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July 17, 2009

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler Art Students Leaving Legacy Behind in New Facility

Conway and Selah work on one set of gates for the new fine art complex

A streak of bright lights flashes across a workroom filled will burning metal smells. This is not another science lab experiment at The University of Texas at Tyler. But with fabricated metal, hard work and dedication, two art students leave their legacy behind in the university’s future.

With the assistance of UT Tyler professor of art Dewane Hughes, Alicia Conway of Longview and Simon Saleh of Tyler are currently working on three, 5-by-7 entrance gates for the Department of Art and Art History’s new fine arts complex, which is slated to open fall 2010.

The trio began work in June. Hughes handles two sets of gates, while the student-pair – both junior art majors – construct the third.

“I was asked by art department chair Gary Hatcher and Dr. Alisa White (UT Tyler College of Arts and Sciences dean) to create the gate entrances to the new art complex. I asked a couple of my students to assist me with the project. They are doing quite well,” said Hughes.

Saleh calls it an “honor” to be selected for the project, which will be completed in about two weeks.

Saleh fabricating metal on one of the gate doors

“In a way it is sort of like commissioned work – doing something for a specific purpose – but we are free to make them look how we want. It’s cool to leave something like that behind. It’s also great for us that we have so much ‘two-on-one’ time with our professor,” Saleh said. 

“It’s pretty exciting to be a part of this,” Conway added. “There is an added pressure because everyone will see how they turn out, and our names are going to be on (the gates), but it’s still exciting. This is also a great opportunity to further improve my technical skills.”

Conway will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts in May 2011 and plans to attend graduate school to obtain a master of fine arts with an emphasis in sculpture. A member of the UT Tyler Art Club, she currently serves as its president and has been named to the university’s President’s List.

Saleh will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts in December 2010. In May, he was nominated for the International Sculpture Center’s Student Achievement Award, which annually recognizes collegiate art students from around the world. His hobbies include relaxing at Lake Tyler and playing drums.

The university began construction on the $7 million complex in September 2008. It allots an additional 29,000 square-footage surrounding the existing art studio on the main campus. The facility also will feature a 100-seat lecture hall, studio work spaces and department offices.

Programs offered within the department include bachelor and master’s degrees as well as an art minor, which may satisfy bachelor degree requirements in other fields.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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