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courtesy of Bakersfield College

"Flower Hat," a three-dimensional design by Bakersfield College art student Marisol Calisto was named Best of Show in the 2014 BC Student Art Exhibit.

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courtesy of Kern County Library

Alma Nevarez, fiscal support technician at Beale Memorial Library, with a spiffy new chair and a tattered one. The library is trying to raise money to reupholster all the Beale's public chairs.

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courtesy of Kern County Nut Festival

Bakersfield artist Kelly Wonderly created the 2013 Kern County Nut Festival poster. Submissions are being accepted now for the 2014 design with the theme "A Shell of a Good Time."

I enjoy seeing college students' artwork, for the simple reason that it's often adventurous. Most are willing -- and I'm sure encouraged by their instructors -- to take chances, to create something new and different instead of relying on the same old stilted still life of a vase of flowers.

So far I have seen only a few images -- not the actual work--done by this year's Bakersfield College art students. But that brief taste makes me want to see the real thing at the 2014 BC Art Student Exhibit, which opens Thursday evening at the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery. Apparently, much of the work in this year's show reflects the culmination of changes made three years ago requiring students to take art courses in a specific order.

"I think we're seeing a positive trend toward stronger artwork, partially due to course sequences that the art department initiated in 2011," said BC art professor David Koeth. "This (allows) them to build their skills in a logical way and results in richer work."

For example, students now must take Drawing I before taking Drawing II. Likewise, completion of the first course in drawing must precede their first class in acrylic painting. Similar advances from one level to the next also are required for ceramics, sculpture, photography and graphic design.

"As usual, the annual student exhibit features a wide variety of styles and media," Koeth said. "The show is very strong and represents a good cross section of what is taught at Bakersfield College in the art department."

It's a large exhibit, with 58 pieces, created by 48 artists. A number of different styles and mediums were used in creating the artwork: three-dimensional sculpture using mixed media, cardboard, paper and plaster; ceramics; photography with both silver gelatin and digital inkjet prints; graphic design using laser and inkjet prints; two-dimensional designs using mixed media; drawing in pencil, charcoal, pastel, India ink, color pencil, and painting done with acrylics.

This year's juror is Jim Heitzeberg, a retired videographer and graphic artist who holds a master's degree in art from Fresno State. Currently he is a member of Corridor 2122, a cooperative gallery and studio space in Fresno where he has served as curator for seven exhibitions in the past eight years.

Heitzeberg's choice for Best in Show is "Flower Hat" by Marisol Calisto. Calisto created the fanciful three-dimensional design out of paper as a student in art professor Emily Maddigan's class at BC.

Jones Gallery is located in the Grace Van Dyke Byrd Library on the BC campus via the Haley Street entrance. Parking is free the evening of the reception. Visitors may park in designated spaces along the driveway during the gallery's usual hours, 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday through May 14.

Beale Adopt-A-Chair

To go along with its recently re-carpeted interior, Beale Memorial Library has started a campaign for donations to reupholster 268 chairs. These are chairs used by the public in various areas of the library, not those used by staff members. And they are more than 25 years old.

"They're the same chairs that were here when the library was built," said Lucinda Soria, office services coordinator. "Some have gashes in them and some are worn all the way through."

Thus far, the Adopt-a-Chair fund has received $5,000 from the Kern County Library Foundation. That amount provided for reupholstering 68 chairs.

The new fabric color -- lighter than the original greenish-blue -- complements the new carpeting installed this year at a cost of $1 million. Now the library itself is hoping to raise the money to complete recovering of the chairs.

Cost for new upholstery on an armless straight-back chair is $70; for a much larger lounge chair, $270.

"You don't have to donate the specific amount," Soria said. "You can give what you want, even if it's just $10."

Checks should be made payable to Kern County Library Donations-Chairs and mailed to 701 Truxtun Ave., 93301. Or you can pay online by visiting kerncountylibrary.org and clicking on Adopt-A-Chair. Names of those who contribute will be posted on the library's website.

Poster deadline

Deadline for entering the 2014 Kern County Nut Festival poster contest has been extended to Wednesday.

I get the idea that the committee might like a bit of humor in the artwork, given that the festival's subtitle is "A Shell of a Good Time." No words should be included on the poster, however.

The idea is to create something that heralds nuts, one of Kern's biggest crops. Although pecans and walnuts are among the nuts raised in our area, almonds and pistachios are the top crops.

In addition to the growth and production of nuts -- orchards and harvesting equipment, for instance -- subject matter may also include cookies, cakes and other foods made with nuts.

A total of $800 in prize money is being offered for first, second and third place winners in the competition. The works of the 25 finalists will be on display during the second annual Kern County Nut Festival, which takes place on June 7 at the Kern County Museum. For details, visit the Arts Council of Kern's website, kernarts.org and click on contest.