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Associate Professor of Art Receives Award

By Savannah Cooper
On October 1, 2018


Associate Art Professor at Concord University has received the Wilma Riley Purchase Award at the South Arkansas Arts Center (SAAC).


Kevin Bennington, Associate Professor of Art for the Advertising and Graphic Design Program, received the award during the 2018 Annual Juried Art Competition. The competition selects certain pieces from the submissions to be a part of SAAC`s permanent art collection.


The website for the SAAC describes the competition by stating, “The Juried Art Competition is SAAC`s annual competition juried by nationally recognized art professionals and is open to all artists across the nation…who work in two- dimensional and three- dimensional fine arts media.”


Bennington`s pieces, “Rock in Rock” and “Duck Pond,” were two recipients of this privilege. The exhibit ran from July 17 through Aug 10.


He describes the process for submitting the pieces to the competition as being rather simple. Bennington states, “In this particular exhibition, an unlimited number of pieces could be entered for a fee. Once the selected pieces were entered online and I met the requirements, the works were reviewed by a panel of jurors that were chosen for the exhibition.”


He continues, “This was the first time I`ve submitted work this far from home. I was excited to hear back from one of the jurors that my work was accepted for the exhibition in the South Arkansas Art Center.”


The art Mr. Bennington entered into the SAAC competition were continuations of works he created in his thesis during his graduate studies. He says, “At the core, my work is about communication, influence, and interaction. The photography in the pieces are (sic) montages of hundreds of photos put together to make something new. With interaction of these pieces, I hope to communicate that our rivers and lakes are not dumping grounds for trash.”


While explaining his joy for receiving the award, he states, “I was excited to hear that I won the Wilma Riley Purchase Award. It was nice to know that these pieces will have a forever home in their gallery as part of their permanent collection.”


During his early undergraduate studies, Bennington did not realize that art as a profession was an option. Once he heard about Concord`s graphic design program from a friend, he contacted the school, scheduled a visit with an advertising and graphic design professor, and transferred to Concord the following fall.


His discovery of Concord’s program allowed him to pursue a career in something that he had been interested in while growing up. He states, “I think the biggest inspiration with art is the power of discovery. Whether it`s learning something new, experimenting with new approaches in design, or just seeing the work of other designers, there is always something new to discover.”


After his transfer to Concord, he went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in graphic Design and studio art from Concord University, and earned his Master of Fine Arts from Miami International University of Art & Design.


Bennington explains that in any field, it takes an open mindset and a receiving attitude to grow. He says, “I think the biggest thing that has helped me throughout my career is to always listen to others and accept the advice that I`ve been given.”

Because the graphic design program has changed in the past years and continues to change, Bennington believes that adapting to new environments is crucial for growth and success.


Bennington gives some advice to students who want to pursue a career in art and design. He encourages students to enter their work in competitions, such as the SAAC`s competition, in order to make new connections and enhance their resume.


He also says it is crucial for students to “speak with someone in an art field such as local artists, a graphic designer, an art director, a professor, or a teacher to find out more. There are so many avenues that students can pursue when looking at a career in art or graphic design.”


Bennington is happy to share any information with students about the art program or art competitions to Concord students. He says, “We, in the art department, have an open-door policy and invite students who are interested in learning more about art to come and see us.”

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