Student artists compete, celebrate art

Geneseo’s Battle of the Artists competition opened in the Kinetic Gallery on Sunday April 12. Students and locals alike gathered in the cozy space in the MacVittie College Union to appreciate the artistic talent Geneseo has to offer. All Geneseo students were encouraged to submit art pieces to the contest. The walls were covered in a plethora of work created using varying styles. Acrylic, oil, pastel and charcoal pieces were on display, offering attendees 120 artworks from roughly 60 students. There was also a good deal of photography represented alongside ceramics and other three dimensional media. Everything from playing with perspective to political commentary was there.

The multimedia art contest boasted a $200 first place prize, $100 for second place, $50 for third and $50 for the “People’s Choice” award. Those in attendance could vote for their favorite people’s choice candidates.

While people perused the gallery, local Geneseo band Soft Cough played a set of its consistently catchy lo-fi tunes outside the doors, drawing an even bigger crowd to the event. Outside the gallery, guests were supplied with paint and a giant sheet in order to work on art of their own at tables set up during the performance.

Soft Cough opened its set with an appropriate song about abstract painter Jackson Pollock. They played through their catalog of tracks, gaining exposure beyond the usual crowd that might see them at any given house show.

At 6:30 p.m., the top 10 winners were announced after a panel of nine judges selected their favorites. First place went to senior Tushara Surapaneni for a series called “India Ink,” second place went to sophomore Pei Yi Choo for a portrait titled “Bewildered” and third place went to senior Jessica Kim for a portrait titled “Obdurate.”

Surapaneni noted that it was her first time experimenting with charcoal and it took her entire winter break to complete each piece in the three-part series.

Surapaneni explained that she is a fan of the program because it gives students a chance to put their work out and to perhaps even sell it—an opportunity she finds critical for young people who’d like to enter the professional ranks. “It gives you an opportunity to invite your friends to an event in a really low-pressure setting that isn’t just about you, but about students at Geneseo,” she said.

Another merit of the contest for Surapaneni was that she could see the work of those who hadn’t had the opportunity to take studio art classes—or those whom she never knew made art.

Activities Commission Arts and Exhibits Coordinator senior Chelsea Butkowski expressed excitement that the contest has grown despite the fact that Geneseo no longer offers an art program. “Last year, we had 100 submissions from 50 people and this year, we had 120 submissions from over 60 people,” she said. “It’s clearly coming from a student desire to make art.”

Senior Resident Assistant of Nassau Hall senior Paige Avery organized the event alongside Butkowski, adding that she was also happy to see the school’s artistic population grow. Next year, Nassau Hall will officially include an arts learning community.

The Battle of the Artists display will run through Saturday April 18 in the Kinetic Gallery.