Winners of 2016 Stratosphere Art Competition selected

Zak Kinkaid

The winners of the 2016 Stratosphere Juried Art Competition were announced Thursday night at Kent State University’s Downtown Gallery.

Alenka Banco, a juror and director of the Cleveland arts prize, gave a quick speech before the reveal of the winners of the competition.

“Really being able to be on the other side and getting to experience the art was a huge gift to me. The art program here is a gift to the region and a gift to those who attend,” Banco said. “Seeing these students working in the studio was amazing, they have their own community and are so generous to each other and it’s so great. This has been such a great experience for me.”

The 2016 winners were: Moriah Bruening with and honorable mention, second place was Samuel Hersh, first place was Abbey Kish, and for the first time ever two people won People’s Choice, Liam Joy and Cathleen Morris. Best in show winner was Yasmin Ali.

“All of these pieces are amazing, I didn’t think I was gonna get this at all,” Joy said. “To be honest I’m just happy to have my piece here.”

Ericha Fryfogle-Joy, the mother of Joy and a Kent State alum, said the competition showed diverse talent.

“It is beautiful (that ) it represents lots of talent at Kent and so many different types of media,” she said. “There are lots of younger and older students intermixed here and the talent is just amazing.”

The art included chairs, sculptures, paintings, photographs, textiles and clothing.

“I’m really impressed by all the different sculptures,” said Tyler Lanning, a sophomore digital media production major. “I like the idea of vocal art because it brings people together, it’s easier to connect to these people because they are our peers.”

The work will remain on display in the Downtown Gallery until April 20.

Zak Kinkaid is the continuing studies and distance education reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].