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First Annual Family Art Show Kicks off with Java Art Walk

March 13, 2006

First Annual Family Art Show Kicks off with Java Art Walk

Thirty members of the UC Merced campus community lead double lives as photographers, sculptors and painters. These artists are now proudly showing off their work at the first annual UC Merced Family Art Show, which kicked off March 9 with the Java Art Walk. The evening featured food, music and art and is planned as a recurring event for important new exhibits on campus.

Engineering professor and photographer Christopher Viney isn’t new to exhibits; this will be his third. Viney, his painter wife and their two children jumped at the opportunity to display their work, since all faculty, staff, students and their immediate families were eligible to participate.

My wife is the real artist in the family, and the children definitely take after her, Viney said.

Government Relations Director Larry Salinas has long wanted to display his photographs. When call for entries went out he entered his three favorites.

This is a good occasion for the staff to present a different side of themselves. We all have different interests outside our normal jobs – some people might be surprised.

UC Merced Art Coordinator Gail Benedict was definitely surprised, not only by the number of people who entered but by the categories represented: doctors, scientists and mathematicians, for example.

It’s important to have this outlet for those who are more scientifically, technically minded, she said. To let go of that calculating, analytical mind and be more expressive and free is very refreshing and pleasurable.

Those are the emotions Samantha Bryant, 18, feels when she sits in front of an easel. The psychology major took up painting in high school at the encouragement of a teacher and entered two acrylic landscape paintings in the art show.

I love how the outdoors affects me, and you can see that in the paintings, said Bryant. She hopes that when members of the public view her work, they will come away with the same emotions.

Larry Salinas just hopes people have a good time and appreciate the art, even if it’s done by amateurs.

I hope this event will be the first of many that UC Merced can present to the campus and Merced communities, he said.