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Colorful paintings on Revland Gallery promote student artists

Paintings by ST(ART) Project finalists hang outside Revland Gallery. Artists include, from left to right, Emily Mulvaney, Ben Neyers, Tyler Card, Carolyn Hausladen, Ethan Woods and Beata Weber. Special to The Forum 1 / 5
NDSU student Beata Weber with her ST(ART) Project painting. Steve Revland / Special to The Forum2 / 5
NDSU student Carolyn Hausladen's submission for the ST(ART) Project. Steve Revland / Special to The Forum3 / 5
NDSU student Tyler Card with his ST(ART) Project submission. Steve Revland / Special to The Forum4 / 5
MSUM art student Ethan Woods poses next to his abstract ST(ART) Project painting. He is the only MSUM student represented. Steve Revland / Special to The Forum5 / 5

Promoting student artists has always been a priority for Revland Gallery owner Steve Revland.

In his former Uptown Gallery, he designated an Honorary Student Wall to give student artists gallery exposure.

After moving to his new temporary space at 409 Broadway in September, Revland realized the blank panels on the front of the building provided a new opportunity.

The idea evolved into the ST(ART) Project, in which Revland and his colleague Maren Day Woods invited six student artists to submit original paintings to hang on the six panels of the temporary building until Revland Gallery moves in May.

The project complemented Revland's goal to help student artists launch their professional career while making the gallery more appealing to visitors.

"There's been a push for public art, and we wanted to be part of that (initiative)," Revland said.

After being displayed, the paintings will be auctioned off in the spring or early summer. Fifty percent of the money raised for each painting goes toward the artist and 25 percent to art scholarships at each student's university. The date of the auction is to be determined.

One of the students, Ethan Woods, is from MSUM. The other five are from NDSU: Tyler Card, Carolyn Hausladen, Emily Mulvaney, Ben Neyers and Beata Weber. The prominence of NDSU students is due to encouragement from NDSU art professor and artist Kimble Bromley, who sells his work at the gallery.

Bromley assisted the Revland Gallery with the ST(ART) Project by choosing the nine exterior paint colors students had to work with: the primary colors (red, yellow, blue), secondary colors (orange, purple, green), brown, black and white.

These basic colors gave students endless mixing possibilities while challenging them to work with latex-based exterior house paint (to protect the paintings against the elements) rather than oils or acrylics.

Because house paint is thinner and more subdued than other paint, creating vibrancy was one of the challenges for Beata Weber, a junior art major at NDSU and Revland Gallery intern.

"Most people don't want lime green houses, so it's understandable," she said.

Her preference for bright colors is evident in her painting of a face above the entrance to the gallery.

Hirshfield's sponsored all the paint and Revland Gallery sponsored the 4x4 or 4x5 boards for the project.

The gallery asked students to submit a mock-up of their paintings as part of the selection process. The original concept was to have students create abstract paintings, but as the project progressed, Revland and Day Woods decided it was better to give students free rein on style and subject.

"The thing about projects and events is they take on the energy of the people participating, and that's why artists need to let go and follow that creative instinct," Day Woods said. "We're letting the project be kind of fluid because we want to see where the energy goes."

Weber agreed that being able to create a painting with her distinct style made the project more inspiring. The exposure of her paintings at Revland Gallery has already helped her jumpstart her career, including the opportunity to make a mural for Frostival.

Students sometimes feel intimidated about entering the professional world, especially when pitching their work to galleries, but Weber said her experience with Revland Gallery and the ST(ART) Project has given her more confidence to promote her art.

"The only way to succeed (as an artist) is to figure out ways to promote yourself," Weber said. "The worst people can say is 'no.'"

Revland intends to continue sponsoring the ST(ART) Project when Revland Gallery moves to a new location (which is to be determined).

Next time, he plans to give more advance notice to encourage more participation from students at Concordia College and MSUM.

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit theartspartnership.net.

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