Pandemic graduates showcase artwork in senior exhibition


Photo contributed by Bailey Huerta

Class of 2020 alum Bailey Huerta’s artwork shows her connections to her hometown of Fillmore, California.

Aimee Barrera, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s alumni from the classes of 2020 and 2021 were invited back to have their works of art displayed and showcased in the William Rolland Art Gallery.

Curator of Collections and Exhibitions for Cal Lutheran’s William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art Rachel Schmid said that while most universities are trying to move forward past the pandemic, the gallery wants to make up lost time during the pandemic and have the class of 2020 and 2021 experience their work in the gallery.

“It’s interesting because… we’ve never experienced anything like the pandemic. Usually in the spring semester is when we always feature the graduating class’s work, so no we’ve never had anything like this before because we’ve never had to have this happen before,” Schmid said in a Zoom interview.

Nine of Cal Lutheran’s alumni artists for the class of 2020 showed their work in an exhibit that took place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 30 and was open for in-person visitation. The theme was “Passionate Perspectives” and the artists’ works were created based on a theme they chose at the beginning of their capstones.

“So all of them, all of the works in the exhibit is something that they were very passionate about, whether it was social justice issues or like mental health, or things like that, they all chose issues that were particularly special to them,” Schmid said.

Class of 2020 alumna Bailey Huerta had four works on display that revolved around her family and hometown.

“Our overall theme for the show was Passionate Perspectives, so I really analyzed what this meant to me, and it ultimately led me to think of the things that bring me the most happiness and joy,”  Huerta said in an email interview.

The works of art included four paintings: Fillmore grown oranges, the Sespe Wilderness, two abstract portrait paintings, and a sculpture of a hand with painted wildflowers native to California titled “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”

 “My works revolve around family and my hometown, both of which have been huge influences on my life growing up and led me to where I am today,” Huerta said.

All nine artists, some who have moved away and others more local, made it to the artists’ reception.

“It was amazing! It was hard with the way COVID had abruptly ended our senior year without proper goodbyes. So getting to see a few of my fellow artists was great. We were such a close group working together on the gallery in the spring of last year, and truly all became friends,” Huerta said.

From Oct. 8 to Nov. 4, five Cal Lutheran alumni artists from the class of 2021 will have their works in the exhibit. 

The Cal Lutheran class of 2020’s exhibit will follow the theme of “Escapism” in light of the pandemic.

This exhibit embodies the realities that these artists explored during the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the daily and constant reminder of their new life under Covid, our students sought outlets to escape their isolation,” according to the Cal Lutheran William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art webpage for the “Escapism” exhibit.

This article was updated Oct. 6 at 11:15 a.m. to correct the spelling of Rachel Schmid.