Located near Los Angeles, the Whittier College campus offers art students opportunities and venues to show off their growing skills and express themselves.
A sculpture of vicious teacups attacking an angry teapot. Dark footprints leading up the art gallery wall, with tree branches sprouting from it. Softly hued portraits of a woman tying her hair.
Those are only a few of the many amazing artworks that have been on display in Whittier College’s serene Greenleaf Gallery—and each one produced by students. From sculptures to paintings, from photographs to digital animation, undergraduate students demonstrate their flourishing artistic talents in a year-end show.
Pieces entered in the show are eligible for awards. Throughout the years, multiple pieces have been purchased by the President's Office for potential installation around campus, becoming apart of the vibrant fabric of the College.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, art students proudly displayed their work in a virtual version of the annual exhibit.
Outside Deihl Hall, a homeless figure pushed one heavily loaded shopping cart ahead of them, while pulling a second. Outside the beautiful Science & Learning Center, a second figure sat still on a bench by a cardboard sign reading, “God bless.”
They’re not real—they’re statues—but Jada Henry designed her installation to bring attention to the plight of homelessness. She hoped the statues inspired people to help the homeless in their community: “It starts on campus. It starts on the street across from you. It starts with everyday life and what you see."
Jada's project is just one example of the impactful work that students produce at the Wardman Art Center, blending their creativity with issues or a mission close to their hearts. Jada's transformation of raw materials into roughed-up statues was so effective that professor David Sloan, who advised her on the project, momentarily mistook them for the real deal.
All around the Greenleaf Gallery, rusted, tarnished, or natural scavenged items were embedded in modern building materials, cradled in them, or even breaking through them. Their creator, Davis Gerber, had expertly crafted a brief moment of cohesion between old and new.
The art major enjoyed the challenges of the sculpture series, which he created through the Fifth-Year Fellowship. The one-year program is awarded to a truly outstanding Whittier College studio art graduate who intends to pursue a Master of Fine Art degree. With access to Wardman Art Center, fellows produce a formally and conceptually coherent body of work for their graduate school applications.
“It challenged the instinctive and calculating process I rely on,” Davis said.
For more information about the fellowship, visit the fellowships website.