NACOGDOCHES, Texas - When an exhibition of artwork by students and faculty at the School of Art at the University of Chihuahua opens on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus, SFA Professor of Ceramics Piero Fenci will take great pride and satisfaction in seeing the artistic relationship he established between the Mexican university and SFA continue to flourish.
The upcoming exhibition, which opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in Griffith Gallery in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, runs through Friday, Dec. 12. It is comprised of works on paper, with media ranging from drawing to printmaking, photography and digital media.
This exhibition is part of an exchange program between SFA and the La Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua. The exchange started more than a decade ago when Fenci went to UACH to teach a one-month ceramics workshop. Since 2004, Fenci has continued to regularly visit the University of Chihuahua, helping support and develop the ceramics program he created there. As a result, students from UACH have come to SFA to earn master's degrees in art.
"This effort has been my opportunity to do in Mexico what I did here at SFA, and that was to build a ceramics program from virtually nothing," Fenci said. "I've been able to go to Chihuahua almost every year to mentor the program, build kilns, lecture and demonstrate." Fenci's last workshop at the University of Chihuahua was a ceramic and cast glass workshop taught jointly with his SFA art faculty colleague Maki Hajikano last fall.
Adán Sáenz, one of Fenci's former ceramic students who earned an MFA at SFA, is professor in charge of ceramics at the University of Chihuahua. He said the exhibition coming to SFA provides an overview of the kind of work being produced by students and faculty at UACH.
"The works of the exhibition are very diverse in media, subject matter and style," Sáenz said. "We are very excited to be able to participate in this exhibition and hope that we can continue strengthening the relationship between SFA and the University of Chihuahua."
That continues to be Fenci's goal - to recruit more UACH graduates to SFA to earn master's degrees that will prepare them for great opportunities in the art world. Another of Fenci's former MFA students, Kira Enriquez, heads up the ceramics program at Indiana State University.
"Four prospective students from the University of Chihuahua will be accompanying this exhibition," Fenci said. "We will be doing our best to convince them to apply here."
All SFA art exhibitions are free and open to the public. Griffith Gallery is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive. For information, call (936) 468-1131.