Student Exposure

Photo by Corey Favino ’18

Renaissance painter Raphael completed “The School of Athens” at 25. “The New York Times” dubbed Lucien Smith an art-world wunderkind at 24. At 21, neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat painted “Untitled,” which recently sold for $110.5 million.

In art, career benchmarks are not reserved for midlife, and this weekend five URI artists will experience a professional milestone of their own when they exhibit at the 55th Annual Wickford Art Festival.

This is the second consecutive year students will exhibit in the juried show, which runs July 8 and 9 on the streets of Wickford Village in North Kingstown, R.I. and features more than 200 artists.

Last year, festival organizers approached Professor Barbara Pagh of the Department of Art and Art History with the idea of setting aside space for college-aged exhibitors called College Row.

“It’s a great experience for the students to get exposure,” Pagh said. “The festival gives them a taste of what some artists do to sell their work. It’s not an easy way to make a living!”

This year, the University is represented by students Corey Favino, Cassandra McDowell, Julia Lawson, Meridith Rocha and Pablo Youngs.

Pagh asked the student exhibitors for works of a range of sizes and prices. The artists must also get a temporary sales permit, file with the state, and be able to accommodate various methods of payment.

Corey Favino ’18, a communication studies and art major, will show his digital photography. His interest is astral and landscape photography. With a $1,000 undergraduate research grant from URI, Corey purchased a lens that allowed him to take pictures of the Milky Way. The photographs in his exhibit were taken this past winter in Narragansett and Jamestown, R.I., from 1 to 5 a.m.

Favino titled his shots “Unseen Beauty.” He does all editing of his photos in camera—no Photoshop. “Light pollution makes it hard to see the Milky Way,” Favino said. “I wanted to capture something people never get to see with the naked eye.”

Favino heard about the show from darkroom and digital photographer Cassandra McDowell ’17, a recent B.A. in art graduate who will soon complete a bachelor’s in psychology. If Favino’s work is a response to the age-old theme of man versus universe, McDowell’s looks inward to the universe within ourselves.

Painting by Pablo Youngs ’17
Painting by Pablo Youngs ’17

McDowell photographs nudes in an exploration of identity and sexuality with a twist. Her subject’s sexual identities are at odds with their genders. “I photograph how [my subjects] feel on the inside versus how they look on the outside.”

McDowell’s art enables her to combine her interest in art and psychology. Her next project is a photographic exploration of mental illness and its effect on the psyche and identity.

Spray paint artist Pablo Youngs ’17 counts Basquiat and Haring among his influences. The curator at La Galleria del Pueblo in Cranston, R.I. will show self-portraits. “Every image, the order of the images, the color interaction—all are very personal to me. I’m interested in the emotive quality of art.”

Youngs envisions his work getting bigger. His senior project was a mural measuring eight-by-12 feet. “To make a mural is my giving a gift to the public.”

Wickford Art Festival hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, July 8 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, July 9.