Art students share New York experience through gallery exhibition

A couple holds hands while viewing New York inspired artwork in the gallery.
A couple holds hands while viewing New York inspired artwork in the gallery.

“One night, I couldn’t sleep, so I packed up my bag, and I walked down the street for five blocks, found a 24-hour diner and I sat up all night writing,” said photography senior Ashley Strazzinski. “It was amazing, because the whole time I was there, there was people, and they weren’t just drunk people coming home from the bar. It really is the city that never sleeps.”

Strazzinski is just one of 29 MSUM art students that took part in the “New York Art Experience” this summer. The month-long trip allowed  students to submerge themselves in New York City life — a lifestyle which, according to Strazzinski, was quite different from what many MSUM students would consider the norm.

“It was just amazing to know you could go anywhere and do anything at any moment,” Stazzinski said.

This endless opportunity for adventure was just one of many things vastly different about Minnesota and New York life.

“In New York, you could walk down the street, and you could hear, like, five different languages all at once,” Strazzinski said. “You go to Minneapolis, and you think there is a lot of diversity, but there is nothing like in New York.”

The diversity Strazzinski was enthused about is not just found when walking through Times Square. Throughout their month in the city, the art students were introduced to the vast array of artistry found in New York’s many galleries, museums and even studio visits with working artists.

Madeline Murnion, a printmaking senior, found the many museums she had a chance to visit to be very inspirational.

“I spent many days in each of these museums,” Murnion said. “It gave us a wonderful insight of the processes of these masterworks and inspiration for our own works.”

The studio visits the students had the opportunity to go on were also a source of inspiration for them.

“From a studio in Chelsea, to seeing Mary Mattingly in this hot warehouse barely making it; that’s something that is totally priceless,” Strazzinski said. “As an artist aspiring to do what any of these people are doing, I think it was good to see it. There is no way I could have done that without this trip.”

Andrew Stenehjem, a photography major, had the opportunity to go on a couple personal photo shoots.

“It was really pretty interesting,” Stenehjem said. “(A professional) was doing a fashion shoot, and I got to shadow … Then he put me through to one of his former assistants and I went on a photo shoot of hers.”

After being inspired by the contemporary art world of New York, each of the students (and the professors that accompanied them) have works in the Center for the Arts which will be up until Sept. 19.

“Every student experienced New York in a different way and that can be seen in their work,” said Kristen Perala, a photography senior.

Overall, the art students  agreed the “New York Art Experience” was a life changing opportunity.

“For me, it was almost like a pilgrimage,” Strazzinski said. “As an artist, I think you have to go to New York at some point in your life. There is so much potential and opportunity there. It was amazing.”

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