The Mountain State provided inspiration for a new exhibition at West Virginia University. Twelve MFA candidates and recent graduates from WVU’s School of Art and Design are presenting a summer exhibition at the Creative Art Center’s Laura Mesaros Gallery, now through Aug. 18.

Titled “Surroundings: MFA Students Respond to Their Environments,” the exhibit features authentic contemporary experiences the students have had in West Virginia. The artists, who are from inside and outside the state, reflected on their surroundings to create this diverse work expressing personal, industrial, surreal and jovial perspectives.

“Glimpses of their personal studio surroundings are displayed with their works, and items from their studios are also included in this collaborative installation to surround visitors with a hint of their creative spaces,” said Sally Deskins, curator of the exhibition.

Deskins said viewers are invited to participate in the exhibition by posting a picture of their own surroundings (a selfie with the art in the gallery, or from around campus or their own West Virginia environments) with the hashtag #wvsurroundings. The photos will be printed weekly and displayed in the collaborative installation throughout the summer.

A closing reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Aug. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery, with a curator’s talk with artists at 5 p.m.

Deskins is a recent graduate of the School of Art and Design, having received her Master of Arts degree in Art History in 2016.

The artists in the exhibition include:

  • Allison Blair; White Plains, New York; printmaking
  • Nate Ditzler; Oahu, Hawaii; ceramics and sculpture
  • Tiera Floyd; Sutton, West Virginia; painting
  • Megan Gainer; Spencer, West Virginia; sculpture
  • Jake Guzan; Spring Grove, Illinois; printmaking
  • Brett Herron; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; printmaking and sculpture
  • Andrew Kellner; Toronto, Canada; ceramics
  • Ken Lu; Singapore; ceramics
  • Tessa Lee Martinez; Laredo, Texas; ceramics
  • Kaitlyn Hunter; Lisbon Falls, Maine; sculpture
  • Michael Oliver; Frederick, Maryland; photography
  • George Jae-Hyun Cho; Seoul, South Korea; ceramics

All Mesaros Galleries events, including art lectures, exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.

The summer exhibit, “Surroundings: MFA Students Respond to Their Environments,” may be viewed by appointment Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the curator, Sally Deskins, by contacting the WVU School of Art and Design at 304-293-4077 or stopping by the Art and Design office in Room 419A of the Creative Arts Center.

For more information, contact Sally Deskins at, or phone (304) 692-2176.


CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, Art Museum of WVU

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