Annual art competition gives students experience, chance to leave a lasting mark on campus

Library will purchase, add winning artwork to permanent collection

Everyone knows that Coates library is full of books, digital technology, and dozens of other resources that students utilize every day. The shelves of academic materials stretch floor to ceiling, but the walls around the books, chairs and desks are decorated with unique art. What may not be as well known, is that these pieces are created and submitted by Trinity’s own artists as part of an annual contest. It is once again time for students to enter their work into The Art Purchase Competition and to have a chance for the library to purchase their work.

Three years ago, Benjamin Harris, associate professor and information literacy coordinator for Coates Library,  and his team  founded the Art Purchase Competition. It was originally restricted to junior year and senior year Trinity students pursuing a career in art and was organized as a way to cover the empty spaces throughout the Trinity library with student artwork and help art majors get real firsthand experience in negotiating the prices for their works, much like they would do in the real world. Upon seeing the positive responses for the competition, Harris and his team opened up the competition for all Trinity students, regardless of their grade level.

The guidelines to the art purchase competition are simple. All that is required is that an artist submit an application alongside the work or works to be judged. There is no limit to the amount of works that can be submitted for consideration. The judging is conducted by a committee of three library faculty members and a final selection will be made after a consultation with a member in the art history department.

When asked why he felt it was essential for the competition to be a recurring event for Trinity University, Harris stressed the importance and value of appreciating student work.

“We like supporting our students. We also have lots of walls in this library,” said Harris.

The Art Purchase competition is a great way of showcasing students work, and it ultimately benefits both the students and librarians. Rather than buy expensive pieces of art to cover the library walls with, the Art Purchase Competition allows students to give back to the University and the University to give back to its students. Students get valuable experience and the library gains unique works of art that are more meaningful than pieces that came from outside the University might be.

The deadline to submit an application and work(s) is February 26, 2016, so interested students are encouraged to submit an application and the works you want for consideration as soon as possible. For more information about how to apply, contact Benjamin Harris at bharris@trinity.edu.