Spring Thesis Exhibitions Continue with Kevin Free’s Photographic Studies of Churchwell Elementary
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film’s series of Senior Thesis Exhibitions continues with photography major Kevin Free, who will stage his exhibition, Transition, on Thursday, April 12, at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School (1625 Dr. D. B. Todd Jr. Blvd.), with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and the public is invited.
Transition photographically documents the process of moving the artist’s son from an elementary school in the suburbs into an inner city magnet school. “I am creating imagery showing the children within the school in a positive light as a way of inspiring good behavior among their peers,” said Free. “After working with the principal of the school and explaining my intentions for the work, I was asked if I would consider having my work as part of their permanent collection. I was honored by this request so I have donated all the imagery and their publishing rights to the school.”
Eight 30 x 40 framed pieces will be on permanent display beginning April 12, accompanied by a sound piece that gives an additional environment to the photography. There will also be a “satellite” exhibit at the reception, presenting images taken by Churchwell students with disposable cameras provided by Free.
Kevin Free, Antioch, TN
BFA in Photography
Transition photographically documents the process of moving the artist’s son from an elementary school in the suburbs into an inner city magnet school. The work in Transition was created on a large format camera and printed digitally. There is an accompanying sound piece that gives an additional environment to the photography.
Kevin Free enrolled as a student at Watkins in Fall 2007 – more than 20 years removed from any type of academia. While he had spent most of his working life printing photographs, “I entered classes with the mind set of ‘I’ll give it a semester and see if I can really be an artist.’ As I completed my classes, my confidence as an artist grew: I entered Watkins as a photographer and developed into an artist who just happened to use photography as my primary form of expression.”
While at Watkins, Free and his wife adopted their son, Ty, and last fall they chose to transfer Ty from the public school in their “little slice of suburbia” and enroll him in Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School, a new magnet school in the inner city. While navigating this change, Free decided to make the children of Churchwell Elementary the subject of his senior thesis.
The Watkins Spring 2012 Senior Thesis Exhibitions in Fine Art and Photography celebrate the work of 13 graduating students, March 23 through May 12. Four shows with receptions will be staged in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus and two in community locations. The series kicked off with exhibitions by Cristin Durning and Brandon Daniel Greer, running March 23–April 2, followed by Sam Angel, Claudia O’Steen and Lisa Talbott, April 6–16, both in the Currey Gallery. The remaining schedule follows (in Currey unless otherwise noted):
Opening reception Friday, April 20, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Andi Austin, BFA in Fine Art
Amy Jernigan, BFA in Fine Art
The Skin Within
Karen Voelker, BFA in Photography
*at The Sending Studio (1203 Paris Avenue, #104)*
Closing reception Saturday, April 28, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Courtney Ann Greenlee, BFA in Photography
Welcome Home (exhibition open by appointment April 6–27)
Opening Thursday, May 3, from 6 to 9 p.m.
James Tyler Blankenship, BFA in Photography
Megan Chunn, BFA in Fine Art
Amanda Sledge, BFA in Photography
Hey Mom, Is This Me?
Updates to programming will be posted to the Watkins website: www.Watkins.edu.