Windsor, N.J.- The artists featured in "Plastics Alchemy,"
the show that opened the MCCC Gallery season in September, all
have talent in common. They also have another defining bond:
they have found a home as volunteers at the college's welcoming,
light-filled exhibit space.
given amply of their time as volunteers over the past decade
to ensure that the Gallery keeps its doors open for as many
hours as possible each week. Said Gallery Director/Curator
Tricia Fagan, "We hope the exhibit served to remind patrons
that the engaging, knowledgeable people who greet them at
the Gallery are often gifted artists." She notes that
some of these wonderfully creative people have taken years,
even decades, of art classes at the college, while others
simply enjoy being in a beautiful space surrounded by art
and other artists.
is a sacredness about this space," says West Windsor
artist Renee Kumar, who staffs the desk each Thursday. She
met Gallery Director/Curator Tricia Fagan at Artworks, a hub
for artists in Trenton. "Tricia has been our guardian
angel the whole time." Kumar is enthusiastic about her
Gallery post. "I enjoy seeing students visit. Being exposed
to art opens their minds. That's what education is all about."
signature watercolors have been featured in numerous Gallery
exhibits, including the annual Mercer County Artists shows,
in which she has won prizes, and Dangerous Women Two, the
2007 exhibit that asked contemporary female artists to use
colorful women from the 20th century as the inspiration for
the piece they submitted.
the college's "forever" art students is Andrea Seabridge,
of Allentown, NJ, who has volunteered in the evenings to keep
the Gallery open for those unable to visit during the day.
An employee of the State of New Jersey for 32 years, Seabridge
has spent decades at Mercer, having taken her first art classes
in the 1970s, when Fine Arts Professor Mel Leipzig "looked
like Bono," she recalls with a smile. Now retired, Seabridge
considers art her refuge. Her painting featured in the recent
exhibit is called "Woodruff," depicting the soothing
greens and pleasing foliage of the popular New Jersey ground
long-time student is Susan Luty, of Hightstown. "I use
Mercer as my studio," she explains. Having experimented
with various mediums, she is now focused strictly on ceramics.
"I don't know how ceramics happened. It just did. The
texture, the shape - I find it all interesting," she
says. In her piece in the Gallery show, she used clay shapes
stacked in a geological formation.
regular is Beverly Ardos Fredericks, of East Windsor, who
exhibited several works in the show, including a bronze sculpture
of a cheetah that illustrates her fascination with animals.
"I'm looking for the spirit of the animal," she
says. Two other pieces in geometric black and white reflect
her background in mathematics. Her latest medium is printmaking.
was Arlene Milgram, of Ewing, whose daughter Zoe studied art
at Mercer and introduced her artist-mother to the Gallery.
Milgram was an enthusiastic participant in the Dangerous Women
exhibit, pairing herself with Lee Krasner, the wife of Jackson
other MCCC art students, Fine Arts alumnus Jon Allen ('04),
of Hamilton, volunteered at the Gallery when he studied at
Mercer earlier in the decade. He recalls an environment that
helped him gain the foundation and confidence to continue
his education. While visiting shows at the Gallery, he was
encouraged by Fagan to get serious about his art. He also
credits Professor Leipzig with being extremely supportive.
"It was one of the most nurturing environments for developing
my talent and getting the foundation to move on," he
says. Allen completed his bachelor's degree at Pratt Institute
and earned a master's from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine
Arts in 2009. Allen always recommends Mercer. "If you
want to study art in this area, Mercer is the place to be."
notes that true to the show's spirit, it was volunteer effort
that made it happen. Due to an injury, she was unable to install
the show and an MCCC alumnus, artist Matt Lucash, of Hamilton,
stepped in. "Matt coordinated and hung the show. Others
helped out in various ways. That's the kind of commitment
these artists have," Fagan said.
artists featured in "Plastics Alchemy" included
Filomena DiLeo of Hamilton, Joe Mason of Hamilton, Zoe Milgram
of Brooklyn, NY, Janis Purcell of East Windsor, and MCCC alumni
Keiko Ishida of Cambridge, MA, Jess Martin of Robbinsville,
and Flannery Miller of Plainsboro.
are always welcome. Contact information and more information
about the 2010-11 season is available here
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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