Old Rochester emerging young artists showcase work at exhibition

Feb 10, 2019

When Kaitlin Kelley was searching for the perfect selfie to use for her art project, she quickly decided on a summer throwback: Her enjoying ice cream following a tough tennis match.

The Wareham resident and Old Rochester Regional High School student worked with the photo to fit her project’s theme of white on black portraits, bringing to the center the more humorous side of a hot summer day.

“I didn’t have a lot of photos of myself, but I wanted something with a serious look but was also fun,” Kelley said.

It was Kelley’s senior submission into the high school Emerging Young Artists exhibition, which made it past a rigorous screening process to earn a spot at UMass Dartmouth’s campus gallery.

Her piece was one of 80 a jury of professors and officials from UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Visual and Performing Arts selected to appear at the show.

What started as 350 submitted works was whittled down to the pieces on display at the university’s campus gallery for several weeks, leading up to the Feb. 9 closing reception.

“This is the sixth year of the Emerging Young Artists exhibition,” said Professor Elena Peteva. “We started it as a way to recognize the merit of the artists of Massachusetts.”

It’s now expanded through New England, and included students from high schools from as local as Dartmouth High to as far away as Connecticut.

ORR senior Danya Bichsel’s submission, titled “Entangled,” also earned a spot in the show. The black and white photo of sets of entangled hands was created for her “hands in action” class assignment.

The Mattapoisett resident chose to incorporate an additional set of hands into her photo in unusual positions to add contrast, and chose the black and white format to highlight it.

Although neither student took home a top three finish, which would have netted them a scholarship, the experience alone was valuable.

“I’ve never entered into an art show before, and it’s really cool to see my art here,” Bichsel said.