campus news

Art in the Open shines light on UB’s bustling arts community


Published November 3, 2022

“We open our doors, studios, labs, theaters and art-making spaces once a year to showcase all of the creative work that is being made at UB by our students and faculty. ”
Jamie Enser, executive director
Center for the Arts


The Center for the Arts was teeming with patrons experiencing energetic live performances, personalized studio tours, choreographed dance rehearsals, new multimedia film screenings, and a vibrant and welcoming ambiance during the annual Art in the Open event Oct. 27.

“It was an outstanding evening showcasing UB’s talented student, faculty and staff artists across the arts. The synergy, creativity and collaboration throughout the event was incredible and could be felt by those who attended,” said Jamie M. Enser, executive director of the Center for the Arts.

Now in its third year, the event this year has been the largest to date, Enser said.

“Our attendance tripled this year, and we had more community members and prospective students attending than ever before,” she said. “We also saw an increase in artist participation among the art departments.”

Joey Goergen is a first-year MFA candidate who recently moved back to the area after living and working in Cleveland for the past seven years. Goergen spoke with people curious about him and his art, explaining that the MFA program brought him back to his hometown.   

“I worked as a designer and illustrator for the last three years, but I really wanted to do something new, and this program has given me that opportunity,” he said. “I came here for a change, and now I’m making sculptures and breaking off the page, which has been a good challenge.”

In his studio, Goergen had sketches, prints and lawn sculptures for people to browse. When asked about his very first Art in the Open, Goergen said he loves meeting new people and talking about art.

“I go to as many openings as possible because I love to talk to people and network, and having this event is another good way to connect and meet even more people,” he said.

At the other end of the hallway, Soda, an MFA student in their final year who goes by one name, had filled their studio with canvasses of vibrant colors and sketches of women’s bodies in various forms and sizes. Soda spoke to visitors about self-love, body positivity and acceptance, and described their work as an amalgamation of a Fauvist color pallet with thick impressionist brushstrokes and expressionist figures that create a unique viewing experience.

“Hosting Art in the Open is a good way to showcase the currents MFA students in a way that’s a little more intimate and give visitors the chance to talk about how art is created behind closed doors,” Soda said.

Giving the public a glimpse into the UB arts community is exactly what Enser had in mind with the event.

“We open our doors, studios, labs, theaters and art-making spaces once a year to showcase all of the creative work that is being made at UB by our students and faculty,” Enser said.

Patrons of the event filtered through the atrium to listen to live music, enjoy complimentary refreshments and delight in a performance by the UB Chorus, directed by Claudia Brown, clinical assistant professor of music.

“We look forward to participating in Art in the Open each year,” Brown said. “The music department brings a wide array of performers to provide a variety of music and it’s exciting to have live music juxtaposed with the open art galleries.

“We get to be a part of sharing our artistic process, as well as perform pieces that we’re currently working on and exploring with our students.”

Williamsville resident Lisa Johnson brought her two artistically inclined daughters to the event and said she enjoyed talking with the various artists and seeing how their work is made.

“There was so much to see and I’m really glad we attended this year’s event,” Johnson said. “It was a great way to experience all the amazing artists, musicians, singers, dancers, actors and producers of new media, and to witness all the different ways they express their creativity.

“As a parent to teens, I especially liked Soda’s messages of body acceptance and positivity,” she said, adding that she and her daughters plan to attend again next year.

Enser is busy preparing for next year’s Art in the Open, to be held Oct. 26, 2023.

“The CFA is a hub of bustling artistic activity, and we are already looking forward to showcasing our talented faculty, students and staff again next year,” she said.