Smith Gallery Presents: PROM, The BFA Senior Studio Exhibition for Spring 2015

The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University presents PROM. the BFA Senior Studio Exhibition for Spring 2015. The exhibition is on view from April 27th through May 8th, 2015 and includes work by the candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art. These student artists are exploring a wide variety of studio techniques including metals, installation, ceramics, fibers, video, sculpture, printmaking and painting. A reception for the artists will be held at the gallery on May 8th from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. The gallery is pleased to present works from the following artists: Francisca Maria Barros, Morgan Benshoff, Renee Cloud, Carson Garner, Rachel Hallinan, Kenzie Knox, Dylan Newton, Emily Lynn Rapp, Hayden Sharpe, and Devyn Vasquez. Christopher Hare will be exhibiting his work at the Looking Glass Gallery at the Plemmons Student Union and John Thomas Whitfield is exhibiting at the Nth° Gallery.

All of the students will be represented in the exhibition at the Smith Gallery in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. For the past year, these students have been working with Ila Prouty, professor in the Department of Art. Prouty states, “Many of the artists in PROM. are working with installation, and all are engaging viewers through their work in media ranging from video, to ceramics, to painting. This show promises a gallery full of distinct voices engaged with topics such as home, wonderment, intimacy and the Internet, and living in a dying town."

Public Events

Friday, May 8

Reception for the artists, Smith Gallery, 5:00 to 6:30 pm.

Reception for Christopher Hare, Looking Glass Gallery, Plemmons Student Union, 6:30-7:30 pm

Reception for John Thomas Whitfield, Nth° Gallery at 7:30 pm

About the Artists

Francisca Maria Barros is a jewelry artist from Miami, FL. Growing up in a multi-cultural household she identified strongly with her Portuguese heritage. Upon graduating from high school, she moved to Portugal to further investigate her cultural background, where she studied Portuguese literature at the Universidade de Coimbra. Barros’s beginnings in art are rooted in instrumental music with a concentration in classical flute. After many years of performing, she broke away from the constraints of classical music to explore the art of jewelry making. Upon taking a jewelry workshop at the Art Center of South Florida, Barros fell in love with the creative freedom she experienced during the processes of making. Within a year of learning the art of jewelry design she transitioned from performative arts to visual arts. Her passion for metals as a transformative material and a process intensive medium led her to Boone, NC.

Morgan Benshoff was born in 1992 in Greensboro, North Carolina. She now resides by a creek in Boone with a lot of books and a spotted dog. She finds art to be a therapeutic process, and hopes that viewers can experience that same kind of release when viewing her work. Benshoff is a painter at heart but uses various mixed media and fibers in her current work to explore concepts like disintegration, humor, and being two things at once. She is an idealist who likes to think good art is honest and generous.

Renee Cloud was born in 1992 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She attended Savannah College of Art and Design for one year before transferring to Appalachian State. As a young child born into a boisterous family of New Yorkers, Cloud quickly learned the importance of developing her own voice, and the importance of communicating through written text. Using a combination of text art and mixed media, she creates work that focuses on the personal narrative, The Black

Experience, and the power of the written word. She is an active blogger, and is currently curating four different art related blogs.

Carson Garner was born in Asheboro, North Carolina in 1989. Garner enjoys reading theories about perceived reality and truth, as well as sauntering through hardware stores in search of inspiration. He is an idea man who uses digital media and found objects as a way to communicate his questions about “the real” and illusion.

Rachel Hallinan works in multimedia installation. She grew up in Charlotte North Carolina, where she has constantly filled her time with extracurricular activities, but in a nontraditional sense. Her early understanding of the Web along with a desire to be a part of unfamiliar social structures made the virtual world a place that she has frequently consulted as a tool for her artistic vision. She is minoring in Internet Studies. Upon graduating, she will move to Kingston, Jamaica where she hopes to embrace another form of unfamiliarity and allow cultural understanding to make its way into her work.

