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Visual Arts Student Show Is Fascinating Mix of Ages and Artistic Stages


West Windsor, N.J. – The Visual Arts Student Exhibition currently on display at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is everything a college art exhibit should be – vibrant, creative and thought-provoking.  It features 60 students, some of whom are young artists fresh out of high school, others who are returning to college mid-career, and still others who are rediscovering their art after careers in other fields.  All say that exploring their creative side is a thrill at any age.

The exhibit includes 103 pieces that represent all of Mercer’s arts programs: Fine Arts, Advertising and Graphic Design, Digital Arts, Photography and Sculpture.  Almost 20 are ceramics. Most of the artwork is the result of class assignments. Illustration student Meredith Baum was asked to use a professional artist as the inspiration for her poster design.  An avid ballet fan, she chose Aubrey Beardsley, a leading English illustrator of the 1890s.  “He was involved in theater, so he was a good choice for me,” Baum said, whose poster is of Swan Lake, one of her favorite ballets.

Rachel Levitt is a Liberal Arts student focusing on women's and gender studies, but has always enjoyed creating art.  Both of her pieces are inspired by nature.  Levitt will graduate in May and transfer to a four-year school, where she will continue her studies with the goal of being a therapist.  She says she is glad to have had the opportunity to pursue art at Mercer.  “Because of the lower cost of tuition, I have been able to take these classes, which I really enjoy.”  Levitt has been a dedicated gallery volunteer with a regular shift at the welcome desk.

Beth Gross, a returning adult student, will complete her degree in Advertising/Graphic Design in May.  Gross earned her Photography degree in at Mercer in 1982 and worked in a commercial darkroom for almost three decades before digital photography took over.  “I needed to come back to school and learn new skills.  I was hesitant when I started back. Now I feel excited and confident,” she said. Gross’s fascination with the printing process is evident in her mixed media “Tintype on Wood with Bones,” a photograph of a fox skull and baby mouse mounted on wood salvaged from an old barn.  Gross notes that with one additional course she will take next year, she will also have her degree in Web Design, adding to a resume for today’s marketplace.

Susan Sacks is pursuing her art in retirement. “I come from an artistic family,” she said, explaining that her parents once owned a gallery in New Brunswick and she did life drawing as a young person. After taking the “Art Sampler” workshop offered through MCCC's Center for Continuing Studies, Sacks decided to enroll in a painting class with Professor Kyle Stevenson.  On display in the show is her first portrait painting ever – featuring her son, Robert, a 2012 MCCC Graphic Arts graduate.

Noting the fun of artistic license, Sacks says she gave the portrait some "oddball touches": blue eyes and red hair. Rob himself returned to the campus to attend the show with his mother and his wife. He will complete his degree from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts in May.

Meredith Baum with her poster of Swan Lake.


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First-year student Ivana Airo with Professor Michael Dalton. Airo's photographs are pictured at left.
Beth Gross's fascination with the printing process is reflected in her mixed media piece "Tintype on Wood with Bones."
Rachel Levitt is completing her degree in Liberal Arts, but has enjoyed multiple art classes.
Susan Sacks, with her son, Advertising Design alum Robert Sacks ('12). Her portrait of him is pictured at left.
Students volunteers who help keep the Gallery doors open, from left, Daniel Woods, Anna Cook, Rachel Levitt and Ivana Airo.