The College of the Arts, in conjunction with the School of Art, has launched a new, annual juried art competition, called Stratosphere. The competition, which was open to Kent State University undergraduate students of all majors, allowed applicants to submit up to three works in any two- or three-dimensional medium. The theme for this year’s submissions is “Art and the Body.” The Stratosphere finalists’ works will be on display from April 14 - May 10 in the Downtown Gallery, located at 141 E. Main St. in Kent, Ohio.
Visitors to Stratosphere on Saturday, April 19, will be able to vote for their favorite piece. The piece with the most votes will receive a special “people’s choice” award, which carries a $500 prize. That award — along with awards for “best in show” ($1,000), second place ($500) and third place ($250) — will be announced and presented at a special reception on Thursday, April 24, from 5 - 7 p.m. (Voting for the “people’s choice” award will also be open during the first hour of the reception, prior to the award announcement.) Both the gallery and the reception are free and open to the public.
“We are extremely pleased with the positive response from the undergraduate student body,” said John R. Crawford, College of the Arts dean. “The nearly 130 submissions were received from students in a variety of majors, including chemistry, business, education, dance, art, visual and communication design, and psychology.”
This year’s Stratosphere juror is Dr. Scott Sherer, associate professor of art history and gallery director at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Sherer received a B.A. in architecture from Yale University, an M.A. in art history from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in comparative studies in discourse and society from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Sherer teaches a range of courses and seminars in modern and contemporary art, and organizes exhibits and programs featuring regional, national and international artists. His research furthers philosophical and artistic traditions that examine the inherent conceptual distance between lived sensory experience and artistic representations.
Sherer was responsible for selecting Stratosphere’s 25 finalists and top three award-winners. He will be on hand at the Downtown Gallery to present awards during the April 24 reception.
Gallery hours are Monday - Wednesday 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., Thursday 9:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., Friday 9:30 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday noon - 5 p.m.
Rose Bouthillier is currently Associate Curator and Publications Manager at MOCA Cleveland. Her projects at the Museum include Simon Evans: Only Words Eaten by Experience (2013), Dark Stars (2013), and Realization is Better than Anticipation (2013). Previous projects in Canada include Sublimation (Oakville Galleries, 2011); Josh Thorpe: The House(Campbell House Museum, Toronto, 2011), and To Be Real (Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto, 2011). Bouthillier holds an MFA in Criticism & Curatorial Practice from OCAD University in Toronto, a Diploma in Art History from the University of British Columbia, and a BFA in photography from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver. Her writing on art has been published in frieze, C Magazine, esse arts + opinions, and Art Criticism and Other Short Stories.