Classroom 102 unites GW, D.C. art community

While some students may have fallen short of fulfilling their summer projects, artists from GW and D.C. drew inspiration from their vacations to produce Classroom 102’s current summer-inspired exhibit in the Smith Hall of Art.

The exhibit, titled “Between Time: Fine Arts Summer Initiative,” runs until Sept. 9 and focuses on what D.C. artists produce in their free time, both within GW and beyond.

“We wanted to see what people could do without the pressures of class work,” said Brynne McBryde, an art history graduate student who helped organize the exhibit.

“The concept behind the exhibition was to give students a space and parameters for exhibiting personal projects that were created over the summer,” said Katherine Sifers, another GW graduate student organizing the exhibit. “We sent the exhibition prospectus as an open call to colleges and universities in the area.”

Sifers and McBryde, as well as fellow exhibit organizers Blair Bainbridge and Danielle O’Steen, hoped to extend Classroom 102 beyond GW and into the District’s artistic community. As a result, the exhibit features eight different artists, drawing work from GW students and others, like D.C.-based artists Hyun Kyung Kim and Rachel Schechtman.

“Individual hanging and selection decisions were made during installation as well,” Bainbridge said. “We really wanted to see a dialogue develop between the artists involved.”

To enhance the dialogue aspect of the exhibit, a curator’s blog about the exhibition will run for the duration of the exhibit. Exhibition organizers said both the blog and the general concept of the show reflect the nature of Classroom 102.

“Classroom 102 is unusual in that it allows students almost total control of a university space,” said McBryde. “Students plan and promote every show that goes up, so it really operates as an autonomous forum.”

Initially created as a way to showcase the work of GW students and Master of Fine Arts theses, the space is now a staple on the Foggy Bottom Campus and draws attention to the artistic community at GW.

Like the GW and non-GW artists on display, the curators in charge of blogging have the opportunity for exposure on a public level by uniting participants of the exhibit through the sheer transparency Classroom 102 offers.

“We wanted to bring together GW artists with students from other schools, to show the range of work being made in the D.C. area,” O’Steen said. “The gallery is really a dynamic space where most things are possible, and where GWU’s creativity is always on display.”

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