CHESTERTOWN — On October 20, 2023 the Kent County Cultural Alliance (KCA) celebrated the Raphael Sassi Memorial Scholarship Foundation with a retrospective of the work of the late Raphael Sassi. “KIND LIGHT”. The reception also featured artwork that has raised awareness of the mission of the foundation, which is to perpetuate and preserve scholarship funds to secondary level art students interested in draughtsmanship and study abroad.
Claire Parker, a 2022 graduate of Queen Anne’s County High School and currently a sophomore at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, was honored at the opening reception as the first inaugural recipient of the Raphael Sassi Memorial Scholarship, marking a significant milestone for student artists on the Eastern Shore. Claire gave an artist talk where she thanked Doug Sassi and the Foundation for supporting young artists like her and how she first got into art.
“It began in high school with my first studio art class with Ms. Zeiler,” shared Claire. “That’s where I found visual journaling. We got prompts and tied in personal experiences into concepts.”
Claire’s exceptional visual journals led to a feature on the QACPS YouTube channel, where she discussed her process that led to award-winning works in her Advanced Placement® 2-D Art and Design portfolio. Her Scholastic Art award-winning work “the Price of Consumerism” was showcased at this KCA exhibition, alongside new pieces from her time at Pratt Institute.
Claire’s art carries a charitable purpose, inspired initially by her role as National Art Honor Society President in high school, and the work she did with Zeiler, who was recently awarded 2023 NAEA National Art Honor Society Sponsor of the Year. Claire discussed those service projects, including “Paddles of Hope”, created for Haven Ministries, along with other positive experiences made possible through the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council. Her recent works tackle environmental and climate issues, serving as powerful visual commentary.
Not a stranger to making an impact, Claire’s successes began in high school earning local, state and regional awards, first as the Young Saturday ‘Visiter’ Award recipient from the Baltimore National Heritage Area, which is the same amount Edgar Allan Poe won for submitting a short story to the contest back in the 1800’s. Later, being recognized as a Visual Arts Teen of the Week, Scholastic Art Silver Key Portfolio award-winner and QACHS’ ArtScene “Best of Show” in the category of 2-D.
Numerous dignitaries and arts leaders were on hand to celebrate Claire, and this historic event, including Doug Sassi and family; Rick Strittmater, Executive Director of the QAC Centre for the Arts; Michael Bell, Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts for QACPS, and Claire’s former award-winning art teacher, Ms. Zeiler.
The exhibition runs through November 3rd, with a closing reception from 5 – 8pm. Visit https://kentculture.org/raphael-sassi-retrospective-kind-light/ for more.