A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery sees its first student show since 2019

Aryk Copley
Students showcased art from photography to sculpture at the student art show held at Robert F. Agrella gallery on May 5, 2022 in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Santa Rosa Junior College’s annual Student Art Show is on display at the Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery in Doyle Library for the first time since 2019. The show hosts the top five selections of work from almost every art class this semester. 

Mediums from sculpture to photography are available for viewing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the first floor of Doyle.

The gallery has been closed since the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. While many of the art classes have stayed in person, several have moved online, providing unique challenges for instructors.

SRJC instructor Hannah Skoonberg, who teaches drawing, printmaking and etching courses, has had difficulty helping shy students with their work. In art classes it’s important for instructors to give students advice while their work is still in progress. “You can’t do that in online classes,” she said. “They won’t show [their work] to you until it’s finished.” For some students, dropping off their work at the gallery was their first time on campus. 

Nearly all art classes will return to in-person instruction next semester.

Jenny Dwenger, a drawing and composition student, has a charcoal drawing on the gallery’s west wall depicting a shadowy array of potted cacti. At age 35, this is the first college-level art class she’s been able to take with her busy schedule.

“[The art classes are] wonderful. I work full time, so I was really happy to see that they have some evening classes,” she said.

Meredith Hylton, who has two charcoal drawings tucked into the east corner of the gallery, is also new to studio art classes. “I have an art history degree, but I’ve never made any art before,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful experience, Hannah is a great instructor. I was very surprised to get into the student art show; it’s very encouraging.”

Marina Dowell, who’s classes are all at the Petaluma campus, is a lifelong artist who just returned to taking classes after a year-and-a-half sabbatical due to struggling with online instruction. Her oil painting of a friend hangs near the center of the gallery. “I’ve never showcased my work professionally, so this is a pretty exciting moment,” she said.

The gallery itself, put together by students of Art 53: Exhibition Design, is a work of art in itself. “The hidden centerpiece is the students that hung this show,” Skoonberg said. “They’re the ones that made this happen.”

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About the Contributor
Aryk Copley
Aryk Copley, Photographer
Aryk Copley (he/they) is an aspiring photojournalist in his second year with The Oak Leaf. After experiencing a brain injury and a subsequent 5-year recovery, Aryk has returned to school with a matured perspective of the world. As a means to cope with the aftereffects of his injury, he developed a passion for photography. Aryk works as a freelance wedding and portrait photographer in the Sonoma County area and maintains a propensity for full-contact weapons fighting, analog film photography, traveling, cinema and thrifting.

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