ASU’s faculty art show highlights department’s successful evolution

Pam Ferguson-Haggins can barely stop to talk. It’s Friday, and one exhibit at the Augusta State University gallery has yet to come down – while the new exhibit, “Transitions,” opens on Thursday.

“This is first day we’re really getting pieces in for the new exhibit,” said the gallery director, breathlessly.

Artwork from the university’s creative faculty will go up in mere days — and they still have to patch and paint the walls.

“And that’s how it usually happens,” Ferguson-Haggins said. “You just keep on going. You have a nice little gap of breathing time and in between you’re just working on installing the show.”

That’s university life in general — full-tilt during semesters with snooze time in between. Right now the local university that has yet to see a half-century is undergoing drastic renovations to its patchwork quilt of a campus. In addition to a rash of construction, the departments of communications and English and foreign languages divorced this year; Art and music will part amicably at the end of the year.

“That’s really going to be exciting — to start off a new year in a new space with a new perspective,” Ferguson-Haggins said.

The art department will move to Washington Hall, the former student center, where it will enjoy more labs, equipment, studios and gallery space than the department has ever possessed. Brian Rust, who currently also has a piece in the show “Drawn in Georgia” at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta, laughed back in July that the logistics alone could be overwhelming.

“We worry about everything, including, ‘Where does the copier go?’ It’s weird,” he said. If they were lucky, that was the worst of their worries.

Kristin Casaletto will chair the department of art when it graduates to its own digs. The professor, an accomplished printmaker and painter, has also worked in painting conservation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

So “Transitions” is the last hoorah in the fine arts building, which has housed art and music simultaneously for much of the university’s history. Fourteen of the university’s artistic faculty will display current work, which the gallery will have to compile, order and label like a giant three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

“The overall job is to make sure that the pieces are installed and that they are really presented very nicely so that people can enjoy them,” Ferguson-Haggins said.

She won’t choose a piece to showcase, saying that it’s as impossible as choosing a favorite from among your own children. But she did reveal that some of the faculty artists may “vibe off the title” of the show, and that they will also demonstrate their own artistic transitions.

“I think the artists will really be sharing where their work is at the moment,” she said.

The Augusta State University Faculty Art Show will open with a reception on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 5-7 p.m. at the Augusta State University Fine Arts Gallery. Work will hang through Dec. 7. Call 706-667-4888 or visit aug.edu.

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