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Skidmore College

Senior Thesis Exhibition Overview

The Senior Thesis Exhibition is the culminating experience of the studio art major. The exhibition is a group exhibition required of all senior majors and takes place in the Tang Museum. The purpose of the exhibition is to assess and celebrate the accomplishments of art majors in studio practice. Although the exhibition is not credit bearing, a passing grade (S/U) is required to graduate.


Your exhibition should demonstrate maturity in thought, execution, and presentation.  Plan to exhibit a select group of art works that represent the highest level of quality, depth of inquiry, and best critical judgment that you have achieved during the last year of work in your advanced courses at Skidmore.


Preparation: Work in the studio with full energy, sense of purpose, and commitment.  Actively make work, building on your best ideas. Bring pieces to full resolution. When you have strong pieces of work, begin making selections for the exhibition. The final decisions of selection and presentation are your own but you will also consult with individual faculty members for advice. Weigh the guidance you receive and make your own final decisions.  

Presentation: The presentation of your work for the Senior Thesis Exhibition is a major element in the way it is evaluated. High quality presentation is essential. Work that is framed, hung, cased or placed well will show the work to its best advantage.

Timing: As you make the work, develop your total conception for the piece, which will include its presentation. Plan ahead to consider your needs and prepare for unexpected situations by working in advance of your deadlines. Don’t delay important preparation until the week before your installation date! 

Do your homework: Talk to your faculty members about options for the presentation of specific work in different disciplines. Explore local resources and internet sites to find the best presentation materials at the most economical price. 

A note about framers: Framers will do as little or as much of the work of framing the pieces as you request. They can take the pieces and totally prepare them for hanging or they could prepare parts for you to assemble yourself. Most frame shops require two to three weeks to complete a job. Rush jobs may be granted at additional cost. A framing demonstration will take place early in the spring semester. 

A note about ordering: If you plan to order from a catalogue or on line, please allow adequate time for back orders and shipping. Make sure your order is complete and accurate. 

Allotment of Space: The Senior Thesis Exhibition spaces in the Tang are organized within a range of 8 to 12 feet. Wall partitions in the Payne Room are 8-foot-high and 4-foot-wide. The exhibition committee assigns space within an eight to twelve-foot range, based on need and availability.

  • Once the floor plan has been established, positively no space changes may be made without first consulting with Sarah Sweeney, Chair of the Department of Art.

Installation: Two-dimensional work should be properly framed, matted, or mounted. Most three-dimensional work should be mounted on bases or presented in cases.  Large sculptures or installation pieces should be presented to their best advantage. Digital work should be presented in a way that is easily accessible. Each senior is responsible for installing his/her own exhibition. Sarah Sweeney and Cynthia Zellner, Senior Preparator of the Tang Museum, are available to discuss installation requirements and answer your questions. Cynthia has put together a series of videos to help you in your installation plans. Please make an appointment with Cynthia or Sarah if you think your installation needs are particularly challenging.

  • Consider the entire exhibition space – your work and the area, including the spacing, grouping, and height of the works.  Your presentation should ensure that individual works may be seen clearly and effectively while remaining part of a cohesive whole.  
  • Respect the exhibition area of the students adjoining your space.  Be sensitive to their needs.  Leave space between your work and the exhibition space of students in your area.  You may not infringe upon another student’s space under any circumstances!

Bases and equipment:

  • For students showing ceramics, small sculpture, or digital work, bases may be provided by the Tang if available.  Bases and enclosed cases will be assigned according to the size and number of your exhibited works. The Tang has an inventory of bases and every effort will be made to find you a base close to the size you request. 
  • Students requiring a computer and monitor, or any media equipment should find a source for that equipment. The Department of Art has limited equipment for loan. Media Services is also a good source for equipment. Plan ahead to effectively coordinate your presentations.
  • You may not alter your space, (walls, floor, ceiling, etc.) without prior approval from Cynthia Zellner. Make an appointment early with Cynthia if your plans include approved consideration. 

Lighting: Museum personnel will set all lighting in the gallery spaces.

Please note: Museum personnel may need to rearrange sculpture bases to ensure better security and traffic flow during the busy opening reception. (400 – 500 people attend)

Insurance: Skidmore College does not insure works in the Senior Thesis Exhibition.  Consider securing your work, especially if it is small and portable.  Self-insurance is another option.

De-installing the exhibition: You are responsible for removing your work, cleaning and returning installation tools and materials, and leaving your exhibition area clean and in good order.  Work remaining beyond the deadline for removal will be disposed of.

Contact List

Name Phone Email
Sarah Sweeney x 5042
Jill Jones  x 5030
Cynthia Zellner
x 5536