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The 53rd Annual Student Exhibition has opened in the East Central University Gallery in the Art Department to highlight students' work in ceramics, drawings, digital images, paintings, prints, sculpture and watercolors.

"This year's exhibit is so large it fills two galleries and includes the student gallery," said Dr. Brad Jessop, department chair.

Awards for scholarly achievement will be presented at 5:30 p.m. April 28 [MONDAY] during the closing reception which will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. The awards will go to students who demonstrate exceptional quality, based upon portfolio performance in the exhibition.

The Leon Polk Smith Award is named for Oklahoma's best-known artist. Smith graduated from ECU in the 1930's and studied at Columbia University in New York.  He is known as one of the founders of the American Minimalist movement that began shortly after World War II. The scholarship he endowed is awarded to outstanding artists in each class.

The Gladys Kendall Scholarship was endowed by longtime area resident Gladys Kendall to encourage deserving students in the arts.

The Grant Thorp Scholarship was endowed by the family and friends of beloved former ECU professor and respected artist Grant Thorp to continue the educational tradition of his life.

The Emma Box Scholarship was endowed by longtime ECU faculty member Emma Box.  One of the co-founding faculty members, she was a student of Hans Hoffman and is well known for her formalist collages and expressive figurative works.

Additional awards will be presented by the department faculty, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Ada Artist Association.

"Historically, student exhibitions have functioned as a way for art departments and schools to assess their performance from year to year," Jessop said. "ECU's annual student show has been a tradition for over 40 years. Many of the student participants throughout that time have become significant artists and art educators making significant artistic contributions in their own right."

The gallery is located on the east side of the Education Building and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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