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MCCC Gallery Announces Winners of
"Mercer County Artists 2012"
Exhibit Runs through April 5


West Windsor, N.J. - The Gallery at Mercer County Community College announced the award winners for "Mercer County Artists 2012" at an Opening Reception Mar. 7. The exhibit, which runs through April 5, features 78 works, including 18 sculptures, by 76 artists who live, work or study in Mercer County. The pieces were selected from 288 entries by this year's juror, curator/consultant Jeffrey Wechsler, who recently retired as senior art curator at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University/New Brunswick.

Most art media are represented in the show, including oils, watercolors, charcoal, ceramics, handmade paper, acrylics and mixed media. Reflecting on his choices in his juror's statement, Wechsler observed, "Ultimately it was the effectiveness of the artist at communicating something to the viewer - within the confines of the current level at which the artist now works - that led to the selection of individual pieces into the exhibition. Importantly, the 'something' communicated was wide-ranging - beauty, emotion, precision, narrative skill, even a compelling craziness."

This annual exhibit is a collaboration between the college and the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission. The Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on Mercer's West Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.

During the opening reception that was packed with artists and friends, MCCC Gallery Director/Curator Tricia Fagan said, "Lots of people don't realize that this show was created by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission 40 years ago. It's a partnership between the county and the college. The county's art collection is born out of this show."

Presenting the awards were MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue, Mercer County Freeholders Pat Colavita and Andrew Koontz, and Division Chief of Cultural and Heritage Ida Perez-Margicin.

Colavita congratulated the artists for their beautiful work. "The county has a deep investment in supporting the arts. This exhibit is such a tribute to those who create. It's a universal language." Koontz added, "The arts are important. And it's you who are making it. So we thank you." Dr. Donohue encouraged the artists to return to the show with friends and family and to spread the word about Mercer's excellent Fine Arts faculty.

Winner of the Utrecht Art Supplies Best in Show Prize was Arlene Milgram, of Trenton, for two mixed media pieces, "And Dreams Will Grow" and "Treasure Error." (She is one of only two artists who had two works accepted for the show.) The Juror's Choice Awards went to Timothy Fitzpatrick of Mercerville for "Sons, Brothers" and Charles McVicker of Princeton for "Vortex."

Honorable Mentions were awarded to six artists: Marina Ahunbabaeba of Princeton for "Princeton/Hamilton Jewelers"; Mic Boekelmann of Princeton for "Experience"; Oki Fukunaga of Lawrenceville for "Golem #25"; Maurice Galimidi of Ewing for "Reclining Nude"; Valerie Labell-Desmarais of Princeton for "Moose knows we all have patterns"; Miryong Lee of Princeton for Harmonious Diversity"; and Alice Sims-Gunzenhauser of Skillman for "Short Stories in White."

Recipients of Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission Purchase Awards were Al Aronson of Princeton for "Waterfall"; Arlene Milgram of Trenton for "Treasure Error"; and Mary Waltham of Princeton for "Updike Farm, Princeton."

Presenting two awards from the West Windsor Arts Council was board member Amy Frankel. Winners were Allison Singer for "Where the Birds Have Room to Fly" and Lou Cicchini for "Adam's Apple."

Best in Show winner Arlene Milgram noted that her mixed-media works are a creative use of unused materials. "I reconstruct them into new pieces," she said. Milgram is an art teacher in Montgomery Township and a 2005 Dodge fellow in the Artist/Teacher Initiative. She exhibits her work locally and nationally.

Juror's Choice recipient Tim Fitzpatrick explained that he has gotten back into painting in recent years. An MCCC alumnus who studied art from 1979-1981, Fitzpatrick first worked as a freelance illustrator, and then moved into computer graphics. He has been a web designer at the college for 10 years. Fitzpatrick says that being selected for the show is likely to spur his creative output.

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School art teacher Jane Craven-Proulx, whose work "Trees" was selected for the show, noted how well the show was curated. "There is so much variety. It's difficult to put a show like this together without being bombarded." She adds that she regularly encourages her students to consider community college as a quality, cost effective option for higher education.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Mercer County Artists show continues to feature some of the region's most talented artists. Works in all media except for photography (which is featured in a separate county show) are exhibited by both well-established and emerging artists. This exhibit is supported, in part, by the Mercer County Cultural & Heritage Commission, through a grant from the Mercer County Board of Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State.

Gallery hours are: Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.; and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (609) 570-3589 or visit the Gallery website here.

Best in Show winner Arlene Milgram with her two mixed-media pieces.

Community members intrigued by three-dimensional work.
Al Aronson with "Waterfall," which was awarded the Purchase Prize.
Charles McVicker won a Juror's Choice award for his acrcylic "Vortex."
Tim Fitzpatrick, right, was the recipient of a Juror's Choice Award for "Songs, Brothers." He is pictured with one of his sons, Tim Jr.
Priscilla Snow Algava earned an Honorable Mention for her clay monoprint "Seeking the Essentials."
Adjunct ESL faculty member Jackie Keener, with her oil painting "After."
Participating in the awards ceremony are, from left, Gallery Director/Curator Tricia Fagan, Division Chief of Cultural and Heritage Ida Perez-Margicin, MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue, and Mercer County Freeholders Pat Colavita and Andrew Koontz.

Marina Ahunbabaeva with "Princeton, Hamilton Jewelers," for which she earned Honorable Mention.

Oki Fukunaga with his cast iron sculpture "Golem #25," which earned an Honorable Mention.

Sculptures include Matt Lucash's "Jacob's Ladder on Vinyl" (foreground) and Joseph Dougherty's "Tonia."
Lucy McVicker's "After the Storm"

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