Two University of Arkansas – Fort Smith alumni from the university’s studio art program have had their artwork selected to be featured in a national competitive exhibition at Fort Smith’s Regional Art Museum.

Lucas Hicks’ sculpture "Rhythm" and Jarrod Cluck’s painting "Ocean" were selected for RAM’s annual invitational exhibition, with the theme this year being "The Art of Transcendence." The exhibition is on display through Oct. 16. Two jurors selected the works to be exhibited, and artists from across the nation were showcased in the exhibit.

Hicks, a Van Buren native and 2016 graduate, worked on his sculpture in a senior level course in art program, which tasked him with creating an artwork without assistance from UAFS professors.

"The course is designed to give students the opportunity to operate as an independent artist," Hicks said. "I was able to use critical thinking and analytical skills to create an original design. I learned how to set my own goals and form my own timeline for completion."

A 2015 graduate and Rudy native, Cluck painted the artwork earlier this year and attributed UAFS for teaching him theory, history and criticism of art.

"These learnings apply to everything I do, in art and in life," Cluck said.

Although neither of the artists won awards at the exhibition, the experience helps them on their career path to becoming an artist.

"Receiving awards or making money isn’t what keeps me going," Cluck said. "Making the art is a reward in itself. Being featured in the exhibition is good exposure for me, and I can put it on my resume to help me on my career path as I apply for graduate schools."

"That’s what we learned in the art department," Cluck continued. "We learned how to make art, then get it out there and think critically about it."

Hicks agreed.

"I’m very excited that my work is being displayed in this exhibition," he said. "The Regional Art Museum is an amazing establishment, and I am grateful that they have given me the opportunity to display my work in their gallery. This is a huge step in my professional career as an artist. Exhibitions like this are a great way to showcase our work."

RAM’s annual invitational is a national competitive exhibition that was created to encourage & recognize professional artists. This exhibition aligns with the museum’s mission to foster art appreciation in the community.

For more information about the studio art program at UAFS, visit http://class.uafs.edu/art/studio-art.