Art Chicago Exhibition

May 23, 2011

Student and faculty member sell sculptures at Art Chicago

Bradley University made its mark on Art Chicago 2011, a contemporary and modern art show, which ran April 29 to May 2. Thirty-six sculptures were sold during the international event, one of them the work of a Bradley student and another by a faculty member.

Four Bradley sculpture students showcased work at the event: Amber Cancino, Brittany Takata, Theresa Stoodley, and Richard Welsh. A buyer purchased Welsh's piece for $650 and has expressed interest in additional works by the Bradley senior.

The piece is titled "Time Stop -Boom." A bronze casting of a grenade that was rendered to look as though it had exploded, Welsh confessed that it wasn't really meant to sell.

"It was honestly not intended to sell, considering that I enjoyed it so much, so I had over-priced it," Welsh said.

"I was completely enamored with the idea of selling something that was crafted by my own hands. Someone was willing to pay money for it and hopefully enjoy it," Welsh said.

Bradley alumnus Kyle Chipman and Adjunct Instructor Jaci Willis also contributed work to the exhibition. Willis sold a sculpture made of alabaster and 100 year-old pine called "Torso." It was purchased by a gallery in North Carolina, which has expressed interest in more of her work.

The traffic we attracted was incredible. We will definitely put business cards next to our pieces next time," Willis said.

For students, the exhibition was also a rare opportunity to share their projects alongside the work of respected professionals.

"The Chicago Sculpture International group's planning of this event opened the door for many of us who did not have gallery representation. Our students benefitted greatly by getting to show their work next to professional sculptors and gaining knowledge on how the business world of art works," Willis said.

Associate Professor Fisher Stolz, who had a large-scale sculpture on display outside the event and a small-scale work inside the exhibit, listed many more benefits tied to the department's participation in Art Chicago.

"The students are now members of the International Sculpture Center, receiving benefits such as a year's subscription to 'Sculpture' magazine, the leading publication in our field," Stolz said.

"They are also members of Chicago Sculpture International, with opportunities to exhibit in other CSI shows, visit professional sculptors' studios during CSI-organized open studio events, attend CSI meetings that feature guest speakers related to a variety of topics in our field, from collecting and applying for exhibitions to insurance and gallery and museum procedures," Stolz said.

Students were also able to network with others in their field and view "a wide variety of contemporary work done by significant artists, past and present."

Welsh found the event to be beneficial for a different reason.

"It was a surprise to me, because I had never sold anything of much worth in my entire art career as a student. To actually have a distinguished sale under my belt is a nice feeling," Welsh said.

Back at Bradley, Welsh was named an Outstanding Student in Sculpture at the Slane College 2011 Awards Banquet.