felt like I was able to develop my voice and my style.”
Monique Saldana is a graphic design student who hopes to go into advertising. Saldana said she values the skills she learned at EAC.
“I knew the bare minimum about graphic design basically,” she said. “Through the classes I’ve improved tremendously from what I did in high school.”
Johnathan Nidiffer, who is graduating this year with a graphic design degree, intends to move to Los Angeles. Nidiffer said he appreciated the community of students at EAC and how they were unafraid of critiques.
“I really want to work in animation,” Nidiffer said. “The other students admire your work and are not so much afraid of being critiqued. (I) Just (appreciated) the community overall. Inspiration can come from anywhere and you never know where it can take you.”
The public may view the art show at the Activities Center during normal business hours until May 1.