The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


Student Art Showcase Celebrates Creativity and Legacy at Stan State


Busy attendance at the Student-Centered Art Showcase. Photo by Mark Coggins.

The Student Center at CSU Stanislaus hosted an art showcase on Thursday, May 4th, featuring the works of talented students from various majors and backgrounds.

The event was open to the public in the SC Valley Multiuse Conference Room and attracted many visitors who enjoyed light refreshments and admired the diverse and expressive artworks. The pieces ranged from paintings and sculptures to digital media and photography. 

The art showcase was part of a competition organized by the Student Center, where students could submit their original pieces for a chance to have them displayed permanently at the Student Center facilities.

The Student Center purchased the winning submissions, making them accessible for permanent viewing, while the remaining submissions were also exhibited at the showcase and available for sale.

Some of the participants and SC event organizers talked about their inspiration, process, and experience of being part of this event.

SC Organizers

One of the organizers of the event was Mariana Jimenez, the Vice Chair of the SC Board of Directors. In an interview with The Signal, Jimenez reported the competition received about 120 submissions, which were then evaluated by a panel of judges. She said that she was impressed by the quality and variety of the submissions, which ranged from paintings and drawings to sculptures and digital media.

“There were so many submissions that were amazing, well all of them were amazing. There’s a lot of students that have really good artistic ability, so the decision making process was a really difficult one for us,” she said.

The showcase was the culmination of a long-awaited project that started before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mariah Burciaga, the University Student Center Board Chair. She explained that the original plan was to have a similar event earlier, but it was postponed due to health and safety restrictions.

“So finally this year we have talked about this concept and bringing it back. And we’re finally, fortunate to be able to put on this event,” she said.

Burciaga said that the facilities committee voted on the pieces based on different concepts and how they fit in the Student Center. She said that they wanted to showcase student art as a way of leaving a legacy on campus and making the Student Center more lively and colorful. 

“We really like to have outreach for our students, and I believe our first step was reconnecting with our alumni and bringing them back to the Student Center. It was amazing to see our ASI/SC alumni return and reflect on the bricks and the legacy they left on our campus. Now, it’s equally important to involve our current students and encourage them to leave their own mark while they’re here,” she explained.

Earlier this year, The Signal reported on the second launch of the Alumni Brick Opportunity of mention.

Artists’ Perspectives

One of the artists whose work caught the eyes of many attendees is Celina Bridges, a sociology major with a minor in gerontology. She submitted a winning stunning portrait titled “Yo Soy el Sal”, depicting of a woman of color painted with vibrant colors and symbolic accessories.

Celina was once an Art major at Modesto Junior College, where she learned about painting from her instructor Chelsea Gilmore. She was inspired by Kehinde Wiley, a famous artist known for his portraits of African Americans in historical settings. Celina said she wanted to express her own deconstruction and decolonization through her artwork, and to show her personality and life experiences. 

“One of my instructors, Chelsea Gilmore, she always told me, ‘Just keep submitting it at things you never know.’ So I submitted it, because I thought, you know, this thing’s just going to keep collecting dust in my house.” Bridges stated.

Bridges said she was surprised and happy when she found out that her painting was selected as a winner for the showcase and purchased by the Student Center. She said she thinks the competition is a great opportunity for students to express themselves and showcase their talents.

“I think it’s really cool to empower artists. I mean, it brought out my inner artist and I hope it did the same for a few of the students’ art. It fills me with inspiration and passion, encouraging me to continue making and creating beyond our coursework,” Bridges said.

Another artist featured in the showcase is Steve Peralta (Senior, Criminal Justice and Psychology). He submitted a painting titled “Amor Fati”, which means “the love of one’s fate” in Latin. It depicts a sunset over a landscape, but with a much deeper meaning behind it. Steve provided insight in what inspired him to create this piece.

“The endings are just as important as the beginnings. As I’m graduating, I’m preparing for the big ending of a chapter in my life. And I’m trying to express something that I can’t really put into words, but something that I feel when I look at a sunset.”

Steve also shared how he painted this piece in March, when he first heard about the competition, and how he finished most of it in two days, driven by an explosion of inspiration.

Peralta also said he thinks participating in events like this is beneficial for his future career, as it helps him develop skills such as communication, project management, and creativity.

“Finishing out a project, which is really different and also being able to communicate how you feel… that’s all translatable to all sorts of careers. I think doing something like this is very important.”

Peralta also praised the Student Center for providing a welcoming space for artists to showcase their work and express themselves without fear.

“I think this work gives you the opportunity to showcase something you’ve created in a welcoming space. That is, I think, crucially important to a strong student body, a strong pride on the campus. Having these artists be able to express what they feel without fear, it’s definitely crucial to the environment that we’re in.”

Steve is not alone in his artistic journey. Many other students have also participated in this showcase, which provides them with an opportunity to show their work in a welcoming space, and to develop their skills and confidence as artists.

The Art Department at Stan, which is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, supports students with a diverse range of art-making processes taught by talented faculty of practicing artists and scholars.

Looking Ahead

The Student Centered Art Showcase is just one initiative that the Student Center has taken to engage with students and alumni and to enhance their experience on campus. Jimenez said that these recent initiatives strive to highlight those who contributed to the campus.
“Our goal is really to try to engage students on campus and build more communities within our students and just get them into the student center and see what we have to offer and different ways to engage with others and build relationships and meet new people and see all the opportunities we have to offer,” she said.

The art showcase was a great way to celebrate the artistic talents and achievements of Stan Warriors. The Art Showcase Competition is more than just a contest. It is an opportunity for students to express themselves, share their stories, and connect with others through art. 

For more information about the Student Center or other events at Stan State, visit or

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Student Art Showcase Celebrates Creativity and Legacy at Stan State