Students, faculty and community members flooded into the Jacob Spori Art Gallery after hearing a speech from Rich Briggs.
Brush Fire: Retrospective Exhibit showcases the artwork of Briggs and Sally Ellis, an adjunct art professor. Some pieces were made in 1999, just two years after they started teaching at BYU-I.The exhibit showcases Briggs’ pottery and Ellis’ watercolor paintings.
Students, both former and current, as well as faculty came to support Briggs and Ellis at the exhibit.
Michael Feik, an adjunct professor, came to support his former professor, Briggs.
“I took his first ceramic class and because of him and how he taught, it pushed me to take the second class and now it’s one of my favorite mediums in art,” Feik said. “I really think that’s all because of him.”
Two things touched him from Briggs speech.
“Something that stuck out to me was his philosophy of working hard and that’s where you find the most success,” Feik said.
Feik also enjoyed hearing Briggs’s concept of the artist creating art for themselves and not because they have to do it for a class.
“We find more success, happiness and joy that way,” Feik said.
Current students also came to the exhibit.
Alleya Wolf, a sophomore studying art education, is taking a second ceramic class from Briggs. Wolf’s goal is to teach art just like Briggs.
“He’s very encouraging to his students,” Wolf said. “I’d like to be able to see someone else take the advice I gave them.”
According to Wolf, Briggs’s favorite part of teaching is watching his students really get it and create something they’re proud of.
Her favorite part of his seminar was the quote from Steven D. Stapler, “The process of making anything is art. The resulting object commemorates the event.”
She loves that quote because she knows creations become sentimental when people put a part of themselves into it.
David Belka works with the art education program on campus and came to support his colleague.
“He is a friend and a colleague and I came to support him and hear what he had to say,” Belka said.. There will be stuff that he does that will be hard to replace,” Belka said. The experiences he’s given to students have been remarkable.
Some of these experiences include building kilns. He’s created three kilns of various sizes with students. The kiln gets hot enough for the ash and heat to create a surface and add texture to the piece.
The most satisfying part of being a teacher for Briggs is watching the students’ progress.
“I’m going to miss the interactions with students the most,” Briggs said. “In a studio situation, there is an energy. I may be the one teaching, but I’m also the one learning.”
The exhibit is located in the Spori Art Gallery. It opened on May 30 and will remain open until July 23.