By Brian Wagenaar

Western’s second annual juried show in Crested Butte, known as the Western Arts Showcase, is coming up in early April. Selected student’s work will be displayed in a gallery event at the Center for the Arts Crested Butte. Student submissions for the show are currently being accepted. Artwork being submitted should be dropped off in Western’s Printmaking Studio (Quigley 143) by 12 p.m. on Feb. 18. 

All current Western students are invited to submit up to three works of any size and medium, barring installation pieces. Works of writing (submitted in a way that can be presented visually, such as handwritten) and video submissions will also be considered. Frames are not required for submission, although they may improve student’s chances of selection. Labels must be provided along with the artwork specifying the work’s title, the artist’s name, and the date of completion. Artist statements are not required at the time of submission. 

Submissions will be judged and selected by Ben Cowan, a painter based in New York City who is currently a lecturer in Western’s Museum and Gallery Management master’s program. Cowan was selected for the role by representatives of the Art League. Western’s Art League is an informal grouping of passionate students that also includes faculty advisor Prof. Anders Johnson.

Western’s Art League puts on art-related events and organizes convocations. Cowan’s work, heavily inspired by his artistic residency in the historic arts region of Umbria, Italy, can be found in both national magazines and in numerous galleries. In addition to his painting, Cowan also works with Netflix as a background designer. 

The Art Department will be hosting a hybrid (in-person and on Zoom) convocation featuring an introductory talk from Cowan at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17 in the Quigley Ceramics Room. Cowan will fly in to attend the event in person on Feb. 16 and will then select the pieces to be featured over the following weekend. Artists whose pieces are selected will then be required to frame their works (if applicable, and if they have not done so already), price their work, and draft an official artist statement explaining the purpose and methods behind their work for the showing. 

The Western Arts Showcase will open on April 8, with an official time to be announced. Proof of vaccination will be required to enter the Center for the Arts, and one free drink will be provided for the show. Admission to the event is free, and students will be encouraged to utilize the free Gunnison Valley RTA bus, which will be running up to Crested Butte throughout the evening. 

Additionally, Western’s Music Department will be performing music throughout the evening, and other Council for Creative Expression (CCE) student groups will be hosting related events. 

With any questions about submissions or the showcase, please email or