The Profound “Passion Project” Exhibition

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Artwork from the "Passion Project" exhibition is displayed at the Student Union Gallery. (Ayten Nihal Cengiz/ Scarlet & Gray Free Press)

The Student Union, a commonplace for students to gather together, features a display that constantly rotates the works of UNLV student artists on the second floor. This gallery allows guests to enjoy creative work and gives the students an opportunity to showcase their skills. 

The art wall currently showcases the “Passion Project” which features mostly photography as well as other mediums. It will be displayed from Feb. 29 until May 15. This project comes straight from the students where they were able to express their feelings and thoughts through photography. Before the display are two pieces of paper which feature the students’ statements about their passions and why, in some cases, they are unable to pursue these passions. Reading the passages before observing the art brings a new meaning to light behind the pictures and connects the audience to the artist.

One piece, captured by student artist James Sims depicted three photos of Native Americans showing their culture and the pride they hold. The photos were completely black and white excluding the center picture where the flags they were holding were colored. This striking detail draws viewers in and allows them to understand the emphasis of the flags.

Melissa Mullenix, a hospitality student, enjoys this stunning detail. She exclaims, “I really like the ‘Native Pride’ pictures because any type of way to show off your culture is amazing.”

“While not all art has a deeper meaning to it, there can still be political or other ideas expressed in art,” continues Mullenix. Important political pieces can inspire other students who believe in the same ideas and allow them to find their voice.

Cultural works can be significant for students to see, especially those who share the same background. Mullenix adds, “I feel like living in the USA, it’s easy to lose your culture into just common trends going around where you live.” For many students, this is a reality, especially when students feel disconnected and have no available resources to relate to their culture.

Having clubs and public works of art is an important way for students to feel connected to their culture as well as the other students at UNLV.

Public displays of art are important for students to see as it gives them an opportunity to feel inspired and feel more connected to their community. Mullenix believes this to be true and says, “I think art is super important to have in public spaces because it’s another way to express your opinion.”

According to the New York Times opinion piece, public art is a communal activity, and its reach can be a powerful tool for neighborhoods and communities. The same can be said for UNLV students as having public displays of art can bring them together.

The “Passion Project” provides a proper display of this connection between students and the art by being placed in a common area where UNLV students, and the public, can come together to enjoy visionary crafts. With profound works of photography art, it can engage other creative students to broaden their imagination.

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