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Here All Year: ArtPrize 2014 May Be Coming to an End, But The Fed Galleries Are Just Getting Started

Posted October 9, 2014 in Gallery

When The Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) were announced as a finalist for ArtPrize’s Outstanding Venue award for the second year in a row, Director of Exhibitions Sarah Joseph knew that she and her team must be doing something right.

2014 Outstanding Venue juror Tumelo Mosaka praised the work in “I AM: Money Matters” for being both provocative and carefully selected, and celebrated the way in which the exhibition space allowed viewers to deeply engage with the art and thoughtfully consider their impressions of it without being overwhelmed by other sights and sounds.

“In all of our exhibition planning, we strive to provoke thought, to challenge the viewer, to provide education and insight, and to not only give the works the space they need, but also to allow the viewers the space they need to enter into a meaningful conversation with the art,” said Joseph. “It’s an experience we’re committed to providing year-round – not just during ArtPrize.”

The success of The Fed Galleries’ mission during ArtPrize 2014 wasn’t just limited to the response of established art critics. While half of the eight pieces in the exhibition were named to the juror’s shortlists, three pieces (including two of the juror’s selections) were among the top 25 in popular voting in their respective categories – proof that an art exhibition can be both challenging and accessible, provocative and relatable; and have an appeal that goes beyond the traditional realm of the art world.

 ArtPrize 2014 and “I AM: Money Matters” are only the beginning of The Fed Galleries’ latest project, “I AM,” a three-part exhibition series that moves past conventional explorations of identity, deftly walking the tension between internal and external perceptions of self. The second installment, provocatively titled “Assuming Positions,” explores the dynamic between the subjective experience that informs an individual’s private sense of their own sex and gender and the broader assumptions arising from public perceptions of socially constructed roles and relationships.

“The work in ‘Assuming Positions’ is incredibly powerful, both visually and conceptually,” said Curator of Exhibitions Michele Bosak. “Sexual and gender identity is something that we as a society are still struggling with in terms of how to talk and think about it, and it’s also something that’s still often difficult to confront on a personal level. We’ve deliberately selected work that allows anyone who views it to confront the issue on both of those levels, and hopefully that will help create conversations that are open and honest.”

Heather Cassils - Becoming an Image video still from "Becomming an Image" by Heather Cassils, featured in "I AM: Assuming Positions"

Miller and Shellabarger - Untitled (conjoined 14)"Untitled (conjoined 14)" by Miller and Shellabarger, featured in "I AM: Assuming Positions"

The third installment, “Always New,” challenges the idea of the aging process as one of slow decline. The included work examines the relationship between time and perspective while reframing the aging process as one of continuous rebirth.

Andi Schreiber - Lighten Up"Lighten Up" by Andi Schreiber, featured in "I AM: Always New"

Andi Schreiber - As If "As If" by Andi Schreiber, featured in "I AM: Always New"

“As with each of the “I AM” exhibitions, our challenge here was to take an issue that affects everyone, and utilize art as a vehicle for enabling new ideas about the issue and new ways of looking at it and talking about it,” said Bosak. “We were looking for work that boldly defies our accepted expectations of what it means to grow old, and the pieces we’ve assembled really come together to make a beautiful and poignant statement about human experience and our place in the world.”

“I AM: Assuming Positions” will run from October 23 through January 31, while “I AM: Always New” will run from November 25 through January 31. Bosak hopes that the intentional overlap will open up new avenues of thought and exploration for viewers.

In addition to the exhibitions at The Fed Galleries, which are always free of charge and open to the public, the community is also encouraged to take advantage of KCAD’s Continuing Studies program, which runs year-round and offers a wide variety of classes for youths, adults, and professionals that are designed to develop artistic talents, nurture curiosity, and build essential creative skills.

“ArtPrize is an amazing event, but it only happens for three weeks out of the year,” said Joseph. “We want everyone to know that at KCAD, you can find incredible experiences that immerse you in art and creativity all year long, from free exhibitions to a wide variety of creative educational programming.”

For more information on The Fed Galleries, including gallery hours, visit kcad.edu/galleries.

For more information on Continuing Studies courses, visit kcad.edu/continuing-studies.