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Rubin Center hosts first in-person student exhibition for 2021

Nicole Lopez
The Annual Juried UTEP student exhibition is open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday through July 30. People can go in groups of no more than 10.

For the first time in a year, the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts hosts the Annual Juried UTEP Student Art Exhibition in-person and virtually.   

Last year, the exhibition was completely online. Kerry Doyle, director of the Rubin Center, said the experience of being able to celebrate with the winners in person was well worth the wait.   

“Studio arts students have been coming to campus this year, so it was great to see that work, but we were also really happy to have the work in the gallery as well,” Doyle said.  

The exhibition opened May 10 and is open to the public until July 30. The art on display falls into different categories including painting, sculpting, drawing, ceramics, metals, printmaking

 and graphic design.   

Approximately 400 submissions were sent in by students in the Art Department.  

Artwork was chosen by two jurors: Daisy Naam, curator from Ballroom Marfa, an art center in Marfa, Texas  and Libby Morris, the vice president of design and art director at Giles Design Bureau in San Antonio. Naam was the fine arts juror and Morris was appointed graphic design juror.  

120 pieces made it into the showcase and one winner, Dilan Torres, a studio art major, won the Overall Best of Show award.    

Torres said he felt humbled when he received news that he won the Overall Best of Show Award.   

“I was completely surprised because everyone in here has an equal chance of winning,” Torres said.    

Competitors submit their work virtually by sending pictures. After pieces were chosen for awards, the artwork was displayed in the center.   

Torres has a concentration in drawing and a minor in painting. His piece, “I Saw a Ghost in the Supermarket” was inspired by the George Floyd protests.   

“It sparked something in me that made me want to talk more about my identity when it comes to my ethnicity and my heritage,” Torres said.  “I wanted to make a work that exposes the experience of being Mexican American or a person of Hispanic heritage living in the United States.”   

Torres primarily uses charcoal, pencil and graphite as mediums for his artwork.   

His award-winning artwork is separated into three different pieces, which mimics a blueprint by showing different people in motion. The pieces also have small portions of text spread throughout the images. Two of the pieces are in black and white and the last piece employs the use of a small amount of color.   

The exhibition also awarded students for Best Graphic Design, Best Painting, Best Drawing, Best Ceramic Work, Best Piece of Jewelry, Best Life Drawing or Life Painting, Best Photograph/Digital Image, Best Print, Best Sculpture, and honorable mentions.   

“I really appreciate when I can see a work of art in person,” Torres said. “I get to see the textures and the scale, which is something that you can’t really interact with when you’re seeing work online or on your phone, so those aspects of artwork are very important.”  

For the graphic design art exhibition, the center decided to use projectors and TV screens to display a slideshow of all the poster and print submissions to accommodate social distancing.   

Looking toward the future, Doyle says that UTEP students and faculty can expect more art exhibitions from the Rubin Center in the upcoming semester.   

“We’re going to have a series of events over the course of October out in public spaces. We’re going back to 100 percent in-person for the fall,” Doyle said.  

Torres plans on working on his art and perfecting his craft.    

“There’s potential for greatness in every artist here,” Torres said.   

The Annual Juried UTEP Student Art Exhibition can be seen on the UTEP website or in-person at the Rubin Center, open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.  

See the full list of winners for the Annual Juried UTEP Student Art Exhibition 2021 below:  

Graphic Design Honorable Mentions:   

Jocelyn Verdugo, Identity Design Black Affinity Group 

Itzyiana Nuñez, Seymour Chwast in El Paso  

Aaron Mietlinski, Stop Human Trafficking 

Noelle Marquez, Blackkklansman Poster  

Chantel Rodriguez, Tadanori Yokoo Catalog  

Third Graphic Design: Michelle Bautista, Drilo’s Birthday 

Second Graphic Design: Jade Hernandez, Keep Your Distance  

Best Graphic Design: Edgar Alvarez, Amores Perros Movie Posters  

Best Drawing: Brandon Michael Soto, The Gift   

Best Ceramic Work: Kristen Morales, Dumpster Fire of the Year   

Best Piece of Jewelry/Small Scale Metal: Kristin Morales, Dead Rhetoric   

Best Painting: Valeria Tejada, Coexistencia   

Best Photograph/Digital Image: Iztchel J Jaquez, En La Casa Hay Frijoles  

Best Print: Andrew Hernandez-Betancourt, OooLaLa  

Best Sculpture: Martin Acosta, Thumbs Up   

Best Life Drawing or Life Painting: Barron Wortham, Cruisin  

Overall Best of Show: Dilan Torres, I Saw a Ghost in the Supermarket  

Nicole Lopez may be reached at [email protected]; @nicoleilopez on Twitter.  


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About the Contributor
Nicole Lopez, Contributor
Nicole Lopez is a Multimedia Journalism and Creative Writing student at The University of Texas at El Paso. She has interned at KVIA ABC 7, where she was able to write and report on breaking news. She is currently interning with El Paso Matters, covering issues and topics within the Borderplex area. She also freelances for AGI Marketing as a Creative Content Writer and publishes stories for The Prospector and Borderzine, student publications at UTEP.
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Rubin Center hosts first in-person student exhibition for 2021