First fully virtual senior art exhibit builds art graduates’ portfolio


Rachel Schmid

The virtual art gallery is set up to look like the William Roland Art Gallery. It provides a walk through experience for anyone with WiFi.

Sebastian Gagnon, Reporter

The class of 2020’s senior art exhibit ‘Passionate Perspectives’, offering creative interpretations of political, environmental, cultural and emotional messages, is fully virtual.

“Switching to a virtual exhibit really hit all of us hard. We know part of the experience when making and creating art is the joy of seeing it in a space and in person,” class of 2020 alumna Bailey Huerta said in an email interview.

The Art department was able to transfer all of the seniors’ art online through the website Artsteps. In this virtual space, the artists recreated the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art digitally, said Rachel Schmid, curator of collections and exhibitions at California Lutheran University, in a phone interview. 

“We created the exact footprint of the Rolland Gallery and we essentially just put up their art as it would be in the physical space,” Schmid said. 

While Artsteps created a parallel experience to a traditional showcase, Schmid said some users could not access the site due to limited bandwidth.

The Artsteps alternative is a virtual gallery that allows users to view the artist’s work, profile and commentary about their piece, Schmid said.

“The format is much simpler, but was much more accessible,” Schmid said.

Huerta, who created two paintings for the exhibit, said she and her colleagues were disappointed that their art pieces would only be displayed online. 

“The cons [of switching online] were that absence of experience we were all looking forward to [such as] installing the pieces, our artist talk, etc,” Huerta said.

Despite having to miss out on the in-person experience, Huerta said that the virtual exhibition helped her develop a professional portfolio.

“One thing that was super beneficial to us was developing an online portfolio… that became easily accessible because of the virtual exhibit,” Huerta said.

Natalie Tseng, the student leader of the Passionate Perspectives exhibit, said in an email interview that one of the benefits of moving the exhibit online was that their art was accessible to a broader audience.

“No plane tickets or driving required; you only need an electronic device and some decent Wi-Fi,” Tseng said.

Huerta said she wishes for “all of the artists working toward their senior year to have an open mind and heart.” 

The virtual art exhibit is available on the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art website through Oct. 31.