The Anatomy of an Art Exhibition

The Challenge: Create art for an exhibition to be shown during a visit to the School of Fashion by Jean Paul Gaultier.

The Participants: Fashion Illustration students in FSH 102, 112, 640, 371 and Fashion Merchandising students in FSH 320 Interpreting and Reporting Fashion Students

The Deadline: Mid-March

What goes into creating a mixed media exhibition using large-scale artwork? Create a meaningful activity and fill the task with a collective purpose while giving the project to fashion students and you will find out.

When the semester started, School of Fashion Executive Director Gladys Perint Palmer and Director Simon Ungless gave illustration students an opportunity to shine. Please create large – scale mixed media work that will showcase the point of view of a fashion student in the School of Fashion. Work with each other using research about Jean Paul Gualtier from the Interpreting and Reporting Fashion class to help you get inspired. You have six weeks to complete the work and hang the show.

The first step was to form groups and this started the first week of school. Students met each other, collaborated and brainstormed ideas, and began the semester on a high note. What a great way to begin collaborating (a life long pursuit for a fashion student). Fellow students names were soon learned, interesting work began, and the excitement started to build.

Assisted by the students from Hersha Steinbock’s FSH 320 class, the illustration classes began to receive research on a weekly basis. This helpful material allowed the creativity to be informed by extensive knowledge of Jean Paul Gaultier’s work.


 A group of students brainstorming and creating a mock up to present to the class. L-R: Clifford Grant, Rigo Garcia, Thomas Murphy, Isabella Sen, and Brandon Kee work on their presentation.

Following the initial project guidelines, students began working on drawings that would show a larger than life scale of their weekly workshop assignment. Combining curriculum and a special project proved to be no problem for the motivated students.

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 Karen Loftus shows her workshop drawing skills on a large-scale drawing.

The next phase of the project included appointing two fine artists who are familiar with exhibition display and curating work for a show. Kiril Hristov, one of our drawing instructors and Patricia Kelly, who heads up the ESL support for the School of Fashion were the perfect choice for the job.

All the work was created and assembled in several rooms at Polk. 

View of the gallery where work was set up to be curated.

The Polk building is 100 years old this year and this exhibition was an opportunity to show the way our new home inspires us. As the fashion students excitedly worked on their exhibition project, the discussion included: How do we unify the show with so many dissimilar pieces of work, how can we depict the energy and enthusiasm of being in a brand new (to us) building, and how can we best showcase the work – all important things to learn about exhibiting in a new venue.

Everyone was up to the challenge.

Students help Patricia Kelly and Kiril Hristov install the work.

Special thanks to all the illustration instructors for managing to work tirelessly on this project – Cecilia Aragon, Briana Kranz, Chris Canga, Dale Dombrowski, and Kiriil Hristov. With the direction, supervision, and guidance from instructors, the students rocked the Exhibition.

Thanks to Dr. Elisa Stephens for allowing the School of Fashion to see what happens when industry meets education.

Way to go illustration students! Job well done.

And the show will be up for the next few weeks – be sure to take a look!

Written By: Carol A. Nunnelly – School of Fashion Drawing Coordinator