Young Artist

Leila Farhat is one of the artists from Daytona State College for the “Emerging Exhibit” at The Hub on Canal in New Smyrna Beach.

Having your work displayed in a gallery is a milestone for any artist.

It is rarely achieved early in one’s career, but a group of talented art students from Daytona State College are getting that experience as they prepare to launch into the art world. And they couldn’t be more encouraged.

The show, “Emerging: A Mix of Local & Promising Talent,” opened June 5 in the Founders’ Gallery at The Hub on Canal in New Smyrna Beach. It features 35 pieces of art, including two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. The 15 students represented were chosen from more than 150 students involved in art classes at DSC.

"To be chosen and featured in this show is a huge deal for me,” said Leila Farhat, the president of DSC’s Studio Rats Art Club and one of the students featured in the exhibition. “If my teacher thought that I am talented enough to display my art for the world to see, it validates me and the belief that I am able to make it into the art industry.”

The Hub on Canal is a unique gallery that allows the public to not only experience the work of more than 60 local artists, but also to connect with artists as they work in onsite studios. The Hub also offers workshops and classes that are open to the public. Its mission is to create community by fostering art, education and a broad range of creative opportunities.

The idea for the exhibit was brought to The Hub by Stacey Reynolds, associate professor of studio arts at DSC.

Ms. Reynolds said the artists represented in the exhibit include a diverse group of students, some of whom are in DSC’s art program and some who are taking art classes as electives while pursuing other majors. The common theme among the artists, she said, is “engagement, passion, and motivation” in their study of art.

“These students have drive and passion that is beyond anything I ever had when I was that age. I think they’re going to do amazing things,” Ms. Reynolds said. “These students motivate me as an artist.”

In addition to having their work in the exhibit, the students were included in the process of preparing the exhibit proposal submitted to The Hub. Ms. Reynolds was pleased to have her students experience the business side of the art world, noting it showed them “the importance of the professional aspect of sending in a proper proposal.”

Richard England, president of The Hub's board of directors, was pleased to be able to bring shows like “Emerging” to the gallery. “We’re here to connect the community with the arts and finding a way to encourage young artists is clearly part of what our mission works out to be.”

Mr. England also was impressed by the quality of work the students brought to the show. “It’s fabulous stuff,” he said.

The pieces included in the show cover a range of genres, from historical parody pieces, which take a pop art approach, to a well-known historical work, to traditional still life studies. They also include a wide range of media, from pen and marker to pastels to pottery. Some of the works are personal, including a few that express feelings about life during the Covid-19 pandemic, while others showcase art technique in a more academic way.

Leila Farhat’s pieces include a self-portrait that uses mixed media to portray a realistic Leila paired with a “comic book” Leila. “Ever since I was a child, I loved making comics,” Ms. Farhat said. “As my skills grow with every class I take, I often find myself looking back at my roots, what I once was, and what led me to be where I am today. That is what inspired me to make this self-portrait.”

DSC, which has six campuses in Volusia and Flagler counties, offers an associate of arts degree in art that is designed for the student who plans to transfer to a university as a junior to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in art. Information on degrees and courses can be found at daytonastate.edu.

The Hub on Canal is at 132 Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach. “Emerging” will be displayed during June. Admission is free. Some of the works in the show can be purchased through The Hub.

In August, The Hub will host an exhibit showcasing the work of promising art students from a variety of Volusia County high schools.

For more information, visit thehuboncanal.org.

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