Special to the Register
The NCTC Visual Arts student exhibit recently opened. The last day to view the exhibit will be May 3. The exhibit represents nine different studio classes and includes approximately 75 works of art. Each semester, students enrolled exhibit selected works that they have executed that semester.
The NCTC Visual Arts Center is essentially a small factory. The center is equipped with wood working machinery, metal fabrication machinery, a bronze foundry and ceramics shop. As a result, students are able to work with practically any media and are given free gratis to do so.
Many of the students who enroll in courses offered at the Visual Arts Center are initially taken back at the possibilities that lay before them and it is not uncommon to have students enrolled from other areas such as agriculture or nursing, something that doesn’t surprise department chairman and faculty member Jimmy Staples.
“The arts, just like the sciences, require an analytical component,” Staples said. “Sometimes I kiddingly call it head scratching. Nevertheless making art is nothing more than problem solving from the act of conceptualization, material selection, its execution and finally presentation. I remind students that are sometimes experiencing difficulty that these are not problems such as not being able to make your car payment, rather they are problems to embrace and enjoy finding solutions to.”
Students that possibly have never had an art class are suddenly capable of working in an advanced curriculum. Staples insists this is made possible by two things: the facility and quality instruction. He attributes much of the department’s success in this area to Art Technician/Gallery Coordinator, Wesley Hearell.
“The curriculum we offer is very hands-on and includes an industrial component, as well as safety risks,” Staples said. “There is a steep learning curve initially with the machinery and tools, but Wesley’s experience and unique ability to assist in students’ needs goes unmatched.”
Once committed, students have a very short time to see their ideas come to fruition (about three months). Given the learning curve and other unknown factors, students always come through with a professional body of work to exhibit in the NCTC Visual Arts Gallery.
As previously mentioned, many students (both traditional and nontraditional) enter the Visual Arts Center to “make some art.” Once exposed to the industrial nature of the facility, they can quickly become intimidated.
“This is the fun part,” Staples said. “For a teacher it equates to the perfect storm. It allows us to take that intimidation and guide it into knowledge, confidence and ultimately success. When I see students install their work in the gallery, the sense of accomplishment on their face is better than money in the bank.”
The public is invited to stop by the Visual Arts Center on the NCTC Gainesville campus and check out the exhibit.
For more information on the exhibit or the Visual Arts program at NCTC, call 940-668-7731 Ext. 4504.