Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Biennial Art Exhibit showcases Southeast faculty artwork

Friday, May 7, 2021
“Handsome Bastard ‘ina Tux” is just one of Heu’s artworks which will be on display at the faculty art exhibit.
Photo submitted by Benjie Heu

People say those that can, do; those who can’t, teach. The Biennial Faculty Art Exhibit hosted at the Crisp Museum lays the age-old claim to rest. The exhibit allows professors within Southeast’s Art Department to submit their own artwork for the community to see and shows off the creations they have worked on outside of the long hours they dedicate to teaching students.

Benjie Heu, professor of art with a focus on ceramics, has taught at Southeast for 15 years and has consistently submitted his artwork every year the exhibit is held. He believes the art exhibit not only allows the art professors to show off their work, but it also provides other benefits, as well.

“It’s not only a way for the faculty to show off what they do and show off that they are an expert in their field,” Heu said. “The painting professor should know how to paint, and you should be able to see it and inspire painting students. So, when your teacher tells you that you don’t work hard enough, they will know that he or she knows what they are talking about. You set an example with no matter how good you are.”

Crisp Museum Manager Jim Phillips said the faculty art show originally took place at Academic Hall but later transitioned to the River Campus where Southeast’s art department is located.

When the event was first created, it was meant to showcase the artwork of faculty and build a sense of competition between departments. He said the sense of competition has mostly faded away throughout years.

“Every year, it seems that there is one faculty member or another who wants to get a monopolized space, so you kind of have to peel it back a bit,” Phillips said. “Everyone gets to put in two pieces. So, everyone’s got to pump their chest a little bit, kind of get that going for them.”

Outreach specialist Gary Tyler is the faculty member responsible for setting up the gallery and installing the artwork for exhibitions. With the different mediums being produced by the art department faculty, Tyler said he could hang paintings on the wall, place sculptures on podiums or even hang massive fabric designs from the ceiling.

“[The artists] will bring it in and have an idea of the layout, and I will put it on the wall where it’s 60 degrees, 60 inches up where it’s centered,” Tyler said. “But, they will come in and have layouts for me. It’s 2-D, it’s ceramics, it’s stuff that they are doing personally. Also, they may be teaching one class, they may be on their own private time interested in something else. And they can bring that, too.”

The Biennial Faculty Art Exhibit will take place at the Crisp Museum from May 21 to June 20. The opening reception will be on May 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. For more information on upcoming events, visit Crisp Museum’s website.