Art show presents cups from across the country

Lily Martis

Cups from across the country will be featured at the 14th Annual National Juried Cup Show at Kent State University’s School of Art Downtown Gallery.

The show will open March 13 with a reception from 5 to7 p.m. The gallery is located at 141 E. Main St., and the exhibit will be on display through April 5. Both the gallery and the reception are free to the public.

The juror for the 2014 show is Jake Allee, an assistant professor of art at Colorado Mesa University. Allee has participated in the cup show as an artist in previous years and was asked to jury because of his active work in the ceramics field, according to Anderson Turner, the director of galleries at Kent State.

“These cups are open to interpretation and are being used as a vehicle for expression,” Allee said. “You’re not just looking at it like a cup, but rather creating something beyond context with a utilitarian function.”

The cups come in a variety of shapes, sizes and clay material, according to Eva Kwong, the head of the ceramics department. Kwong has been involved with the cup show since its inception 14 years ago.

“It’s a fun show to get people involved in because cups are so accessible,” Eva Kwong said. “They are something we all use and can all relate to.”

The show will feature 40 cups from more than 24 states. According to Turner, about one-third of the submissions were selected for the show.

“Some of the cups are very user-friendly,” Turner said, “and some extend the idea of what the vessel is.”

Mostly students, professionals and hobbyists are participating, Allee said, and there are a variety of tumblers, cups with handles and different interpretations of tea cups featured in the show.

Allee has donated three cups that will be sold at the show to support the Kirk S. Mangus Graduate Student Fellowship in Ceramics, a working scholarship fund.

“My husband, Kirk Mangus, started the scholarship fund to help his students with the rising cost of tuition,” Kwong said. “It’s our way of giving back.”

Mangus helped start the National Juried Cup Show and oversaw the ceramics program at Kent State until his death in late 2013.

“With regard to Kirk Mangus, I had very limited interaction with him, but he influenced me greatly,” Allee said. “I’ve admired Mangus’s work for a long time. He had a lot of integrity; he made what he made and didn’t make it for anyone else.”

All cups will be available for purchase at 5 p.m. on Thursday when the reception begins. First, second and third monetary prizes will also be awarded at the reception.

“They’re exceptional cups, and I’m impressed by the spread,” Turner said. “It’s fun to see what other people are doing with clay around the country.”

Contact Lily Martis at [email protected]