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Becker Wins People's Choice Art Award at KSC Student Exhibition

This painting, Family Dinner, by Keene State Collegesenior art major Jessica Becker, won the Peoples ChoiceAward in Emerging Art.
This painting, Family Dinner, by Keene State Collegesenior art major Jessica Becker, won the Peoples ChoiceAward in Emerging Art.

KEENE, N.H., 5/5/08 - Keene State College senior art major Jessica Becker of Derry, N.H., was voted the winner of the People’s Choice Award for a painting called Family Dinner displayed in “Emerging Art” at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery. The charcoal, gesso, and pastel painting on a large sheet of canvas was influenced by Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

During the first weeks of the annual KSC art students’ exhibition, visitors were invited to vote for their favorite work of art. Out of 293 votes cast, Becker accumulated the most votes. She will receive a $100 cash award from the Friends of the Thorne along with a People’s Choice Commendation.

Becker, a bachelor of fine arts student graduating May 11, used members of her rugby team as models for Family Dinner with each of them placed at a long table similar to da Vinci’s fresco depicting Christ’s last meal with his 12 disciples.

“My artwork comes from my love of the human figure,” explains Becker in her artist’s statement that accompanies a body of her work on display at the Thorne. “The knowledge I gained in my courses made me aware of the great Leonardo da Vinci and especially interested in his drawing of the Vitruvian Man and his idea of a perfectly proportioned man.”

She used members of her rugby team in her work because these athletes were an important part of her KSC family. “The times I have spent with these people and the athletic experiences I have been so fortunate to be a part of are much more than just about the sport; it is about the friendships I have made, the tears I have cried, and the laughter that has turned my bad days into days I will never forget. Because of this, my pieces of art are a tribute to them,” explained Becker.

Family Dinner and several other works on display use her teammates as models as a tribute to women. “… Women have overcome so much to prove their worth in society. I personally have seen the strength in women outplay the built, muscular, and toned male of our society. Strength isn’t measured only physically; mental and emotional strength also contributes to the success of an athlete.”

After graduation, Becker will stay in Keene to take two summer classes and will be part of the College’s paint crew, using a brush to paint walls instead of canvas. In the fall, she plans to live with another KSC art student in Boston to find work, and eventually she would like to attend graduate school.

“Emerging Art” will be on display through Sunday, May 11. Gallery hours are from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday, and from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. For Commencement Weekend, the gallery will extend its hours from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11.

The gallery will be closed for several weeks and will reopen Saturday, June 7, with “Leonard Weisgard and Others: An Illustrator’s Journey,” an exhibit showcasing the work of Caldecott Award-winner Weisgard and other artists who illustrate children’s books from the Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival Gallery Collection and the Thorne’s permanent collection. During the summer, the gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. The gallery is closed Wednesday, July 4, for Independence Day.

Both exhibits are free and open to the public. Located on Wyman Way on the Keene State campus, the Thorne Gallery is accessible to people with disabilities. To request accommodations for a disability, please call the Thorne Gallery at least two weeks before your visit. For more information, call 603-358-2720 or visit

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