Centenary art students curate Street Art exhibit at R.W. Norton Art Gallery

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary studio art students Jan Gary and Sophia Romanski, both rising seniors, have curated a special exhibition for Shreveport’s R.W. Norton Art Gallery as part of a professional internship at the museum. Their exhibition, “Writing on the Wall: A Tribute to European Street Art,” opens June 3 and runs through July 24.

“Writing on the Wall” examines the controversial history of street art in 16 different countries, including France, Ukraine, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Italy, and others. For Gary, a graduate of Airline High School in Bossier City, a catalyst for the exhibition was attending the College’s Centenary in Paris program in 2019 and falling in love with the wide array of art available on the city’s streets. She plans to pursue a master of fine arts degree after graduating from Centenary and hopes to work full-time in a museum as a resident artist or curator.

“The styles in the exhibition vary from political statements to basic characters,” explained Gary. “The pieces are from all over Europe and they were chosen based on their execution, message, and/or the history around them. We have a representation of graffiti from not only modern history but some that date back all the way to Pompeii.”

Romanski, a 2019 graduate of Benton High School in Benton, Louisiana, has always loved art and uses it as a means of self-expression. She hopes to translate her lifelong passions into a career in film or video game animation, but the experience of co-curating “Writing on the Wall” has opened up new areas of interest within the art world and exposed her to some of the behind-the-scenes work that happens in museums.

“Our exhibition is part of the Norton's guest curator program. Artists and art enthusiasts in the community can apply to curate an exhibition about anything using public domain images,” said Romanski. “We wanted the show to be very diverse, so we made sure to find as many different types and styles of graffiti as possible to showcase every aspect of this very versatile art form's visual language and culture. Our research process was mainly based on location. After gathering some initial background information on the history of graffiti and how it came to look the way it does today, we began searching for pieces based on country, to include as much of the European continent as possible.”

Gary and Romanski will speak at an opening reception for the exhibition on Friday, June 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public and includes light hors d'oeuvres and complimentary beverages.

More information about the R.W. Norton Art Gallery and the “Writing on the Wall” exhibition is available at rwnaf.org/events.


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