Students from UMass Dartmouth's College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Artisanry Department will present their "City of Light" installation at Chicago's prestigious Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design (SOFA) Fair held this year from November 6 through November 9. SOFA is a critically acclaimed art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design. On a par with top art events such as Art Basel, SOFA focuses on three-dimensional artworks that cross the boundaries of fine art, decorative art, and design.
Representing UMass Dartmouth at SOFA are students Kelsey Thornton, who is pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate in wood/furniture, and Lillian Webster, who is pursuing an MFA in metals. A third graduate student, Emre Bağdatoğlu, helped design the installation. They initiated and developed the proposal with the guidance of former lecturer Adam Manley and Charlotte Hamlin, coordinator for graduate studies and research, who severed (served) as the students' faculty advisor.
The "City of Light" installation was inspired by New Bedford's historic past, reimagining city's whale oil lit street lamps and homes in the SouthCoast and around the world as modular building blocks. The re-envisioned lamppost form addresses both spatial and practical concerns allowing the artist to create a variety of components including benches, lampposts, walls, and shelving areas.
"City of Light" provides space for seven students and alumni to display their SOFA-oriented work. The installation created cross-disciplinary connections first within the university and then to Chicago for SOFA, which annually hosts an average of 80 dealers and 35,000 visitors.
Contributions to "City of Light" were also made by CVPA technician Shingo Furukawa and lampshade artists Sara Allen, Mary Black, Heather Jo Davis, Kevin DiMattia, Meaghan Gates, Jessica Heikes, Sarah Jones, Gabrielle McHugh, Xi Nan, Denise Sokolsky, Amy Uthus, Alida Van Almelo, William Vanaria, Shayla Vines, and Erik Wilhelmsen. CVPA students whose art will also be exhibited as part of the installation include Jessica Benzaquen, Nick Heyl, Russell Prigodich, George Karos, and John Middleton.