Annual 100 Proof showcases WC student artists

Ketia Kamali

Elm Staff Writer

The Kohl Gallery and the Art and Art History Department opened their 100 Proof Annual Juried Student Exhibition under the guidance of local artist Kris Kelley ’11.

The opening reception for the exhibit was on March 24 at 4:30 p.m. Each year an outside juror is brought in to select the pieces that will be displayed in the gallery, with this year’s juror being Kelley.

The exhibition was followed by her juror talk in Larrabee Arts Center on March 30 at 5 p.m. 

 All students can turn in their pieces to be reviewed and are informed when their pieces are picked. According to Director and Curator for the Kohl Gallery and Lecturer in Studio Art Tara Gladden, the main purpose of the event was to showcase the “creativity” and “interest in art” across all WC majors and disciplines.

“It is also an important opportunity for students to get professional exhibition experience and have their work seen and reviewed by a reputable arts professional,” Gladden said. 

Kelley currently works as the arts education coordinator for the RiverArts Studio in Chestertown. According to the RiverArts website, she manages a “varied curriculum” of adult demographic programming and oversees marketing for the organization.

“There were a lot of incredible submissions, and I was really impressed with the breadth of work and that there were so many different ideas,” Kelley said. “But they were also very cohesive.”

The pieces at the show ranged from paintings to digital illustrations, as they were arranged by the juror. Submissions also came from students of all different majors including communications and media studies, environmental science, anthropology, and psychology.

“I loved the opening reception and being able to see Kris Kelley’s vision for arranging all the works in the gallery for the first time,” senior Amara Sorosiak said.

Her pieces, “Infestation Fascination” and “Witherer,” were digital illustrations with black, white, and orange color palettes.  

Sophomore Anna Treadway, whose piece was a painting of a male yellow headed blackbird titled “Morning Stretch,” said she really enjoyed seeing the work of her peers.

“A lot of people that I know do art, but often they don’t talk about it,” Treadway said. “Or if they do, I don’t ever get the chance to see it. I love observing art and getting a look at how the people around me view the world and life through the pieces they create.”

Sophomore Olivia Daniels said she attended 100 Proof for a similar reason.

“The art was beautiful and a representation of the [artists’] hardwork and dedication to [their] craft. I got to see [their] personality really shine through in the pieces,” Daniels said.

At her talk, Kelley explained her experience as an artist, her journey towards her career, her future work, and gave advice to aspiring artists.

According to Kelley, there were three points she wanted the audience to remember: it’s okay to not be okay and to not know who you are or what you are doing; being an artist is an acceptable, viable, and important career; and to back up your files. 

The Kohl Gallery is open to anyone who is interested in seeing art or submitting their art to be displayed in particular exhibits. Their exhibition schedules and hours are often sent out through email or on their Instagram account @kohlgallery. The 100 Proof Exhibition open call is after winter break.

This year’s exhibition closes on Friday, April 7 at 6 p.m.

Photo by Ketia Kamali

Photo Caption: Kris Kelley’s juror talk drew in not just students but interested members of the Chestertown community.

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