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The Fifty-Fourth Annual Student Exhibition is underway in East Central University's Art Department and includes a number of works recently featured in the Momentum Oklahoma City Exhibit.

The show includes ceramics, drawings, digital images, paintings, prints, sculpture and watercolors, all works from the students' various fields of study.

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

Awards for scholarly achievement will be presented to students at the closing reception on April 13 {MONDAY]. The reception begins at 4 p.m. and will run until 6 p.m. with the award announcements at 5:30 p.m. The awards will go to students who demonstrate exceptional quality, based upon portfolio performance in the exhibition.

The awards include:

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

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

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

The Emma Box Scholarship, 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.

Awards presented by the Art Department faculty, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and the Ada Artist Association also will also recognize meritorious students.

Historically, student exhibitions have functioned as a way for art departments and schools to assess their performance from year to year, Jessop said.

"This is an old tradition within the discipline dating back to the days of the academe," he said. "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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