The Free Press, Mankato, MN


August 29, 2013

Gustavus' Byers and Jarvis exhibiting at Arts Center of St. Peter

ST. PETER — The results of an assistant professor of art and a student painter's collaborative efforts are on display at the Arts Center of St. Peter. Their canvases are featured in the current show, "Departures: New Works by Cameron A. Jarvis and Betsy Ruth Byers."

Byers teaches oil and acrylic painting, printmaking and art education at Gustavus Adolphus College, where sophomore Cameron A. Jarvis of Cottage Grove is studying art and music.

A recent recipient of the university's Presidential Faculty-Student Collaboration Grant, Byers used the funds that are distributed by the Kendall Center to spur the artistic endeavor. Presidential grants provide faculty and their students with the opportunity to work on major projects. In the visual arts, the grants allow the faculty to dig into important questions in their fields of study and "support collaborative research between faculty and students."

The process behind their paintings involved the artists getting together twice a week for several months to discuss the theme of “departure” in art. Some days, they got together and visited art galleries. A good portion of the duo's time was spent creating works in their studios.

For the project, Jarvis converted his family’s garage into a studio where he worked throughout the summer.

Byers and Jarvis kept a blog — visit at — where they examined how a project can affect the professional lives of both the teacher and the emerging artist. For Byers, the theme offered both a physical and mental connection. Working with images of natural landscapes and shorelines, she wrote that her work “(departed) from her observations and then (moved) back to them” as she painted.

Jarvis wrote that the summer project expanded his learning experience. He found out how much work it takes to create enough paintings for an exhibition and how long it took to simply prepare. He didn’t anticipate the time involved in promoting an exhibition: designing postcards, assembling addresses and writing a blog.

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