"A 21 Century Conversation," a screenprint by Leah Schaffer

Peach Belt Conference championship features regional art exhibition

Athletic prowess wasn’t the only thing on display during the men’s and women’s Peach Belt Conference (PBC) basketball championship in March.

Every year the PBC championship features a regional art exhibit with work from students that attend many of the schools in the conference.

The idea for the exhibition originated at Augusta University and was the brain child of Dr. Fred Barnabei, former vice president for business and student affairs.

“He was a sports fan and appreciated the arts and wanted to bring the two together,” explains Jennifer Onofrio, professor and former PBC art show advisor. “He thought this was an opportunity to expose art to a group of people that might not seek out an art show. It was a way to link the Georgia system campuses through arts and through sports.”

Originally, the university that hosted the championship would also host the art show. Most recently, Augusta hosted in spring 2006 and spring 2005.

“It was a lot of work to pull off the show,” Onofrio remembers. “You had to get the work to the venue, which for some involved shipping. The show had to be set up and watched over the weekend. It was a lot of work for a three day show.”

In 2015, the show was converted to a digital format and shown on a slideshow at the tournament. The exhibit can also be viewed online.

Baillie Conway, senior art major and student assistant for the Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art on the Summerville campus, was tasked with finding students to submit work for the 2016 PBC exhibit.

He decided to open submissions to juniors and seniors in order to give soon-to-be graduates something to add to their resumes.  Six Augusta students submitted applications to the PBC and all six were accepted into the show.

Conway also submitted an aluminum sculpture titled, Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd. It’s an abstract piece that explores the reflective quality of the material.

He enjoyed organizing the show and though it was a unique concept.

“It’s a great idea,” Conway said. “People show up to watch sports, but they get to see art. It’s a really cool combination. It’s also nice to see work from student’s around the area.”

Brian Rust, art professor and assistant chair of the art department, echoes Conway’s sentiments.

“Having our students see their artwork along with that of their peers from regional schools is a good learning experience,” he said.

Onofrio is excited about the show moving online and the opportunities it gives art students.

“I think more and more, in this time, the showing of work is happening online and there are different venues for getting your work out there,” she said. “It’s sort of a natural progression, and I think students are starting to see the value of documenting their work and documenting their work well so that they can promote themselves. I think they see opportunities like the PBC exhibition as a way to get their work in front of people.”

The Peach Belt Conference championships were held March 5-6, 2016 at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. The exhibit is still viewable online. Click here to view the art exhibition.

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Brennan Meagher
Written by
Brennan Meagher

Brennan Meagher is a communications coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her at 706-446-4806 or bmeagher@augusta.edu.

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Brennan Meagher Written by Brennan Meagher

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