They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But even by that logic, we aren’t sure 37,000 words would be enough to truly encapsulate Lyon College’s 2023 juried student art exhibition, which took place Thursday night, March 2, in the Kresge Gallery of the Alphin Humanities Building on the Lyon College campus.
Thirty-seven pieces of art, out of 84 entries, adorned the walls of the gallery, each bringing its own unique style and story to a packed house of eager viewers. With standing room only, the gallery was a sight to behold, as students, faculty, staff and community members all joined together for the evening.
Professor of Art Dustyn Bork said that this year’s show had the greatest number of entries since his arrival at Lyon College in 2010. He also remarked it was “definitely the largest audience at any Kresge Gallery reception since the pandemic began.”
“I would say anecdotally, I cannot remember a larger audience or turnout for a Kresge Gallery reception since I have been here at Lyon,” said Bork. “It was impressive and inspiring. I know the students appreciated it, and they felt very loved and supported.”
After giving the audience ample time to view and appreciate each piece of art on the walls, Bork addressed the crowd to announce the beginning of the night’s award ceremony. This year’s guest juror, award winning professional artist Crystal Jennings, from Pine Bluff, not only selected the initial 37 pieces of art to be exhibited from the pool of 84, but also provided detailed reasoning as to her selections for those receiving awards.
“Thank you for inviting me to be juror for this year’s Lyon College juried student art exhibition,” said Jennings. “I am honored to be selecting the pieces and awards. It was not an easy task as there was an abundance of excellence among the submitted work.”
Jennings congratulated not only those receiving awards that night, but each and every student who entered the show. Jennings extensively deliberated on each piece and picked a recipient for each of the following awards: first place, second place, third place and two honorable mentions.
Two other awards were delivered; the Adler-Love Purchase Prize, chosen by Kenton Adler, director of development for Scottish Heritage, and his wife Nancy Love, ‘12, and the Presidential Purchase Award, chosen by the president of the College, Dr. Melissa P. Taverner.
The first-place award, alongside a $250 prize, was received by Donna Terrell, Computer Science and Art double major from Batesville, with a submission titled “Open Hands,” showcasing a wonderful portrait created using colored pencil, digital and magazine paper collage.
“The composition of this piece is quite intense without being overwhelming,” wrote Jennings. “There is a narrative embedded in the work that is clearly up to the viewer to create, encouraged by the enticing imagery. The portraiture aspect demonstrates excellent mark making and technical use of color pencil which is quite difficult. The collage elements create interesting shapes that work well with the movement of the gesturing portrait. This is overall excellent work.”
The second-place award, alongside a $150 prize, was received by Caroline McCreight, Art and Spanish double major from Little Rock, with a submission titled “They Named a Boat After My Sister and Me,” which utilizes a multitude of mediums including acrylic, pen, cut paper, ink, embroidery thread, doily, glitter, jewelry, confetti and decorative fishing rod.
“This piece is creativity at its best and a great example of storytelling through artwork,” wrote Jennings. “It feels like a bit of familial history which is excellently portrayed through mixed media. From the figurative painting and fish details to the use of a fishing rod for the wall hanging, it is chock full of eye candy.”
The third-place award, alongside a $50 prize, was received by Kim Ho, Art, Computer Science and Data Science triple major from Sulphur Rock, with a submission titled “Odd One Out,” showcasing five wheel-thrown ceramic pieces.
“Simply put, very lovely, clean ceramic work that demonstrates mastery of the medium,” wrote Jennings.
One of the two honorable mention awards was received by Thomas Osborn, Art and English double major from Greenbrier, with a submission titled, “Bus,” utilizing acrylic on canvas.
“The use of strong rectangular shapes throughout the piece is compelling,” wrote Jennings. “The disproportionate head and bold use of color give this painting an interesting modern look which is very enjoyable.”
The second honorable mention award of the night was received by Summer Woods of Cave City with a submission titled, “Eye Am Everything,” utilizing acrylic and alcohol markers on canvas.
“This piece is trippy and colorful with fantastic use of the medium,” wrote Jennings. “The circular design lends itself to great composition which keeps the viewer’s eye glued inside the illustration and ready to explore the piece.”
The Adler-Love Purchase Award was received by Taja Showers, Art and Spanish double major from Front Royal, Virginia. Showers’ piece “Beholder” utilizes acrylic paint on canvas.
The Presidential Purchase Award was received by Rachel Tyler, Art and Biology double major from Hot Springs, with a submission titled, “Chemistry.” “Chemistry” will now live on Lyon College’s campus joining the prestigious works of art that have come before it, although the exact location has yet to be determined.
“I’m not an artist, but things make me feel things,” said Taverner. “When I see something, if it speaks to me, I feel it almost immediately. When I saw this piece, it was pure, unabashed joy. That’s something that means a lot to me, and we are going to put it somewhere where I can see it a lot.”
After the award presentation, Taverner shared a few parting thoughts on the event and the talent that each student had brought forth and showcased.
“One final thing for all of the artists here,” said Taverner. “You are extraordinary. You have amazing eyes and amazing voices. Please don’t be silent. Please don’t ever stop the art that you make. Your art is exactly what our world needs, so thank you all.”
After the applause died down, Bork addressed the audience for one more special announcement: the red dots. Throughout the reception, small, red dots had been appearing on the placards of different art pieces scattered throughout the gallery. As the night wore on, more and more dots appeared. As Bork revealed, these red dots signified that the works of art they resided on had sold!
“Students have sold 15 pieces from the exhibition so far,” said Bork. “More are available and affordable, with all proceeds going to the individual students. Kresge Gallery does not take a commission.”
To view the available pieces, check out the event album at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lyoncollegescots/albums/72177720306507372. Those who would like to purchase a piece of art or learn more about it can contact Bork at email@example.com.
As for future shows, Bork and the Lyon College Art department already have the 2024 juried student art exhibition in their sights. Their goal is to continue increasing partnerships throughout the surrounding area to better showcase the talent inherent in Batesville and the surrounding communities.
“I thought it was significant that two of the seven awardees were students from the University of Arkansas Community College Batesville, and four students out of the 25 exhibiting artists were transfers or are current students from UACCB,” said Bork.
With 2024’s event outlook already looking good, we can’t wait to see what works of art hit the walls of Kresge Gallery next!