Worcester State photography students showed up en masse at the opening reception of the 15th ArtsWorcester College Show to support one of their own, George Annan, whose photo prints had been selected by a prominent juror for inclusion in the exhibition. ArtsWorcester’s Aurora Gallery was packed upstairs and down for the Feb. 1 event with students from eight area colleges, as well as faculty, family and friends.
Also attending was Eric Nichols, visiting assistant professor and photo lab manager at WSU, for whom Annan has served as a TA the past couple years. It was Nichols who had encouraged Annan to enter his work for consideration by the juror, Sam Toabe, a curator and art historian based in Boston
“He was the sort of student who shows up already knowing what they’re doing,” Nichols said. “Well, maybe technically he didn’t know what he was doing, but he has that eye and he just instantly gets it.”
Like most students these days, Annan usually posts his photos on social media and tends to skip the printmaking aspect that was so critical to photography in the past. “They’re not printing like they used to and there’s a little bit of a loss in translation in there,” Nichols said. For them it’s sort of a lost skill. It’s not apparent to them that it’s something they should do or that there’s value to it.”
So now Nichols finds himself having to re-teach the importance of a print so students can gain a feeling for it and enter their work at art venues, if they’re so inclined.
“If they’re going to make money it’s going to be on Instagram, so social media, they can have a good career doing that, “Nichols said. “But they often don’t understand how to bridge the difference between a gallery or a museum and social media. The galleries and museums, while they will work with digital artwork and stuff that exists solely online, they also want things that are printed because some projects work in an online venue, but not all projects do.”
The College Show runs through Feb. 23 at ArtsWorcester’s Aurora Gallery, 660 Main St., Worcester. It will be the community based organization’s last show in the venerable venue before moving to a new location in the Printers Building, just a few blocks away.
Additionally, Nichols has a solo show, Portraits of Masculinity, at the Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road, Worcester, through March 2.
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