Wood Exhibition Spotlights New Paltz Talent

On Friday, March 4, the Fine Arts Building Rotunda was transformed into an art gallery, as students and parents gazed upon the aesthetic creations made by SUNY New Paltz’s wood design students.

The 8th SUNY New Paltz Wood Design Exhibition is an event that serves as a showcase for the final projects completed by all wood design students from the past year.

The two wood design classes are taught by professors Jeff Johnson and Ed Felton, members of the Hudson Valley Furniture Association.

“It’s always a good, exciting show that’s well attended,” said Johnson, “but the real story here is that the majority of these pieces were done by students who just began working.”

Although there are veteran wood design students who have been practicing wood design for a few years, the students who began last semester have only been practicing their skill for the past two and a half months.

“A lot of these kids start off knowing nothing at all,” said Zach Lombardi, a fourth year art education major, “but quickly learn carving, designing, and milling.”

The exhibition showcased six different assignments, such as a cabinet project, a stand alone piece project, and a clock making project.

Many of the wood design students approached their work differently, and spoke about the purpose of their work. Elizabeth Conway, a fourth-year art education major, has a dance background that tends to make her pieces more theatric.

“I was always interested in people touching art, rather than viewing it,” Conway said.

Conway created some of the room’s biggest pieces, including a swing tied up to the second floor of the Fine Arts Building, and a cage which dropped down from the ceiling containing an interpretive dancer.

Lombardi, who is in the same tier as Conway in terms of the wood design courses, had a different outlook than abstract, fine art.

“If I’m working on something for a month and a half, I want to be able to use it,” said Lombardi.

Lombardi’s practical approach to wood design is geared more towards making money and building usable furniture with artistic qualities. One of his pieces was a winding bookshelf that could be pictured in a swank, New York City apartment.

Whether you are a veteran or beginner wood-design student, or a person interested in seeing what the classes were making, the whole event was full of homey and inspiring pieces.

For those who may have missed Friday night’s opening, the exhibition will remain on display from March 3rd to the 10th. All the projects completed throughout the spring semester will be part of next year’s annual exhibition.


The 8th Annual Wood Design Exhibition was held in the Fine Arts Building on March 4. Wood design students displayed their final projects from the previous year at the event. Video by Peter Spengeman.

8th Annual Wood Design Exhibition from The Little Rebellion on Vimeo.

Peter Spengeman

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