Each May, the Gallery at the Park in Richland celebrates students with an exhibition featuring the recipients of the Allied Arts Association’s student scholarships. To help support visual arts in the community, Allied Arts awards annual scholarships to Columbia Basin College students and students working toward a master’s degree in fine arts.
This year, scholarships went to Li Wang, a student attending CBC, and Todd McKinney, a graduate student at the University of Washington.
Li Wang grew up in Jiangxi, a small city in southern China known for its rivers and lakes, and has lived in the United States for seven years. Before moving to the U.S., she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. She became interested in medical illustration when one of her classmates mentioned some difficulties he’d run into while writing a paper: He could not find a professional medical illustrator to draw an accurate, polished diagram.
This was the first Wang had ever heard of medical illustration, since Chinese universities do not offer this degree. After doing some research, she decided this career would be a perfect fit for her due to her biological background and love of drawing. Now she is studying at CBC to improve her art skills with the goal of eventually applying to a graduate program in medical illustration.
Todd McKinney, the other scholarship student, is from the Bay Area in California. His father was an industrial painter who wanted his son to follow in his footsteps — but McKinney went into the fine arts instead.
As an undergraduate, he fell ill with pseudo-tumor cerebri, a rare degenerative disease of the brain, which changed the course of his life. He writes on his website, “As my ability to function deteriorated I began to question the nature of existence. I began my investigation of chaos, which led me to this road.”
Though McKinney has learned many forms of art, painting is his passion. Currently, he uses random drips, tape, mops and brooms for his paintings, which results in experimental, abstract works of art. Because he can never fully control the outcome of paint drips, his paintings organically evolve on their own. He continually adds layers until the painting is complete, demonstrating his idea that “chaos eventually blossoms into a pattern.”
For more information or to view McKinney’s work, visit his website at toddraymondmckinney.com.
The student scholarship show will be on display at the Gallery at the Park from May 7 through May 31. The artist reception will be on May 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the gallery.