31st Annual Student Art Show – Kent Art Association

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By Jenny Shen ’23

On February 18, 2023, a group of FGS students traveled with Mr. Richards to the opening of Kent Art Association’s 31st Annual Student Art Show. Kent Art Association was founded in 1923, making this year its 100th anniversary. The spirit of this organization is composed of talented artists who explore a variety of media, a vibrant lecture series, and a gallery in which artwork is exhibited and sold. The 31st Annual Student Art Show will be open to the public from February 18 through March 1st, Thursday to Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. This year, over 25 FGS students have entered their artwork into the exhibition. 

Each year during the opening of the show, Kent Art Association will award two kinds of prizes: a “Best of School” for each school and one titled “The Connle Horton Award of Excellence” for the best in the show. For the 31st Annual Student Art Show, the “The Connle Horton Award of Excellence” was given to Lucy Sanchez for her jewelry-making.

For Lucy, this journey of jewelry-making started in sixth grade. Since then, she’s been working mainly with metals such as silver: 

Where did your interest in jewelry-making come from?

When I started I was really young, and I needed to be perfect at something to keep doing it, which is not a very good way of thinking… But when I was young, that’s what got me into it. Then as I grew older I kept having more and more fun doing it. I like physical art, so for me it was really good to visually have a lot of things to look at, to touch, and to explore.

Can you talk about the inspiration behind the particular piece that won the award?

The piece that got the award was more like a group of jewelry. Basically, the theme of that set of jewelry is nature. One piece was a bracelet wrapped in sunflowers, another was a dragonfly, and the last was like repurposed from nature. I made these pieces last summer, and at the time I was very inspired by nature. I spent a lot of time in the wilderness just sort of hanging out, so I was very motivated by the natural world.

Is jewelry-making something that you will continue to pursue in the future whether as a hobby or career?

I applied to some colleges for it, but I didn’t like the colleges themselves for any of those places that I got into. So probably not as a career, but definitely as a hobby because I really love it a lot and I don’t think I can stop doing it. Hopefully there will be a way for me to continue doing it in college.

What are some current pieces that you are working on? What do you hope to achieve next in this field?

I just finished these earrings. I made these entirely inspired by TPACC and then also worked on a few very inconsequential things like sketches. I’m doing a lot of sketches right now. For my next piece, I want to create some more rings and bracelets. Moving on, I just want to…keep doing things that are different, new, and challenging.

Among the rest of the equally talented students who also submitted their artwork to the show, two stand out specifically because of the scale and sophistication presented in their landscape paintings: William Cao and Joanna Jin.

Like many other artists, William’s inspirations for artwork usually comes when he’s bored, goofing off, or in the shower. But this landscape painting is different from the others. The inspiration for this work comes from the Yale University Art Gallery, where he was amazed by a painting of a city. When asked about his particular passion for landscape paintings, William said: “I really enjoy being in a beautiful landscape, and I believe that every single place in the world has its beautiful side, so I want to show them in my paintings.” Before this painting, William had never attempted to paint on a large scale with such detail. Looking back, he thinks that his motivation to take on this extremely heavy workload was to “get new inspirations and progress by painting this piece.” Moving forward in his artistic career, William has the desire to shift from landscape paintings to portraits. He says: “Maybe I will challenge myself someday in the future, but in the meantime I will still be painting landscapes.

Joanna’s inspiration for this landscape painting comes from her birth place, Suzhou, China. She described Suzhou as “a place where people can immerse themselves into traditional Chinese cultures by visiting the Classical Suzhou Gardens.” She always wanted to portray the beauty of these gardens and finally decided to paint it over the winter break. This painting took her about three weeks to complete. This is also Joanna’s first time painting on a large scale. She started this attempt thinking that “only large paintings can show the beauty of the Suzhou gardens; it can make the artwork more visually appealing while also helping me to practice my painting skills.” Moving forward, Joanna wants to create a painting for her parents: “I want to portray the baby version of myself being held in my parent’s arms with the cloth wrapped around me, decorated by gold foil.

Congratulations to Lucy Sanchez and thank you to all the students who dedicated time and effort to create amazing artwork for the show! If you have the time and opportunity, please stop by the Kent Art Association Gallery to take a look at these wonderful pieces before the show ends!

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