Encouraging interaction with art and artists

In divided times like today, it is especially important to open our eyes and arms to the beauty of diversity, in any form. The CUB Art Gallery showcases Victoria Martinez’s non-traditional form of mixed media artwork, offering a new perspective on art.

Sketch Wednesday previews the incoming exhibit today. It invites student artists from all forms of media, such as painting, drawing, or sculpting, to display their design processes and do what they would in their studio, but out in public for the community to see and learn from.

The artist, Martinez, will be a part of this process as well. The exhibit provides the community an opportunity to learn and interact with the artist from Chicago, who tells her story the way she’s best at: through art.

Victoria Deleon, CUB gallery programmer and curator, shares the same hometown with the artist and met her when Martinez instructed Deleon in the past. Deleon jumped at the opportunity to bring Martinez’s work to the gallery, after falling in love with her online portfolio.

“It’s a very interesting body of work. It incorporates the whole gallery in it. You get submerged in the space with the artwork,” Deleon said. “I like the colors. Aesthetically and form-wise, it’s beautiful.”

Deleon wants the audience to be exposed to other artists from different states and cities, to go beyond what they are familiar with. Martinez’s work inspires her own art, Deleon said.

In one method of interaction during Sketch Wednesday, visitors are encouraged to draw on a giant piece of butcher paper stretched out across a table.

SEB Arts and Programming Coordinator Angel Nava believes Sketch Wednesday challenges how viewers experience the creative process. Throughout her five years of work with the gallery, she has not seen anything like Martinez’s work showcased here.

“I’m excited to see what students think and how they engage with the work,” Nava said. “It’s not a traditional painting on a canvas, it’s not a photo, or what students expect to see in a gallery. The work is interesting, unique and installation-based.”

A DJ, refreshments and a mock-tail bar are all planned for the event. Students can ask questions and browse participating artist’s sketchbooks. Good energy naturally comes along with Sketch Wednesday, Nava said.

“We learn not to be (artists) as we grow up and go to school. That’s really sad to me,” Nava said. “The art and creative processes are some of the most valuable contributions to humanity. They challenge us to see outside of ourselves.”

Nava strongly believes art allows society to learn and grow, and this event has the power to connect viewers with the art, people surrounding them and themselves.

The CUB Art Gallery will host Sketch Wednesday from 12-2 p.m. today. Martinez’ will then host a lecture at 6 p.m. in the CUB Junior Ballroom.