Dorsky Museum Honors Graduating BFA and MFA Students

On April 26, students, faculty and community members entered SUNY New Paltz’s Dorsky Museum to see ceramics hanging from the ceiling, life-sized sculptures, paintings that popped off the walls, intricate metalworks and more in the first opening ceremony for graduating arts students. Students graduating with a BFA or MFA will have their work celebrated in the Dorsky from April 26 to May 17 for all visitors to honor.

The yearly tradition is a collaboration between students and faculty to showcase the culmination of students’ talent over their academic career. Not only is it a celebration of these students, but a celebration of the campus and artistic communities overall.

“No artist is an island,” said Lucifer Kern, a ceramics BFA whose exhibit opened last Friday.

Instead of a final exam, graduating BFA and MFA students present a thesis in the form of an exhibit at the end of their final semester. Their whole time at New Paltz is reflected in their exhibit, giving them a physical space to be proud of. Graduating students from the ceramics, metal, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture departments all have the chance to show off their talents in the Dorsky starting last week.

There will be four opening ceremonies total. The ceremonies on April 26, May 1 and May 7 spotlight BFA students, and the final reception on May 17 centers MFA students. Alongside these exhibits, BFA students get to display their work in the rotunda of the Fine Arts Center.

At the Dorsky, students are given free reign to create the work they want to be displayed. For example, Kern’s exhibit “Made of Each Other,” utilized encaustic molding techniques to mold different body parts of trans models to create an amalgamation of different bodies. He painted over the sculpture with pearlescent and white oil paints, drawing upon Catholic imagery and intending to inspire the same sort of awe that a church creates. The collection emphasizes the family aspect of the trans community.

“I am very, very grateful for [the opportunity],” said Kern. “For the BFAs, this is kind of your jumping-off point in a lot of ways, because you can get into an actual museum.”

For most BFAs, this is their first chance to showcase their work in a gallery. For the MFAs, though, they’re familiar with the experience and their exhibits are more research-based and extensive. Their space in the Dorsky is larger and more private than the BFAs to accommodate this.

“I am so proud of all of the students for so many different reasons,” said professor Lilly Zuckerman. Zuckerman taught both BFA and MFA students in the ceramics department. She had the opportunity herself in college to have a gallery thesis and is happy to pass on the tradition to her students.

“The Dorsky is a wonderful resource. Every spring, there will be many, many art shows’ showcasing the incredible work of these students,” said Zuckerman. “It’s wonderful that we have an art museum.”

About Katie Ondris 49 Articles
Katie Ondris is a second-year journalism major from New Jersey. They have previous experience with fiction writing, but The Oracle is their first position as a journalist. Outside of New Paltz, they work as a barista and spend their free time indulged in films and books.

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