2023 Bachelor of Arts Exhibition


Owen Barbato

The 2023 Bachelor of Arts Exhibition featured the artwork of 25 third and fourth-year Grinnell College students.

Cadence Chen, Staff Writer

The Bachelor of Arts (BAX) Art Exhibition, showcasing the artwork of third and fourth-year students, is currently on display at the Grinnell College Museum of Art through May 22. Studio Art Student Educational Policy Committee (SEPC) members Jillian Bhuyan ’24, Georgia Carbone ’24, Philomena Frasca ’25, Stella Lowery ’24 and Karis McCaskill ‘24 worked with GCMoA Director of Exhibition Design Milton Severe to organize this extensive exhibit of student work.  

To be featured in the showcase, third and fourth years who have taken or are currently taking classes in the studio art department were encouraged to submit their art, consisting of anything from paintings to sculptures to films. The SEPC then evaluated their work and decided what would be included in the exhibition.  

According to Carbone, the pool of applicants is limited to those who have taken a class in the department in order to highlight work being done in the College’s studio art classes.  

A round sculpture rests on the gallery floor covered in rabbit pelts with two arms and two legs splayed.
Philomena Frasca `25 entered their sculpture “Her” into BAX. (Owen Barbato)

For the 2023 exhibition, applicants were invited to submit up to five works, compared to the maximum 2 works allowed last year. Lowery said that each artist showcased at least three pieces on average in this show. This year, there are “more pieces by fewer students,” she added. Everyone who submitted is featured in the exhibition.  

Every year, jurors chosen by the SEPC members present awards to the featured artists. This year’s jurors are Jonathan deLima, a Des Moines-based art collection manager for the Krause Group, and Jill Wells, an accomplished Iowa-based artist and accessibility advocate. deLima was a juror in 2022 and suggested co-juroring with Wells this year. 

The only awards not chosen by the jurors are the third- and fourth-year prizes, which are awarded by the department to the third and fourth years with an outstanding portfolio of 8 to 10 pieces.  

The 25 following individuals’ works is on display: Karis McCaskill ‘24, Zoey Nahmmacher-Baum ‘24, Jenara Kim-Prieto ‘24, Chase Holdener ‘23, Emma Hastie ‘23 , Sarah Oide ‘23, Aubrie Torhorst ‘23 , Sunny North ‘23, Clare Newman ‘23 , Philomena Frasca ‘25, Stella Lowery ’24, Ivan Kwei ‘23, Celia Meagher ‘24, Andrew Thompson ‘23, Kelly Banfield ‘24, Noel Fernandez-Reyes ‘23, Harper Crosson ‘23, Georgia Carbone ’24, Luca Blankenship ‘23, Maya Gardner ‘23, Lisa Shen ‘24, Mordecai Gonzalez- Rodriguez ‘23, Sophia YoungdahI ‘24 , Josephine Blumenthal ‘23 and Jill Bhuyan ‘24.  

The opening reception and awards ceremony was held on April 21 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The exhibition will be open for viewing in the museum in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts until May 22. Those featured in the exhibition will present their artwork in three Twenty Minutes @11 artist talks in the museum on May 2, May 3, and May 5.


Kelly Banfield posing next to his spoons displayed on a shelf.
Kelly Banfield `24 won Best in Show for his piece, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Spoons” (Owen Barbato)

Best in Show: Kelly Banfield `24

“Sisterhood of the Traveling Spoons”

“I go to spoon carving almost every week with Jon Andelson and Chris Bair. I started last year in the fall, and it’s just a really nice community there. But every break I go home, I always bring my spoons with me. Even though there’s no use to me bringing them home, they just travel back and forth. So, I was thinking about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And I was like, ‘Oh, that would be a funny name,’ because I wanted to submit my spoons. It’s kind of off the cuff, but I think it’s a fun name, and it does kind of get at the community of spoon carving here.”  

Banfield said he used reclaimed wood from the 2020 derecho’s fallen trees found in Grinnell. Spoon-carving club is on Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. in the white church located across East Street from South Campus.  


Clare standing next to her sculpture, a string of multi-colored clay beads on wire, suspended over the floor in a snake-like form.
Clare Newman `23 won the prize for sculpture for her piece “LOOK! PLEASE TOUCH!” (Owen Barbato)
A gallery visitor plays with one of the many colored beads strung together on a long wire.
“LOOK! PLEASE TOUCH!” by Clare Newman won Best Sculpture at the 2023 BAX. (Owen Barbato)

Louis Glenn Zirkle Memorial Prize for Sculpture: Clare Newman `23


“When I was a kid, my mom would take us to art museums, and she really liked them. But I was six years old, and I didn’t know what I was looking at. I thought it was boring and smelled weird. So she turned it into a scavenger hunt for us … I wanted it to evoke that. I wanted it to be a scavenger hunt,” said Newman.“Even if you don’t know how to look at art, you can still find something to enjoy in it.”







Luca standing next to his photos while holding a camera up to his eye and scrunching up his face to peer through the lens.
Luca Blankenship `23 won the prize for photography for his piece “Späti sitzen.” (Owen Barbato)

Tammy J. Zywicki `93 Memorial Prize for Photography: Luca Blankenship`23 

“Späti sitzen”

“Actually, all of these are from my time in Germany, which I was really fortunate to be able to do … This is a photo of my good friend. This is kind of like after a night of being out, and having fun and doing stuff. A lot of the time with these nights out, we would end in front of a späti, which is a 24-hour deli type thing. Just like drinking, laughing, smoking, stuff like that. And I took this photo.”


Stella standing in front of two of her pieces holding the Third-Year award plaque.
Stella Lowery `24 won the Third-Year prize for her portfolio of work. (Owen Barbato)

Third-Year Art Prize: Stella Lowery `24

“In BAX, these are all different collagraph prints. I was focusing on using two figures in this space to explore relationships that women have with each other and relationships that can become exploitative or hostile. So I was trying to go for a more subdued color palette than some of the other works in my portfolio, and using sort of baby-looking animals, and always using two figures in the foreground and experimenting with mark-making.” 




Andrew standing in front of one of his prints holding his award plaque.
Andrew Thompson `23 won the Fourth-Year prize for his portfolio of work. (Owen Barbato)

Fourth-Year Art Prize: Andrew Thompson `23

“My work in this exhibit and my work, generally, is — with the exception of my film work — is all printmaking. I’m very interested in the layers through which we perceive the world around us. And for myself, layers such as anxiousness, disassociation and the mask that we put on to talk to other people. I find that very fascinating — capturing those emotions and my pieces, but then also reflecting those layers in the process of printmaking.”


Two clay heads from the shoulders up, one with long earlobes and the other only a third the size with an inquisitive look.
“The ceramics class I was in last year, we had to do a sculpture of a head. Well, I have my head with me. I could just sculpt that, and I wouldn’t have to bother someone to go look at their head,” said Jenara Kim-Prieto `24, who won the Juror’s Merit Henely Award. (Owen Barbato)
Mordecai posed smiling in their structure constructed out of wood and found Grinnell College objects.
Mordecai Gonzalez-Rodriguez `23 won the Juror’s Merit Henely Award. (Owen Barbato)
Celia standing between three of her paintings suspended by string from the ceiling.
Celia Meagher `24.5 won the Juror’s Merit Henely Award. (Owen Barbato)
Harper posed next to a wall of prints.
Harper Crosson `23 won the Juror’s Merit Henley Award. (Owen Barbato)