Penn State senior organizes virtual popup art gallery

Sean Yoder
April 28, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The recent business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic haven’t stopped a Penn State student artist from helping her peers show their work remotely after galleries closed across the United States.

Sarah Jameson, like all graduating seniors, is spending her final days of college away from campus, but she hasn’t been idle. The Hampton, Pennsylvania, native has been working to build POPUP Galleries, a venture that will help facilitate popup art galleries by connecting artists and venues then helping to coordinate site work, pricing, setup and teardown and insurance. Now Jameson has created a virtual format to help fellow emerging artists gain exposure and sell their art.

Entrepreneurs are known for their ability to pivot, and the spring of 2020 has been the ultimate season for it. Jameson, who is pursuing a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) in painting with a minor in arts entrepreneurship through the Intercollege Entrepreneurship and Innovation Minor (ENTI), first began developing the idea of POPUP Galleries in the fall — long before mentions of the novel coronavirus.

“As a drawing and painting BFA, I saw some flaws in the traditional method of selling and marketing art,” Jameson said. “So I came up with the venture to help provide other emerging artists with opportunities to sell art, gain exposure and learn from experience.”

When stay-at-home orders were enacted, Jameson knew there would be many artists with canceled shows. She first put the call out to her fellow drawing and painting students and arranged for their work to be featured on a special page on the POPUP Galleries website.

Sarah Jameson posing in front of painting

Sarah Jameson is a senior pursuing a bachelor of fine arts.

IMAGE: Provided

“The response has been very positive from my classmates, as everyone is excited for a new opportunity to show their work,” Jameson said.

Tom Rosenow and Emi Driscoll have been the first to be featured, and Jameson said any student is welcome to participate.

Driscoll, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, is also a graduating senior, pursuing a BFA in sculpture and — like her friend Jameson — a minor in arts entrepreneurship.

Driscoll said she is currently working to build her brand and professional portfolio, and is positioning herself to take on commissions and sell her past work. With two shows this semester canceled because of COVID-19, she elected to participate in the virtual popup gallery and was the featured artist from April 20-25. She submitted a 5-inch by 3 1/2-inch handmade book of pen and ink drawings, monoprints and collage called “Acute Apparitions.”

Emi Driscoll and painting

Emi Driscoll was recently featured in POPUP Galleries' virtual gallery space. She is a senior pursuing a bachelor of fine arts.

IMAGE: Provided

“The concept for the book was to document my personal experience during my time in isolation,” Driscoll said.

Rosenow’s submission, “Observations from Life,” was featured from April 12-18. He is a senior pursuing a BFA in painting and drawing.

Putting entrepreneurship education into practice

“I am feeling really inspired by my recent developments for my venture,” Jameson said. “It has made me realize that an online gallery is something I want to continue, even after all of the restrictions due to the pandemic are lifted. I enjoy being able to show fellow artists’ work, and create something we are both proud of.”

She said what she’s learned during her classes through the ENTI minor have had a huge influence on her decisions.

“The ENTI core classes, such as New Venture Creation, have been crucial to the technical and business side of my venture, while the arts entrepreneurship cluster courses have been essential to the creative side,” she said.

Driscoll echoed the sentiment, saying the ENTI courses have helped her better understand how to market her work through practical skills such as communication, website building and networking with professors to make professional connections.

Jamey Darnell is an assistant clinical professor of entrepreneurship in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State and teaches the New Venture Creation course.

“As an educator it is extremely gratifying when students use the course to work on something that they are passionate about in an attempt to turn their idea into an actual venture,” Darnell said. “The ENTI minor at Penn State purposely expands entrepreneurship education beyond the traditional business school student to potentially any student at the University.”

To date, students from 133 different majors have enrolled in courses offered through ENTI. This spring, the minor added a tenth cluster called Bio-Tech.

Visit enti.psu.edu to learn more about the Intercollege Entrepreneurship and Innovation Minor program.

The ENTI minor is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.

Last Updated May 06, 2020