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ArtsWorcester College Show to showcase up and coming talent

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It’s a tradition more than a decade old and a chance for Worcester-area college students to embrace their inner artists. ArtsWorcester’s 11th annual College Show runs Feb.6-27. Winners of the juried exhibit will be selected at the end of the month.

“Works in the College Show are selected by an independent, professional juror. They are submitted from all the Worcester-area colleges and universities from students in all majors,” said Juliet Feibel, executive director of ArtsWorcester.

Feibel explained that each year’s art is different and exciting. “Each year, there is a new crop of student artists, so the art varies year by year. Some professors require submission as part of their class assignments, which also affects the content.”

ArtsWorcester encourages students to submit art in various mediums to keep the show interesting and fun. “All the work submitted is all media, which encompasses everything from oil painting to video installation,” Feibel said.

Selecting a juror is also a very important part of the show’s preparation. Feibel said ensuring unbiased opinions is crucial to the process.

Kate Murphy, Second Prize, "The Beats," mixed-media painting.
Kate Murphy, Second Prize, “The Beats,” mixed-media painting.

“We seek a museum or art professional from outside the Worcester area; we want to make sure that they are not biased towards one institution over another. We also want to make sure that the juror brings a fresh eye and is open to the new ideas that students bring to the show,” she said. This year’s show will be juried by Lexi Lee Sullivan, assistant curator at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln.

Once the art has been displayed and the community, as well as the juror, has had a chance to see the incredible talent from Worcester college students, a select few are awarded for their work.

“Every juror has their own criteria, and we have a different juror every year. Typically, a juror looks for excellence in concept, in the ability to execute the idea in whatever media, and that something ineffable, something expressive that makes a work stand out,” Feibel said. “We award First, Second and Third Prizes, and usually four Honorable Mentions.”

The Worcester community always embraces the arts, but Feibel said the College Show is truly unique and special to the community. Not to mention the friendly school rivalry that can arise during the show!

“No other event makes Worcester feel like so much like a college town, with students, faculty and friends from all institutions under one roof. It’s a great opportunity to see the artistic talent being nurtured here,” she said. “For people not involved in one of the schools, it’s a glimpse into the student life that’s being lived all around us. There’s even some good-natured school rivalry for the prizes!”

Bang Luu, College of the Holy Cross, "Stardust," hand and laser-cut wood, First Prize in 2014.
Bang Luu, College of the Holy Cross, “Stardust,” hand and laser-cut wood, First Prize in 2014.

Want to see the art and get involved? The show’s opening reception is 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, at the Aurora Gallery, 660 Main St., Worcester. Gallery hours run through the month of February: Noon-4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and by appointment.

“The opening reception is a huge party. There is free parking one block up at the Freemasons, at Ionic and Beacon streets. Just look for the WPI students waving you in!” Feibel said.

So how much are tickets? The reception and gallery are free and open to the public! “All of our gallery exhibits, year-round, are free to the public,” Feibel said.

The ArtsWorcester college show is a unique experience and a true gem of the city in a beautiful place.

“Just walking into the Aurora Gallery is an amazing experience. Most people don’t know what a beautiful space is hidden right in the middle of Main South and that contemporary art exhibits are happening all the time under their noses,” Feibel said.

For more information on ArtsWorcester, visit artsworcester.org.

By Rachel Shuster

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