UI art exhibits unveiled to public

Figure One, located in downtown Champaign, plans to showcase the art of some of the most gifted students. Its purpose is to connect the campus to Champaign-Urbana.

Elliot Gaskin, graduate student, said the School of Art and Design wanted to introduce its pupils to the community.

“They wanted to show off the talent of the students,” Gaskin said.

Gaskin is the first student featured in the exhibit “10 to Watch.”

“10 to Watch” will be a series of gallery shows that switches out students’ work that has captured the attention of Jimmy Luu, director of Figure One, and his colleagues throughout the next year.

“Most of the James Avery recipients got selected because James Avery funded money for this gallery,” Gaskin said. “It’s a great honor to be the first of the ten to be selected to showcase selected amounts of my work. I think it’s a great experience with Jimmy, and to collaborate together outside of a school setting.”

A mix of community members and University students were on hand for the opening reception.

“I think (the exhibit) is an introduction of what type of things that are created,” said Kwadwo Bediako, sophomore in FAA. “It’s a good show.”

David Spears, Champaign resident and alumnus, said it was nice to see art exhibits come back to the heart of the city.

“I’m certain it will do its job (connect students with the community),” Spears said. “It’s something we’ve always embraced.”

A second exhibit, “20/20,” is also featured. This showcases various pieces from metals alumni, students who have graduated in the last half a century whose art is composed of different objects. These 23 works of art are part of a general show in the front of the exhibition space.

Gaskin said Figure One was focused on displaying objects in its simplest form.

“(Figure One) features that kind of simplicity,” Gaskin said. “When people are focused on complex objects, sometimes they don’t know how they work.”

Figure One is located at 116 N. Walnut St. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. Both of the current exhibits are on display until the end of October.