First-ever Stratosphere exhibit opens


Aanchal Bakshi

The Stratosphere Juried Art Competition exhibit is being hosted by the School of Art Downtown Gallery in downtown Kent from Monday, April 14- Sunday, May 10.

Lily Martis

On a scale from one to infinity, Kent State’s first Stratosphere Juried Art Competition set its sights high into the atmosphere.

A reception will take place at the gallery Thursday, April 24 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. where five monetary prizes will be awarded. One of the prizes includes a $500 People’s Choice award for the finalist whose work garners the most votes at the gallery.

Voting for People’s Choice will take place at the gallery Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also at the reception from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

From nearly 130 submissions, 2014 Juror Scott Sherer chose 25 finalists. The competition was open to all Kent State undergraduate students, regardless of major, and students could submit up to three, two-dimensional or three-dimensional works in any discipline.

“We wanted to have a campus-wide opportunity for students of all majors to be able to submit artwork in a juried competition,” said John R. Crawford, the dean of the College of the Arts. “We know that, of course in addition to our great students of art, there are many students across campus who have the ability to produce great art, as well.”

The dean’s Student Advisory Council selected this year’s theme of “Art & Body.”

“It’s interesting to think about a subject like the body,” Sherer said. “There’s a great sense of the body ranging from something conceptual to an actual force of nature.”

To portray this theme, students worked in a variety of media from drawings, sculptures and photography to multimedia.

“One work that stands out is a dance piece shown on the TV,” Director of Galleries Anderson Turner said. “There are also some sculptural pieces that are really strong and some nice photography pieces, all from a variety of majors.”

Sherer, a former Kent State art history professor, will be presenting the awards at the reception around 6:15 p.m. Sherer is currently an associate professor of art history at the University of Texas in San Antonio and the director of the UTSA Gallery and Satellite Space.

“In choosing the finalists, I looked for a character in the themes of work, how materials are used, how the work is asking a question or how it might spark my thoughts,” Sherer said. “I looked at what the work is trying to provoke in thoughts and experiences.”

Sherer also will give a lecture Wednesday, April 23 at 5 p.m. in the Art Building Room 202 on identity and post-identity with the body and art.

The Stratosphere exhibit opened Monday and will remain open through May 10. The gallery is located in downtown Kent at 141 E. Main St.

Contact Lily Martis at [email protected].