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Unleash the artists: Chester, Delco, Montco artists feature works in U. Arts’ ‘Art Unleashed’

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STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
bbingaman@21st-centurymedia.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

Support University of the Arts student scholarships, while supporting area artists, with the seventh annual “Art Unleashed.”
The exhibition and sale will feature hundreds of creations of jewelry, furniture, sculpture, photography, illustrations, paintings and more April 8 to 11 in Hamilton Hall.
Talent from the suburbs is well represented. Among those chosen to showcase their work are faculty member Joseph Hocker of Phoenixville; university alumnae Emily Feehery of Springfield, Delaware County, and Heather Croston of Glenside; and students Stephanie Hertweck of Parkesburg, Sarah Brett of Abington and Alice Krieg of Schwenksville.
Open to the public, “Art Unleashed” is the university’s largest fundraiser for student scholarships, raising more than $1.8 million up until this year.
In a statement, University of the Arts President David Yager stated: “In my short time at the university, I have experienced a depth of artistic and innovative talent here that is remarkable. I look forward to celebrating the excellence of our community during ‘Art Unleashed’ and to expanding support of our Sam S. McKeel Promising Young Artists Scholarship Fund for the generations of talent to come.”

Sarah Brett  working on a ceramic piece. Submitted photo

Sarah Brett working on a ceramic piece.
Submitted photo

This is pretty cool. When is it open?
Noon to 5 p.m. each day, and admission is free.
I’ve never been to University of the Arts. Where is it?
Hamilton Hall is at 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. First-time purchasers and established collectors are equally welcome, the university says.
U. Arts has been around since 1876 and concentrates on educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing. There are nearly 1,900 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs.
What can you tell me about the local people in it?
Brett studies ceramics and the practice of art therapy. When asked about her provocative, unsettling work “Deer Just Wanna have Fawn,” Brett said: “‘Deer Just Wanna Have Fawn’ was the second of my animal-behind series. I think a lot about the strange antics, and things that humans do, that are just sort of accepted in society. A thong is typically considered a sexy garment that women wear to show off their backside. What happens when that same item is placed on an animal? Is a deer wearing a thong sexy too? A thong is truly just a piece of fabric, or lack of fabric, yet it starts to say something about the type of person wearing it. The labels and ideas of beauty that become accustom to society are very curious and strange to me. I like to poke fun at these ideas.”
Croston, who graduated in 1994 with a degree in metals, makes jewelry inspired by nature and storytelling.
“I love that the sale of my work could benefit a student by helping them to pay for school costs. I also like that the exhibit showcases the variety and quality of work that comes out of an education at U. Arts,” said Croston in a press release from the university.
Feehery, who graduated last year with a degree in photography, focuses on the human body, human interaction and experience, and the way people interact with art. When contacted about a photograph titled “Glitter,” she responded: “I have always loved summertime, and the sunlight at sunset, and was inspired by the way the light from the sunset seems to sparkle, and how it makes everything it touches look beautiful. My idea to capture this for (the senior thesis series) ‘Sheathed’ was to cover the model with gold glitter to mimic the color of the sunset. I wanted her to look both strong and graceful, like how I feel the sunlight looks as it brushes over the landscape. She is placed in a field to stand among the trees and take in and reflect as much light as she can.
“The idea for the natural landscape also stems from being inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s landscapes. I have long been inspired by N.C. (Wyeth), Andrew and Jamie (Wyeth) and their differing styles. However I’ve always been most drawn to Andrew’s work. Growing up so close to Chadds Ford and the Brandywine River Museum, it’s only natural that I would be inspired by such amazing and well-renowned local artists. Andrew’s work greatly inspires me, and that inspiration shows throughout ‘Sheathed.’

"Deer Just Wanna Have Fawn" by Sarah Brett of Abington. Submitted photo

“Deer Just Wanna Have Fawn” by Sarah Brett of Abington.
Submitted photo

“Besides my visual arts inspiration, I am also inspired by musical theater. As one who grew up watching musicals and acting in local theatre groups, it affects my work through making my ideas more dramatic. I tend to dream up big productions for projects … and I was lucky to have a model that was willing to work with me on that shoot. I never thought I would find someone who would enthusiastically agree to be covered head-to-toe in glitter in the middle of a field at sunset. I am forever grateful to her for helping me create this image.”
Hertweck, who will soon graduate with a degree in illustration, created the cover for Shūsaku Endō’s novel “Deep River.”

"Deep River" by Stephanie Hertweck of Parkesburg.  Submitted photo

“Deep River” by Stephanie Hertweck of Parkesburg.
Submitted photo

“My work is inspired by the stories people tell; whether it is in the way they live, through spoken or written words, or in relation to humanity’s history as a whole,” said Hertweck in the press release.
Hocker has been participating in “Art Unleashed” since it began in 2010. He graduated from the University of the Arts in 2011 with a degree in photography, and is part of the continuing studies faculty.
“I built small structures in the woods that were designed to fail, and photographed them throughout the stages of their life cycles. While making this work, I began thinking about the tenuous nature of life, and the mortal precipice,” said Hocker in the release.
Kreig is working toward a degree in illustration and she is putting two pieces up for sale from her final thesis project.
Any notable success stories from these scholarships?
Recent scholarship recipients have included “The Voice” runner-up Matt McAndrew; Alita Moses, the winner of the Montreux Jazz voice competition; and Adam Blackstone, bassist and musical director for acts such as Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Maroon 5 and Jay-Z.
Where can I find out more about “Art Unleashed?”
Visit www.uarts.edu/artunleashed or call (215) 717-6147.

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