Open to students across all majors at the University, the Juried Student Exhibition fosters student preparation for professional art settings and processes, provides feedback from art professionals in the community, and exposes student artwork to a wide range of viewers.

For the first time, the Juried Student Exhibition will be themed. 2024’s theme is holding space. Holding space can look like thinking of a loved one, thinking of community, or holding space for one’s own experiences. A loose interpretation of the theme for artworks submitted is encouraged as each artist sees fit. The theme is a loose one; submitted work need not adhere. Rather, it is meant to spur your creativity.

We award cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place Best in Show. Judges are selected for their diversity of backgrounds and expertise in a variety of media. New for 2024, we will also offer a Palette of Identity Award, sponsored by the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Impact. Artists interested in that award will find more information below.

The Gallery would like to give a special thank you to this year’s sponsors, University Credit Union, Artist & Craftsman Supply, Portland, Casco Bay Frames & Gallery, and Hunt’s Photo & Video.

This Year’s Award Winners:

All Featured Student Work:

Join us in thanking this year’s Jurors:

Veronica Perez

Veronica Perez is an artist who works alongside the community to speak about erasure, identity, and interdependency.

As a visual artist, social justice, and cultural worker, Perez uses these frames of reference to situate their work deep within intimate stories and experiences – and share them with a broader audience through sculpture and account. The sculptures present themselves through hair and textiles, materials that elicit futures, pasts, and many stories braided together. She achieves this through her workshops called braiding circles which are intimate community gatherings focused on braiding a three-strand braid and discussing identity through the lens of belonging, acceptance, and power through a BIPOC lens. 

In 2020, they were awarded the Ellis-Beaureguard Visual Arts Fellowship. In 2021 they were the inaugural fellow at the David C. Driskell Black Seed Studio. In 2022, they were a fellow at the Lunder Institute at Colby College. Perez also subsequently had their first solo exhibition titled voices, whispering at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. In summer 2023, a show at the University of Southern Maine titled shadow / echo / memory was the culmination of their residency at the University of Southern Maine. 

Perez is the Administrative Assistant at Indigo Arts Alliance, a Black-led arts and residency organization in Portland, Maine. They are also a co-organizer in Tender Table, an organization focused on uplifting Maine’s Black and Brown community through storytelling and food. Presently, Perez lives with her child and partner in Westbrook, Maine.

Amy Rahn

Amy Rahn is an Assistant Professor of Art History and the Charles Danforth Gallery Director at the University of Maine at Augusta. Her research centers Postwar and Contemporary women painters, friendship among artists, and the painter Joan Mitchell. Rahn contributed essays for Joan Mitchell (Yale University Press), the catalog for the artist’s major retrospective exhibition, and Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection (University of Washington Press) at the Seattle Art Museum. She has published numerous gallery catalog essays, most recently on the artists Howardena Pindell, Richard Van Buren, Al Loving, and Alan Shields for Garth Greenan Gallery in New York, and on the poet/painter Elise Archer for Eric Firestone Gallery, New York.

Important dates for artists:

February 26Notification of if your work is included in the exhibition
February 27 – 28Pickup artwork not included in the show, Art Gallery 11 am – 4:30 pm
March 7Exhibition opening reception and award ceremony 6 – 8 pm
March 30 Exhibition Closes
April 2Artwork Pickup, 11 am – 4:30 pm

Frequently asked questions:

  • What if my work doesn’t adhere to the theme?
    The theme is a very loose one, and submitted work need not adhere to it. It is meant to spur your creativity if you are stuck, but it is not a strict guideline. Always err on the side of submitting rather than not!
  • What are the prize amounts?
    • $125 for 1st Place and a $75 gift card to Artist & Craftsman Supply Portland
    • $125 for Palette of Identity Prize winner — more information below
    • $100 for 2nd Place and a $50 gift card to Artist & Craftsman Supply Portland
    • $100 for 3rd Place and a $25 gift card to Artist & Craftsman Supply Portland
    • Honorable mention will be awarded a $100 Gift Card from Casco Bay Frames & Gallery
    • Honorable mention will be awarded a $50 Gift Card from Hunt’s Photo & Video
  • What is the new Palette of Identity prize?
    The Office of Equity, Inclusion, & Community Impact (EICI) is delighted to present the inaugural EICI Award for the 2024 exhibition. The Palette of Identity Award will be given to a student artist exploring the intersection of identity and belonging through their submitted artwork. 

    We encourage submissions by students from historically underrepresented and marginalized identities, showcasing the tapestry of your lived experience through the visual medium of your choice. Your voice matters, and your art can spark a conversation about our shared narratives. 

    The student given this award will receive a Certificate of Recognition from the EICI Office and a cash prize of $125.

    In order to be eligible for consideration for the prize, artwork must adhere to the guidelines for submission laid out by the Art Gallery. Consideration for this prize is separate from best-in-show awards, and will not affect a submission’s eligibility to potentially receive both prizes.

    To register for consideration for the EICI Palette of Identity Prize, select the “Palette of Identity Award” option when filling out the submission form for Holding Space: The 2024 Student Juried Exhibition
  • How will the jurors judge my work?
    Jurors bring their individual expertise to judge artwork based on three criteria:
    • Presentation
    • Concept
    • Technical execution

      These criteria are not weighted and are subject to jurors’ discretion regarding each individual artwork.

      Jurors judge the work in-person at the Gallery.

Join us in thanking this year’s sponsors:

The logo for Artist & Craftsman Supply, an employee owned company