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In Praise of Art: the Power of Belief

This spring’s senior art show at Keuka College will feature the works of four seniors, each accomplished artists in their own rights and each with their own signature style.

Their joint exhibit, “Underneath It All,” will be featured in Lightner Gallery in the Lightner Library at Keuka College from April 20 – May 15. An artists’ reception, where light refreshments will be served, will be held Thursday, April 23, from 4:30-6 p.m.


Within the show are four separate themes conveying the work of each student artist. Potsdam resident Kaycee Maguire’s segment, “Ode to Spring,” features patterned designs created by the lacrosse midfielder who is completing a minor in graphic design and marketing. Horseheads resident Danielle Alred created a series of movie posters depicting the hidden, inner world where people can battle any of the seven deadly sins, while appearing otherwise fine on the outside in her works, “7 Deadly.” Dundee resident Jesse Ninos is going big with his larger-than-life mixed media and graphic design with an art noveau style in “We are Dragons.” Meanwhile, Interlaken resident Megan Chase uses watercolor paint, black india ink and fabrics to showcase women “Breaking the Boundaries” of traditional standards of beauty.

"Confinement" by Megan Chase

“I see women as snowflakes— while there are millions, there are no two who are exactly alike. Our differences as human beings should be praised rather than shamed,” Chase offered as explanation for her presented works.

In her four years on campus, Chase said she was able to explore many different mediums and styles of art as well as writing (she’s passionate about both) and will graduate with a diverse skill set, thanks to her visual and verbal art degree. After a digital photography course followed by a Foundations of Art course during her freshman year, Chase said she chose to switch her major from English to visual and verbal art.

“I am leaving Keuka College with a lot more than just an art degree, I’m leaving with communication skills that can be applied to all other aspects in life as well as a career. The program here has really allowed me to find and pursue my passions in life and I believe it allows all art majors to do so,” Chase said.

"Spring Circle" design by Kaycee Maguire

For Maguire, Keuka College offers a “ton of resources,” she said, counting Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, among them. “Ms. Newcomb is a great advisor who always pushes students to strive for the best,” Maguire said.

“Graduating as one of the first few with an art & design major is awesome,” Maguire added, referring to the major the College introduced in 2013. “I have a ton of experience in a variety of fields. This program is headed in a great direction.”

And it’s preparing graduates for success too, as evidenced by the job offer Danielle Alred of Horseheads already received, to join the Elmira Jackals hockey team as its art director after graduation. Alred conducted a Field Period™ study with the Jackals in January, providing graphic design support for the East Coast Hockey (ECHL) minor league team, producing designs for their website, Jumbo-Tron and outdoor billboards, as well as social media. She credits her ability to stand out to the Jackals and others because of the handful of art classes she began taking each year after discovering a passion for graphic design in her sophomore year.

One of Danielle Alred's "7 Deadly" designs

“As soon as I stepped foot into that design class I fell in love with art, which led to my student-initiated minor in digital design. Having a minor in digital design and having the skills in various Adobe design programs has helped me to stand out on campus as well as at Field Period™ sites. Being in the art program has led to a variety of different opportunities that honed my skills in not only graphic design but in a variety of different art forms,” the organizational communication major said.

Ninos too, can boast enhanced skills through his Keuka College training, having produced works in mediums that span everything from spray-painted street art, caricatures, sculpture, comics-style art and graphic design. Describing himself as “infatuated” with mixed media, Ninos has begun to focus on fantasy-themed works evocative of his artistic idols Alan Lee (illustrator of Lord of the Rings), Mary Doodles of YouTube fame, and various DC, Marvel and Wildcats comic-book artists.

Ninos's work, "Troll"

“I have learned that I love capturing the element of movement, with strong lines, the essence of an organic object or the gesture of a figure drawing coming alive on the page,” Ninos said, adding that his best work often consumes eight hours or more.

Ninos said he enjoys creating art that can serve “as a strong narrative element in storytelling.” Given his love of movement, expression and emotion in art, he is pursuing further study and has applied to graduate art programs at SUNY Oswego and Alfred University.

"Winter Circle" design by Kaycee Maguire

Newcomb praised the seniors for preparing unique works reflecting different life values, beliefs, interests or personal identification with the world, and in doing so in a short two-and-a-half months time.

“Each one has a strong presence, and powerful statement built through layers of meaning,” Newcomb said. “They are leaving a strong impression on the future of the Art & Design program.”

Seniors Showcase Art ‘EXPEERIENCE’

A trio of seniors are presenting their final art projects – a closer look at their personal journeys – in an exhibit on display April 29-May 24 at Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery.

The Senior Art Show showcases the talents of Erik Holmes of Penn Yan, Courtney French (Massena), and Erica Ruscio (Middlesex). An artists’ reception will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 at the gallery in Lightner Library. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to the public. The exhibit runs through May 24.The gallery is open during Lightner Library hours, whichcan be found online at: http://lightner.keuka.edu.

According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and adviser to the student artists, each one had to prepare an artist’s statement, along with a “thesis” of sorts, representing the culmination of work produced over their time as a student. Throughout this semester, they met  weekly for senior art seminar, she said, and from those talks, a group consensus emerged: everybody’s grown.

This group has some of the strongest raw talent of students Newcomb has mentored during her four years at Keuka, she said.

According to Ruscio, the trio named the exhibit “EXPEERIENCE” because it’s “all about our experiences and we hope that people can see that by peering a little closer.”

“There are also a lot of eyes and faces, so we just thought it was a catchy title,” Ruscio added. (more…)

Thinking Globally, Working Locally

Hien Pham may be a Vietnamese student studying for a degree at an American college, but she’s taking advantage of every opportunity afforded her to pave the way to a future job. At Keuka College one of those opportunities is Field Period, the 140-hour internship in real-world workplaces that each Keuka undergraduate conducts each year.

Pham hails from Hue City, Vietnam, and studied at Vietnam National University (ISVNU) in Hanoi, a partner school to Keuka, before transferring to the home campus in Keuka Park last year. With a business management major and a communications minor, the senior put multiple skills to use in January for Action for Boston Community Development Inc. (ABCD), a non-profit agency that provides a range of services to low-income families, including minorities and internationals.

During her four weeks at the Dorchester City neighborhood branch, Pham used her graphic design skills to create a four-page branch newsletter, which showcases numerous programs and offerings for the many Asian and African-American families served by ABCD. She also drew and painted a large banner of Rosa Parks’ bus to hang on a center wall for children to add names of famous Black Americans during Black History Month in February.

Pham's front-page design.

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