Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery showcases moving Thesis Art Exhibit and dynamic Student Art Show

April 14, 2023
By: Andrea Binnick

In the days leading up to an exhibition opening, Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery Director Stacey Parker and Gallery Assistant Brad Chapman Bleau thoughtfully move walls, place platforms, and tend to lighting to create a layout that perfectly suits the art of each show. For the Gallery’s most recent opening, those preparations involved arranging the space to display two very special, complementary shows at the same time.

Through May 13, community members have the opportunity to view the moving Thesis Art Exhibition on one side of the gallery, with capstone work by graduating seniors Caroline Ford and Judith Doherty, and at the same time, experience The Student Art Show on the other side, with a dynamic variety of work by 28 visual art students of a range of majors.

“Featuring both of these fabulous exhibitions in the same space at the same time is a new concept this academic year, and it’s symbolic of the

“Cardboard Baby” by Veronica Parretti

various roles our studio courses can take in the lives of our students during their time at Worcester State,” said Parker, Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) professor of fine art and interdisciplinary studies.

“For Caroline and Judith – the first students to graduate with VPA’s new Art Major – their thesis exhibition work reflects a 45-credit program of study that integrated broad-based studio art training and arts research with the development of creativity, communication, and critical thinking to prepare them for graduate studies or careers in a wide range of arts-related fields. In addition, our studio spaces and courses are available to all Worcester State students who join us from a variety of studies. For many, the Student Art Show represents a new experiential learning opportunity to showcase work in a gallery, and that’s pretty special. We’re so proud of the work of all of our students, and we’re pleased to showcase their art of a dynamic range of styles and media with our community.”

Both exhibits opened with a reception on April 13 as student artists showed their work to family, friends, faculty, and community members as musicians of Musica!, Worcester State’s Latin American Music Ensemble, delivered a live performance.

For Ford, the evening included a poignant moment with her father whom she described as being pleased to share with other gallery guests that night that he is the person featured in “Catching Waves,” Ford’s favorite piece in her capstone collection of graphite drawings from photographs of family members’ memorable times together at the ocean.

“Everyone has a comfort place or somewhere they consider a second home where they like to relax and escape reality,” Ford said in an artist statement. “For me, my comfort place is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.”

Doherty’s capstone work titled “Our Common Humanity” includes a series of paintings that honor her mother “who greeted strangers by saying, ‘We have a lot in common: our humanity.’”

“These faces remind us to look into the eyes of another to encounter our humanity,” Doherty writes in her artist statement. “I want to break down barriers. For me, art involves slowing down to see. I dwell with characters when I take time to paint. Relationships tell stories of immigration, resistance, caring, and joy; our interconnectedness.”

Drawing of father and child swimming in the ocean

“Catching waves” by Caroline Ford

On the other side of the Thesis Art Exhibition walls, community members have the opportunity to view a powerful variety of work by 28 Student Art Show participants. Art ranges from Fiona Wilson’s “Sandcrawler” sculpture of egg crates from a special topics course titled Art and Science, and Ava Butkiewicus’s “White Maned Mare” scratchboard work from a Cross Media Course to Veronica Parretti’s “Cardboard Baby” made from recycled cardboard in a 3D Sculpture Studio course, and so much more.

The 2023 Student Art Show participants are:

Linda Casey, Cathy Webster, Alexis Olivier, Fiona Wilson, Haley Samara, Ava Butkiewicus, Libia Goncalves, Mack Pupecki, Joshua Mirra, Taylor Kochinskas, Ami Lamontagne, Cynthia Nute, Katelyn Galena, Grace Papandrea, Laurel Feinberg, Anastasia Nash, Veronica Parretti, Lauren Stidsen, Ally Anger, Colby Lewis, Bryan Thongphala, Jehan Aldulaimi, Lilly Clemente, Hayley Coggans, Abigail Holden, Natalya Morin, Andres Osorno, and Richard Bonsu.

Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery exhibits are free and open to the community during gallery hours or by appointment. For more information, contact the gallery at 508-929-8651 or

Top photo features Fiona Wilson’s “Sandcrawler” sculpture of egg crates on exhibit in the gallery. Photos by Professor Stacey Parker.

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