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A bachelor’s degree is not an easy undertaking.

Hours upon days of studying. Anxiety-inducing projects to work on. A busy schedule that borders on masochism. It’s easy to lose sight of why one would want to go to college in the first place.

But when someone comes through the other side and graduates it’s an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Nothing better demonstrates that feeling of hard work finished than seeing the tangible fruits of one’s labor.

Boise State University graduating artists of varying mediums and backgrounds will be featured at Blue Galleries to see their hard work on display. The opening reception is from 6 — 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12. The exhibition continues through Dec. 7.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition is the capstone activity for the BFA students completing programs in Visual Art, Illustration, and Art Education. This semester’s show features work by 12 candidates for these degrees. The artists featured are: Karen Bennett, Ariel Bromley, Jason Charme, Cassidy Gilman, Nick Gutierrez, Kelly Hayes, Kendra Lynch, Danielle Mitten, Bailee Ray, India Rose, Gia Strang and Cassie Woodland.

“2021 has been a challenging and fulfilling time for the Bachelor of Fine Arts graduating class at Boise State University. Our experiences have opened new avenues and perspectives to a wide range of possibilities and innovations in the arts. The journey of learning art methods and practices both online and in the Center for the Visual Arts studios has been extraordinary. This exhibition showcases a variety of artworks featuring diverse styles, materials and an array of conceptual and societal issues. The media we work in is just as diverse as the themes including painting, sculpture, illustration, photography, and printmaking,” the students in the Fall 2021 BFA Exhibition wrote in a statement.

One of the artists featured, Ray, is tackling different topics with her three editorial illustrations — mental health, climate change and social unrest. Ray finds that it’s almost a duty to address real issues with art.

“I find that my position of creating a visual message that can reach an audience beyond a written or auditory form should be used to address topics that need to be discussed,” Ray said. “By utilizing imagery, compositions, colors, etc. that act to captivate people, I can expose (issues) while simultaneously providing an aesthetic visual; it’s a win-win.”

At 52, Strang is graduating with her first four-year degree after a career in the military and raising a family. She plans on pursuing public art and working with a large-scale medium. It seems hard to grasp that she will be working with bigger canvases — with her two pieces in the BFA show, “The Compartment in My Bed’ and “Pieces of Me” being seven and eight feet tall respectively.

“My sculptures are abstract and utilize negative space and repetitive geometric forms to communicate ideas around relationships and connection,” Strang said.

Since the beginning of September, Rose has worked on a 24-inch by 48-inch canvas. With her oil paint and using real ashes, she has painted a picture that addresses the worsening fire seasons seen in the West. She has lived her life in Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska and Idaho; the rich wilderness is practically ingrained in her DNA. She has used her art to address the quickly changing landscape that she calls home.

“Typical nature scenes tend to display a utopia with dream-like qualities,” Rose said. “Despite its challenges, I believe that using ash helps bring us to [the] reality of what our environment is transforming [into].”

Regular hours for the Blue Galleries are 11 a.m. — 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The galleries will be closed during the Boise State University Thanksgiving Break.

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