Barry McNamara  |   Published March 09, 2021

Art Show Winners

Molly Keeling takes Best of Show, Kendall Burt wins People’s Choice.

THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE: These cat creations by Kendall Burt '22, titled 3's a Crow... THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE: These cat creations by Kendall Burt '22, titled "3's a Crowd," received the new juried art show honor sponsored by the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth. MONMOUTH, Ill. – The artists who took home the top two honors from Monmouth College’s recent Juried Student Art Exhibit were both successful in their attempt to capture the right look on faces.

Molly Keeling ’23 of St. Louis received the Best of Show honor for a self-portrait, while Kendall Burt ’22 of Freeport, Illinois, won the new People’s Choice award, which was sponsored by the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth.

MOLLY KEELING: Received the Best of Show honor for a skewed self-portrait (below). MOLLY KEELING: Received the Best of Show honor for a "skewed" self-portrait (below).For a class with art professor Brian Baugh, Keeling was assigned to draw a “skewed” self-portrait. In creating a draft of her idea, she realized she was onto something.

“I was doing a thumbnail sketch, and as soon as I finished it, I thought, ‘This is it. This is the one,’” said Keeling, who added three extra eyes to the left side of her face.

Juror Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, visual arts director for Quad City Arts, agreed it was “the one,” awarding the drawing Best of Show.

“She said the eyes looked like they were supposed to be there,” said Keeling, who is majoring in art and is considering a career in art education. “She said she didn’t even realize at first that the eyes were wrong.”

Keeling’s winning work was consistent with her preference for creating realistic-looking work, “but with something different.” Where the black-and-white drawing differed was in its lack of color, which is normally a staple of her work.

BEST OF SHOW: Molly Keeling's award-winning self-portrait.  BEST OF SHOW: Molly Keeling's award-winning self-portrait. “I prefer to work with a lot of colors, even super bright colors,” said Keeling, who also captured the exhibit’s drawing award for a work titled “Wallace.”

The people’s choice

Burt’s winning entry was created during a hand-built ceramics class with art professor Janis Wunderlich.

“The project was you had to make a bust,” said Burt. “I asked, ‘Can I make miniature busts of my cats?’ It’s something I never attempted before her class. I made five, but I gave two away as gifts, so I had three in the exhibit.”

Wunderlich not only okayed the slight deviation from the assignment but was instrumental in helping Burt bring her feline friends to life.

“I took a lot of inspiration from her works, and she helped me a lot with ideas and techniques to use,” said Burt. “She pushed me and told me I was talented and that I could do it.”

Capturing the distinctive look of a particular cat is not an easy task, said Burt.

“It was hard at first, and I was getting really frustrated with it,” she said. “Janis told me to look at their profiles, look at the angles. See how the eyes are closer together on one, or how one has a more prominent nose or a more prominent chin. I really enjoyed digging deep into it and noticing features of my cats that I didn’t notice before.”

In the end, Burt got it right, and those who viewed the exhibit, either in person or online, agreed.

“The goal was to get each cat’s actual facial features, not just to make a bust that looked like a cat,” said Burt. “They turned out pretty spot-on, from what I see.”

KENDALL BURT: Junior from Freeport, Illinois, took home the first-ever People's Choice honor,... KENDALL BURT: Junior from Freeport, Illinois, took home the first-ever People's Choice honor, sponsored by the Buchanan Center for the Arts.It might not be the last time she creates the bust of an animal.

“Eighty-five people voted for it and thought it was cool, so that was rewarding,” she said. “I’ve even had people ask me ‘Do you do commission work? Could you make a dog?’

A psychology major, Burt said her art minor has a therapeutic effect on her.

“Art is the process of making something out of nothing,” she said. “Art has saved my life, in a way. It’s my therapy; it keeps me grounded and calm. After college, art therapy is interesting to me. It would be cool to help others through art the same way that art has helped me.”

Other category award winners from the show were:

• Juror’s Choice Award: Z Kendall ’24 of Rock Hall, Maryland
• Ceramics Award: Rebecca Quick ’21 of Moline, Illinois
• Painting Award: Miranda Pasky ’21 of Paso Robles, California
• Sculpture Award: Elliot Grady ’22 of Plainfield, Illinois
• Photography Award: Joseph Doner ’21 of Arlington Heights, Illinois
• Design Award: Beth Douglass ’24 of Cary, Illinois
• Mixed Media Award: Grace Cornelius ’24 of Warrenville, Illinois

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