Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

  • If you have story tips for The Hornet, the best way to reach us is via DM on Instagram!

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

“New Eyes” opens its doors for biennial art exhibition

Every Monday through Thursday until Oct. 11, guests have the chance to view works from Fullerton College’s permanent collection
Ciara Gonzalez
Jay “Stephen” Whitehead’s acrylic painting, “Divinty Infinity”, is one of the original paintings added to the Fullerton Art Gallery’s permanent collection, debuting on Sept. 7, 2023.

From Sept. 7 through Oct. 11, Fullerton College’s very own art gallery will be transformed into a gallery of selected pieces. The public is welcome to view FC’s selected artwork from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm.

Every two years, as part of the Museum Studies program, students are given the chance to step into the role of proprietor and choose pieces from the college’s private collection.

“Permanent collections often live in storage. So when we take it out and put it on the wall, it comes to life,” said Interim Gallery Director Vonn Cummings Sumner, who was the curator of this exhibition.

Oil painting, “The Rule Breaker”, by John Alexander being observed at the New Eyes art gallery on Sept. 7, 2023 (Ciara Gonzalez)

This year, under Sumner, things looked a little different.

“This time as it became my time, I love working with the students so much that I just said at the end of last year that I would like everybody in the class to go into the permanent collections room and choose a piece, so that we’re all curating the show together,” said Sumner.

Each student not only chose a piece, but wrote their own personal explanation as to what the piece meant to them. They mentored and learned from each other, and collaborated as a student body from the lighting down to the placement of each work.

“One of the important functions of the campus gallery is to connect all the students that come through Fullerton College, regardless of background, to the feeling that they have access to, and their experience of art is every bit as valid as anyone else’s,” said Sumner.

Students observe April Bey’s “Divine/Venus (Magenta and Green)” drawing at the New Eyes art gallery on Sept. 7, 2023. (Ciara Gonzalez)

Sumner’s mentor Wayne Thiebaud was the one to begin the residency and visiting program at the college back in 1972 when he donated a piece of his own. That painting of vibrant yellow penny machines rested next to the entrance.

In fact, Thiebaud’s words were the inspiration for the title of the exhibit.

“At the beginning of the semester with a drawing class or a painting class, he would say, ‘Well, one of the things that you get from studying art is new eyes. You can see more, you see differently.’,” said Sumner.

“It’s no longer through the eyes of the people who made the piece,” said art student Oliver Diederich. “It’s through the eyes of the more modern generation.”

In his chosen piece, ships float across moonlit water with his own heartfelt connection written out next to the unknown artist’s piece.

This interweaving of past and present is key to the exhibit. Gallery Technician Seija Rohkea emphasized the key to the biennial. “An artist who was once here creating an artwork, and then is no longer here, but their artwork is still here and there’s that trace of their time.”

The show itself doesn’t end in 1004. Within building 1400, lives a mural by famous artist Gronk, a striking blend of bold colors and figures. Even in the library, there is artwork showcased by previous artists of Fullerton College.

Between the art that spreads out over the campus itself, between departments and even into the greater Fullerton area, FC strives to support student’s continued success in their field. “There’s a show over at the Fullerton Museum Center that was curated by Logan Martinez and I,” said Museum Studies major Joey Fenwick.

“We have like a pipeline there where we do paid internships,” added Martinez.

People gather to observe the art on display at the New Eyes art gallery on Sept. 7, 2023. (Ciara Gonzalez)

Down the street, and for only $5 with a student ID, current students’ accomplishments are on display all because of the support of the programs at Fullerton College.

The gallery on its first night drew in crowds of people, all mesmerized by the displays. “Men Hiking Uphill in the Pouring Rain” caught President Cynthia Olivo’s eye as she strolled along each wall, taking in each piece inch by inch.

“I think that the arts are a fine way to express opinions, to work though and struggle with your thoughts and feelings, and, you know, college is all about that,” said Olivo.

What should a student coming to the exhibit expect to see? Sumner succinctly hopes each person “gets new eyes.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hornet

Your donation will support the student journalists of Fullerton College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hornet

Comments (0)

All The Hornet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *