As part of KSC’s Alumni Weekend, the Thorne Art Gallery hosted “Owl Artists Fly Home,” an exhibit featuring the works of 27 alumni.

This “pop up” exhibit opened with a reception on Saturday, Oct. 1 and will be on display until Saturday, Oct. 8. Some of the alumni featured in the exhibit include Cheryl Bencivenga, Ramona Ravel Johnson and former Keene mayor Aaron Lipsky from the classes of 1984, 1998 and 1968, respectively.

Stewardship & Cultivation Manager Jessica Bigaj described the process behind bringing these Owls home.

“We created a committee with some alumni who were interested,” Bigaj said. “Everybody pitched in and we had volunteers… In recent years, [the Thorne] shifted its focus to be very communication oriented, meaning the campus community and the broader community.”

Keeping the idea of community in mind, the exhibit wasn’t just limited to alumni that majored in art during their time at KSC, Bigaj said.

“Because [KSC] was a teacher’s college for so many years, there were a lot of people who practice art but are not art majors,” she said. “We are very clear that this is not just for professional artists, this is for anyone who has a passion for art and who likes to prepare this art.”

Alumni Emily Boucher said she didn’t fully develop her passion for art until after she left KSC.

Soon after leaving the nest at KSC, Boucher found her art medium: bronze.

“My spouse was actually working contracting for a bronze foundry doing art sculpture and they needed an assistant,” said Boucher, who graduated from KSC in 2009 with a degree in English. “Their mold maker left… so I learned that.”

Boucher said she has also found passion in exploring other art mediums, including sculpting, painting, and resin art.

Featured in the alumni exhibit was Boucher’s “Gods of the Forest 1,” a collection of small bronze sculptures.

“[The pieces] are little beings from my imagination and I like to think one of the things that really inspires me is the idea of animism, which is when individual objects or things have their own spirit that is cultivated over time,” Boucher said. “The creatures I have created in this series are characters that would live in a forest.” Boucher said she hopes that her pieces allow viewers to imagine the bronze characters taking life.

“I’d like [viewers] to feel a connection to them as if they’re coming to life and feel that they have a presence,” Boucher said. “I really like them to have a narrative quality to them… hoping they have that spark of life or spirit that people recognize when they see it too.”

Boucher said she believes that money shouldn’t stop people from making art. “I think one of the things that I wish I had known is that the starving artist stereotype is a myth,” Boucher said. “If you have a direction you want to go in, it doesn’t mean not having a very rich life… if you’re going to be working for yourself as a freelance artist, you’re going to need to learn business.” Boucher added that trusting one’s artistic abilities is a great start to making a career of art. “Always trust yourself to learn something new… if you’ve done it well once, you will have it again,” she said.

Nicole Dumont can be contacted at

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