Students take art to heart in new exhibit

Sophomore Zoe Chen explores the Art+Design Student Show in Gallery 360. Photo by Dominick Reuter.

When senior Dexter Ferguson looks at the empty lot in Boston’s Downtown Crossing district where the iconic Filenes building once stood, he sees a gigantic hole in the heart of the city. This reaction inspired the graphic-design major to create a series of blue posters that each highlight a different example of what the city means to its residents, using words like “home,” transportation” and “education.” But each poster features a hole in the center.

Last semester, Ferguson and his fellow classmates in an environmental-design course created their own projects to bring attention to the site and create a dialogue about it. When the class visited Downtown Crossing in November, Ferguson displayed his posters on a nearby vacant storefront’s windows.

“I was just trying to say what Boston means to everyone here — our home, our heart, our transportation. The holes represent a simple message to drive the point home,” Ferguson said.

The poster series is currently on display at Northeastern’s Gallery 360 as part of the Art+Design Student Show, an annual showcase of students’ work from the past academic year in the numerous fields, including  graphic and web-based design, sculptures, paintings, computer animation, videography and photography. Organizers say the show exemplifies how the Northeastern students engage with their future professions and the world at large.

The show runs through April 15. The 86 pieces on display include a digital print called “Find Your Perfect Cheese” that presents information in a clever chart form using topics such as region, texture and taste; a white violin made with Bristol board; and a visually stunning series of images that show bottles crashing to the ground.

Senior John Daigneault was among the students displaying new typefaces they created in class. A computer in the gallery allows visitors to test out Daigneault’s typeface, which he says is a slab serif that has a modern feel and thinner characters with more open space between them. He hopes to soon offer the typeface online for free downloading.

“That’s really an expanding industry in web design right now,” said Daigneault, who also created the Art+Design Student Show’s poster, featuring an iPhone displaying the dates of the show as well as the opening reception last Thursday.

Graphic-design lecturer John Kane said the work highlights Northeastern students’ commitment to the discipline and professions in the arts.

“These students are remarkably talented, and what makes this show unique is that these students are so connected to the real world,” Kane said. “Their work is about both their personal and professional lives.”

Gallery 360, open year-round, displays collections and unique works by Northeastern students, faculty and staff, as well as noted artists from around the globe.