Art students use exhibit to raise money

Jackie Mantey

For years many people have found art as a way to help themselves, but 10 Kent State students found a way for art to help thousands of others in need.

Those students displayed their art at the Electric Cafe Company, 225 N. Water St. and used the exhibit to help raise money and food donations for hurricane victims.

“I wanted to put together an art show to give my friends and me a chance to show our art,” said Elaine Hullihen, senior fine arts major. “I think that it’s important for local artists to have the opportunity to see their work displayed, which is what my first motive for the show was.”

However, another motive was added after Hullihen saw the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. 

“The original idea for the show did not include the fundraiser, but when I heard about Katrina, I thought that creating an event would be a good way to help out,” she said.

After a potluck dinner on Sunday, the group raised $35 and three bags of food donations. All the donations received went to Students for Hurricane Relief, an emergency group that was formed at the university to help with the disaster, said Hullihen.

As for the main attraction – the students’ artwork – the hurricane had little to do with what they created.

“After the flood, we decided we had to do whatever we could to help,” said Matthew Coate, junior double major in fine arts and philosophy. “The show was planned and we had selected our work for the show well before the flooding; so my piece has nothing to do with the catastrophic events in New Orleans.”

Coate’s piece was a drawing of a woman’s portrait that was executed in a manner similar to that of photo-realists. The work was an attempt to touch on issues of learning versus appropriation mirrored in the more visible conflict between appreciation and objectification, he said.

Hullihen’s work dealt with a completely different topic. She included a self-portrait and a soft sculpture of a uterus, titled “Fabric, Menstruation,” in which she sewed bits of fabric together. Inside the sculpture she placed a vile of her menstruation.

“The aim of this piece was to publicly display a major aspect of women’s lives that we are taught to conceal,” she said about the menstruation cycle. “I believe that putting the blood in a quilted object creates a subversive effect, as I am using an activity that has bonded women for generations, yet displaying something that those women in history previously kept private.”

The contrary of female perception was displayed by fellow artist and friend Michael England, senior art education major. He displayed a light-box inspired by his father’s work and influence on his artistic development, England said. Making the exhibit a fundraiser was necessary considering the times.

“Not only is it important for like-minded individuals to experience what those around them are creating, it is equally important to help others at the same time,” England said.

Other artists involved with the event were Matt Danko, Carolyn Kelly, Emily McMahon, Christopher Pyle, Cody Thomaselli, Nathan Yokum and Danielle Seidita.

Contact College of Architecture and School of Art reporter Jackie Mantey at [email protected].