HomeStudent LifeMany pieces enter, one piece leaves

Many pieces enter, one piece leaves

By Carl Speaks

Copy Editor

For the seventh year in a row, the Art Department is hosting its destructively fun Thunderdome. Many pieces of art will be entered into this annual event, but only one will make it out in one piece.

On the last Wednesday in April each year, students are encouraged to enter their one-of-a-kind artwork into this exciting competition. This year’s event will take place on April 27 on the lawn in front of Vaughn Library.

Almost any art medium is welcomed, as long as it is unique and not reproducible, such as photos or prints. Paul Jones, art professor said all that’s needed to compete is a willingness to see the work destroyed.

The competition is done in a string of elimination rounds. The audience is the jury and the judges are a rotating panel of people chosen randomly from the audience by Art Professor and Department Chair Derrick White. If the crowd chooses to give a piece the “thumbs-down”, then the annihilator steps in to do his or her job.

The last couple of years, the person chosen to be the annihilator has been Geoffrey Traylor, a former student. His energy and his outfit lent pageantry to the competition akin to a WWE wrestling event.

This year, the Art Department hopes that Traylor will return, but is willing to accept others to take on the roles, provided they have the energy and will put on a show. “If you kick a piece and it doesn’t break, you can’t just stop,” said Chance Dunlap, Art professor.

It is difficult, however, to put time into creating something only to have the chance of losing it.

White said he wants people to emotionally invest in creating art, but not be so attached that they can’t let it go. If an artist is going to make money one day, “they have to be willing to let it go,” said White.

“It’s kind of cathartic … it’s good to see your work destroyed right in front of your face,” said Jones. He explained that there is a psychological effect that acts as inspiration for future work.

The faculty also has their own entries, apart from that of the students. The student jury and judges will be able to view and vote on the destruction of art put together by the faculty entries.

Thunderdome isn’t without its rewards. Aside from being “a great way to end the semester and blow off some steam,” according to White, there is also an award. This year, the winner will not only get to keep the winning piece but will also receive $250 with a chance at double or nothing.

Entries into the event will start being accepted at 11:30 a.m. on April 27 with the event to follow at “high noon,” said White. All are welcome to enter. For more on previous year’s Thunderdomes, visit them on facebook at

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