Kenzie Knox was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1993. Knox’s current work features ceramic cups mapping her everyday life. Through the process of visually mapping and blind contouring, her work brings attention to the little details in nature that may be looked over in the day-to-day shuffle. Knox has worked for potter Mark Peters as an instructional assistant at Appalachian State and as a studio assistant at John C. Campbell Folk School. She has also spent time working alongside artist Nick Schneider to build a wood fire kiln.

Dylan Newton was born in 1992, in Valdese, North Carolina. Throughout Newton’s childhood he witnessed textile and furniture factories layoff employees and eventually shut down which left communities with weak economies and jobless residents. His family was a casualty of the industrial exodus. Vast parts of his town became empty and unused industrial zones that over the years became more and more dilapidated. Newton developed an interest in the aesthetics, power, and ideas of the factories. The colors, textures, and implications of urban decay are common thoughts for Newton and still influence his work. Newton has an associate degree in fine arts from Western Piedmont Community College.

As a young teenager, Emily Rapp carved her first piece of linoleum and never looked back, powering forward in her craft. She quickly became obsessed with learning new types of printing and loved it so much she wanted to share it with others. The process of learning, teaching and empowering others became her second love to printing itself. At 17 she was enthusiastic and stubborn enough to teach her first printmaking course to fellow high school students; trying to convey its power of communication and expression. As an artist, Rapp wants her work to empower those that live outside of normal definitions. Experimenting through print and book form, she explores the world around herself and her community.

Born in Morehead City in 1992, Hayden Sharpe began her artistic journey at an early age, smearing paint over the walls of her bedroom. Since then her parents encouraged her to embrace the less-destructive confines of finger-painting on paper. As an adult she has turned to watercolor, acrylic and pen and ink works consisting of romantic, fantastical, and sometimes bizarre imagery. Her inspirations include a wide pallet of artists such as Michelangelo, David Christiana, John William Waterhouse, and Alphonse Mucha. Her intentions are to pursue her career in illustration and live happily ever after, while smearing paint on things. 

Devyn Vasquez was born in Miami, Florida and resided in Raleigh, North Carolina for the better part of her life. She is pursuing a double degrees with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a Bachelor of Science in Art Management with a minor in general Business. Design elements and an attention to detail are key elements of her small-scale multimedia sculptures, which utilize hand-crafted and found materials to create visual landscapes.

Looking Glass Gallery:

From a young age, Christopher Hare has been interested in how things work. He constantly disassembled toys to see how they function and built new objects from anything he could find. Science quickly became a primary interest, melding with philosophy wherever the two met. In his undergraduate studies he first pursued his interest in science, where he attended North Carolina State University studying human biology. Understanding that creating was his innate desire, he transferred to Appalachian State to study art. Hare utilizes both the process of experimentation and curiosity from science and the ideation and craft process of design to create art objects, installation, and sculpture. 

Nth° Gallery:

A native of the Mississippi Delta, John Thomas Whitfield grew up in a world he describes as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, retold by Hunter S. Thompson.” After a decade of farm labor and years spent on the local Fire Department, Whitfield sought solace in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place where he has always found peace and tranquility. Since his arrival in the High Country, he has worked to establish himself and his artwork, exhibiting numerous times at the Nth° Degree Gallery in Boone, NC.

The Smith Gallery is located in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at 733 Rivers Street on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Admission is free for all events and programs. Hours are from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and during special events. For more information, please call 828-262-7338 or visit Like us on Facebook at

The Looking Glass Gallery is located on the first floor of the Plemmons Student Union Building, directly across from Crossroads Coffeehouse in the International Hallway. The gallery is open Monday - Friday from 8am - 10pm; Saturday from 10am - 10pm; and Sunday from 1pm - 10pm

Nth° Gallery is located at 683 West King Street, above ArtMart. The gallery will be open on May 1st & May 8th from 7-10pm.


Published: Apr 27, 2015 12:30pm