JACKSON TWP.  Kent State University at Stark has a new schedule of yearlong art exhibits held in the new art galleries in the Fine Arts Building. The expansion and updating of the building has opened up space for two art galleries: The William J. and Pearl F. Lemmon Visiting Artist Gallery and the MJ and Pat Albacete Student Art Gallery.

Both galleries are free and open to the public to visit and are next to each other on the second floor of the Fine Arts building. The galleries are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 11 .m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

The first exhibit scheduled for the Visiting Artist Gallery is the Threshold: Selected Works by artist Carol Diamond. The conceptual basis for much of Diamond’s work stems from asking questions about her existence through the examination of broader, more universal subjects. She incorporates design concepts from Celtic, Christian and contemporary secular sources to create a personalized abstract language that facilitates this discussion.

Her images have a sort of archaeological feel to them, with their integration of street debris and plaster, giving them an almost fossil-like effect. The artist held a gallery talk during the afternoon on Sept. 11.

"The artist decides the name of the exhibit and if you think about the meaning of threshold it’s an opening, a beginning into different ways of seeing and visualizing that experience," said lead art professor and primary curator of the gallery Jack McWhorter. "There are multiple ways the viewer can enter into the work from the drawings and the paintings to the paintings with embedded items and the sculpture. There are a lot of different ways students with different sensibilities can enter into the work."

McWhorter said he is thrilled with the Visiting Artist Gallery and the Student Gallery spaces, adding that the building itself was built in 1972 with no plans for a gallery. For many years, there was a area called the Project Space that served as a make shift gallery. The two new galleries were made possible by the recent addition and updating of the building for the growing music programming.

The exhibit schedule is normally completed two or three years in advance and includes many national artists exhibits.

"The gallery has a waiting list of artists wantins to exhibit. We try to promote and include exhibits of works that you can’t see here in the Canton community. The Threshold artist is from Brooklyn and teaches at the Pratt Institute," McWhorter said.

All of the selections for exhibits are made by a gallery committee who review proposals. Shows are selected according to what the fine arts students need and where they are in their development. The shows go across all categories of image making. Most exhibits last about three weeks.

The next exhibit is called the Mutual Aid will be from Oct. 1-26. After that, Elegy will be on exhibit Nov. 1-Dec. 7, followed by Queuing from Feb. 7-March 2; Painters Prints March 7-April 6; and Practice April 11-May 4.

"The Mutual Aid will exhibit over a dozen New York painters who will be showing three pieces each of their works," McWhorter said. "In November, we have two artists who work with the human figure. Sarah Schuster is from Oberlin College and Sue Collier is from New York. That exhibit will be open during our open house event on Nov. 1."

The students get involved with the exhibit installations at both galleries. McWhorter said it is a teaching gallery and so students get involved with various aspects of running the gallery including welcoming guests to the gallery.

"The function of the gallery and the reason it’s here is for students at Kent but it’s also for the university community and the community surrounding the university," McWhorter said. "We’re showing works that aren’t readily available to audiences in northeast Ohio. We do have Gallery 6000 in the Conference Center that features regional and Stark County artists."

He also said that the Student Gallery will exhibit the upper division students at the end of each semester. The Student Gallery is open the same hours as the Visiting Artist Gallery. There are opening receptions for each artist exhibiting and the receptions are open to the public.

There are also many theatre productions scheduled from November through April and many musical performances happening throughout the same time frame.

One of the theatre performances includes John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. One of the favorite music performances includes the Guitar Weekend with concerts, workshops and master classes for guitar lovers.

Other events at Kent Stark this year include the Boo U Fall Festival, Constitution Day, Earth Day Celebrations, Veterans Day and the Featured Speaker Series. For complete details, visit https://www.kent.edu/stark/campus-events.