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Fine Arts Education Fuels Creative Life
For Alum Lynn Montes


Lynn Montes '71 (A.A., Fine Arts) taps into her artistic sensibilities regularly in both her professional and personal life. As a bathroom designer, she facilitates design and installation projects for Grant Supplies' Elegant Bath & Kitchen Shoppe in Pleasantville, NJ. Her creative life outside the store includes fabric weaving, photography, painting and more.

In her "day job," Montes is an integral part of the design and sales team, working with plumbers and builders to assist customers with the selection of fixtures, vanities and countless other details. Her goal is to create functional, intimate spaces that reflect individual style and personality.

"I do everything from the initial design and selection to the follow-through of ordering and shipping material," Montes said. "I've painted murals for Kohler Company and other manufacturers and have gained much technical knowledge in this industry through the years."

Montes' entrée into the bathroom design field began as a lark. Starting out 25 years ago as a receptionist for L&H Plumbing Supply Company on the Jersey Shore, she soon became a jack of all trades. Each day, when clients approached her with questions, she found herself drawing on the principles she had learned as a Fine Arts major at Mercer County Community College, from which she graduated in 1971.

Lynn Montes '71

"At MCCC, I was taught by artists who were celebrated in the art world - Mel Leipzig and Larry White, to name just two," she said. "They not only fueled my creativity, but helped me perfect my techniques and present my work in a clean and professional manner."

She notes that her field combines presentation with technical aspects of the arts. "It's all about taking my client's vision and translating it into something that realistically works in their desired space. This enables me to be creative all day long, seeing a project through to completion."

For Montes, MCCC was her educational bedrock. She fondly remembers the Trenton campus of the late 1960s on State Street. "We had some really fun times hanging out at the Old Hildebrant Hotel lounge, having band practice at the War Memorial Building, and intermingling with students around the city. I will cherish those memories forever," she says.

Upon graduating from Mercer, Montes went on to Moore College of Art to study printmaking, photography and graphic design. Then she worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in Trenton, designing signs, magazine covers and ads. Her road signs are still in use today. She also worked as a painter for Boehm Porcelains, among other jobs.

Her entrepreneurial spirit and budding passion for fashion design led Montes to launch Chrysalis in 1973, a home-based fabric-weaving, artwork and photography enterprise that she continues to operate today in her studio in Delaware City, DE.

Her personal style reflects her out-of-the-box aesthetic. A race car and motorcycle enthusiast, Montes may choose to wear pearls and Prada motorcycle boots when she hits the road.

She credits MCCC with being a springboard for her spirited life and providing her a well-rounded educational experience. "Who would have thought that a non-Euclidian math course that I took at Mercer would help me in warping my loom today?" she said. "Mercer professors gave me the key to unlock the door to a lifetime of endless possibilities."

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