ADA — Art students exhibiting their work in the Forty-Sixth Annual Student Exhibition underway at East Central University will be honored at a reception from 5 -6:30 p.m. April 21 in ECU's art department.

The exhibition will run through April 28 in the University Gallery on the east side of the Education Building. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This year's exhibit is so large it fills two galleries and includes two installation works, said Dr. Brad Jessop, chair of the art department. The show includes ceramics, drawings, digital images, paintings, prints, sculpture and watercolors.

Awards for scholarly achievement will be presented to students who demonstrate exceptional quality. The awards are based upon portfolio performance in the exhibition. An awards reception will be held in the gallery from 4:30-6 p.m. April 26 Winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m.

The awards include the Leon Polk Smith Award, named for Oklahoma's best-known artist who was one of the founders of the American Minimalist movement shortly after World War II. Smith graduated from ECU in the 1930s and studied at Columbia University in New York. The scholarship he endowed is awarded to outstanding artists in each class.

The Gladys Kendall Scholarship was endowed by longtime area resident Gladys Kendall who sought to encourage deserving students in the arts. The Grant Thorp Scholarship was endowed by the family and friends of the former ECU professor, beloved instructor and respected artist to continue the educational tradition of his life.

The Emma Box Scholarship was endowed by the longtime ECU faculty member who was one of the co-founding faculty members and is well known for her formalist collages and expressive figurative works.

Additionally, awards are presented by the art department faculty and the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Ada Artist Association also will recognize a meritorious student.

Historically, student exhibitions have functioned as a way for art departments and schools to assess their performance from year to year. This is an old tradition within the discipline dating back to the days of the academe, Jessop said. Many of the student participants at ECU have become significant artists and art educators making significant artistic contributions in their own right, Jessop said.