After weeks of painstaking sketching, crafting and creating, the senior visual arts majors will display their work in a one-night show tonight in Portland. No Bowdoin students in recent memory have exhibited their art in Portland without faculty work alongside it.

The 12 students will present their work from this semester, which ranges from site-specific installations to realist portraits. The exhibition will be held at 643 Congress St. as part of the monthly First Friday Art Walk.

The inspiration for the event stemmed from a class conversation during which students expressed interest in getting a taste of what the art scene outside of Bowdoin would be like.

"We can show anytime we want at Bowdoin," said Tom Ryan '12. "This time, we're not just hanging our work in the basement of Kresge. We're actually branching out into a real art scene as opposed to the nice, warm, cozy Bowdoin arts scene."

The students decided to title their exhibition, "A Lot of People Don't Realize What's Really Going On," after a phrase painted in a bright pink, digital font on the wall of the students' studio years ago by Ellen Kenney '03.

"It seems to be something that, subconsciously, everyone can relate to right now in terms of what's happening in the world," said Assistant Professor of Art Alicia Eggert of the exhibit's title.

With this step outside of Bowdoin's gates, the students have undertaken a thrilling and high-pressure project.

"This project will be very rewarding," said Eggert, who is teaching the senior seminar this year. "I've been really transparent with them in the process of acquiring the space because part of the idea behind this show is that I want to show them that they can do this themselves once they graduate. I hope to empower them to do something like this in the future and have their own shows, and not just rely on the institutions that already exist."

The exhibition has prompted many students to consider how their works will be received.

"I've never really had to think about how to present my work before," said Erin D'Agostino '12. "The way a viewer interprets a work can be totally different based on how it's presented. It's very stressful, to say the least."

The students said that the development of the exhibition, both logistically and creatively, has been a valuable learning experience.

Clare Henry '12 said she was surprised by the level of logistical work that was required to prepare the exhibition.

Eggert has allowed students to choose the work they will be showing in the exhibit and display it however they want.

At the same time, she said she has attempted to get students to do something "really experimental, since the show is by them and for them," she said.

"It is encouraging the students to figure out what it means to have an independent art practice because once you get out of school, there is no one around to tell you what you have to do, and making that transition can be really hard," said Eggert. "The class is designed to be that transition."

The work featured in the exhibit is both visually dynamic and challenging.

Each of the students has been hard at work preparing their individual pieces over the past weeks. D'Agostino, a neuroscience and visual arts double major, brought together these two interests in her context-based drawings of a neutral face. Elisa Cecere made a series of drawings for the show, while Michael Del Muro took ominous, cinematic photographs, and Nick Riker created a geometric installation with multicolor yarn.

"A Lot of People Don't Realize What's Really Going On" will be on view from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Student Museum and Arts Committee (SMAC) will be providing transportation to and from the exhibit by shuttle tonight. Any students interested in rides can contact Chris Omachi '12 at