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Student-made art gives Valley gallery a boost

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

Monarch-created art was on sale to the public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the Valley College Art Gallery.

By Solomon Smith, Managing Editor

Photo by Solomon Smith/The Valley Star

Monarchs gathered at the Valley College Gallery to make and sell art as part of the fundraising Monster Drawing Rally.

Different styles and mediums made the display a representative swath of the diversity on campus on Oct. 8.  Abstract pieces of art hung beside fantasy art, comic-style, pop-art, charcoal sketches and other styles. Students who produced the art were happy to have their works displayed and sold for a good cause.

“It was cool to see the gallery do something that actually sells student art,” said a humanities major who goes by Patty. “That’s something that usually only happens at a workshop.”

Valley’s Art Gallery is a self-contained entity that coexists with the art department. Headed by Jenene Nagy, gallery director, the program depends entirely on donations. Artists on the Valley staff help support the gallery by donating a portion of an endowment they receive to the gallery. Staffing the event, putting up art, installing shows and the many other tasks needed to keep a gallery open have been done with volunteers, but the gallery has managed to accomplish large scale exhibits on a shoe-string budget; Black Comix, Tautline and its documentary, New Global Matriarchy, as well as student galleries and competitions are just a few of the major events the gallery has managed to host.

Pieces were priced at $20 and all funds collected went to the gallery. Materials were available for anyone who wanted to contribute and students were encouraged to participate. The concept of the Monster Art Rally was inspired by Southern Exposure (SoEx), a San Francisco bay area non-profit organization that has emphasized experimental and creative art forms since 1974.

“SoEx is continually evolving in response to the needs of artists and the community while engaging the public in artists work,” states Southern Exposure’s mission statement.

The gallery has made just over $400, and the staff are hopeful that its success could lead to more fundraiser of this type. Fundraisers are also a way to reach students. Having drawing their own art and displaying it for sale connects students to the gallery, something Nagy has tried to emphasize.

“A lot of times people may feel that the art gallery is elitists or it is not for them,” said Nagy, “but we try to do a wide range of programming to help demystify it and help people feel like they can be a part of it in different ways.”

The next display will be a multimedia piece by artist Craig Drennen called California BANDIT. Opening Oct. 30 to Dec. 5, there will also be a reception at 1 p.m. on Oct. 30. The solo display is based on Shakespeare’s least successful play, “Timon of Athens.” Drennen has worked on it for five years.

“With his work I’m interested in the way that failure is used, and how its not necessarily always a negative thing. With failure comes risk taking and it encourages growth,” Drennen said.

To see more of the gallery’s projects, go to their website at, or Instagram @lavcartgallery.


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