With the spring semester quickly progressing, senior art students are preparing for their on-coming exhibition. Keene State College provides two types of art degrees for the studio artist: the Bachelors in Arts (BA), or the Bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA). Senior BFA student Mollykate Fanning said both the BA and BFA senior studio students show their work every year in the on-campus art gallery. However, with the BFA, “you get more experience in the studio,” she said.
According to Art Department Faculty Rosemarie T. Bernardi, the BFA program here at KSC is “a very unique program where students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor… Students are given their individual studio space so they have a place to — like a grad student — put out their work… and work on their thesis show for two semesters… students have the ability to really work mixed media. They can work across platforms and across media, and that’s different from other schools,” she said.
Fanning said on top of regular classes senior year, there is also the personal studio work over the course of the final year. “In the BFA program you have a specialty, whereas in the BA program you have a more general materials overview. And my specific material is clay, more specifically in that, it’s throwing on the potter’s wheel,” Fanning said. Her final project will consist of ten to fifteen highly decorated plates and large bowls, each piece taking up to eight hours, just in decoration time, she said. Fanning’s BFA faculty advisor, Paul McMullan, said he works with her a couple times a week. “Mollykate is very hard-working student that is engaged and passionate about her artmaking… she has already pushed herself to take extra summer school classes at Alfred University, which is one of the best ceramic schools in the world.”
Fanning hopes her final project will successfully combine functional pottery with fine art, “I really enjoy making functional pottery; plates, bowls, cups, you name it. I really like it because the form that it creates is always kind of this really satisfying symmetrical circle, and it’s that circle that I like to decorate that makes me love it so much, and that final kind of decoration on the outside that keeps me doing it… There is kind of a stigma of used pottery that when you use it, it’s very much just the inside of the bowl or the face of the plate,” she said. “So I want to highlight that the symbiosis in form is in the decoration all over the form — so on the bottom, on the outside, the inside, the lip, throughout.”
The independence the BFA program is providing her, along with the subtle guidance of a mentor, is helping diversify her skills in preparation to be an educator, Fanning said. “I would say that’s probably the number one thing in the BFA, that it’s helping me towards my future goals”
Emma Mehegan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org