Resting on a short stand in the middle of the Gary L. Freeburg Art Gallery is a giant, magenta macaroon. The one-foot-wide sculpture is a manifestation of one of many memories made by the six members of the Art Student League Association club made on their trip to Europe last spring.
The group stopped in Venice, Paris, Rome and London taking photographs of themselves and the cities, buying trinkets and eating cuisine they would later reconstruct out of pastels, charcoal, fibers and watercolor for the art exhibit assembled in the Kenai Peninsula College’s art gallery. The show is simply and appropriately titled “Souvenirs: Europe 2014.”
“It’s is the first time the association has had their own art show,” former member Nicole Lopez said, standing among the pieces that ranged from sculptures to paintings to manipulated digital photography. “Usually they only have one show for student pieces per year, but this year they made an exception.”
Associate Professor of Art Cam Choy pulled strings for the club, Lopez said.
The trip was conceived years ago, Lopez said. In total $17,000 was raised to house, feed and transport the group around Europe’s artistic epicenters.
Funds were taken from the club’s annual Art Extravaganza, the clubs annual fundraiser, countless bake sales, homemade Valentines Day specialty cakes and spaghetti feeds said associated member Brandi Kerley.
Kerley and Lopez stood in the middle of the gallery, momentarily stumped when trying to choose their favorite pieces out of the bunch.
“Well this one is my favorite,” Kerley said, pointing to a small photograph with psychedelic color tones. The raised piece was titled “The Conquering of Rome.”
The original photograph had been taken on a cellphone, Kerley explained. She laughed at the image that Jessica Bookey shot, which caught her in a triumphant walk down the middle of the group’s favorite Roman restaurant, with a plate that had been unfairly taken from her.
The store was family owned and made delicious homemade meals. The staff was playful and tricky, Kerley said.
One of the brothers working as their server had taken a plate from Kerley and didn’t believe she would follow him all the way into the kitchen to get it back. But he was wrong, and there is a photograph to prove it.
The largest piece in the gallery is a meter-long, black and white painting hanging on the back wall. The piece was an enlarged version of a selfie taken of Kerley and Lopez.
The trip was the first inclusive excursion for the association, Lopez said. It will also likely be the last for some time.
Lopez and Kerley had been in the group for more than five years. Other trip-goers Bookey, Nita Dreyer, Alisah Kress, and Kathi Overpeck have graduated from KPC.
The trip and gallery were a huge accomplishment for the association, Lopez said.
“Let’s face it, six women traveling tonether looking at art, museums, shopping and sight-seeing is bound to be a good time,” reads the artist statement at the entrance of the gallery. “Art was found every direction we turned from the food, architecture, museums and people, cultural immersion was all pervasive.”
Closing Reception is from 4:30-6 p.m on Thursday. The gallery will reopen in February 2015 for one month at the Kenai Fine Arts Center.