Locals’ latest works put on display in Downtown Gallery

Exhibit features art of Kent community

Amy Craft had the opportunity to put together her ideal art exhibit this year. Ironically, none of the pieces were created by Craft herself.

As juror of The Artists Network of Kent’s annual member show, Craft was able to choose the pieces that will be on display in the School of Arts’ Downtown Gallery beginning today. The gallery will feature the exhibit, which consists solely of artwork created by local artists. The exhibit runs through Aug. 22 and is open to the public.

“I asked to go through all of the work one time so I could get an overview of what was there,” Craft said. “After I looked at it in that way, I went back and looked at them more closely, choosing the pieces I felt were the strongest.”

Anderson Turner, the director of galleries for the School of Art, chose Craft, the executive director at Cleveland’s Art House Inc., to be this year’s juror.

Craft reviewed more than 50 pieces before choosing which works would be displayed. To be eligible, Craft said artists must live in Kent or a neighboring county. The 20 pieces that will be on display are of several different mediums, including sculpture, blown glass and fiber arts.

As juror, Craft will be selecting a “Best of Show” winner at the opening reception tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m at the Downtown Gallery. Ballots will be distributed during the reception for a “People’s Choice” award, which will be announced at the end of the reception. Both awards include a cash prize: $100 will be given for “Best of Show” and $50 for “People’s Choice.”

According to its Web site, The Artists Network of Kent (T.A.N.K.) centers around the idea that artists need a vehicle to connect with each other and with the greater Kent community. T.A.N.K., which has more than 80 members, supports this belief by providing local artists with a workspace and opportunities to present their work at local galleries in addition to chances to participate in community events and festivals. The annual member show has taken place at the Downtown Gallery every summer for nearly a decade.

“The shows have gotten stronger every year,” Turner said. “It’s an interesting, diverse look at what’s happening in our own backyard.”

The annual exhibit benefits both T.A.N.K and the Downtown Gallery. The artists are given a place to present their work while the gallery benefits from the traffic the exhibit brings in. Turner said the exhibit is usually well received by the Kent community.

The Downtown Gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Downtown Gallery at 330-676-1549 or visit the Web site at http://art.kent.edu.

Contact School of Art reporter Allyson Eighmey at [email protected].