Arts Worcester Awards More Than Prizes

By Kate Tattan

“Construction paper and a glue stick,”—that’s all it took, Olivia Christy admitted as she excitedly pulled up a photo on her iPhone. Christy, a senior art major, was one of the two Worcester State University student winners of the recent Arts Worcester 12th Annual College Show.

Trout Rising, by Joan Avato
Trout Rising, by Joan Avato

Artists Christy for Sibling Rivalry (a paper collage) and Joan Avato for Trout Rising (a linoleum block print) were among only nine students chosen for awards.

This year’s show, juried by Director of the University of New Hampshire Museum of Art Kristina Durocher, opened on February 5 at the Aurora Gallery. The two-floor gallery space was bustling with Worcester area supporters as they mingled amongst some of the highest quality student art from both in and outside the classroom.

Along with Christy and Avato, Worcester State students Emily Cawley, Aric Davis, Liz Proulx, and Tatumn White were also chosen to exhibit their work. Students from neighboring colleges, such as Anna Maria, Clark, Holy Cross, and Becker, exhibited as well.

Christy joined Arts Worcester this past summer and immediately took advantage of what the organization has to offer. This show was the first juried show in which she’d ever had her work featured.

“I like to make art that’s very close to my heart,” said Christy. “Something I really love and that’s my family.”

The collage, which depicts her and her brother yelling at each other, is fiery and attention-grabbing, not only in color but emotion.

Christy thinks that her piece is relatable, too. “We all know that love-hate sibling relationship,” she says.

Sibling Rivalry, by Olivia Christy
Sibling Rivalry, by Olivia Christy

For Christy, winning this award is about so much more than a cash prize—it’s a game changer. As a student about to graduate, she says it “really gave me the confidence I needed with my art” and “it’s like…okay, this is something I can do and possibly succeed at.”

Arts Worcester has become a stomping ground for young artists like Christy and Avato who need this support on their side. The dynamic organization, comprised of community financial supporters and artists volunteering their time, offers opportunities to artists in the Worcester area of all ages and skill levels. They do so by providing members access to workshops, mentoring, needs grants, and professional gallery shows.

Arts Worcester is crucial for young artists in particular, who are looking to expand their netowrks and build their careers.

“I grew up around Worcester and I love Worcester,” said Christy, “and [Arts Worcester] is great for the colleges—it gives you an opportunity to get your work out there.”

The best part? Worcester State and many other Worcester-area colleges and universities offer their students free membership.

Arts Worcester has recently announced its next Call For Art, which is titled Terra Ferma. This time around, they want art inspired “by our natural environment,” with a twist. In this submission, Arts Worcester is looking for controversial takes on the human impact on our environment and how we “commodify the Earth.”

Membership in Arts Worcester can easily be completed online, where submissions can be entered, as well. The call for submissions and online registration for Terra Ferma are open until April 27. The drop-off for your artwork occurs in the three days following.

The college show will run until February 26. The Aurora gallery at 660 Main St., Worcester, is open from 1 PM to 4 PM Tuesdays and Saturdays, and 10 AM to 4 PM Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

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