Faculty Art Show celebrates centennial anniversary of ‘The Trumpet’

Work of Professor Moonjung Kang (Graphics, Branding, Typography, UX/UI Design)

Among many other new beginnings and refreshers, celebrations and commemorations, and community involvement to celebrate the centennial anniversary of our paper’s publication, the student voice of the hilltop is once again being celebrated by our wonderful campus community. Every year, the faculty of the Fine Arts Department prepares a prompt of sorts for a spring showcase held in our university’s Nutting Art Gallery, put on entirely by themselves and made up of their own work.

This year, in collaboration with the Trumpet, and simply out of inspiration for such a landmark of the longest running student newspaper in all of W.Va., the prompt was, “Trumpet.” Obviously the centennial anniversary was an unspoken piece of the prompt, as seen in Professor Aaron Anslow’s ceramic piece, ”100Trumpet Vase,” covered from top to bottom with 100 trumpet seals, or Professor Moonjung Kang’s ”Trumpet 100” digital composition; but this was also something dear to our faculty, so of course they wanted to celebrate the achievements of our University.

Professor Anslow, a member of the 3-D Design, Sculpting, and Ceramics department of West Liberty’s creative arts program, said he really wasn’t a big fan of thematic shows, as it kept him and his colleagues to a specific area of creativity and inspiration;“Students don’t get to see enough of our personal work as it is, because we’re all so busy all the time, with our personal lives, university and personal responsibilities, and making sure our students and their art is being taken care of; I feel like themes push this narrative further.We all already take the prompt in our own way, through our own creative process, but this year we all had the connection of being proud of what our campus community and students had accomplished. 100 years is pretty special, and celebrating that creatively, even with a prompt, felt very free.”

Professor Anslow, for example, respective to his roots in 3-D Design, found the majority of his inspiration in the physical form of the trumpet as an instrument;“Working with ceramics is very literal, even if my works might enter the metaphorical territory of the trumpet ‘shouting out the news,’ it works for both. Our newspaper is our voice, a trumpet can make that noise heard.”

Professor Brian Fencl, a member of the Drawing, Illustration, Painting, and Art Appreciation department, relayed this same idea when communicating how his process began when planning for his work on the centennial celebration, but rather spoke of just how big a topic like the Trumpet can be, especially for someone with access to the sometimes metaphorical nature of illustration;  “Trumpet as a word represents everything from our student newspaper, media in general, the symbolism of the trumpet in art and an object that is carried into specific situations. It is a big topic.”

Professor Martyna Matusiak, a member of the screen printing, monotyping, woodcuts, and printmaking department, took a much more abstract approach to the seemingly boundless prompt, and aimed to capture that nature in her piece, “Tongues;” “For me, this prompt meant a celebration of legacy, of tradition, and of culture for our school. We have a paper, a radio, and a music station, all student run; we are a cultural hub, pocketed away in the hills. Even if the Trumpet is changing, in regards to becoming a digital publication, the voice of our students, our faculty and our community will always remain the same, and will always be heard.”

While Professor Anslow’s work took a more literal approach, even figurative in some ways (the figure of a trumpet.. delivering news through the power of voice), Professor Matusiak cited the ideas of freedom of speech and the actual art of printmaking in connection with the newspaper as her point of creative departure.“I wanted to include things from our, or the Trumpet’s, past, to further show how far we’ve come; in some of my monotypes, there are Trumpet issues from the 1950s and 40s, one even featuring
the first logo ever used in 1921. Through this all though, I wanted to communicate clearly the power of culture and the power of voice, and how that comes together in companionship with the addition of new media, like going online and digital, to survive for this long.”

When asked what celebrating the centennial meant to her, Professor Sarah Davis elaborated on the pride she felt in our Hilltop home, perfectly summing up this legendary art show for such a landmark occasion; ”I’m proud to teach at a University with such a long and rich history. It’s enriching to think about what WLU students, faculty, administrators, and guests may have seen, experienced, or endured over the last one hundred years. As a collective community, it brings us together.”

Students spoken to all echo the same sentiment; this year’s exhibition shows our strength and our focus as a University and community, it shows our individual attitudes while feeding a holistic whole of who we are.