Now on Display: Photography Exhibition Showcases Preview Experiences

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 5, 2014

Arcadia University’s Art Research Collaboration (ARC) Exhibition Program, in conjunction with the Office of University Communications, is pleased to present Signpost: A Preview Photography Exhibition, on display in the Great Room Lobby through Oct. 5.

Prior to departing on Preview in March, the ARC Exhibition Program challenged the 338 first-year and transfer students participating in the international experiences to document through photography signs that would evoke, through their style, subject, or use of text and/or image, the uniqueness of the various regions in which they would be traveling. This exhibition is the result of that challenge.

Preview offers a weeklong international experience during the university’s spring break. This year, students and instructors ventured to 14 different countries including, Austria, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Romania, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The 12 photographs on view were selected from a pool of more than 250 images from 60 Preview participants. Matthew Borgen, exhibitions coordinator of the ARC Exhibition Program, and Dr. Jeanne Buckley, associate dean of library and instructional technology and chair of the ARC selection committee, reviewed the submissions.

The jurors evaluated the photographs based on several criteria: the sign in the image had to be the principal focus of the image; the photograph had to stand on its own formal merits in terms of composition, focus, framing, value, and balance; and most importantly, the submission needed to show evidence of a personal insight on the part of the photographer regarding the place and culture being documented.

The photographs in the exhibition were submitted by Dana Barowski, Ileana Sykes Bidwell, Emily Brobst, Katie Bye, Amanda Campbell, Alexandria Connors, Kathryn Hoffman, Amy Jordan, Megan Mauro, Nichelle-Faith Rohrbach, Alayne Wood, and Heather Zimba. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the framed images will be presented to the individuals who took the photographs, both as a prize for their selection and as a concrete document of their experience abroad.

The idea of providing a specific cue for the documentation of Preview and presenting the resulting images as an art exhibition is a new experiment.

“In large part, this idea was driven by the desire of many of those involved with the program to create a visual record of Preview, both for those who experienced it and for the greater campus community, which reached beyond the stereotypes of tourist/vacation photography,” said Borgen.

In discussing the selection of signage as the first theme for what is envisioned as a recurring exhibition series, Buckley explained: “A sign is never neutral, nor is it simplistic, although it may seem so at first glance. A sign interacts with its environment—sometimes planned, sometimes serendipitously.”

Borgen continued: “A sign can inform an outside observer about a new region beyond the scope of the literal information it provides. Through the examination of a sign and its context, we may better understand the individual or culture that placed it there.”

A reception to recognize the exhibition’s participants is planned for the fall.

This exhibition is made possible by a donation to the Gateway Society by Theresa and John Rollins. Additional support was also provided by Arcadia’s Office of University Communications.

Gallery Hours (through Aug. 27): Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.