As curator of O’ Street Gallery, I am pleased to speak with John Harper. He’s largely responsible for initiating the Shasta College Art Department Student Exhibit at O’ Street Gallery.
The student exhibit runs from Jan. 18 to March 18. The artist reception is Fri., Jan. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m., and is open to the public at O’ Street Gallery, located upstairs inside Oregon Street Antiques, 1260 Oregon St., here in Redding.
John, thanks so much for taking time to share this exciting venture of Shasta College Student Art exhibit at O’ Street Gallery.
First, can you start by telling us about your history with Shasta College?
I am a former Shasta College art student myself. After I served time in the U.S. Army I took my first art class at Shasta College in 1973. It was a remarkable program with some very talented instructors. Because of those instructors, like Richard Wilson, I went on to study art at San Jose State University. After graduate school I was hired to be the Art Curator at The Redding Museum and Art Center, which I loved. At that time the museum had a very good working relationship with the college art department. We often worked together to organize joint exhibitions. Together we were able to present larger exhibitions, produce catalogs and sometimes travel the exhibits to other museums.
In 1984 I started teaching printmaking, part time, at Shasta College. In the fall of 1986 I was hired to teach art full time at the college. I have enjoyed working with the college faculty and students. Many have gone on to have remarkable careers in the arts. I am very proud of their many successes. Currently I am teaching part time again, mostly design and printmaking on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
John, your years of dedication to the arts at Shasta College, certainly hasn’t wavered over time.
What inspired you to have the student exhibit at O’ Street Gallery?
Shasta College held its first Student Art Exhibit the year the college opened in 1950. It was located where Shasta High School is now. Many of the art faculty were instrumental in starting the Art Federation group and the Redding Museum and Art Center. Since that time Shasta College has held a student show every year.
This exhibit will be the first time we held a student show in a downtown gallery. This should be great learning experience for our students.
As the O’ Street Gallery curator, and former Shasta College art major from the 1970s, there is satisfaction in coordinating and being supportive of this first-time art collaboration .
Can you talk a bit about students’ use of materials in this exhibit?
Actually, I was thinking that there is a lot of interest in using found material in contemporary art these days. Many of the classes at the college allow students to find and use found objects in their creations.
As I was walking around The Oregon St. Antique Mall it seemed a natural to show that kind of work at the O’ Street Gallery. My first idea was to have the instructors assign a project where the students had to use something that was appropriated from the antique mall, but, as time went on only a few instructor could do that and stay within their curriculum. So we ended up with a variety of student work that reflect the department’s overall program.
I’m looking forward to being on hand on the day of installation, just to get a sneak peek at the variety of art, from paintings and sculpture to wood and glass, all made by students of all ages. How many art students are featured?
We received more art work than we can possibly show. I think there may be between 75 to 100 students in this show.
John, I can’t imagine the logistics of organizing 75 to 100 students and their art, most of which is for sale.
This exhibit will be a hallmark, unforgettable for students, guests and art collectors. I look forward to meeting all the artists and seeing their work at the artist reception, Fri., Jan. 22. Thank you for your tireless effort in support and promotion of Shasta College student artists.