By Emily Chauvin

People still walk in and say “Wow! I didn’t even know this was here!” The VPAC Art Gallery is one of the most valuable resources we have here at WCSU. Ideally, every student at Western should take a moment each semester to pop in and see the new exhibit.

The current exhibit is ‘Thinking Visually: The Art of Connecticut Illustrators.’ The mission of the gallery is to inspire and teach students with contemporary artists. Local artists have been brought together to show their work close to home, as Connecticut is to most Western students. The accomplishments of each artist is evident in the work they chose to show; James Grashow includes album covers he did for Jethro Tull and The Yard Birds; Bruce Degan brought exemplary work as the illustrator of The Magic School Bus; Christine Kornacki, Bill Thomson, Randall Enos, Robert Giusti, and Wendell Minor have all illustrated children’s books (some on display alongside their work); David Wenzel and Jon Sideriadis are renowned in the fantasy genre; Roger Hyussen has created poster art for Clint Eastwood movies, and Ross Macdonald creates ‘graphic props’ for movies and shows such as Boardwalk Empire; Guy Billout has published for over four decades in The New Yorker and other major publications, and Leslie Cober-Gentry’s lovely illustrations have made it onto high-end retail products. These artists have taken their talent on incredibly diverse pathways. An indispensable lesson for every student of art is the options that are available to make their way in the world, and that takes meeting your contemporaries and asking question.

An Artist Panel, moderated by Jack Tom, Associate Professor of Illustration, will take place Wednesday, November 15, at 6:30pm. Participating Artists include Bruce Degan, Randall Enos, James Grashow, Gerard Huerta, Christine Kornacki, Ross MacDonald, and David Wenzel. The panel is a great opportunity to hear the choices they have made in their careers, tricks of the trade, technical skills, artist secrets. Who knows what you’ll learn?

I never knew that tens of thousands of ‘graphic props’ such as letters, books, files, maps, and personal notebooks of vital characters all need to be created for movies and shows. How does he handle all that work? Ask Ross Macdonald. Additionally, the visual mastery of Christine Kornacki almost begs an explanation; how in the heck did she paint hair so realistically? Or the fog subtly billowing from a child’s mouth? And Bruce Degan, well, you can just shake his hand and get a little star-struck at the creator of your favorite cartoon. You can be there to meet these accomplished artists, and ask these vital questions.