Northern Oklahoma College art students (from left) Jayden Ryan, Ponca City; Mikaila Kraus, Okarche, Drew Dollarhide, Blackwell, Mariah Roebuck, Perry, and Amy Smith, Pawnee are featured in Eating Elephants, the annual student art exhibition on view April 17-May 9 in the Eleanor Hays Art Gallery, NOC Tonkawa. A reception honoring all students with work in the exhibit is set from 6 – 7 p.m. Saturday, April 29 in the art gallery. (Photo by Ken Crowder)
NOC Student Art Exhibition Eating Elephants
Eating Elephants —the annual Northern Oklahoma College student art exhibition is on display through May 9 in the Eleanor Hays Art Gallery in the Kinzer Performing Arts Center at NOC Tonkawa.
Visual art students Drew Dollarhide, Mikaila Kraus, Mariah Roebuck, Jayden Ryan and Amy Smith planned and organized the exhibit as part of the requirements for a credited Portfolio/Gallery Seminar at NOC. Eating Elephants highlights the original art of these five artists along with works of other students enrolled in visual art and digital imaging classes during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Under the guidance of Audrey Schmitz, gallery director and art instructor, Dollarhide, Kraus, Roebuck, Ryan and Smith gained experience in developing the infrastructure of the exhibit, including choosing the show title and collaborating with NOC graphic designer Paige Larson on the poster design.
Student Jayden Ryan made the original drawing of the elephant on the poster and details of each student’s art is included in the design. They also prepared their own work to be exhibition-ready, produced artist statements and title cards and installed dozens of additional curated works made by other students, all as part of their professional growth as working artists.
The origin of the show’s title comes from the phrase: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” For the art students, it references the daunting task of going from a blank page or lump of clay to a finished work of art in a thoughtful series of decisions and processes. It also relates to the complexity and time involved in putting together a professional art exhibition – one step at a time. Art student Mikaila Kraus states, “when we chose the title Eating Elephants, we discovered that the phrase has no definitive origin but is attributed to an ancient Chinese proverb, a World War II general, and a South African activist among others.
“Overall, there is great diversity of media, subject matter and style in the works on view in Eating Elephants, and the student show is always the most popular event in the Eleanor Hays Gallery,” Schmitz added. “This year we have added a ‘gallery gift shop’ of affordable art, making it a perfect opportunity to buy original work at great prices from talented artists early in their career.”
With over 175 works on display, visitors will find watercolor, acrylic and oil paintings; sculptures; pastel, pencil, charcoal and ink drawings; pottery and ceramic forms; digital media; masks; bas relief tiles and mixed media works. Select items are available for purchase.
A reception honoring all students is scheduled from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday, April 29 in the art gallery. The exhibition and reception with refreshments is free and open to the public, and Kraus adds “please come sit at our table and take a bite out of the elephant we have made!”
Regular gallery hours are noon – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during events in the KPAC. The exhibit will also be open following NOC commencement Saturday, May 6. For more information about Eating Elephants contact Schmitz at 580.628.6670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Oklahoma College, the state’s first public two-year community college, is a multi-campus, land-grant institution that provides high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services.
NOC serves nearly 4,000 students through the home campus in Tonkawa, branch in Enid, and NOC/OSU Gateway Program in Stillwater. Of these students about 80% receive financial aid and/or scholarships. 75% of NOC students complete their degree with zero debt.
The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers associate degrees in three general areas: Arts, Science and Applied Science; the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs; and the Accreditation Commission for Education and Nursing.
For more information about Northern Oklahoma College please call (580) 628-6208 or visit the NOC website at www.noc.edu.