In two crowded, well-lit rooms, dozens of frames fill the walls. Every frame is filled with different colors, shapes and meaning. Brick City hosted a First Friday Art Walk on May 3. In addition to the art walk, Brick City showcased 25 senior art and design students’ work, which ranged from oil paintings, to photography, to cartoons.
Missouri State University senior Macy Stevens’ exhibit, called “Affirmations,” is a projection sheet series. Stevens said the goal of her exhibit was to bring awareness to how women are treated in society.
Six photographs were lined up side-by-side. In black and white, Stevens used herself as the model.
“I took an old projector and projected words onto me that sort of defined how I view myself,” Stevens, an art and photography major said.
In her own handwriting, she wrote words that had been said to her or that she told herself. In the photographs, these words are ominously floating over her figure.
Underneath the photographs were small placards with short phrases ingrained into them that were the opposite of what was projected. Hanging next to every picture was a magnifying glass.
Stevens said she wanted to show mental health issues that stem from the roles society puts on women and what is asked of women.
“(The exhibit) is my working through that and trying to change my own narrative and take charge of my own story, instead of having that defined for me,” Stevens said.
The Senior Exhibition is run by seniors in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program with the help of Gallery Director Robin Lowe.
The exhibition gives seniors a chance to showcase their art and connect with other artists in the Ozarks.
One of the bigger challenges surrounding the decision to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts is the chances of finding a job after school.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the average salary for someone with a craft and fine arts job was $48,960.
However, Lowe said job rates depend on the medium the artist chooses.
She said students who major in animation have multiple job opportunities, but a photographer or an artist has to create their own business.
Stevens said she is looking into art book publishing, teaching, fine art photography or product photography. She said she is overwhelmed with all the job opportunities awaiting her.
“If you look around you, everything had to be designed by somebody,” Stevens said. “It had to be fabricated by somebody, so there are artists everywhere.”
She said most people think fine arts students can never find a job because of their skills, but that isn’t the case.
“We need designers, we need painters, we need big-idea people that had to go through some sort of freedom journey, whether that was college or taking it on themselves to learn their craft,” Stevens said.
She said she creates art for her mental health and does not know where she would be without her work.
On the flip side, senior Jordan Seyer said the career door is not wide open.
Double majoring in painting and art history, Seyer hopes to work at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and teach painting.
“My job market is fairly small if I’m being honest,” Seyer said. “I’m still sticking to it because it’s something I love to do.”
She said her aspirations in life do not directly correlate with her fine arts degree, but she still believes what her future holds is crucial for future artists and art consumers.
“I think being in a museum and teaching people about art and art history is really important because without art history, you don’t have a basis for what is being created today,” Seyer said.
Seyer is a gallery assistant at Brick City; her work was not on display for the Senior Exhibition and art walk.
Even though she did not show off her art, Seyer said she enjoys looking at what other artists have created.
While the job market is not open to all artists, Seyer said the fine arts program at MSU creates a close-knit community who support each other inside and outside the program.