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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Villainous art and spooky costumes take over Calder Art Center

GVL/ Sydney Lim

Grand Valley State University’s Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA) hosted its sixth annual Halloween Spooktacular on Oct. 26 at the Stuart B. and Barbara H. Padnos Student Art Gallery in the Calder Fine Arts Center. 

Students, faculty and alumni were encouraged to participate in a costume contest and view the artwork on display from the Student Interest Group for Illustrators (SIGIL). The artwork, which included paintings, digital art and original comic books, drew inspiration from the night’s theme, “The Villains Win.”

The event also featured other activities such as spooky karaoke, cornhole, a pumpkin drawing contest and a horror movie screening after the artwork reception concluded. 

Associate Professor of Illustration Guin Thompson helped organize the event with fellow illustration professor Durwin Talon and printmaking professor Brett Colley.

Thomson said the Spooktacular tradition is an incredible “community building” event for students and the GVSU community. 

“This is a really good, seasonal opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate art and creativity,” Thompson said. “We had over 50 pieces in the gallery show this year and it just seems like it grows in popularity and is more awesome every year.”

Thompson said a major contributor to the event’s popularity has been the costume contest. The contest features five different categories in which students were eligible to win prizes. The categories included best group costume, most creative, scariest costume, most ambitious and funniest costume. 

Many of the students in attendance spent considerable amounts of time putting together their costumes. Anna Sampier, an illustration student at GVSU, said she had been collecting pieces for her plague doctor costume for three years after being inspired at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Sampier said her first year attending the Spooktacular was great for socializing with peers and meeting new people.

“If you’re worried about how they (people) will perceive you, it’s a good reason to dress up and be perceived differently,” Sampier said. “If you’re not outgoing, this gives you a reason to be.”

As part of “The Villains Win” art exhibition, Sampier displayed a piece titled “Full Moon Fury.” Sampier used acrylic, graphite, alcohol marker and colored pencil in her drawing of a snarling werewolf in the forefront of a forest under a bloody, moonlit sky.

President of SIGIL Briana Skerpan said she was particularly happy and impressed with the quality of the artwork on display this year in spite of new challenges. Normally, SIGIL begins working on art for the Spooktacular on the first day of the fall semester. Skerpan said because of SIGIL’s inaugural Laker Con event, preparation for the Spooktacular didn’t begin until the end of September. 

“Last year, this was the thing we were focusing on from the start of the semester,” Skerpan said. “Now (it was) like, okay, we only have a month to get everything prepared, so the turnaround was just much quicker.”

Despite the extra work to prepare for the event, Skerpan said the Spooktacular was worth all of the effort because of what it meant to GVSU students.

“Especially for freshmen and sophomores, it can be hard to find time to get out and connect with other students,” Skerpan said. “Having something to look forward to and being able to see what people outside of your class are working on is significant for both students and VMA.”

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About the Contributor
Dylan Hoffius
Dylan Hoffius, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Dylan Hoffius is the Lanthorn's Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Winter 2024 semester. He previously worked as an Arts & Entertainment staff writer during the Fall 2023 semester. Dylan is a senior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in journalism, broadcast, and digital media, with aspirations to critique film and write for a sports and pop-culture outlet after graduation. He loves to watch movies at the theater, play disc golf and cheer for Michigan-based sports teams, specifically the Lions and Pistons. Follow his Letterboxd account for unbiased movie reviews and rankings. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Journalism, Broadcast, and Digital Media