Burke Carries On With Art At Transy

by Alex Keys

Each fall, as classes at Transylvania begin, it is difficult for students to avoid speculating on where the year might take them. Only a short summer after walking the stage on Commencement Day, one alumna has already encountered a variety of opportunities.

Alumna Kathleen Burke cleans the clay extruder in the Shearer Art Building as part of her job on TU's campus.

This summer, recent Transylvania graduate Kathleen Burke began working in the office of Fayette Alliance, Lexington’s only land-use advocacy group. The alliance works to promote sustainable and proficient land development by lobbying the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. While working for the alliance, Burke was able to “pay the bills” while working for an admirable cause.

In addition, Burke can still be seen working hard in the place where she spent most of her college career: the Shearer Art Building. It is there that she now serves a part-time position as the art department’s studio assistant, a position the department began offering in the fall of 2009.

Several times a week, Kathleen said she can be seen “assisting (Professors) Jack Girard, Zoe Strecker and Kurt Gohde with whatever tasks they may have around the studio.”

Tasks for this semester include creating molds for the Empty Bowls Project and helping the professors to redesign studio space. While Kathleen is paid for the position, her favorite part of the job is having access to her own studio, the art department’s equipment and the critical eye of the professors.

Taking advantage of the free studio space, Burke has been working to develop a proposal for a new installation. While she is excited to be free from the pressure of academic work, Burke expressed anxiety towards that same freedom.

“When you’re making art at the university, you have this context to work in, a structure that guides and directs you,” explained Burke.
Despite this anxiety, Burke still has ideas that could very well form into her first post-Transy installation.

Artistically, Burke has decided to continue in the direction she began while at Transy. She plans on working with Facebook statuses to explore and challenge the way the social networking site has been integrated into the daily lives of most people. She hopes to emphasize the “false sense of connection” that Facebook creates by collecting statuses from the profiles of prominent figures around Lexington and incorporating these statements into her installation. If all goes through, the project should provide an interesting view of Lexington’s most well-known citizens.

All in all, Burke seems to be taking full advantage of the opportunities provided for her post-graduation life. Occasionally, however, she still has to take time to adjust.
“It feels like I should be going to my room in Rosenthal,” described Burke. “It’s weird not having to do homework.”


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