Decennalia: 10 Years of Myers in Venice

An art exhibition showcases the work of the Myers School of Art’s students who studied abroad

by Jillian Holness


Max Markwald: september, 2018, Oil on Panel

The Emily Davis Gallery is presenting Decennalia: 10 years of Myers in Venice from Oct. 18 through Nov. 21 to celebrate the Myers School of Art’s students who have traveled abroad to Venice, Italy for the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s most important arts festivals.

The Venice Biennale was founded in 1895 and organizes exhibitions and research in the arts, architecture, cinema, dance, music and theatre. In 2017, artists from 86 countries attended the festival — including students from Akron.

Decennalia showcases the artistic journeys of the students that traveled abroad to Venice over the past 10 years. The curated exhibition showcases current works of different disciplines, including painting, sculpture and photography, by these artists.

MORE ART: Meet Myers School of Art graduate Nathan Prebonick

Over the past decade, 50 students have traveled to Venice. Works by about half of them are on display in the Decennalia exhibitions.

Erica Hoosic, a 2011 alumni and former metalsmithing student, says the city of Venice feels like it was built to let your mind and feet wander.

“The city of Venice is the perfect setting for what is arguably the most important art exhibition in the world,” Erica says. “Wandering around the city prepares your mind to discover the Biennale, to truly experience and think about the art that you discover.”

Maggie Duff: Old Fruit, 2016, Ceramic, enamel, spray paint, oil paint

MORE ART: Meet Myers School of Art graduate Rhea Butcher

Erica says attending the Venice Biennale has encouraged her to dig deeper into her own interests.

Her pieces in the exhibition are called “Tidal Waste Garden” and “Soiling Seed Burst.”

“The work I make now, I strive for whomever views it (or) wears it to have an immersive experience in the world I am trying to create,” Erica says.

Professor Laura Vinneage has chaperoned the trip four times and notes the transformative effect it has not only on students who attend, but on all of her students. “I noticed an increase in work ethic, volunteerism and community building, quality of studio research and especially the desire to learn more about international artists,” she says.

MORE ART: Meet Myers School of Art graduate Jaclyn Hale

Erica Hoosic: Tidal Waste Garden, 2018, Plastic bags, rubber tubing, fruit bag netting, copper, plastic pearls

Professor Robert Huff has also accompanied the trip. He shares a similar observation in regards to the impact the travel experience has had on students. “The impact for students is a combination of the first time out of the country, in Europe, in a medieval city, to see a major international art exhibition. As far as art education was concerned, it added a huge addition to the breadth of their experience, intellectually because they were being challenged in so many ways and the cultural change.”

The exhibition’s name, Decennalia, references ancient Roman festivals that occur every 10 years under the Roman emperors. The word is Latin and is significant to Italian culture and historic origin.

The George and Karen Daverio Scholarship Foundation helps fund students’ trips. In 2007, the Daverios were interested in creating an opportunity for students to study art abroad. After speaking with staff and faculty members of the Myers School of Art, they selected the Venice Biennale as the destination.

The Daverio Biennale Travel Experience scholarship requires students to prepare research before their trip, lead daily experiences and prepare a follow up presentation upon their return.


FEATURED PHOTO: Daniel Hermann: The Butcher, 2017, Archival Pigment Print


Jillian Holness is a recent graduate of Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.