College of Southern Maryland (CSM) student Kelsey Crum, 19, of Owings, made a life-changing choice in mid-April. After a longstanding interest in engineering and robotics, Crum decided that for her, another other ongoing passion was taking a deeper hold.
Crum changed her major from engineering to art.
About two weeks later, the wisdom of Crum’s decision was resoundingly affirmed when she was awarded the Juror’s Prize – the top prize – at CSM’s Annual Juried Student Exhibition Reception. At 19, Crum, a 2017 graduate from Northern High School, was the youngest winner in this year’s competition.
“It’s incredible,” Crum said with a broad smile after the awards were announced. “It felt like it confirmed that I could be an artist … that I could go down this pathway that I wasn’t sure of.”
Approximately 60 CSM art students participated in the 2018 Annual Juried Student Exhibition, some submitting more than one piece. Eight of those works received awards. The Juror’s Prize goes to the one work that most impresses the juror. This year the juror was Northern Virginia Community College Art Professor Matthew Pinney, a Washington, D.C., metro-area artist who has exhibits extensively in the region.
For the Juror’s Prize, Pinney was looking for “what piece knocks him out,” said CSM Associate Professor and Gallery Director Katherine Sifers, organizer of the annual exhibition, describing the top prize. “What does the juror think really rises above?”
Crum’s Juror’s Prize-winning work was a ceramic figure of a gray lion with a human face, she titled “Sphinx.” As a neophyte in the medium, she only began working with ceramics during a CSM class in the spring semester.
Waldorf resident Asia Rodgers was awarded the photography/graphic design award for an untitled photo of a woman’s face. Pinney described Rodgers’ work as “mysterious, spiritual … It leaves a lot of questions.”
Bernard Dickens III, of Waldorf, was awarded the painting/drawing award for “Spring Transparency, a painting in gouache that Pinney said had “great color” and “maintained landscape qualities.”
The prize for ceramics was awarded to Waldorf resident Monic Coppedge for her piece “Trapped Collection,” a blue abstract work that was described by Pinney as “great evocative forms.”
Bailie Anthony, of Mechanicsville, and Kathrynn Pickering, of La Plata, were both awarded honorable mention awards — Anthony for a small, untitled oil on canvas painting featuring a landscape of trees and sky and Pickering for “Reflecting Hibiscus,” a gouache and acrylic work in vivid colors.
In addition to the awards decided by the exhibition juror, the CSM full-time art faculty selected two items from the exhibition to purchase for the CSM Fine Arts Department Collection. A ceramic piece, titled “Her Favorite Shoe,” by Accokeek resident Melanie Williams and a photo titled, “Praying,” by Waldorf resident Laura Mickus were purchased.
Williams was new to ceramics this semester and was “just floored by the reaction” to her piece. “It lets me know I’ve learned something, which is really great,” she said.
Mickus’ said her black and white photo was taken at a local laundromat. She said she initially took the photo because it made her nostalgic — she remembers playing in the laundromat when she was a young girl and enjoying her time there. However, once Mickus watched other students’ very different reactions to the photo, she titled it “Praying” to acknowledge some customers might wish they were in a better position and not have to use a laundromat.
In addition to the student art awards, four recipients of the Walter B. Grove II Memorial Art Scholarship were announced at the reception. The scholarship for CSM art students was established by Jane and Walter Grove in memory of their son Walter, who had been an art student at CSM.
“They really are the great benefactors of the arts here at CSM and all over Southern Maryland,” said Professor George Bedell during the ceremony, acknowledging the Groves, who were in attendance. The CSM Foundation, which oversees this scholarship fund, was also thanked for its efforts on behalf of student success and the arts at CSM.
Jane Grove said she and her husband enjoy getting the chance to meet and talk to the “extremely talented” scholarship recipients. “It is always bittersweet, but we know that we are passing on our son’s love of art and helping many other students to pursue their dream of an art education,” she said. “Today we have a total of 45 scholarship winners since we set it up 19 years ago, the summer of our son’s death. The gallery was filled with beautiful photography, paintings, drawings and sculptures.”
This year’s Grove Scholars are Liane Beckley, of Upper Marlboro; Lucas Snyder, of La Plata; Nicole Tomasic, of Leonardtown; and Mickus.
“They were evaluated on their breadth as artist and students,” Bedell said, describing the scholarship recipients as “real hard workers, who have shown us some wonderful portfolios as well.”
“I am most excited that people are supporting the arts at such a local level,” Beckley said. “It’s pretty impressive.” Beckley is working toward a career in museum studies.
Snyder is a two-time recipient of the Grove Scholarship. “I’m honored that there are people out there willing to fund my future,” he said. “It’s very helpful.” Snyder is working toward a career in graphic design and photography, with the hope of working at a magazine.
Tomasic said that being selected for the scholarship was particularly affirming because she, like Crum, switched her major from engineering to art, with an emphasis on photography.
Mickus is studying art at CSM after having spent 10 years in the military. “It’s cool to be recognized,” she said, adding that she is enjoying this opportunity to explore her creative side. “I love it. It’s awesome.”
For information on the gallery and its exhibit schedule, visit https://www.csmd.edu/community/the-arts/visual-arts/hungerford-gallery/index. For information about opportunities to support CSM students through scholarships, visit https://foundation.csmd.edu/. For information about both credit and non-credit fine art study at CSM, visit https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/not-sure/areas-of-study/fine-arts/.
To view photos from the CSM 2018 Annual Juried Student Exhibition Reception, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/18studentart.