Arts & Culture

Two UK Artists Honored at 'University Open'



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 31, 2011) − Two University of Kentucky art studio students, 2011 graduate Matthew Matsubara and senior Robin Baker, have taken second and third place honors at this year's "University Open," a juried competition between undergraduate art students at Kentucky colleges and universities. Only one more week remains to see this year's show featuring 33 pieces of artwork from the state's best student artists.

"'University Open' provides a showcase for Kentucky’s emerging artists, who demonstrate a command of their media and a developed vocabulary," says Jim Clark, president of LexArts. "It is exciting to see the next generation of Kentucky artists exhibited together."

The 33 pieces of art selected to exhibit from 189 entries to the "University Open" represent 13 public and private colleges in the state. Guest curator of the 2011 show was Phillip March Jones, an artist and founder of Institute 193 in Lexington. Jones is also director of Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a collection of African American art and publishing house in Atlanta, Ga. This year, the "University Open" was made possible by LexArts.

"University Open" winners were announced at a reception held April 29, at Lexington's ArtsPlace. Matsubara, a resident of Lexington, received second place honors for his mixed media work "The Cubist Anatomy of Picasso." Matsubara received a cash prize of $300 for his award. Baker, also from Lexington, took third place honors for his work "In Your Eyes I Fade Into The Wall." Baker received a $100 cash prize.

"Matt and Robin continue a UK tradition of receiving top recognition in the 'University Open,'" said Benjamin C. Withers, chair of the UK Department of Art in the UK College of Fine Arts. "This is a tribute to their own hard work and the dedication and mentorship of the UK faculty. Their success is another indication that the UK Department of Art trains and sends out the best undergraduates in the state."

Other UK artists joining Matsubara and Baker in the "University Open" are Will Doerting and Sarah Williamson.

LexArts is a nonprofit community organization that works for the development of a strong and vibrant arts community as a means of enhancing the quality of life in central Kentucky. LexArts provides a wide range of programs designed to integrate the arts into our daily lives. Through its annual Campaign for the Arts, LexArts has raised millions of dollars in support of local arts. In turn, LexArts underwrites the operating expenses for a variety of beneficiary organizations, offers affordable exhibition and performance space for arts organizations, as well as competitive grants for community outreach projects. Visit LexArts website at

The public can view the UK students' winning artwork and art from other featured student artists in the "University Open" through June 4, at ArtsPlace, at 161 North Mill St.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-1754 ext. 229;